siddhesh vaze

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who is right, free will or determinism. ?

this is what i know ablout free will , that anything in this world can happen , there is always a free choice for events to occur.
and this is what i know about deterinism . that everything in this world is determined/ pre-planned and it can not be changed , events will occur as they have to .
with taking this knowledge into assumption , who is right free will or determinism.

lets put a hypothesis that determinism is right.
now in the end if we prove that determinism is wrong then the basic assumption contradicts with the result. so if you assume world to be deterministic , it wont allow you to be non-deterministic.

but lets just put a hypothesis that there is free-will in this world. that everything is possible. then if we conclude that the world is deteriministic , then our original assuption dont contradicts with our result. it means that free-will allows the world to be deterministic.
dont this proves free-will to be right?

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    Mar 26 2012: Given the paradoxical nature of the universe: From sub atomic particles having two distinctive natures at the same time (such as light being both a particle and wave) to how humans can live in a deterministic natural world and yet, with the right training and right attention break free from the chains of conditioning

    I would have to say the answer to your question is both are correct
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      Mar 27 2012: convincing.....
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      Mar 27 2012: except the universe does not have a paradoxical nature
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        Mar 27 2012: Krisztian,

        what many phyicist found out during Einstines time was that the Universe when redueced to its basic sub-atomic elements did indeed have a pardoxical nature. This made Einstine uncomfortable and led him to state "God does not play dice with the universe".

        If you still think I'm full of it I suggest you really look up these:

        EPR experiment (which Einstine took a part of). In this experiment EPR asserted that the univese is at its core phyiscal, thus there is a external world. You should also look up an analysis of the Alice and Bob cart theory.

        Niels Bohr has a reponse to this as well so look up his response to EPR

        John Bell, who created a theorem that validated EPR theory (this is known as Bell's Theorem) set up the theorem in a way (strawman) so if it was to ever be refuted in practice it would shatter the whole notion of EPR. This led Bell to eventually when a nobel prize because his theorem was dispproved which meant EPR was wrong.

        The implications of this are profound because if Bell's theorem is wrong it only states that no physical world exist.

        look it up
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          Mar 27 2012: i don't need to look up the EPR thought experiment, which meanwhile have turned into a real experiment. it says nothing about any paradoxons. it just shows that either our world is not "local" (scientific term) or quantum mechanics is not a final theory, just a statistical explanation of the world. einstein believed in the latter possibility. bell is believed to have proved the former, though it has been challenged by arthur fine, and the question is still open. but either way, there is no paradox here. queer is not paradoxical.

          and about the so called dual nature of particles. particles don't have dual nature, they only have one consistent nature, only it sometimes resembles waves, other times resembles flying balls. but that is only a paradox in our perception. particles behave the same every time.
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        Mar 28 2012: well sadly I cannot hold a discussion with someone who is unwilling to look at arguments counter to their case.

        Secondly, no science ever claims to have a "final theory" and I never claimed that to be. As of right now and from what I read, studied and have been told, there are many particles that have two distinctive natures at the same time. Being that no on knows what sub-atomic particles look like, we really do not know the true nature of the universe but with the information that we have, it is more paradoxical (this word might not ever come close to what I'm trying to really say here). We are limited here by language but yes, depending on the experiment conducted, sometimes they would come off as wave and sometimes they would come off as particles but this does not suggest that there is one nature to it, it suggest multiple natures.

        Third, when I mentioned paradoxical nature of the world I was talking about everything, from quantum mechanics to consciousness to free-will.

        As humans we are used to describing things in binaries (either/or). This is something that we have been conditioned to do but when you think outside the box, you com to realize things really are in a way paradoxical and if you go to either extreme, you'll run into trouble.

        Here are a few things that I believe to be paradoxes (AS OF RIGHT NOW):

        Absolutism/Relativism (in the moral sense)

        That is all I can think about at the moment
        • Mar 28 2012: But Orlando,

          You are missing the main point: particles and waves are what we use to describe the phenomena. That does not mean that there is a double and paradoxical nature to these things. This means that sometimes one model works, sometimes the other model works. Meaning they describe or predict what we see in terms we are already familiar to. But maybe a new model might come later and be the one to describe both situations without having to change the perspective from particle to wave.

          Same goes for other stuff. The math worked to predict interference and whatever else when they decided to pretend that particles go through one slit and the other (and visited the whole universe?), at the same time. But that does not mean that's really what's happening. Just that the math worked. I am aware that the equations seem to work great for a lot of stuff. Lots of precision and such. But I also read that equations (maybe not the same equations, but what the heck), get a cosmological constant quite wrong. orders of magnitude wrong. That would be a signal that should remind us that these are models, and that models try and represent reality, but are not reality themselves ...

          Anyway, for the other paradoxes. You seem to have found your answer. Maybe it would suffice not going to extremes.

          Anyway ...
  • MR T

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    Apr 17 2012: Sets of rules on every level of scale, big and small have been observed to govern the way stuff within and outside of those scales behaves to a greater or lesser extent in the universe. There does appear to be limits on the ability of some scales affecting others.

    Your pour milk into your tea, each time the milk mixes with the tea a different way, but in the end you always have tea. The small doesn't necessarily affect the very large.

    Humans have influence over many things within their lives; they can shine a torch, fly in a plane, but cannot change their parameters (the mug) which here could be the maximum speed of light of the properties of gravity.

    A decision affecting the way in which the milk is poured into the mug is affected by a number of factors and/or other decision makers which are also constrained by parameters of the universe. It could be the case that the incremental, small changes that occur within these parameters after a number of events have knock on effects that could bring wholly different outcomes to others that were hypothetically viable to occur within the parameters.

    But so far as I know. Events happened, they didn't happen any other way and only happened once. If you like the idea of cause & effect, an idea central to the scientific method which brings us all lovely stuff. Then determinism makes a lot of sense! The past is proof enough for me.

    But honestly, asking the question of free will is like asking what is the meaning of life.
  • Mar 30 2012: Hi Siddhesh,

    What's the point if there's no free will?

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    Mar 27 2012: Hello, and thanks for the question. I think it is a question Humanity will never know the answer to, because the answer involves Infinity. It is a question Humanity will spend a lot of time talking about, writing about and reading about, forever !
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    Mar 27 2012: I'm not sure I understand your opening statement.

    Maybe with enough understanding and computing power you could map out or predict every action or decision in the universe. I expect it would be near impossible to ever accurately and precisely map out everything in the known universe. We can't even get the weather forecast right.

    It is so complex even to the level we understand. Near infinite factors and variables we know of. And as we get smaller down to cells and neurons and atoms and sub atomic particles and whatever they are made of etc etc its almost nonsense.

    What is the next word I will type........I don't know?

    From a practical human perspective we run mainly of auto pilot and any decisions we make have the appearance of free will.

    I suggest the biggest practical impediments to freewill is our instinctual drives and responses. Our automatic habitual behaviours. Our intuitive decision making and assumptions. Our unconscious. You look like a person I know who scared me so I feel uncomfortable around you. Our biases and prejudices etc.
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      Mar 27 2012: agreed...
      btw......i think when determinism says that everything is calculated .......its a result that we deduced like if we can say where an atom can be after some time we can say everything else. like its not impossible just very,very much difficult.
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        Mar 29 2012: Maybe absolutely impossible.
        We don't know because we don't know everything about the universe.
        Maybe everything is getting close to infinite.
        At least Practically impossible.
  • Mar 26 2012: I believe that free will cannot be uncoupled from the determinism that makes it possible. Here I see as in the case of 'cause and effect' the universality of the principle of complementarity. Our little everyday choices and big decisions create a kind of a field which predetermines our next choices and decisions: multiply it to the number of agents operating in the field and thousands of years of existence... and here we are. What you set as a cause comes to you as an effect and so goes on and on.
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      Mar 27 2012: i think our previous decisions cant be counted as deterministic , as they are originally done by us.
      coz if it is so again my argument is valid that it will contradict itself.
      also in your case free-will chose determinism ( as decisions made by us determiine other things. ) n as i showed above its valid. dont that proves free-will correct.?????
      • Mar 27 2012: Siddhesh !
        I am afraid I can't help you here. You need certainty... either..or .., right or wrong. Maybe there is an answer but I don't know it.
        And I am seriously doubting there is :)
        For me the whole issue of freedom of choice and determinism goes into the melting pot.
        Nothing is certain until it happens, but what happens should happen.
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    Mar 26 2012: A little Christian perspective.
    The bible gives an overview of world history from beginning to end. So far we seem to be 'on target". So things would seem to be predetermined.
    God urges us to make the right choices; so we have free will.
    But God knows 'the end from the beginning' because he is outside of time. So our free will is predetermined.
    Simple; isn't it ?
    (This is a personal perspective, & may have flaws)

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      Mar 26 2012: actually im an atheist , but still f you think about it...........
      actually , what you are you talking about is from two different perspectives. like its determined from gods view and free-will'ed from mans.
      also even though god is out of time how would it make any difference or to say that god's frame of reference is universal frame of reference that is right?
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        Mar 26 2012: Hi Siddhesh.
        I agree; from our perspective we have free will, from God's it is predetermined. If the bible is right, then he created time. Science tells us that matter has to exist for time to exist. So he made the universe complete with time, it will run it's course, & he will remove it again.
        The bible gives the gist of what has, & will happen. He knows it all, because he made the whole package. We however are part of the package, so we make our decisions as we go. The only clues we get are in the bible; when we have to make a decision we can get an idea of which way he would want us to go, but it's still our decision.

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          Mar 27 2012: hello peter,
          i agree with you, that its different from 2 different perspectives .
          do you mean to say that as god created world and he determined our free-will, so naturally world is dereministic.
          also please explain "matter has to exist for time to exist?" and elaborate "he made the universe complete with time , it will run its course '& he will remove it again. (remove what again ? time ?)
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        Mar 27 2012: Hi Siddhesh .
        Einstein discovered that time is dependent on matter existing. It's included in his theory of relativity. There's a simple version here.
        So however the universe came into being; time came into being as well.
        As I understand it, God inhabits a spiritual realm, which has no matter & no time. Eternity if you like. We also have a spiritual component by virtue of our relationship to him.
        So, I believe God made the universe, complete with time. It will run it's course, as outlined in the bible, then it will be dissolved, & a totally new universe will be created suitable for spiritual beings; without time, presumably. This I understand from studying the bible.

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      Mar 26 2012: Hi Peter,

      would this also relate to Adam & Eve and the fall from the Garden of Eden? How would free-will play a role if, God had already pre-determined that they would eat from the tree of knowledge?

      I'm interested in your answer because as far as I know, it seems unfair to punish someone for something that you created them to do?
      • Mar 26 2012: Hi, Orlando !
        I agree with you. Seeing God as the Holy Other requires incredible manipulations of reality and enormous blocks and blind spots. I believe there is nobody to punish us, we are not punished FOR our sins but BY our sins. And maybe it will be interesting for you to know that the original meaning of the word 'sin' is 'to miss the target', so we can try again.:)
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          Mar 28 2012: Hi Natasha,

          That is very interesting. I did not know that original meaning of the word sin was "to miss the target". We've been taught to think that its God's way of keeping track of the bad deeds that you did and all of our deeds could be repelled if we only come to Jesus and embrace God (or at least that is what I was told growing up). My question is, when did meaning of sin change from "to miss the target" to "your going to hell for your actions"?

          Like you, I do not believe there is no one to punish us for the things we did. I think the fact that we experience suffering, guilt and pain is punishment enough.
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        Mar 27 2012: Hi Orlando.
        You are going way beyond my pay scale :). This is something everybody struggles with. one thing we always have to remember is that our ideas are totally different to God's. Jesus said that whoever wanted to be important in heaven, had to be a servant of all. I agree with you, I don't think it's fair either. However it's what God thinks that matters, & my concerns will come as no surprise to him.
        Okay, let's try & see God's perspective. Let's suppose you are in the market for a wife. Would you like one cloned from yourself & converted to a female. She would be a perfect match, & would agree with everything you said. She could be programmed never to leave you.
        Or would you prefer a self willed young lady who has been around a bit. Had some other boyfriends, made a few mistakes. But when you met you fell deeply in love & you just knew she was the one. You both had to work at it, because you knew a good thing when you saw it.
        I believe that in God's eyes, we are lady number two.
        He wants a bride who will make life interesting.. He gave us free will knowing full well we would use it. We have been around a bit & made many mistakes. He & we have to work at a relationship. From his point of view we are worth it; worth enough to be crucified for. That's his downside, ours is of course separation from him for eternity; but that has to be our choice. Love has to be freely given to be worth anything. We are lumbered with an eternal soul, we have to be somewhere.
        Personally I never give hell a second thought, I never had to. Atheists seem to major on it as a minus point for God, If you are worried about it then avoid it; if you're sure it doesn't exist, then why worry. No-one has to go there.

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          Mar 27 2012: convincing..........
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          Mar 28 2012: Hi Peter,

          Wow! I wasn't expecting that response. I'm quite impressed and you sort of had me stuck for a moment.

          I can agree that such a deity, if it existed, would transcend our limited human knowledge but I do not think this is the God we are talking about here.

          We are talking a God, who is a creator deity and is very much intrigued on what goes on this planet. A god with a personality who inspired groups of men to write a book about him and which millions of people not only debate and talk about him on a daily basis but have lost their lives over a simple belief or disbelief in him.

          We are not talking about a God of great mystery or great interest here. We are talking about a God that we know very well because this God is not mysterious and according to many people, he is very active in human affairs.

          So when relating this to Free-Will, I am talking about the God that everyone around the world knows pretty well and this God does not seem to give out Free-Will because he is thought to be omnipotent and omniscient.

          when we are talking about free-will we are talking about random, spontaneous and events with endless possibilities. This would not fit the model of a being who is all knowing and very active in human affairs and would not think twice to punish them for their actions and this is the problem I see with the Fall:

          It is either God's Providence or God is not all powerful, knowing, etc. Sad to say compatibilism (which is a philosophical way of saying the world is free and determined) does not fit with this model and I think it scares many people to think that God is not all powerful or knowing but what we do not realize is that these are characteristics that we've placed on God because we believe that such a being has to fit this description.

          to be honest, many non-believers are not really concerned about hell. It is when we are told that we are going to hell for our non-belief that we raise questions.
      • Mar 28 2012: Hi ! Orlando !
        Here is the link
      • Mar 29 2012: Hi, Frans !
        Yes, it seems and it generates another cause... Still it looks like a trap...Cause/ effect, free will/determinism, one exists only by the virtue of the other.
        Seriously, does God have free will ? For what exactly ? He doesn't do anything, he doesn't make choices, he simply IS. Time needs free will, Timelessness doesn't, for everything already IS and has always been here and now and forever, reconciled in all possible directions. Maybe we can exercise our free will, making only one choice : get out of the trap?! Stop making choices, do what situation requires here and now, but don't forget to " dethrone yourself from the center of your world, put another there and you'll transcend yourself ! " Free yourself from choices...
        OK, got that off my chest, back to washing dishes, as situation requires. You know, it's not that difficult so far :)
  • Mar 25 2012: Free will does not mean that anything can happen. Determinism does not mean that everything is "pre-planned," because "planned" implies agency, someone who decided things before hand. Anyway, I think that the two extremes are wrong, but that we have no way of figuring this out. In your examples you said that voting for determinism would be self-contradictory (or so it seems), but I differ. It might as well look as if you are voting and that you could have voted against, and still any of these actions be predetermined by the original movements of the atoms/energy/whatever of the universe. The "free-choice," which looks as if "free-will" would be illusory. If you vote for free will, it could still contradict reality, because your vote and beliefs could still be pre-determined.

    Anyway, there are philosophers who think that nature could be deterministic and still compatible with free-will. I have not read what they say, but sounds as if they know what they are talking about. Maybe. I tend to think that the enthusiastic "give me the positions and vectors of every atom in the universe and I will tell you what happens next" (or whatever the actual quote should be), was just an exaggeration. It still refers to the way things seemed to work for physicists in that golden era. Still, that we have evolved these complex brains able to put together data means that, whether nature is deterministic or not, it is not precisely that predictable. That there is no way one life form would have known that a tiger would be hiding there, that the tiger would not know when precisely to come and eat somebody and thus hides. Thus, we have no excuses. If there is no "free-will," there is enough noise that something resembles it all right. Thus, let us try and use it for the better.
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      Mar 26 2012: well , initially when we are starting our experiment we are assuming that we start from zero , so i dont think we can say that before deciding anything initially that decision is also goverened by free-will or determinism.
      and also you said even if universe is deterministic its not precisely predictable , so dosnt that mean free-will right (assumin there is nothing like partial-determinism )
      rest of the part totally agreed.
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      Mar 29 2012: Hi Gabo,

      That is one of the points that I was making and I have made this clear several times.

      I understand that experiments can manipulate the results that you get but you've missed one point I made:

      You mention mathematical theory and in my first post that is exactly what I was refuting when I mentioned Bell's Theorem and how it disproved the theory set up by EPR

      the reason why I mention the universe having a paradoxical nature is because for us human beings, the natural world comes off as physicality and sometimes solid matter. This is something that EPR asserted.

      Most people when studying Quantum Mechanics tend to think that a conscious observer is impairative for the make up of the physical world. They also believe that the true make up of the universe is non-physical . Others would assert that a conscious observer is not needed because things exist as they are, with or without us.

      Now am I stating this as fact? not at the moment but then again, the evidence so far rejects many notions made by the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

      So call it what you will, if its not paradoxical and I'm using it in the wrong context then find a term what describe the world the way it is (of course if there is one)
  • Mar 25 2012: My understanding is ------Determinism is to be understood in the sense that one does not have full control over events that take place... in that sense whatever happens can be said to be destined or predetermined.
    Free Will is to be understood in the sense that I have the freedom to react, to any event, in a number of different ways, and the final choice that is made is always mine.
    It is of course possible that these ‘free choices’ I make will probably influence future events over which I supposedly have “little control”.
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      Mar 26 2012: i dont understand what you are trying to say?
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    Mar 25 2012: Both can be right until any or both of these two becomes threat to humankind