Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Determinism & Free Will

When I wrote post “The Acorn Universe” I wasn’t thinking much.
It was more of a hunch than a well constructed theory and frankly I did not expect that anybody would take notice :)
But you did; and I got some brilliant comments that have given me reason for thinking.
So here are my thought about that.

It seems that most people believe in a scientific, mathematical sort of universe.
A universe run by laws, like “The law of conservation of mass” or “Energy” or the law of “Causality”
According to this view the universe is a perfect mechanism.
If there was a celestial accountant; according with this view, at any point in time we draw a bottom line everything in the universe is accounted for to the last atom and quanta of energy.
The universe is absolute determined and the laws of physics run the show.
Science holds the truth and there is no doubt about anything.

According with this point of view, what I am writing now and what you will respond to my post it is already determined by your past, education, mood etc. You can’t do squat to change it. You are just a spectator to your life, like in a movie theater.
According to this, everything, the way the universe evolves and where and how it ends is predetermined.

The second view of the universe is of a random, unlawful, universe.
According to this model (See Quantum’s comments) everything is not run by laws but by probabilities.
The laws of physics are not absolute anymore; the scientific method is not accurate.
Science does not hold the truth and everything is debatable.
See this little video about “Quantum Physics” to get an idea of what I am talking about :)

According to this view what I am writing right now and what your response will be is up to you to decide.
You can change your mind, your actions and your life at will.
You are not a spectator to your life anymore but the force and creator behind it.
According to this the way the universe evolves is not determined.
Actions ; like sending up satellites in deep space are changing the course of the universe evolution, which in other words means we have God like powers – if we only knew how to use them :)

So this is the little dirty secret of the scientific community.
Something that everybody knows but no one will admit.
“The force behind the steering wheel of the universe is no other than FREE WILL

So I still believe that “The Acorn Universe” is a valid hypothesis, I just think it needs some time to take root ;)


Mariana Soffer said...

I do not think that determinism or causality is exactly like you say here, I think you are being do determinant in the definition of it, at least syou should be able to understand that there are millons of fariables and things that you can not understand, therefore you can not know the future in advance, at least fully.

If we are talking in the field of quantum mechanics - then there are multiple futures, then someone who predicts the future has to be wrong some of the time, or we're back to there being only one possible timeline for our universe and no free will.

But if we are talking in our usually kind of thought universe there is free will, altough I belive living along a certain degree of randomness with things.

Quantum_Flux said...

Classical physics paints a picture of a deterministic universe at large scales whereas quantum physics shows that the universe is rather chaotic and unpredictable at the small scales. Both at the large scale and at the small scale the energy-momentum 4 vector along with angular momentum, and reactions of charge-parity-time are the conserved quantities.

As far as the Multiverse hypothesis and String Theory are concerned, as much as I'd like to believe that the Universe we exist within is just a subset of the Mathematical Platonic Realm as far as the Universal constants and IC's or BC's are concerned, I'm just not going to buy that we're essentially in some sort of hyperdimensional computer program. String Theory just strikes me as too weird, and not very well supported by hard evidence either. But if String Theory turns out to be the case, then I'd like to use a cheat code and bend the laws of physics or whatever.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

There's another theory, which i think Stephen Hawking has expressed: which states that when the universe comes to an end (as all things must do) everything will collapse causing time to go backwards to the beginning - quite possibly this has already happened (would explain deja vu)

One thing that does support the Big Bang theory is Cosmic Noise: turn on your radio and de-tune it - the crackle you hear is the echoes of the first explosion: that's how massive it was.

But does that mean that life is pre-determined and nothing can be changed? Am i now being changed by having read your words and written these words or was i always destined to do so?

It's a big question.

Another popular scientific theory is infinite universes where every possibility is played out and every decision you make can take place. If that is true then freedom of choice is not just a possibility but an actuality.

Y'know i do LOVE coming here and being made to think and debate. Excellent stuff

Quantum_Flux said...

Every possibility can't be played out unless spacetime is discrete instead of continuous. I think that the smallest possible increments of space and time are infinitesimal and thus there are infinite possibilities for the position of a point in between any other two points.

Talon said...

We do have free will, but we definitely don't have full control.

YogaforCynics said...

I think you're kind of presenting a straw man argument for the first scientific view of the universe, since only the most amateur scientist would say anything like "Science holds the truth and there is no doubt about anything." Science is based on hypotheses, and any what scientists currently think are the facts are merely the latest hypothesis, and, in fact, scientific progress happens when scientists question current hypotheses--thus, there is doubt about everything. Thus, science does not necessarily reject your acorn theory; however, the scientific community won't take it seriously unless you can back it up through the scientific method.

As for determinism--yes, if the universe is governed by laws of physics then, basically, things do happen in a rather inevitable way. However, there is no predetermining consciousness that knows what way that's going to be--and no way for us to find out. Thus, since we can't know the future, for all intents and purposes, we HAVE free will. This is very different from the predeterminism of Calvinism (that says God has already decided whether you're going to heaven or hell) or that of the ancient Greeks in which an oracle can tell you you're going to kill your mother and marry your mother and there's nothing you can do to stop it, or even the popular new agey belief that "things happen for a reason" (in a moral sense--meaning that a conscious universe is making sure things will turn out right in the the end). So, the real "dirty little secret of the scientific community" is that whether things are determined or not is a merely academic question; since we can't know what the future will bring, we will continue to live as if we had free will.

Quantum physics might throw things even more into question, but, it should be mentioned, not nearly as much as popular new age appropriations of it say (for instance, there's a movie that's very popular in some circles called "What the *Bleep* Do We Know" which is filled with quotes from and interviews with leading physicists, most, if not all, of whom have denounced the film, saying that their words were taken out of context and misconstrued. Thus, its "science" is garbage).

Buddha said...

@ Mariana – I don’t have the answers either :)
That’s why we are having this dialog; to exchange ideas and hopefully learn more.

@ Quantum – Fascinating!
How would you access the code, how would you hack into the matrix?

@ Pixie – I have spooky déjà view stories but I don’t talk about it because I don’t want people to think I am insane :)
About the acorn; I think it makes a noise too when it pops open, we just don’t have a hearing that fine :)

@ Quantum – So if they can prove that the time space is discrete then the string theory is valid?

@ Talon – That my friend opens up a whole can of new questions :)
(Probable enough to fill up a whole book)

@ Yoga for Cynics – You argument reminds me of G W Bush:
“We are open to dialog as long that you agree with what we are saying”
If the scientific community doesn’t hold the truth, just a bunch of hypothesis whom themselves can’t prove, why should I prove anything to anybody?
Who put scientist in charge anyway, and why should I (a spiritualist) be bound by scientific method?
The scientific method is reaching its limitations and becoming obsolete.
A shift in human thinking is about to happened and don’t be surprise that spirituality would be finally taken seriously.

Aggie said...

Interesting ... I've never thought that the Scientific community has any more answers than anyone else. They don't know it all ... just like the rest of us. Perhaps the story of the Universe is in it's unfolding ...

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

One final word in support of many of the things said before:

Most of what we "know" is theory and not proven

We used to "know" that man couldn't fly and had been the same since the garden of Eden, so who knows what we'll believe next.

Most scientists only project theory - only Newton's word was law!

Quantum_Flux said...

@Buddha: I don't think Spacetime is discretized, perhaps a proof either way may have some implication on String Theory but I'm not sure what. However, if spacetime is discrete then that means there are finite possible points or positions within a closed region of space, which I doubt.

As far as "hacking into the Matrix" goes, if String Theory is true then we should be able to. The laws of nature should be malleable, we should be able to observe an existance where universal constants are different and space has various amounts of dimensions simply by traveling to parallel universes and such....highly unlikely IMO, I think we're stuck with an unchanging nature as science observes it.

Buddha said...

@ Aggie – I l0ve that thought:
“The story of the Universe is in it’s unfolding”
I guess that’s what makes it so fascinating to watch!

@ Pixie – Newton got dethroned by Einstein and it looks like Einstein is next in line to be proven wrong :)

@ Quantum – I think – for the moment – that the laws of the universe can’t be broken, but I think we can understand and master them to the point we could fold space and travel in time – things that other wise do not occur naturally!

Ted Bagley said...

"in theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."- Einstein

Diego said...

I believe the laws discovered by science always apply except when they don't.