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Thread: free will

  1. #111
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I just don't get how they can say that there's objective uncertainty, and simultaneously say that there's statistical likelihoods without at least leaning toward accepting the inference that a statistical pattern indicates some as yet not-understood cause.
    Well yeah, of course they want to find an undiscovered cause. Einstein famously hated the idea of inherent uncertainty, saying "God does not play dice". It's just that they can't find any causes that would make sense that wouldn't also violate fundamental parts of physics, like the principle of locality.

    Of course everything is filtered via our perception, but surely you believe that there is an objective world, nevertheless?
    Suppose I'm decoding a cypher...no amount of uncertainty on my side will change the fact of what the code is concealing. The answer is objective...even though I must subjectively discover it.
    In physics that idea is referred to as realism - the idea that the world exists independently of the human mind, and values exist before they are measured.

    Bell's theorem, which I'll admit I don't understand fully, supposedly disproves either locality or realism. It has to do with quantum entanglement, which is where particles become entangled so that they always affect each other's state, even when separated at large distances. When one is measured, the state of the other can be simultaneously known. This would seem to violate special relativity which says that causality is limited to the speed of light. That is, one thing can't affect another instantaneously at a distance because then information is travelling faster than the speed of light. I'm probably making some mistakes explaining this but I think that's the general idea.

  2. #112
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    @Robcore we express things in statistical likelihoods because we cannot be certain about the state of any individual. If you know that there are 99 blue marbles and 1 white marble in an opaque jar in a dark room, you cannot be certain about the color of marble you will randomly draw from the jar, only that there is a 99 percent chance it will be blue. If any one of the kinds of components present in the beginning of the universe had a 50% chance of being in state A and a 50% chance of being in state B, you could easily predict that half of them would be in state A, and half would be in state B, but you could not predict which ones, ergo two identical scenarios would yield two different outcomes. The "random" means that there is no deterministic factor that says which state will be the outcome of each individual particle, not that you can't determine the overall distribution.

    I know you keep saying, "But that state is predetermined by something we just don't know what." I accept that as a possibility, but it isn't the horse I'm currently betting on.
    There is compelling work that shows there may very well be some random properties underlying our reality, ergo, it is not theoretically impossible for free will to exist, it's theoretically possible that our entire lives weren't laid out like inescapable railroad tracks before us.
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  3. #113
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    @Hephaestus
    Of course everything is filtered via our perception, but surely you believe that there is an objective world, nevertheless?
    Suppose I'm decoding a cypher...no amount of uncertainty on my side will change the fact of what the code is concealing. The answer is objective...even though I must subjectively discover it.
    It's only concealed because you perceive it that way. To the universe it just is.
    You winsome, you loathsome.
    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  4. #114
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Re rep: I wonder. My point is you can't even begin talking about this thing existing without introducing human perception and bias.
    You winsome, you loathsome.
    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  5. #115
    just dont think about it mhc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Re rep: I wonder. My point is you can't even begin talking about this thing existing without introducing human perception and bias.
    right on. @Robcore has even unknowingly eluded to your point when he says

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    there is an objective world
    just another example of a construct of the human psyche, subjected to the same biases as the parent which constructed it. sure he might say "yeah but you know what i mean, a place that is not subjected to any human filtering" but the point being what ever the place he eludes to is still of his own construct and therefore subjected to any or all of human perception or comprehension biases.

    At this point some might still be saying "yeah but not a place like that either - you know, the other place which humans have know comprehension of" so say we have the universe. people will think of space n some stars and stuff. the reality is everything is the universe. we can not make anything outside of the universe because everything is the f.kng universe. the floor, chair, computer, everything. from this universe we have even crafted theories that there may be something outside of this universe, maybe more universes, but that idea is still a child of the f.king universe known only to us through human perception.

    So @Hephaestus basically what I'm trying to tell ya is, in my own creative way, i know what you mean
    Just look at the blue sky

  6. #116
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post
    I mean based on evidence. My theory that the waveform collapses because we choose to observe it is based on evidence. There is no evidence that I'm aware of for pilot waves.

    I'm not very bothered by the theory being unpopular. We know so little about consciousness. I also believe in panpsychism, and that seems pretty unpopular.
    What evidence? Not all physicists even agree that there is a wavefunction collapse so I can't imagine the evidence is that strong. Why don't you believe that the wavefunction collapses when it would require a macroscopic object to be in a superposition of states? What does consciousness have to do with it?
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  7. #117
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirac View Post
    What evidence? Not all physicists even agree that there is a wavefunction collapse so I can't imagine the evidence is that strong. Why don't you believe that the wavefunction collapses when it would require a macroscopic object to be in a superposition of states? What does consciousness have to do with it?
    If we had any evidence that was strong enough to get all physicists to agree, this would be an uninteresting discussion. The wave function appears to collapse when it is observed. My physical body appears to move when I decide it should. There are other possibilities but the simplest explanation to me is that what appears to be true is true.

    I'm not sure I understand your question about a macroscopic object. My understanding is that a random macroscopic object will be made of many particles, each with their own wave functions, and since these waves are not in phase they will interfere with each other and the result is not coherent as a wave. I think that's why at a low level we describe matter in terms of a density matrix.

  8. #118
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post
    If we had any evidence that was strong enough to get all physicists to agree, this would be an uninteresting discussion. The wave function appears to collapse when it is observed. My physical body appears to move when I decide it should. There are other possibilities but the simplest explanation to me is that what appears to be true is true.

    I'm not sure I understand your question about a macroscopic object. My understanding is that a random macroscopic object will be made of many particles, each with their own wave functions, and since these waves are not in phase they will interfere with each other and the result is not coherent as a wave. I think that's why at a low level we describe matter in terms of a density matrix.
    My point is that you seem to be (although I'm actually not sure) requiring a conscious agent to be involved for there to be an 'observation'. Why bring consciousness into it? Why could it not be the interaction of the particle with a macroscopic object (e.g. a measurment device) which causes the collapse?

    I was going to talk here about decoherence but on reading about I realise that I don't actually understand it well enough.
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  9. #119
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirac View Post
    My point is that you seem to be (although I'm actually not sure) requiring a conscious agent to be involved for there to be an 'observation'. Why bring consciousness into it? Why could it not be the interaction of the particle with a macroscopic object (e.g. a measurment device) which causes the collapse?
    Well for one thing, a measurement device isn't that unless a conscious agent uses it to measure something. I am not super familiar with the specific types of devices used in these experiments, but I tend to assume that they are designed with the purpose of not physically interfering with the results they are intended to measure. I also tend to assume that they are trying things like using different methods of measurement to see if they get the same results. The double slit experiment has been around now for 90 years, and I know they've performed it with electrons, photons and even molecules. There does seem to be a lot of agreement that observation seems to collapse the wavefunction. Not perfect consensus, but I'm not very bothered by that. I think many people don't want to accept quantum mechanics because of the huge implications for all of science and everything we think we can know about the universe.

    Also, if a measurement device is interfering with the results in a way that we just don't recognize yet, wouldn't that be a hidden variable? The math seems to say there can be none, we can find evidence of none. I seem to be able to observe my own will affecting the physical world, and the evidence I'm aware of seems to fit with that. That's the best I've got right now.

  10. #120
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post
    Well for one thing, a measurement device isn't that unless a conscious agent uses it to measure something. I am not super familiar with the specific types of devices used in these experiments, but I tend to assume that they are designed with the purpose of not physically interfering with the results they are intended to measure. I also tend to assume that they are trying things like using different methods of measurement to see if they get the same results. The double slit experiment has been around now for 90 years, and I know they've performed it with electrons, photons and even molecules. There does seem to be a lot of agreement that observation seems to collapse the wavefunction. Not perfect consensus, but I'm not very bothered by that. I think many people don't want to accept quantum mechanics because of the huge implications for all of science and everything we think we can know about the universe.

    Also, if a measurement device is interfering with the results in a way that we just don't recognize yet, wouldn't that be a hidden variable? The math seems to say there can be none, we can find evidence of none. I seem to be able to observe my own will affecting the physical world, and the evidence I'm aware of seems to fit with that. That's the best I've got right now.
    There is a lot of agreement that 'observation' collapses the wavefunction, but the word is not meant in the colloquial sense (at least, not anymore).

    You cannot recreate the double slit experiment unless you physically interfere with a measurement device. If you don't physically interfere with the wavefunction it will not collapse. We do recognise that the measurement device interferes with the result, that is the whole point of the double slit experiment; I'm not sure how that implies a hidden variable.
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