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  #101  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by peacegirl View Post
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Originally Posted by Specious_reasons
Beyond that, I was really more interested in presenting my own views on free will and determinism. I'm afraid I generally fall into the pragmatic camp.
Actually, the purpose of this thread is to share a discovery, not to hear everybody's ideas on free will versus determinism. There are already a lot of threads that discuss this issue, so you may want to go to one of them.
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So, I spent a little bit of time reading about compatibilism and incompatibilism - interesting. I would probably fall into the compatibilist camp myself, even though I'm not entirely willing to admit that the universe is deterministic.

Somebody in one free will thread suggested a thought experiment where you can roll back the universe to a specific point in time, and then start it up again. We have free will if, at this new starting point, a person can and will make a different decision.

I'm inclined to think that we can't - if we roll back the universe to a moment just before a decision is made. I'm also inclined to think that the chance of random quantum changes in the universe will start to build over time, and maybe the universe is different enough that the conditions that influenced a decision have changed enough to allow a different outcome.

So, if we roll back to 1930, we still win WWII, but if we roll back to the last ice age, maybe we're living in the world of the Man in the High Castle.
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  #102  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Eratosthenes

Now we know another thing that Seymour was ignorant of: history.

It should be added that the first heliocentric model of the solar system arose in ancient Greece too, long before Copernicus.
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  #103  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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The ancient Greeks knew that the earth was round! They even measured the diameter of the earth to within a breathtaking degree of accuracy.

:lol:
Had to look this up again and yes Eratosthenes was Greek living in Alexandria Egypt and in 240 BC. did the experiment. This kind of knowledge would certainly been spread among the educated and would not be a surprise to the common working man, especially sailors or those who travel by water.
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  #104  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

A logical exercise I've seen with regards to free will goes something like this:


Do you agree that everything that's happening right now is entirely determined by all the things that were happening one nanosecond ago? That is, if you could somehow know the exact position of every particle and every force acting on each particle just one nanosecond ago, would you agree that this exactly determines the position of every particle right now and the forces that are acting on it?

Most people would say "yes" to this question.

But if everything that's happening right now is determined by what was happening one nanosecond earlier, then what was happening then was determined by what was happening one nanosecond previously. And what was happening 2 nanoseconds ago was determined by what was happening one nanosecond earlier ...

And so on, and so on, and so on ...
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  #105  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by peacegirl View Post
So I'm going to post a few excerpts to start, and see how that goes.
A decade's worth of experience with that approach establishes exactly how it will go, but hey, it's your thread.
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  #106  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Heliocentrism: Aristarchus of Samos

The ancient Greeks also dabbled in early speculation about evolution (though they never hit on the specific idea of descent with modification), invented a steam engine and proposed the first atomic theory of structure. Paremenides proposed the first eternalist "blockword" picture of reality, that everything just IS (consistent with modern physics). Smart cookies, those old Greeks.
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  #107  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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The book only says, 'Long ago ...' and 'the first astronomer ...' Presumably this was a long time before the Ancient Greeks, so that part isn't necessarily wrong.

That is presuming that prehistoric man did not believe the Earth was round. They had no reason to believe otherwise, both the Sun and the Moon appear round and appear to go around the Earth, Do you have any documentation that prehistoric man believed the Earth was flat. I have read that the Flat Earth was fabricated in the dark ages or the middle ages because the church thought science was pagan or at least anti-church. It was later that the church adopted certain scientific ideas as acceptable.
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  #108  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Yeah - don't care.

If you don't like what I'm posting on your thread, you can report me to the moderators. :innocent:
LOL, you don't show this feisty side very often. I like it.
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  #109  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
A logical exercise I've seen with regards to free will goes something like this:


Do you agree that everything that's happening right now is entirely determined by all the things that were happening one nanosecond ago? That is, if you could somehow know the exact position of every particle and every force acting on each particle just one nanosecond ago, would you agree that this exactly determines the position of every particle right now and the forces that are acting on it?

Most people would say "yes" to this question.

But if everything that's happening right now is determined by what was happening one nanosecond earlier, then what was happening then was determined by what was happening one nanosecond previously. And what was happening 2 nanoseconds ago was determined by what was happening one nanosecond earlier ...

And so on, and so on, and so on ...

Newtonian physics, which I believe has been superceded by Quantum Physics, which says something different. Random indeterminacy?
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  #110  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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but hey, it's your thread.

Don't encourage her, things are bad enough as it is.
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  #111  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

More precisely, Quantum Physics states that it will never be possible to know enough about particle positions and the forces acting on them to make it possible to predict future outcomes precisely. If for no other reason than because the act of measurement changes the system.

Technically though, that doesn't mean that the current behavior of a system isn't exactly determined by its state one Planck time unit earlier.

"Unpredictable" doesn't necessarily mean "undetermined."
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  #112  
Old 11-03-2011, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Yet sight is still not efferent.

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  #113  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Heliocentrism: Aristarchus of Samos

The ancient Greeks also dabbled in early speculation about evolution (though they never hit on the specific idea of descent with modification), invented a steam engine and proposed the first atomic theory of structure. Paremenides proposed the first eternalist "blockword" picture of reality, that everything just IS (consistent with modern physics). Smart cookies, those old Greeks.
Glad to see you're doing some therapeutic research, Keep it up, maybe you won't upset Peacegirl so much.
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  #114  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Yet sight is still not efferent.

:faint:
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  #115  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:06 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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More precisely, Quantum Physics states that it will never be possible to know enough about particle positions and the forces acting on them to make it possible to predict future outcomes precisely. If for no other reason than because the act of measurement changes the system.

Technically though, that doesn't mean that the current behavior of a system isn't exactly determined by its state one Planck time unit earlier.

"Unpredictable" doesn't necessarily mean "undetermined."
Picky picky, it was just a generalization to make a point.

Seriously I thought there was a bit of randomness in the theory. Can't we only predict probabilities, not certainties? Or is that due to our inability to know for sure?
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  #116  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
A logical exercise I've seen with regards to free will goes something like this:


Do you agree that everything that's happening right now is entirely determined by all the things that were happening one nanosecond ago? That is, if you could somehow know the exact position of every particle and every force acting on each particle just one nanosecond ago, would you agree that this exactly determines the position of every particle right now and the forces that are acting on it?

Most people would say "yes" to this question.

But if everything that's happening right now is determined by what was happening one nanosecond earlier, then what was happening then was determined by what was happening one nanosecond previously. And what was happening 2 nanoseconds ago was determined by what was happening one nanosecond earlier ...

And so on, and so on, and so on ...

Newtonian physics, which I believe has been superceded by Quantum Physics, which says something different. Random indeterminacy?
Quantum mechanics always seems to integrate up into Newtonian mechanics, and I'm of the opinion that the classic physics view of the world is the strongest influence on our behavior. Nanosecond to nanosecond, I wouldn't expect random behavior at a quantum level to be very influential to our observations. Your underwear doesn't typically jump 3 feet to the left at parties.
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  #117  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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More precisely, Quantum Physics states that it will never be possible to know enough about particle positions and the forces acting on them to make it possible to predict future outcomes precisely. If for no other reason than because the act of measurement changes the system.

Technically though, that doesn't mean that the current behavior of a system isn't exactly determined by its state one Planck time unit earlier.

"Unpredictable" doesn't necessarily mean "undetermined."
Picky picky, it was just a generalization to make a point.

Seriously I thought there was a bit of randomness in the theory. Can't we only predict probabilities, not certainties? Or is that due to our inability to know for sure?
That's kind of the question.

Theoretically, one could predict the behavior of a system exactly, if only one had complete knowledge of it.

In reality, we can never hope to have that kind of knowledge. So we're stuck with probabilities, not certainties.


And specious_reasons is quite correct: even at the level of individual molecules, quantum-level effects almost always average out and so can be safely ignored.
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  #118  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Quantum indeterminacy appears to go much deeper than mere unpredictably; i.e., all the way down to true, real indeterminacy in nature.

Quantum indeterminacy.

However, it should be noted that all the weird stuff about QM -- indeterminacy, spontaneous wave function collapse, and nonlocality -- diseappar if one accepts a certain interpretation of QM, the Everett Many Worlds interpretation.
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  #119  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

NM, faster posters beat me to it.
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  #120  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

See how good a thread this is, if one merely ingores the Lessans stuff? :)
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  #121  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:28 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Your underwear doesn't typically jump 3 feet to the left at parties.

Hmm, a fellow hitchhiker, Just because the probability is very low, does not mean it can't happen, would certainly liven up a dull party, for a few minutes. And yes probabilities tend to average out at larger scales.
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  #122  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

Of course you can set up experiments that amplify quantum probabilities to macro scale; this is the idea behind the famous Schroedinger's Cat thought experiment.
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  #123  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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And specious_reasons is quite correct: even at the level of individual molecules, quantum-level effects almost always average out and so can be safely ignored.

Actually I'd rather not ignore the underwear bit, sounds like fun, just don't tell my wife.
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  #124  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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Theoretically, one could predict the behavior of a system exactly, if only one had complete knowledge of it.
In reality, we can never hope to have that kind of knowledge. So we're stuck with probabilities, not certainties.
So that is why, when I play the piano, I never know which note I'm going to play wrong?
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  #125  
Old 11-03-2011, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: A Revolution in Thought: Part Two

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1. Today it is true that tomorrow there will be a sea battle. If it’s true today that tomorrow there will be a sea battle, nobody can do anything to prevent the sea battle from happening. So the participants in the battle have no option to refrain from doing battle.
This first one on my list, btw, also goes back to the ancient Greeks, and was famously explicated by Aristotle. Google "problem of future contingents," though the Wikipedia treatment is very poor. There are, otoh, some highly in-depth discussions to be found on the Web.
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