Book 2 – Text Updates 031

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Pointyleaf » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:58 pm

Carne wrote:So what you're saying is that scientific experimentation, unable to find a causal explanation for apparent randomness, accepts randomness as a given, despite the fact that absence of evidence is completely unverifiable, and thus not reproducible? That is the complete antithesis of the scientific method.


As you said, randomness is not 'provable', as it relies on a non-deterministic mechanism. Since QM seems non-deterministic, it's non-reproducible, which is indeed contrary to the scientific method.

But on the other hand, there's no fundamental reason to believe that randomness is impossible, so the problem is just that randomness is fundamentally unprovable. We can always postulate a hidden, deterministic mechanism behind any randomness we find. And vice versa, actually - if we dig deeper and find determinism, it might just be the statistical result of a yet deeper non-deterministic process. The best scientists can do is say "well, it looks random, but we'll never be sure".

You're also saying, then, that the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation of QM is complete fiction, since it advances the notion that the universe is fully deterministic based on non-local "hidden variables". This would come as a surprise to those who consider it to be one of the mainstream interpretations.


It can't come as that much of a surprise to them. Many physicists believe in non-determinism, so I'm sure those who accept the Broglie-Bohm interpretation have heard this before.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Carne » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:02 pm

cheeseaholic wrote:
Carne wrote:The definition of 'choice' depends on your frame of reference. In the example, the frame was external to Bob. 'Choice' would indicate the possibility of a non-predetermined outcome to occur. Externally, there is no choice - Bob had to choose the chicken, as the causes and effects were the same during both iterations.


Well there's the problem. You're saying that because determinism, no free will. You're also defining free will as a lack of determinism. So your entire argument is essentially "because of determinism, determinism". No wonder I was confused, your argument doesn't make any sense.


Not exactly. I'd prefer to state it as "because of the lack of randomness, determinism" Bob had to choose the chicken, as the causes and effects were the same during both iterations, and (this is the important bit I missed out) given the same initial conditions there was (a) no possibility of an identical cause generating a different effect; and (b) lack of randomly generated causes giving rise to unexpected effects. Of course, we're assuming ideal external observers, models etc.

Hope that's clearer!
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Carne » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:09 pm

Pointyleaf wrote:Since QM seems non-deterministic, it's non-reproducible, which is indeed contrary to the scientific method.


That depends which interpretation you use. There are many, some of which are compatible with determinism.


But on the other hand, there's no fundamental reason to believe that randomness is impossible, so the problem is just that randomness is fundamentally unprovable. We can always postulate a hidden, deterministic mechanism behind any randomness we find. And vice versa, actually - if we dig deeper and find determinism, it might just be the statistical result of a yet deeper non-deterministic process. The best scientists can do is say "well, it looks random, but we'll never be sure".


Yes. This isn't an excuse, though, to use a label such as "randomness" and treat it as an absolute. Perhaps the camp one falls into is governed by whether one thinks it's possible to determine the answer to that question. I don't have any reason to believe that the question is ultimately and forever unanswerable. The universe has surprised me before, though.


It can't come as that much of a surprise to them. Many physicists believe in non-determinism, so I'm sure those who accept the Broglie-Bohm interpretation have heard this before.


This is probably true :D
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Trotsky » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:01 pm

First, I wish to quote one of my college physics professors "you are not nearly drunk enough to be discussing theoretical physics."

Second, that was a baseless assumption in this situation.

Third, I haven't exhaustively read these arguments so I am unsure if this has been mentioned yet, but, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of constants are not just unknown, but UNKNOWABLE beyond a certain level of precision.

Finally, how does the branching realities account for the fact that every new universe created by decisions would have to have a huge amount of energy suddenly appearing in the multiverse? is conservation of energy just assumed not to apply? Do they just pop into existence out of whole cloth?

I must leave, my wife is impatient.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Lamech » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:00 pm

Then provide a counter example that shows indeterminism without resorting to "true randomness", which is something that you can likewise not prove.
? Randomness is simply that an event that has a outcome that is not predetermined. Say a button that pressed had a 50% chance of shooting you with lighting and a 50% chance of making doves appear. If there is NOT randomness then you have determinism. Indererminsim means there is randomness. You're basically asking me to show A and assume not A. If I was omnipotent and could rewrite reality as I choose I could not do this. It obviously is impossible, but again this is simply assuming the conclusion.
using the word "never" is very very dangerous in this context. it's like using the word "impossible".
Under current scientific theory it is impossible to exceed the speed of light with information. Perhaps the scientific theory is wrong. That doesn't mean it is possible under current scientific theory.
Which is introducing a new assumption: the assumption that some (random) things don't have a cause, or the assumption that everything has a cause? According to a proper application of Occam's Razor, "true randomness" is the less simple explanation, given that all other physical events require a cause to have an effect. To set a precedent to disprove this, name one non-random event whereby an effect is not preceded by a cause.
If something isn't random its obviously caused by something even if the cause is simply a law of physics. You might as well be asking me to show why a square could have three sides. (If this isn't the case please come up with some imagined "non-random" event that is not preceded by a cause.) To overturn a past assumption one does not need to show a logical impossibility. The bar of overturning past theory is not logical impossibility.

And it isn't introducing a new assumption. Its saying there is nothing. That there are no hidden numbers. Assuming that say... "there are no imps behind Ebola" is not an assumption its a lack of one. Your the one assuming hidden numbers. Assuming a lack is not an assumption at all. Scientists when they found out about disease transfer did not assume that imps followed diseases around. They assume the diseases damaged people.
Model 1: When you have an unstable atom it has a chance of decaying every unit of time.
Model 2: When you have an unstable atom there are hidden variables that determine how long it will take for this atom to decay, and somehow these hidden variables just happen to match the would be decay pattern for a random decay pattern with no hidden variables.
This does not answer the question.
Its random!
Carne wrote:
Determinism says that this is still only the appearance of true randomness, since the observer becomes part of the observed system, and therefore taints the results. It does generate what looks like, from inside the system, a random number, but an ideal external observer with, as you say, perfect knowledge and computation would likely find the result all too predictable. Yes, I'm aware that the practicality of finding the ideal external observer might be a tad difficult, but we're not talking about what is practical, we're arguing on the Internet! And doing thought experiments, I guess that's important to add.


Determenism can say whatever it wants (can philosophical positions have wants?). But that doesn't make it true.




Great reasoning! :roll:
Yes it is! The position of indeterminism says that their are events that can't be predicted no matter the amount of knowledge or computational capability. That doesn't make it true either!

So what you're saying is that scientific experimentation, unable to find a causal explanation for apparent randomness, accepts randomness as a given, despite the fact that absence of evidence is completely unverifiable, and thus not reproducible? That is the complete antithesis of the scientific method.
Assuming truly hidden variables is the anti-thesis of science. Since they are hidden they can't be tested. Science must be falsifiable.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby effataigus » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:58 pm

This thread rocks :lol:

trotsky wrote:Finally, how does the branching realities account for the fact that every new universe created by decisions would have to have a huge amount of energy suddenly appearing in the multiverse? is conservation of energy just assumed not to apply? Do they just pop into existence out of whole cloth?


Hmm, perhaps if we assume the that time doesn't have a direction then we'd find a branching of universes in both directions. Then the new universe can be created from the destruction of a possible universe that one might have had the option of creating had someone been making decisions backwards in time. Yep... going to need a lot of alcohol to buy that one.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Dr Pepper » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:35 pm

Erffans are like Sherlock Holmes. If they don't get their drug fix, their minds go off in strange directions. It's all on you, Balder! Give us another comic before someone starts quoting from "The Dancing Wu Li Masters".
Read, like there won't be a movie
Game, like the die rolls don't matter
Filk, like everyone is tone deaf anyway

10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
. . . . . . Dr Pepper
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .4
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Carne » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:49 pm

trotsky wrote:Finally, how does the branching realities account for the fact that every new universe created by decisions would have to have a huge amount of energy suddenly appearing in the multiverse? is conservation of energy just assumed not to apply? Do they just pop into existence out of whole cloth?


All branches already exist. They represent all the possibilities of all possible events.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby CorrTerek » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:16 pm

Dr Pepper wrote:Erffans are like Sherlock Holmes. If they don't get their drug fix, their minds go off in strange directions. It's all on you, Balder! Give us another comic before someone starts quoting from "The Dancing Wu Li Masters".


"Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science."

...Do I win anything? :D
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby zilfallon » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:09 pm

CorrTerek wrote:
Dr Pepper wrote:Erffans are like Sherlock Holmes. If they don't get their drug fix, their minds go off in strange directions. It's all on you, Balder! Give us another comic before someone starts quoting from "The Dancing Wu Li Masters".


"Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science."

...Do I win anything? :D


Haha :D No sorry, you don't win anything :D
And Pepper, you're right, we need our drug soon, or I can't imagine what we'll be discussing in this thread.
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Violets are blue.

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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Pointyleaf » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:43 am

trotsky wrote:Third, I haven't exhaustively read these arguments so I am unsure if this has been mentioned yet, but, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of constants are not just unknown, but UNKNOWABLE beyond a certain level of precision.


They may be unknowable, yet still be real, finite values. This doesn't really have anything to do with determinism, only how precisely we can measure things.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby OneHugeTuck » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:37 am

trotsky wrote:Finally, how does the branching realities account for the fact that every new universe created by decisions would have to have a huge amount of energy suddenly appearing in the multiverse? is conservation of energy just assumed not to apply? Do they just pop into existence out of whole cloth?



Well in the scenario of universes popping constantly, you're assuming that laws of physics etc would apply. I think if universes really were popping left and right (one for where I responded to this post, one where I didn't, and one where I started to but then went off to watch some tv instead) then one would have to assume that the laws of physics aren't as for sure as you'd like them to be.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby OneHugeTuck » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:54 am

Levor wrote:Reading through the sex and procreation discussion was a bit surreal, very enjoyable, but a bit strange. The kind of view articulated by guys like OneHugeTuck:

OneHugeTuck wrote:
Lots of sex happens with anti-procreation measures, thus clearly the purpose of sex is not procreation. Procreation is just a random side effect of sex on Earthworld. Sex doesn't have anything in particular to do with procreation. It can, obviously, but doesn't have to.



I wonder if anyone would want to run it with anything other than sex? Take eating. Would we argue that eating is not necessarily for nutrition?

Trying to remember the kind of arguments used about sex and putting forward analogies:

+People eat for all sorts of reasons other than to stay alive and grow.
+Eating is a complex relational and cultural activity that often has lots of symbolism and rituals attached to it.
+Eating is a very inefficient means of getting nutrition - people keep eating even when they've had enough nutrition for the day and can even get fat as a result.
+It is possible to give someone nutrition without them eating, so eating can't be about getting nutrition (picking up the idea floated in the thread that the fairly modern innovation of reasonably reliable contraception retrospectively means that sex has no intrinsic reproductive purpose and never did).
+Some foods that are eaten have no nutritional value, and yet we eat them, therefore there is no necessary link between eating and nutrition.

I think people would say to all that, 'sure, but basically if you don't eat and drink, you don't stay alive.' Eating and staying alive are necessarily related, even if human beings can do more with that biological function, and even if the connection doesn't hold in absolutely every case.

I take most of the issues that people have raised about sex, but surely the basic point is, "If one generation doesn't engage in a fair bit of heterosexual sex then there won't be much of a subsequent generation?" Contraception, pleasure, sex when infertile, all miss the basic point. Until technology advanced to the point where artificial insemination was possible, procreation is more than just 'a random side effect of sex on planet Earth'. If that was true, there'd be no humans now. The fact that humans can do more with sex than procreate is part of our nature as tool-users, we can manipulate our environment, we can do things with what the world (including our own biology) hands us. It doesn't mean that sex and procreation don't have an intrinsic natural connection, that procreation is just 'a random side effect'.



1. What does the population dying out relate? How is that a 'basic point' as related to any of the previous conversation?
2. Before artificial insemination technology, procreation from heterosex was still (and will always be) random. Sometimes you do it and get pregnant, sometimes you don't. It's a crap shoot. Being random doesn't mean the population will die off. Thus, it is true that procreation from sex is random, and false that since it's true the population has died/will die off.
3. Eating is a sure thing. If you eat something nutritious, you will get nutrition (unless you have Leaky Gut http://www.easy-immune-health.com/Increased-intestinal-permeability.html or some such). If you keep eating more than you need, or eat something with little or negative nutrition, that's another story. Again, procreation from sex is not a sure thing.
4. As humans we need to ingest nutrition to live. Granted we can do that through intravenous means, and can absorb through the skin to some degree, but still, must have nutrition. As you point out, a society must have procreation to continue.
5. Eating is actually a very efficient means of getting nutrition. Equally, sex is a very efficient means of creating the possibility of procreation.
6. Sex and procreation obviously do have a naturally intrinsic connection. Have unprotected sex and chances are sooner or later she's gonna get knocked up. But I disagree with your logic that therefore 'procreation is not just a random side effect'. Unprotected heterosex doesn't have a 100% chance of causing procreation. At best it's 50-50, positive or negative, she got pregnant or she didn't. I call it random chance, every time you, as you say, are an active tool user. Thus, procreation is a random side effect of sex.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby splintermute » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:13 am

OneHugeTuck wrote:6. Sex and procreation obviously do have a naturally intrinsic connection. Have unprotected sex and chances are sooner or later she's gonna get knocked up. But I disagree with your logic that therefore 'procreation is not just a random side effect'. Unprotected heterosex doesn't have a 100% chance of causing procreation. At best it's 50-50, positive or negative, she got pregnant or she didn't. I call it random chance, every time you, as you say, are an active tool user. Thus, procreation is a random side effect of sex.

There's a 50% chance the world will end tomorrow - either it will or it won't. :D
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Terah » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:58 am

Pointyleaf wrote:
trotsky wrote:Third, I haven't exhaustively read these arguments so I am unsure if this has been mentioned yet, but, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of constants are not just unknown, but UNKNOWABLE beyond a certain level of precision.


They may be unknowable, yet still be real, finite values. This doesn't really have anything to do with determinism, only how precisely we can measure things.

HUP goes beyond what "we can measure", it talks about what "anyone could ever hope to measure". Assuming they even have precise values, unknowable values can never be determined; Not by anyone; Not even in hindsight; Not even with next millennium's "super-scope".
So the present cannot be fully determined (even in principle) and thus the future cannot be fully determined. We have lost the essence of determinism.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby cheeseaholic » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:17 am

Carne wrote:
cheeseaholic wrote:
Carne wrote:The definition of 'choice' depends on your frame of reference. In the example, the frame was external to Bob. 'Choice' would indicate the possibility of a non-predetermined outcome to occur. Externally, there is no choice - Bob had to choose the chicken, as the causes and effects were the same during both iterations.


Well there's the problem. You're saying that because determinism, no free will. You're also defining free will as a lack of determinism. So your entire argument is essentially "because of determinism, determinism". No wonder I was confused, your argument doesn't make any sense.


Not exactly. I'd prefer to state it as "because of the lack of randomness, determinism" Bob had to choose the chicken, as the causes and effects were the same during both iterations, and (this is the important bit I missed out) given the same initial conditions there was (a) no possibility of an identical cause generating a different effect; and (b) lack of randomly generated causes giving rise to unexpected effects. Of course, we're assuming ideal external observers, models etc.

Hope that's clearer!


"because of the lack of randomness, determinism" is the same thing as "because of determinism, determinism" if you define determinism as a lack of randomness. Which is also what you appear to be defining "free will" as. If you consider something else to be determinism or free will, please tell me, because to me it just looks like you're stating that something proves itself over and over.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Bardlp » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:23 am

zilfallon wrote:And Pepper, you're right, we need our drug soon, or I can't imagine what we'll be discussing in this thread.


Self-recursive pantsing as it applies to both human mating rituals and the big bang. :p
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Ashamam » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:26 am

Terah wrote:HUP goes beyond what "we can measure", it talks about what "anyone could ever hope to measure". Assuming they even have precise values, unknowable values can never be determined; Not by anyone; Not even in hindsight; Not even with next millennium's "super-scope".
So the present cannot be fully determined (even in principle) and thus the future cannot be fully determined. We have lost the essence of determinism.


Even if one agrees that we as non-omniscient beings can never hope to measure something's characteristics does not mean that the something does not HAVE characteristics. There is a difference between somethings existence and our ability to measure it. Lets say we will never be able to determine the exact amount of water on the earth at any given time right down to the molecule. Does this mean that at any given time there is no exact number of molecules? Of course not. This does not logically follow. Just because we can not determine something's properties does not mean those properties do not exist, or do not follow the laws of cause and effect.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Pointyleaf » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:38 am

Terah wrote:HUP goes beyond what "we can measure", it talks about what "anyone could ever hope to measure". Assuming they even have precise values, unknowable values can never be determined; Not by anyone; Not even in hindsight; Not even with next millennium's "super-scope".
So the present cannot be fully determined (even in principle) and thus the future cannot be fully determined. We have lost the essence of determinism.


Ashamam already hit on this, but yes, we can never find the precise values (not by anyone, not even in hindsight), but this doesn't mean that precise values don't exist.

Determinism doesn't have anything to do with whether *we* can figure out the course of the universe.. as you said, because of HUP, we never will. Instead, determinism is about whether the universe's course is preset, predetermined, without any random or outside influences that can change the future. If the particles subject to HUP have actual, precise values, then it's possible that the end results of their interactions are completely fixed, and the universe is just one big machine.. and free will is an illusion.
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Re: Book 2 – Text Updates 031

Postby Trotsky » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:39 pm

Actually, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that these values do not exist. Going back to the Wikipedia article we have John Bell's falsification of Einstein's assumptions of local variables:

"In 1964 John Bell showed that this assumption can be falsified, since it would imply a certain inequality between the probabilities of different experiments. Experimental results confirm the predictions of quantum mechanics, ruling out Einstein's basic assumption that led him to the suggestion of his hidden variables."

It then goes on to state that a mathematical solution involving non-local variables is possible, but most Physicists are unhappy with this for reasons detailed in the article. The argument is that the wave function is an accurate description of the particle at any given time, meaning that it doesn't possess a well-defined location until the wave function has been collapsed. The interesting thing is that all of this leads to action at a distance and an entirely different can of worms. (see here also)

This being said, I haven't studied quantum mechanics since 2004 or so.

P.S. Both the arguments for and against determinism have generally come from the basic assumptions that state, from the get-go, that they are correct. This is fine. Physicists make their living testing these assumptions when possible.

P.P.S. Another way to look at it, from a free-will standpoint, is that the random elements of quantum mechanics all collapse to the rigidity of classical mechanics once you get to a significant enough scale. This means that these random elements, which still follow a set of defined rules, create a predictable and potentially deterministic result. ordo ab chao.
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