So, what is the deal with determinism?

LosingStreak06
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So, what is the deal with determinism?

I mean, is it natural, or is it necessitated by the existence of an omniscient creator?

 </seinfeld>


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I realised at one point in

I realised at one point in my first year that everything has a physical cause, and is just one part of a long chain of causation. Perhaps the development of consciousness, through physical causation gives us some conscious control. At that point in my first year, things suddenly seemed very bleak. However it seems to simulate free will, I feel like I have choices, I can choose to do the things I want to do. The web of physical causation is so complex that it allows consciousness. Consciousness allows some level of choice. Basically this, I feel like I have free will so I'm happy.


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Determinism would be true if

Determinism would be true if an omniscient creator exists because the future would already be known.

Now, for us petty humans, I believe free will and determinism can be compatible as calculating what the future is going to be would is so complex that the only solution is to just let the experiment run.

"What right have you to condemn a murderer if you assume him necessary to "God's plan"? What logic can command the return of stolen property, or the branding of a thief, if the Almighty decreed it?"
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My own personal view is

My own personal view is that it is akin to the Hesienberg Uncertainty Principle. The more precisely you "measure" determinism, the further  imprecise free will becomes. And the more you focus on free wil, the more determinism becomes fuzzy. But they both exist, just as position and momentum do in a particle.

 

Just my own weird thought about it. No real justification for it. 


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I still believe in fate. It

I still believe in fate. It just seems like there is some kind of purpose for things to turn out the way they do. It's alot like the feeling of God I had when I was a Theist.

 

But I think I will very propably change my mind. Just like I became an Atheist.

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.


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I do not beleive in

I do not beleive in determinism or fate of any kind. It's just our dualist, irrational views that make us see the universe as purposeful and events as happening for a reason.

 There is a sense of determinism in that humanity is utterly helpless in changing huge, cosmological events like the rotation of the Earth, movements of asteroids and burnings of the sun, but even those things aren't 100 percent likely to happen. If we were powerful enough, we could change even those things.

 I think that all things are basically random, and we only apply this "fate" bullshit after the fact. It's just human tendency, a myth created along with souls gods and mythology.


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There is no logical

There is no logical alternative to determinism. Everything follows from what came before it. Random quantum effects only occur on the subatomic level - they are irrelevant in discussing macroscopic events. Free will...what is it? Where does it come from? How can our brain activity at any moment be disassociated from the circumstances and previous brain states that preceded it? Seems clear to me that someone with a powerful enough computer and knowledge of the initial state of the universe could calculate all of history.

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Tilberian wrote: There is

Tilberian wrote:
There is no logical alternative to determinism. Everything follows from what came before it. Random quantum effects only occur on the subatomic level - they are irrelevant in discussing macroscopic events. Free will...what is it? Where does it come from? How can our brain activity at any moment be disassociated from the circumstances and previous brain states that preceded it? Seems clear to me that someone with a powerful enough computer and knowledge of the initial state of the universe could calculate all of history.

 

Uh, not gonna happen. A sufficiently powerful computer would have to be able to store data for the entire universe and still be able to process it. So it would have to be "outside" the universe. Sort of like that god idea people have. 


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wavefreak wrote: Uh, not

wavefreak wrote:
Uh, not gonna happen. A sufficiently powerful computer would have to be able to store data for the entire universe and still be able to process it. So it would have to be "outside" the universe. Sort of like that god idea people have.

You're right, however it should still be possible to simulate a smaller closed systems in complete detail, and it is possible to simulate larger things on a higher level.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


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Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:
There is no logical alternative to determinism. Everything follows from what came before it. Random quantum effects only occur on the subatomic level - they are irrelevant in discussing macroscopic events. Free will...what is it? Where does it come from? How can our brain activity at any moment be disassociated from the circumstances and previous brain states that preceded it? Seems clear to me that someone with a powerful enough computer and knowledge of the initial state of the universe could calculate all of history.

Dont underestimate the power of quantum effects. Evolution is basicly dependant on them, as many mutations of the DNA is a direct result of quantum effects(radiation etc.). A single quantum event could alter the DNA of your child resulting in a new mutation, and this could seriously alter the life of said child. This I feel rules out the posibility that the world is deterministic on a large scale. One can probably find other situations where a quantum effect can "influence" macroscopic events(quantum computing?).

This is my first post on this forums by the way. Guess ll post an introduction.

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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thormos wrote: This is my

thormos wrote:

This is my first post on this forums by the way. Guess ll post an introduction.

 

Arrrr, matey, welcome aboard. Thar be theists about, They'll be given ya misery if'n you let down yer guard!Tongue out


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wavefreak wrote: Uh, not

wavefreak wrote:

Uh, not gonna happen. A sufficiently powerful computer would have to be able to store data for the entire universe and still be able to process it. So it would have to be "outside" the universe. Sort of like that god idea people have.

Didn't say it was going to happen. It's a hypothetical computer. We can place it "outside the universe" if we want, since it's only happening in our imaginations. Kind of like that God idea that people have.

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thormos wrote: Dont

thormos wrote:

Dont underestimate the power of quantum effects. Evolution is basicly dependant on them, as many mutations of the DNA is a direct result of quantum effects(radiation etc.). A single quantum event could alter the DNA of your child resulting in a new mutation, and this could seriously alter the life of said child. This I feel rules out the posibility that the world is deterministic on a large scale. One can probably find other situations where a quantum effect can "influence" macroscopic events(quantum computing?).

This is my first post on this forums by the way. Guess ll post an introduction.

I don't see where radiation interacting with DNA brings quantum effects into the equation at a macro level. I realize that radiation is made up of subatomic particles, but it is the aggregate effect of zillions of these particles that produces the effect. By the time we are talking about effects that could produce a mutation, the radiation is actually acting in a completely predictable manner - if we had better monitoring equipment and understanding of the whole process.   

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Tilberian wrote: thormos

Tilberian wrote:
thormos wrote:

Dont underestimate the power of quantum effects. Evolution is basicly dependant on them, as many mutations of the DNA is a direct result of quantum effects(radiation etc.). A single quantum event could alter the DNA of your child resulting in a new mutation, and this could seriously alter the life of said child. This I feel rules out the posibility that the world is deterministic on a large scale. One can probably find other situations where a quantum effect can "influence" macroscopic events(quantum computing?).

This is my first post on this forums by the way. Guess ll post an introduction.

I don't see where radiation interacting with DNA brings quantum effects into the equation at a macro level. I realize that radiation is made up of subatomic particles, but it is the aggregate effect of zillions of these particles that produces the effect. By the time we are talking about effects that could produce a mutation, the radiation is actually acting in a completely predictable manner - if we had better monitoring equipment and understanding of the whole process.

 

When you take a large amount of radioactive materials they do get more predictable but its not necessarily right that you have to have that many. If a C-14 atom in or close to the nucleus of a sperm/egg cell should undergo beta-decay, couldn't this minutely alter the DNA? Remember this is stuff happening on molecular level, not that much is required, a little nudge in the wrong direction and presto a spontaneous mutation. and besides it only has to happen one time. If said sperm sell was going to be Hitler, that single event could alter history and make your computations invalid.

Lets take another example that might not be so intricate.

Say you make a computer that has a random generator based on a quantum event or events. this random generator would take the totally random quantum event(s) and turn into a number, and consequently initiate an action based on it. A random number can easily be extracted from experiments on quantum levels today, just make one single decision based on such a number and any prediction about the future wont hold.

There could still be a theoretical computer calculating the unfolding of the universe but it would pretty soon have to take into account several possible routes for it to travel.

If we look at the big bang we can probably find quantum effects in play at the instant of "creation" Smiling.

The universe is mainly made up by normal matter, what if a single quantum effect at the start of the big bang would shift the universe over to an anti-matter universe. I'm sure things would be different.


"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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Quantum effects and

Quantum effects and determinism can go together; what could be random might really be the output of a very good pseudorandom generator with a large state seed.

Quote:

A PRNG can be started from an arbitrary starting state, using a 'random' seed state. however, it will always produce the same sequence thereafter when initialized with that state. The maximum length of the sequence before it begins to repeat is determined by the size of the state, which is typically measured in bits. However, since the length of the maximum period potentially doubles with each bit of 'state' added, it is easy to build PRNGs with periods so long no computer could complete a single period in the expected lifetime of the universe. (Assuming one bit is produced every picosecond, a state of 100 bits would suffice as (1 picosecond)*2100= 40 billion years.)

Note, the hexidecimal number FEDCBA9876543210 is 128 bits long...

"What right have you to condemn a murderer if you assume him necessary to "God's plan"? What logic can command the return of stolen property, or the branding of a thief, if the Almighty decreed it?"
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thormos wrote: When you

thormos wrote:

When you take a large amount of radioactive materials they do get more predictable but its not necessarily right that you have to have that many. If a C-14 atom in or close to the nucleus of a sperm/egg cell should undergo beta-decay, couldn't this minutely alter the DNA? Remember this is stuff happening on molecular level, not that much is required, a little nudge in the wrong direction and presto a spontaneous mutation. and besides it only has to happen one time. If said sperm sell was going to be Hitler, that single event could alter history and make your computations invalid.

My understanding is that the decay of a single atom doesn't produce enough fast particles to stand a snowball's chance in hell of hitting anything, given that at the atomic level the universe is almost entirely empty space. It takes a constant bombardment over time, under which conditions the entire DNA strand is likely to be affected, not just one particular protein.

Most diversity comes from sexual reproduction. It's the near-infinite variety of combinations when two DNA strands combine that produces the little changes that natural selection works on.

ajay333 wrote:

Lets take another example that might not be so intricate.

Say you make a computer that has a random generator based on a quantum event or events. this random generator would take the totally random quantum event(s) and turn into a number, and consequently initiate an action based on it. A random number can easily be extracted from experiments on quantum levels today, just make one single decision based on such a number and any prediction about the future wont hold.

There could still be a theoretical computer calculating the unfolding of the universe but it would pretty soon have to take into account several possible routes for it to travel.

Right, right but the analogy doesn't hold when you consider zillions of quantum events all acting at the same time. It's the aggregate of all those events that makes up cause and effect, and it's pretty predictable.

ajay333 wrote:

If we look at the big bang we can probably find quantum effects in play at the instant of "creation" Smiling.

Yes, but they all gave way to classical physics a long time ago.

ajay333 wrote:

The universe is mainly made up by normal matter, what if a single quantum effect at the start of the big bang would shift the universe over to an anti-matter universe. I'm sure things would be different.

Actually, they would be exactly the same. Anti-matter obeys exactly the same laws of physics as normal matter. In fact, there is no difference between the two except when they come into contact. 

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qbg wrote: Quantum effects

qbg wrote:
Quantum effects and determinism can go together; what could be random might really be the output of a very good pseudorandom generator with a large state seed.
Quote:
A PRNG can be started from an arbitrary starting state, using a 'random' seed state. however, it will always produce the same sequence thereafter when initialized with that state. The maximum length of the sequence before it begins to repeat is determined by the size of the state, which is typically measured in bits. However, since the length of the maximum period potentially doubles with each bit of 'state' added, it is easy to build PRNGs with periods so long no computer could complete a single period in the expected lifetime of the universe. (Assuming one bit is produced every picosecond, a state of 100 bits would suffice as (1 picosecond)*2100= 40 billion years.)
Note, the hexidecimal number FEDCBA9876543210 is 128 bits long...

Ouch my brain hurts. Does this mean that quantum physics might not be random, just very complicated? 

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Tilberian wrote: qbg

Tilberian wrote:

qbg wrote:
Quantum effects and determinism can go together; what could be random might really be the output of a very good pseudorandom generator with a large state seed.
Quote:
A PRNG can be started from an arbitrary starting state, using a 'random' seed state. however, it will always produce the same sequence thereafter when initialized with that state. The maximum length of the sequence before it begins to repeat is determined by the size of the state, which is typically measured in bits. However, since the length of the maximum period potentially doubles with each bit of 'state' added, it is easy to build PRNGs with periods so long no computer could complete a single period in the expected lifetime of the universe. (Assuming one bit is produced every picosecond, a state of 100 bits would suffice as (1 picosecond)*2100= 40 billion years.)
Note, the hexidecimal number FEDCBA9876543210 is 128 bits long...

Ouch my brain hurts. Does this mean that quantum physics might not be random, just very complicated? 


I don't really know, but this is just a possible way for 'randomness' to be deterministic. Now given how hard it is for us to find good PRNGs, it seems unlikely that quantum mechanics 'uses' one so good...

"What right have you to condemn a murderer if you assume him necessary to "God's plan"? What logic can command the return of stolen property, or the branding of a thief, if the Almighty decreed it?"
-- The Economic Tendency of Freethought


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Using occam's

Using occam's razor:

Quantum physics looks random - fact.

Adding a PRNG or other mechanics to simulate randomness  just increases complexity to the theory.

 It is therefor more likely that quantum physics is just random.

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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I think we are talking

I think we are talking about different types of determinism here.

 Sure, everything has a logical reason and obeys the laws of physics (except of course quantum particles, which CAN affect macroscopic particles by the way), but there is just so much to the universe, so many improbable events that have absolutley no relation to you that on an anthropological level we can say the universe has no intentioned purpose and that the problem is so vastly huge you cannot predict its outcome.

 The kind of determinism I'm talking about here is "destiny" or "fate" or "god's plan" or any of those other stupid cultural concepts which so often muddy good literature and paralyze gullible minds.

 It is easy to say that the universe has a set state in the future, but it absolutley does not have foresight or purpose.


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Quantum theory works in

Quantum theory works in probability. The probability wave of an electron for example doesn't say where the electron is, just where it is most probable to be located.


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thormos wrote:

thormos wrote:

Using occam's razor:

Quantum physics looks random - fact.

Adding a PRNG or other mechanics to simulate randomness just increases complexity to the theory.

It is therefor more likely that quantum physics is just random.

Tsk tsk bad wording on my part.

The quantum physics theory has random/statistical elements..etc.

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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Tilberian

Tilberian
There is no empty space in the universe, take any analog radio. and tune it between broadcasting radio stations, and listen to the white noise, background radiation. from the Big Bang. light particles radio waves ect. the universe has no empty space
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quantum isn't random, cause and effect. "for every action there is a opposite an equal reaction"

It's just to take into account every possible variant entanglement ect , you would need a quantum computer approximately the same size as the universe. to make such a calculation, otherwise it just looks chaotic to the observer


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Rev_Devilin

Rev_Devilin wrote:
Tilberian There is no empty space in the universe, take any analog radio. and tune it between broadcasting radio stations, and listen to the white noise, background radiation. from the Big Bang. light particles radio waves ect. the universe has no empty space ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quantum isn't random, cause and effect. "for every action there is a opposite an equal reaction" It's just to take into account every possible variant entanglement ect , you would need a quantum computer approximately the same size as the universe. to make such a calculation, otherwise it just looks chaotic to the observer

 

Im afraid quantum physics is a bit more complicated than simple cause and effect. Even in normal physics action and reaction is not alvays clear, gravitational systems are for instance more of an expression of a constant observable relationship between masses.

"for every action there is a opposite an equal reaction"  is actually a simplification of all that newtons third law contains, in a constant system youl find that a force has an equal and opposite counterforce, its not alvays posible to find out witch force is the action or reaction if at all apliable. still the sentance is clear enough to get the basic idea across.

 Stil causality is a key word here. the causality of classical physics is a bit different from the causality of quantum physics.

In classical physics action and reaction or force and counterforce are strongly tied to eachother. This is easy to see becouse we are able to do simple experiments to confirm it.

But in quantum physics neither the experiments or the answer it gives is that easy. You cant reach out and touch an electron, in fact you cant even know for shure exactley where the electron is.

 

A good example that show just how strange quantum physics is is quantum tunneling.

 

Say you have a partickle inside a barrier, a force of some kind.

and the partickle doesnt have enough energy to break its way out of the barrier. The often used analogy for this is a ball in a boks. the ball is bounsing inside the boks but cant break trough its walls, they are to strong. and this is what you would expect if the causality is as in classical physics, when the ball hits the wall it bounces back. In quantum physics however you cant realy tell where the ball is. All you got to work with is a probablility equation that tells the probability of where the ball is. and heres the fun part. in many cases theres a probability that the ball is on the outside of the boks.

The particle has skipped the barrier altogether and is now on the other side, as if it wasnt there.

This is a proven fact. quantum tunneling is an effect so reliable that we can use it, and has been used among other places in electronics. 

A good example, the tunnel diode: 

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

If this isnt a bit random i dont know what is Smiling 

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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theotherguy wrote: I think

theotherguy wrote:

I think we are talking about different types of determinism here.

Sure, everything has a logical reason and obeys the laws of physics (except of course quantum particles, which CAN affect macroscopic particles by the way), but there is just so much to the universe, so many improbable events that have absolutley no relation to you that on an anthropological level we can say the universe has no intentioned purpose and that the problem is so vastly huge you cannot predict its outcome.

The kind of determinism I'm talking about here is "destiny" or "fate" or "god's plan" or any of those other stupid cultural concepts which so often muddy good literature and paralyze gullible minds.

It is easy to say that the universe has a set state in the future, but it absolutley does not have foresight or purpose.

The thing is, the two are connected. Theists attempt to wriggle out of the problem of evil by invoking free will, claiming that God created the universe such that things could happen in it that were not predictible from its initial state. The problem is that we don't see any events in nature that don't follow from events that came before. Even if quantum events can be said to be causeless, they are random - what kind of "will" is that? 

Given that we don't see anything that is immune to cause and effect, the idea of a soul which can act independantly of its inputs is revealed as fantasy. As Sam Harris puts it "where would free will come from?" 

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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Quantum theory works in probability. The probability wave of an electron for example doesn't say where the electron is, just where it is most probable to be located.

Isn't it actually inaccurate to say that the electron does occupy a particular point in space? 

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Rev_Devilin

Rev_Devilin wrote:
Tilberian There is no empty space in the universe, take any analog radio. and tune it between broadcasting radio stations, and listen to the white noise, background radiation. from the Big Bang. light particles radio waves ect. the universe has no empty space

At the level we are talking, particles could slide right between the waves in a beam of microwave radiation. These particles are significantly smaller than even the wavelength of light. To them, the universe is like a vast sea of emptiness with the occassional other particle zinging by - even if the particle was in the middle of a block of lead.

 

Rev_Devilin wrote:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quantum isn't random, cause and effect. "for every action there is a opposite an equal reaction" It's just to take into account every possible variant entanglement ect , you would need a quantum computer approximately the same size as the universe. to make such a calculation, otherwise it just looks chaotic to the observer

LOL I don't think you can quote Newton as a restriction on quantum mechanics. he was already refuted by Relativity before QM was even invented. QM and classical physics are opposed. 

 

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thormos wrote: Say you

thormos wrote:

Say you have a partickle inside a barrier, a force of some kind.

and the partickle doesnt have enough energy to break its way out of the barrier. The often used analogy for this is a ball in a boks. the ball is bounsing inside the boks but cant break trough its walls, they are to strong. and this is what you would expect if the causality is as in classical physics, when the ball hits the wall it bounces back. In quantum physics however you cant realy tell where the ball is. All you got to work with is a probablility equation that tells the probability of where the ball is. and heres the fun part. in many cases theres a probability that the ball is on the outside of the boks.

The particle has skipped the barrier altogether and is now on the other side, as if it wasnt there.

This is a proven fact. quantum tunneling is an effect so reliable that we can use it, and has been used among other places in electronics.

A good example, the tunnel diode:

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

If this isnt a bit random i dont know what is Smiling

Great example. However, if you put a cat in the box, despite the fact that the cat is made of all those funky tunneling particles, you will never find the cat outside the box. This is for sure. So, somehow, the random effects of quantum mechanics never make their way up to our level. Therefore we have cause and effect, therefore the universe is deterministic. 

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Tilberian

Tilberian wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Quantum theory works in probability. The probability wave of an electron for example doesn't say where the electron is, just where it is most probable to be located.

Isn't it actually inaccurate to say that the electron does occupy a particular point in space?

 

hehe yes and no. The concept is partickle/wave duality.

The partickle is both a wave and a partickle. as a wave it doesnt oupy a spesific point in space, and as a partickle it does.

You can infact experimentally show both to be true.

This also regards to heisenbergs uncertanty principle.

You cant meashure both position and speed accurately at the same time(though there are ways of gaining the information, it only sais something about the nature of meshurments)

The best analogy I feal is a variable electrical signal.

If you meashure the voltage at a specific time you wont be able to say anything about the frequency of the signal as frequency is a characteristic that require a timeframe. and meashuring the frequency does not give you the spesific voltage as it is a meashure in the rate of variation not the variation itself.

In fact this sort of connection pop upp lots of places.

So you can have the accurate position of a partickle, but the problem is that that isnt the whole picture.

Not that tunneling cant be explained without an accurate position, a wave can be restricted by a barrier to, one has to take into acount both realities.

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
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Thanks for that, Thormos. My

Thanks for that, Thormos. My grade 11 physics is coming back to me now.


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Tilberian wrote: thormos

Tilberian wrote:
thormos wrote:

Say you have a partickle inside a barrier, a force of some kind.

and the partickle doesnt have enough energy to break its way out of the barrier. The often used analogy for this is a ball in a boks. the ball is bounsing inside the boks but cant break trough its walls, they are to strong. and this is what you would expect if the causality is as in classical physics, when the ball hits the wall it bounces back. In quantum physics however you cant realy tell where the ball is. All you got to work with is a probablility equation that tells the probability of where the ball is. and heres the fun part. in many cases theres a probability that the ball is on the outside of the boks.

The particle has skipped the barrier altogether and is now on the other side, as if it wasnt there.

This is a proven fact. quantum tunneling is an effect so reliable that we can use it, and has been used among other places in electronics.

A good example, the tunnel diode:

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

If this isnt a bit random i dont know what is Smiling

Great example. However, if you put a cat in the box, despite the fact that the cat is made of all those funky tunneling particles, you will never find the cat outside the box. This is for sure. So, somehow, the random effects of quantum mechanics never make their way up to our level. Therefore we have cause and effect, therefore the universe is deterministic. 

unfortunatley some of the cat's particles do indeed tunnel outside of the box, and there is a very real (though very improbable chance) that ALL of the cat's particles will exit the box. The fact that the cat bounces off the box is a matter of pure randomness. It just so happens that most of the cats particles stuck with the cat and collided with the box. It is only because there are so many particles, and so little chance of them going through the box, that the cat actually collides with it.

 But the chance that the cat takes any particular path whatsoever is purely the basis of probability. It just so happens that the cat has so many particles, their movements tend to cancel out and it obeys the laws of physics. We can conclude then, that the laws of physics are only approximations of trillions upon trillions of improbable quantum events, and can only accuratley describe immense quantities of particles.

 But the point I am trying to get at here is that the cats movement is inherentley random. It will never ever exactley behave the way classic physics expects it to behave, because some of its particles will simply be in the "wrong" place. The cat very well could tunnel through the box, given enough time and enough collisions, just as the box could tunnel through the cat. Then again the probability of the entire cat tunneling through the box is about the same as the cat turning into the empire state building, or a winged dragon. It just so happens that the most probable thing for the cat to do is bounce off the side of the wall, but it doesn't have to bounce off the wall. And thus the universe is not at all deterministic.


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theotherguy wrote: It

theotherguy wrote:

It just so happens that the most probable thing for the cat to do is bounce off the side of the wall, but it doesn't have to bounce off the wall. And thus the universe is not at all deterministic.

No. It will never happen. You could wait until the end of the universe and never see that cat go through the wall. Dismissing something as probability minimizes the extreme probabilities we are talking about here. Just because we can imagine something happening or theorize that something could happen doesn't mean it does happen. Ever. We are talking about an event so unlikely that if we refuse to assign the term impossible to it, we might as well throw out the term altogether, since almost any other event could be deemed more possible.

 If an omnipotent God created the universe, all the quantum weirdness that has ever existed would amount to a margin of error of about 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% in his prediction of the final state of that universe. If that's free will, it's pretty thin gruel.

Yes, I just pulled that number out of my ass to illustrate the point. I would probably need several pages of zeros to make it accurate.

Classical physics accurately describes the behaviour of the universe at the macro level. Since we are talking about the ultimate macro here (the entire universe) I still think it's accurate to describe it as deterministic. 

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Tilberian

Tilberian wrote:
theotherguy wrote:

It just so happens that the most probable thing for the cat to do is bounce off the side of the wall, but it doesn't have to bounce off the wall. And thus the universe is not at all deterministic.

No. It will never happen. You could wait until the end of the universe and never see that cat go through the wall. Dismissing something as probability minimizes the extreme probabilities we are talking about here. Just because we can imagine something happening or theorize that something could happen doesn't mean it does happen. Ever. We are talking about an event so unlikely that if we refuse to assign the term impossible to it, we might as well throw out the term altogether, since almost any other event could be deemed more possible.

 If an omnipotent God created the universe, all the quantum weirdness that has ever existed would amount to a margin of error of about 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% in his prediction of the final state of that universe. If that's free will, it's pretty thin gruel.

Yes, I just pulled that number out of my ass to illustrate the point. I would probably need several pages of zeros to make it accurate.

Classical physics accurately describes the behaviour of the universe at the macro level. Since we are talking about the ultimate macro here (the entire universe) I still think it's accurate to describe it as deterministic. 

What about this? From the macro perspective the universe would seem to be deterministic. From the quantum perspective it would seem to not be. From the human perspective, being as that it is impossible (in any meaningful sense of the word) to possess the computational power to determine all future consequences of any given event, the universe is not deterministic. Being as that we are humans, the universe is not deterministic. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Quote: In classical

Quote:
In classical physics, it was believed that if one knew the initial state of a system with infinite precision, one could predict the behavior of the system infinitely far into the future. According to quantum mechanics, however, there is a fundamental limit on the ability to make such predictions, because of the inability to define the initial data with unlimited precision.

This from wiki about the uncertainty principle.

Tilberian: the margin of error for a cat tunneling through a box may be small enough to conclusively say "the cat will always be in a box" but for much larger, general events like star formation and the like, the margin for error is large enough that given enough time you're prediction based on initial events will become inaccurate.

Further reading:
Copenhagen Interpretation http://www.answers.com/topic/copenhagen-interpretation


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Tilberian is correct.

Tilberian is correct. Mr.Jiggles will never see the outside of the box.

 

One can use physics to determine the universe is screwed. We are heading towards the "Big Freeze". Frown


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Truthiness wrote: This from

Truthiness wrote:
This from wiki about the uncertainty principle. Tilberian: the margin of error for a cat tunneling through a box may be small enough to conclusively say "the cat will always be in a box" but for much larger, general events like star formation and the like, the margin for error is large enough that given enough time you're prediction based on initial events will become inaccurate. Further reading: Copenhagen Interpretation http://www.answers.com/topic/copenhagen-interpretation

From your link:

Quote:
The Correspondence Principle of Bohr and Heisenberg, saying that the quantum mechanical description of large systems should closely approximate to the classical description.

I'm not concerned with perfect predictions and infinite levels of measurement precision. As far as I'm concerned, when the deviation from classical physics is as vanishingly small and improbable as it is, we are just jerking off when we talk about macro violations of classical physics. Let's try to focus on the way the world is and the way it actually behaves.

 

 

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Vessel wrote: What about

Vessel wrote:

What about this? From the macro perspective the universe would seem to be deterministic. From the quantum perspective it would seem to not be. From the human perspective, being as that it is impossible (in any meaningful sense of the word) to possess the computational power to determine all future consequences of any given event, the universe is not deterministic. Being as that we are humans, the universe is not deterministic.

Well, humans are a lot closer to the macro level than the quantum level in terms of how we interact with the universe. 

I'd just tweak what you said to say that humans might as well behave as though the universe is undetermined since, yes, we will probably never have the computational power to actually made big, long-term predictions. This doesn't mean we have to be ignorant of the fact that the universe is deterministic, we just have to accept that we don't know the answer to the Big Equation. 

What we can do when we acknowledge the deterministic nature of the universe is put paid to the theist claptrap that somehow our wills are able to act independantly of the purpose of an omnipotent creator. We can observe that nothing acts independantly of anything else (above the quantum level, where events are merely random).

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Tilberian wrote: I'm not

Tilberian wrote:

I'm not concerned with perfect predictions and infinite levels of measurement precision. As far as I'm concerned, when the deviation from classical physics is as vanishingly small and improbable as it is, we are just jerking off when we talk about macro violations of classical physics. Let's try to focus on the way the world is and the way it actually behaves.

 

 

Ok, let's start over, we may be talking about different things.

You're claiming the universe is deterministic, correct?

I'm claiming, through the use of the Copenhagen Interpretation, that the universe isn't deterministic. However, that doesn't mean we can't make predictions using classical physics since they are good enough approximation. However, after time the predictions will begin to fail. How long that is depends on what you're talking about.


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Truthiness wrote: Ok,

Truthiness wrote:
Ok, let's start over, we may be talking about different things. You're claiming the universe is deterministic, correct? I'm claiming, through the use of the Copenhagen Interpretation, that the universe isn't deterministic. However, that doesn't mean we can't make predictions using classical physics since they are good enough approximation. However, after time the predictions will begin to fail. How long that is depends on what you're talking about.

I don't know for sure but my intuition is that you would have to wait pretty much the entire life of the universe before you would see a deviation from classical physics that was observable on the macro level. Calling a uiniverse like that non-deterministic is, to me, a complete misrepresentation of reality. However, I'm just splitting hairs about semantics now and we do agree on the basics here.

The important thing for theists is that there is certainly no level of uncertainty or indeterminacy in the universe that would admit the possibility of an human soul to operate outside the bounds of causality on an ongoing basis, much less six billion of them.

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Tilberian wrote: I don't

Tilberian wrote:

I don't know for sure but my intuition is that you would have to wait pretty much the entire life of the universe before you would see a deviation from classical physics that was observable on the macro level. Calling a uiniverse like that non-deterministic is, to me, a complete misrepresentation of reality. However, I'm just splitting hairs about semantics now and we do agree on the basics here.

The important thing for theists is that there is certainly no level of uncertainty or indeterminacy in the universe that would admit the possibility of an human soul to operate outside the bounds of causality on an ongoing basis, much less six billion of them.

Well as far as every day life is concerned I'm sure the universe is mostly deterministic. I say mostly because I was reading somewhere a few months ago about our decision making process being based on the decay of particles in our brains, which is totally random. I can't for the life of me find it now.

Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to note the difference between practically deterministic and actually deterministic.

Still, the more sensitive a system is to initial conditions, the more those quantum errors are going to come into effect.


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Hehe this thread is getting

Hehe this thread is getting hard to follow.

Is the universe deterministic?

Could be, I'm open to both posibilities at this moment.

but how does that effect our "free will"/soul?

Well for one, souls is a concept that is old and unnecesary to me, Complexity in the brain is a better explanation than some other complex thing that's supernatural in nature.

And the concept "free will" is only valid as a term to describe a state where someone is not restrikted to act out his/her will. More of a argument against slavery than anything else.

I dont think it can be a property of the will itself.

Our will or behavioural pattern has to be just that, a pattern. Only when you act predictably can one say that you excert will. if your actions and thoughts are just random how can you claim to posess anything at all. Are we but complex random generators?

Your will is deterministic in nature, it has to be to be called a will.

And if you talk of fate. your fate is still random. The only difference between a deterministic universe and one that isn't is that in the deterministic one the "randomnes" is expressed in the starting variables, whilst in the non-deterministic its evenly spread over several random events troughout time.

The Idea that someone can forsee the future is so unlikely that the already unlikely event of there even being a god pales in comparison. If anything the universe is complex, if something is to have created it, it only adds to the complexity, and if that something is to be able to predict the course of the universe, it must be more complex still.

 

"Everyone knows that God drives a Plymouth: "And He drove Adam And Eve from the Garden of Eden in His Fury."
And that Moses liked British cars: "The roar of Moses' Triumph was heard throughout the hills."
On the other hand, Jesus humbly drove a Honda but didn't brag about it, because in his own words: "I did not speak of my own Accord." "


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Truthiness wrote: Well as

Truthiness wrote:
Well as far as every day life is concerned I'm sure the universe is mostly deterministic. I say mostly because I was reading somewhere a few months ago about our decision making process being based on the decay of particles in our brains, which is totally random. I can't for the life of me find it now.

?!Really?! That is not at all how I understood the brain to work. Find that link!

 

Truthiness wrote:

Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to note the difference between practically deterministic and actually deterministic. Still, the more sensitive a system is to initial conditions, the more those quantum errors are going to come into effect.

Given that a quantum error is likely to involve a single particle and we are discussing the state of the entire universe, I'd say the system is fairly non-sensitive to most of the quantum errors that happen. Not sure if this is what you mean, though... 

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Good stuff Thormos! I agree

Good stuff Thormos!

I agree that a will can't be "free" as an essential property but that is exactly what theists invoke when they try to exonerate God from creating evil. It wasn't God's fault, you see, because he made our will such that could operate free of his will, and even against his will if we so desired. But we can observe that our wills don't work that way. They are completely tied to the initial conditions from which they sprang, though there's a lot of complexity in between. That complexity means we can't see the connection to the inital state, but it shouldn't be a problem for God.

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Isn't fate the idea that

Isn't fate the idea that our lives are pre-determined by a god-like being? That all things are meant to happen, and that there is no free will because a god is steering the events towards something?

 But just because there's no fate doesn't mean we have free will. You all know there's an absolute past and future. The only moment that exists is the present. Because past and present are absolute, it doesn't matter how much randomness you throw in, things are always "meant" to turn out the way they do. It's not like something is manipulating the random equasions, but there is no free will because we can do nothing about the absolute future.

It's pretty paradoxical of me to not believe in God but to believe in fate. I guess it's time for me to stop with this belief. It's just an appeal to emotions. Just like God.

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.