Does free will exist?

Discussion in 'Science / Nature' started by HareBrain, Feb 24, 2010.

  1.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    I never thought of it that way before UM.

    My thoughts were along the lines of an entity, making a decision because they want to. My idea with two identical brains was to see if they would make the same decision(s) - if they did then that would tend to indicate that there was no decision involved - just a mechanical process based on the state of the brain at that time.

    If I am correct you are saying that even if only mechanical (probably not the right word) processes are involved as long as they are not predictable processes then they tend to indicate free will?

    It's not surprising that problems like this have taxed some of the greatest brains on the planet.
  2.  
    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    I'm no physicist, but at first blush it would seem that the example is a classic example of lack of information. If (and I think its a big IF) that a mechanical system is completely predictable, and If (a somewhat smaller but still substantial if) a magnetic field were completely predicable, every logic we have at our disposal would conclude that the marriage of the two under controlled circumstances would also be completely predictable. When they are not the obvious assumption is that we have a lack of information, faulty measurement, or faulty controls.
  3.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    Hi Parson - there's a lack of information all right - on my part! I don't know which of you is correct! :(
  4.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    If I may quote one of those "Greatest Brains on the Planet" you mentioned, Mos, Douglas Adams:

    To explain - since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation - every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.

    The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically to annoy his wife.

    Trin Tragula - for that was his name - was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.

    And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic amalyses of pieces of fairy cake.

    "Have some sense of proportion!" she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.

    And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex - just to show her.

    And into one end he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a single piece of fairy cake, and into the other end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.

    To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain ....


    I live my life by that series :D
  5.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    You may be right. (I was talking about an explanation given on the TV, not in a college/university.)

    But then isn't our universe** a rather poor place to be if one wants perfect information? ;)




    ** - I suppose that in an infinite number of universes, there may be some (an infinite number of them, probably ;)) in which information can be perfect.
  6.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    But as far as the randomness of quantum theory I know you are correct UM. Particles appear and disappear at random for ever-so-brief periods of time, bringing a random element to the universe that means predicting everything is not possible.

    The question is: does that affect the thought processes in the brain and have an effect on free will?
  7.  
    Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    Or, at least as far as we know they are random.

    Ursa Major wrote:
    This statement lends itself to all kinds of tom foolery. I will satisfy myself with one less than semi serious response: "perfect information is in the eye of the beholder."
  8.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    One of those infinite numbers is zero UM. ;)
  9.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    The fourth option is for the Judge to bow down to his/her own fate and/or biology and punish the criminal as he/her would have if he believed he had free will.

    In other words the Judge could be just as much at the mercy of of his/her genes as the criminal.
  10.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    I'm just amazed that Free Willy exists :eek:
  11.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Why? It's clear from seeing the film that he was continually being framed.


    (Luckily, he wasn't being animated, otherwise he'd be in a cel - in fact, lots of them - to this day.)
  12.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    Although, if he joined the fish general infantry, he might be Sea G.I.ed. Then he'd have to do as ordered. Free will? Don't make me laugh. Your choice ;)
  13.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    It would have to be more than a fluke for him to get into the fish general infantry. He's a mammal.
  14.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    His mam'll help, I'm sure. She's a big fish.
  15.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    What about Grampus?
  16.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    He'll shoal less reticence after a few drinks.
  17.  
    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    Yes, my beautiful thread lives! IT LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVES!!!!

    Thank you, Mosaix.
  18.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    Yes, Harebrain but is that by choice or was it ordained? :)
  19.  
    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    It chooses to live, but does it exist? :)
  20.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Active Member

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    What made me look up this old thread was a radio program on Determinism, not something I'd heard of before.

    Basically Determinists say that the Universe was created with a specific set of laws and given that everything in the Universe operates by those laws then, from the moment the Universe was created, everything that was going to happen was already determined.

    Food for thought.
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