TED Conversations

Joshua  Beers

This conversation is closed.

If I had 100% of your genes and 100% of your environmental experience I would be you.

I think that this statement is completely accurate. Do you agree?
Yes? No? Why? Why Not?

The repercussions seem obvious. It's the classic question: Do we really have free will?

In my personal opinion, however alluring "free will" is as a subject of belief, it doesn't exist in any form. Every decision we make, from important to mundane, can be either attributed to genes or environment. What other factor is there? A soul? Did we get to choose that? From my standpoint, I don't see how this CANNOT rule out arguments free will.

As a side note, compatibilists may argue that "choice" IS making decisions based on the given "will" but I would ask them to elaborate. Is that really freedom at all? "Of course we have free will, we have no choice in the matter."


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 14 2011: No. As chaos theory dictates, even you control every variable, you cannot predict thee course a body will take. All you'll be doing is narrowing the possibilities to increase the chances that this clone is somewhat like you.
    • thumb
      May 14 2011: Sorry I'm not familiar with the idiosyncrasies of chaos theory, could you please tell me where the divergence would come from?..."chaos"???
      • thumb
        May 14 2011: @ Elizabeth

        1) Chaos theory is a deterministic theory and says something about predictability.
        2) Joshua Claimed we did know the initial state perfectly (100% the same), in such event, chaos theory is 100% predictable (at least in principle, as it might be NP or NP-Complete)

        @ Joshua
        the divergence comes from the measurement problem:
        measurement is always inaccurate (can be but a tiny fraction), and we predict from our measurements.
        In chaos theory, a small difference (the inaccuracy here) can lead (sometimes very fast) to big differences further down in time... making it unpredictable (even though the system in chaos theory is deterministic)
        Chaos is, in chaos-theory, more or less defined by the degree of entropy (chaos increases as entropy increases)
        • May 14 2011: Chris,

          I really like this answer. I think purely deterministic models rely to heavily on the rational scientific model which is increasingly being shown as having limitations. IMO, the scientific method is only a perspective, a very useful perspective, but just a perspective nonetheless.

          I love this: "measurement is always inaccurate (can be but a tiny fraction), and we predict from our measurements."
        • thumb
          May 14 2011: I keep seeing this "IMO" what does it mean?
        • thumb
          May 15 2011: In my opinion
        • May 15 2011: Mathew,

          Chris was agreeing that because we knew 100% of the initial conditions that the two worlds won't diverge. I thought you disagreed with this? Why do you like this answer?
        • May 20 2011: I really liked it because he seems to agree with both of us. He does claim that Chaos theory is ideally deterministic but that our limitations do not allow us to accurately predict. I think this exemplifies the point I have been trying to make, that yeah the environment does impact us and to some extent "Control" us, but not 100%.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.