Culture Science

Darwin vs. Einstein?

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Frank Tipler writes at Pajamasmedia:

The current battle for America is, as Angelo Codevilla has recently emphasized in his seminal essay, a war between the majority of Americans and America’s ruling class. This conflict is a reflection of a battle between the two greatest scientists of the past two centuries, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. Einstein famously claimed that “God does not play dice with the universe,” whereas Darwin claimed that God does, indeed, play dice with the universe. Codevilla pointed out the self-image of the ruling class rests on its belief that humans are the unforeseen outcome of chance mutations acted upon by natural selection. Not so. God decreed the evolution of humans before time began. The ruling class stands with Darwin. We stand with Einstein.

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41 Replies to “Darwin vs. Einstein?

  1. 1
    wrf3 says:

    Of course God plays dice with the universe.

    On page 184 in Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About, Donald Knuth writes:

    Indeed, computer scientists have proved that certain important computational tasks can be done much more efficiently with random numbers than they could possibly ever be done by deterministic procedure. Many of today’s best computational algorithms, like methods for searching the internet, are based on randomization. If Einstein’s assertion were true, God would be prohibited from using the most powerful methods.

    Eventually, the physicists and the biologists will come to realize that, after theology, computer science is what will explain the universe.

  2. 2
    Frost122585 says:

    From the article:

    “The existence of these other universes is a necessary mathematical consequence of the Schrödinger equation itself, or more generally, of Newton’s own mechanics in its most general form.”

    Firstly, correct me if I am wrong, I thought from my readings that the Uncertainly Principle was discovered before Schrodinger got involved with Heisenberg and Bohr. Secondly, I don’t think that the Uncertainty Principle is a result of there being “parallel universes” as some claim to think. The principle simply shows that the universe is in a state of nature where no one thing thing can “exactly” know any other thing. This is more akin to a relative motion of all objects as opposed to multiple universes. What it really teaches us is that man is not the measure of all things- but that reality and things in it have an objective existence- measurable to varying degrees- which are independent of our own perception- though not of our existence. Man is therefore a key player in reality but not a master- and this is much like what Einstein believed which was that there existed an objective reality outside the one we know from our limited perspective. Thought Einstein could not prove that the proverbial tree does in fact fall when there is no one around to detect it- he said we know it is so by appealing to our intuition- which is also similar to what Kant was arguing for with transcendental dialectic.

  3. 3
    Frost122585 says:

    And it is interesting to compare Einstein to Darwin in this sense- Einstein believed in a reality beyond himself- a god of order and symmetry and perhaps design- while Darwin took life simply at face value and tried to accept it within a shallow framework. It is no surprise that Darwin’s theory lacks depth to explain all that he wanted it to.

    “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

    -Einstein

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually I believe the multiple (parallel) universes, that Tippler speaks of as a ‘mathematical necessity’ from Schroedinger’s equation, were in fact derived because of the inability to find adequate causation for quantum wave collapse. At least adequate causation that did not involve God.,,, Much like the multiverse conjecture arose because materialists could not find adequate causation for the fine tuning of the universe:

    notes:

    The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[39] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Perhaps some may say Everett’s Many Worlds in not absurd, if so,, then in some other parallel universe, where Elvis happens to be president of the United states, they actually do think Many Worlds is absurd,, and that type of thinking I find to be completely absurd!!! but that one example from Many Worlds is just small potatoes to the absurdity that we could draw out if Many Worlds were actually true.

    ,,,Einstein hated the loss of determinism that quantum mechanics brought forth to physics, yet on a deeper philosophical level, I’ve heard one physics professor say something to the effect that the lack of determinism in quantum wave collapse actually restored free will to its rightful place, or probably he said something more like this,,, ‘the proof of free will is found in the indeterminacy of the quantum wave collapse”.,,, And as is quite obvious, free will is taken as obviously true by all societies, or else why should we spank our children or punish anybody in jails if they truly had no free will to control their actions?

    further notes:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-365083

  5. 5
    allanius says:

    Who is this “we”? Sorry–Einstein and Darwin were both determinists. Tipler must be tippling.

    Interesting to note, however, that the ancient divide between “analytic and synthetic methods,” as Descartes called them, raises its ugly head one more time in modern science, even after the death of God. Relativity, an analytic proposition, eliminates free choice; quantum mechanics, a synthetic construct, restores it.

    Also please note that Einstein’s “God” is Plato’s God: a grand transcendent phsyicist, unmoved and unmoving, certainly not the one who so loved the world. Why must men make God in their own image?

  6. 6
    Frost122585 says:

    Allanius,

    Everything you wrote is pretty much incorrect. Einstein’s God was Spinoza’s God as Einstein said himself- and that God was in fact a grand designer that revealed himself through nature’s symmetry.

    As far as relativity being analytic or synthetic, actually it is synthetic. It is an interpretation of the cosmos derived from mathematical (synthetic) reasoning NOT one that is intuited based solely on empirical self evident truth. Relativity is a synthesized theory and or interpretation of the universe.

    As far as Eisntein being a determinist- I do not think this is quite correct either- not that it is a major problem though given that religion and ID both have elements of mechanical necessity and fate involved along with them.

  7. 7
    Peter says:

    What we should realize that randomness is not a force but is used a mathematical model to describe events we do not understand. I can flip a coin and half the time it will be heads, but that says nothing of the force applied and the environment the coin is tossed in. Likewise for quantum mechanics. We do not know where an electron is and its momentum. There is a physical law which controls the electrons movement, we just don’t know what it is. The same can be said for biological complexity.
    .

  8. 8
    Timaeus says:

    Frost (#6):

    Thanks for your comment. I’ve tried correcting Allanius on Plato and other philosophers before, but he simply won’t engage with me.

    Of course, if one reads the Timaeus, one sees that the Maker is utterly free from envy and therefore wishes to share the bountifulness of his being by creating a world. So much for the idea that he doesn’t care about the world. And on another current thread, Allanius speaks disparagingly of Platonism (ludicrously linking it with Darwinism!), while speaking favorably of Aristotle — whose God does *not* love the world. I have the impression that Allanius has read a lot *about* philosophers, but has read very few of the classic texts of philosophy, up close and personal, because he seems to have only a hazy idea of the teachings of the philosophers whose names he so casually drops.

    Allanius’s attempt to apply the Kantian distinction of analytic and synthetic to Einstein and quantum mechanics respectively shows a lack of understanding of what Kant meant. I doubt very much that he’s read *The Critique of Pure Reason*.

    He also trots out the frequently asserted but highly dubious proposition that somehow quantum mechanics snatched free will from the jaws of determinism. He doesn’t notice that the “randomness” preached by quantum mechanics is actually as incompatible with free will as mechanical necessity is. If my decisions arise out of the random fluctuations of electrons in my brain, I’m no more free than if they are entirely determined by physico-chemical reactions. And what would Allanius do if the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics were disproved by the physics community tomorrow? He’d then have staked his religious faith in free will on shifting sand. “Sciencey” people continually make the same mistake of trying to solve age-old philosophical and theological problems with current scientific conceptions. Science is constantly changing, and attempting to rescue a favored theology by appeals to the latest science (usually cherry-picked science) is most unwise.

    Allanius, if you are reading, sorry to speak of you in the third person, but you never reply to me when I address you in the second.

    T.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Timaeus,

    I hate to nitpick, but this statement of yours,,,,

    He doesn’t notice that the “randomness” preached by quantum mechanics is actually as incompatible with free will as mechanical necessity is. If my decisions arise out of the random fluctuations of electrons in my brain, I’m no more free than if they are entirely determined by physico-chemical reactions.

    ,,,, is only true if you hold the consciousness emerges from the material basis of the brain instead of being of a preceding primary nature to the brain, and exercising dominion of the material basis of the brain. As for proof of my position, it is impossible for consciousness to ever emerge from ‘uncertain’ 3-D material particles which are dependent on a conscious observer to to collapse from a wave function in the first place:

    notes:

    In the following article, Physics Professor Richard Conn Henry is quite blunt as to what quantum mechanics reveals to us about the ‘primary cause’ of our 3D reality:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (personally I feel the word “illusion” was a bit too strong from Dr. Henry to describe material reality and would myself have opted for his saying something a little more subtle like; “material reality is a “secondary reality” that is dependent on the primary reality of God’s mind” to exist. Then again I’m not a professor of physics at a major university as Dr. Henry is.)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Wigner

    Quantum mind–body problem
    Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....dy_problem

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579/

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

  10. 10
    gpuccio says:

    Peter:

    I think you are not completely correct about randomness in QM, unless you are one of the very few who still stick to an Einsteinian interpretation of it.

    I copy here a recent post of mine on that subject:

    “About randomness:

    I would say that there are two different kinds of randomness.

    The randomness we directly experience (that of a flipping coin or similar systems) is in no way a “violation” of necessity, but just an output which cannot be described realistically in terms of necessity because too many variable are implied. I don’t think anybody really believes that such randomness violates any order: indeed, the simple fact that these rendom events anyway obey to mathemathical laws of probability could be a strong argument in favour of a mathematically ordered reality.

    The second kind of radnomness is that imlied in quantum mechanics, the essentail randomness which gets measured results from the values of the wave function through a probabilistic law. In this case, the probabilistic interpretation seems to be integral part of reality, and has nothing to do with hidden variables (at least according to most interpretations).

    But QM interpretation is really an open problem.

    What is really a “violation” of what we observe in unguided events is complex pseudorandomness with a meaning or function. That is the certain mark of design.”

    IOWs, the (by far) most common interpretation of the random component when we observe a wave function collapse is that randomness is an intrinsic property of the system, and is not the consequence of some variable we do not know or cannot compute. Einstein thought that way, but it is almost certain now that he was wrong, and Bohr was right on this aspect. All the modern discoveries about quantum entanglement have confirmed Bohr’s vision against Einstein’s.

    So, you are wrong (at least according to what most physicists now believe) when you say that:

    “There is a physical law which controls the electrons movement, we just don’t know what it is.”

    It’s not that way in QM. There is no law which “controls the electrons movement”, and there is indeed no definite “electrons movement”. Quantum entities are controlled by wave functions, which are strictly deterministic, and often well known, at least in simple cases. Only measurements “create” the usual categories we are accustomed to in traditional mechanics (position, and so on), through the (rather problematic) process which is usually called “collapse of the wave function”.

    While the wave function is wholly deterministic, the results of the collapse are probabilistic, and the probability is directly derived from the values of the wave function.

    All that is well known, and works very very fine. QM is a triumph of the application of sophisticated mathemathics to non intuitive aspects of reality.

    The interpretation of the real “meaning” of QM, instead, is a very open issue. But I believe that the Einstein position of “hidden variables” is really an extremely minority one.

    Though I love minorities, in this case I am with Bohr.

  11. 11
    gpuccio says:

    Timaeus:

    He doesn’t notice that the “randomness” preached by quantum mechanics is actually as incompatible with free will as mechanical necessity is. If my decisions arise out of the random fluctuations of electrons in my brain, I’m no more free than if they are entirely determined by physico-chemical reactions.

    OK, I agree with you that QM in itself has nothing to do with free will, because it substitutes an essentially random mechanism (at least in its probability part) to the strict determinism usually assumed in traditional mechanics.

    Randomness is certainly not free will.

    But the important point, and probably the one BA too is making, is that the essential randomness of QM can be an interface for conscious activity. IOWs, a conscious being could well be able to interface his consciousness with the physical activity in the brain and in neurons, acting through subtle modifications in quantum randomness and “guiding” the collapse of neuronal wave functions in that way.

    For an outer observer, nor strict law would be violated. Probably, if we could observe things more deeply, we could demonstrate subtle violations of pure probabilistic laws at quantum level in the physical systems (the brain) acting as interface of conscious events. But nothing more.

    That is the line of reasoning shared by many who have seriously investigated the hard problem of consciousness, starting with John Eccles, and a similar approach can be found, at least in part, in some work by Penrose. I don’t believe it is an unreasonable approach, and at present it is the only one which can scientifically bridge the essential properties of consciousness (including free will) with a conventional view of physics.

  12. 12
    gpuccio says:

    Timaeus:

    It is interesting to observe that, if there is something true in the approach I have referred to, probably that will be demonstrated, sooner or later, by the same tools we adopt in ID. Indeed, the “imprinting” of free will on the randomness of QM could be in principle formally similar to the “imprinting” of conscious design on the randomness of strings or of other conventional physical supports.

    Randomness seems to be exactly the moldable matter needed by consciousness to express itself in the physical world.

  13. 13
    Timaeus says:

    bornagain (#9):

    Thanks for your comment.

    No, *I* don’t hold that consciousness comes from motions of electrons in the brain, but the argument that “free will” is somehow rescued by “quantum indeterminism” implies such a view. Or seems to. The argument is so poorly made — I’ve never seen it made yet by a competent philosopher who really knows both the relevant physics and the relevant philosophy — it’s hard to tell.

    The problem is that most Ph.D.s in quantum physics know diddly about philosophy and theology, and most Ph.D.s in theology and philosophy know diddly about quantum physics. And writers of popular science books on the subject often know diddly about either field.

    The great European and later Chicago philosopher of science, Carnap, rejected the notion of grounding free will in quantum indeterminacy. I didn’t know of his argument until after I had already decided the that the connection was shaky at best, so I was pleased to find independent confirmation of my view.

    Analysis of your quotations show that not a single one of them (as far as is evident from what’s here) actually addresses the specific relationship between free will and quantum indeterminism. They all hit vaguely around notions of mind and matter and quantum theory, without addressing my argument.

    bornagain, have you degrees in either physics or philosophy? Are you sure you know what you are talking about here?

    I don’t have a degree in physics, which is why I don’t make any grand claims about the relationship between physical theories and philosophical or theological positions. But I find it a disturbing tendency among people of all camps — Darwinists, ID people, TEs — to speculate theologically about the meaning of quantum physics, without ever backing up those speculations with a meaty discussion of exactly *how* the quantum physics stuff applies to things like creation or free will. And avoidance of detail is almost always a sign that the writer hasn’t thought things out clearly.

    Sorry if I’m raining on your parade here, but I think this quantum indeterminacy-free will thing is based on fuzzy thinking and imperfect knowledge, and I will continue to think so until I see an able discussion by a first-rate thinker (as opposed to some doddering old celebrated physicist, in his retirement dabbling in philosophy for the first time).

    T.

  14. 14
    Timaeus says:

    gpuccio:

    I’m glad you understand my objection, and I see the distinction you are making.

    Can you give me the name of a couple of books and/or articles where someone tries to explain in detail how a quantum interface might work? Preferably someone who knows something about *both* physics *and* philosophy?

    T.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Timeaus, it is pretty straightforward to conclude, and does not require a advanced PhD to understand, that if consciousness emerges from material particles, whether random or deterministic particles, as you have rightly pointed out, then free will in both instances is dead as a concept. But as many leading physicists, physicists you seem to have mistakingly lumped together and disparaged, have pointed out, consciousness as a independent entity is necessary for proper interpretation of quantum mechanics. And in fact, a independent consciousness with true free will requires that the material ‘interface’ be non-deterministic or indeterministic. As a sidelight to this, I can only state the obvious conclusion that if free will did not exist then we would have no right to punish our children or to punish criminals, Indeed God would have no right to judge anyone if you did not grant us some leeway to freely choose.

    notes:

    That the mind of a individual observer would play such an integral, yet not complete ‘closed loop’ role, in instantaneous quantum wave collapse to uncertain 3-D particles, gives us clear evidence that our mind is a unique entity. A unique entity with a superior quality of existence when compared to the uncertain 3D particles of the material universe. This is clear evidence for the existence of the ‘higher dimensional soul’ of man that supersedes any material basis that the soul/mind has been purported to emerge from by materialists. I would also like to point out that the ‘effect’, of universal quantum wave collapse to each ‘central 3D observer’, gives us clear evidence of the extremely special importance that the ’cause’ of the ‘Infinite Mind of God’ places on each of our own individual souls/minds.

    Psalm 139:17-18
    How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

    These following studies and videos confirm this ‘superior quality’ of existence for our souls/minds:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The Extremely ‘Monitored’ Near Death Experience of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a “mental intention” preceded an actual neuronal firing – thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether.
    http://books.google.com/books?.....8;lpg=PT28

    “As I remarked earlier, this may present an “insuperable” difficulty for some scientists of materialists bent, but the fact remains, and is demonstrated by research, that non-material mind acts on material brain.” Eccles

    “Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder.”
    Heinrich Heine – in the year 1834

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,Nobel prize winner W. Penfield could sometimes induce flashes of recollection of the past (never a complete life review), experiences of light, sound or music, and rarely a kind of out-of-body experience. These experiences did not produce any transformation. After many years of research he finally reached the conclusion that it is not possible to localize memories (information) inside the brain.
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiment, “Since you ultimately believe that the ‘god of random chance’ produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?”

    Here is another article that is far more nuanced in its discerning of our ‘transcendent mind’ from our material brain, than the brute empirical evidence I’ve listed:

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....super.html

    Genesis 2:7
    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

  16. 16
    vsakko says:

    @wrf3: Thanks for letting me know I shouldn’t read “Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About.” To say that computer scientists rarely talk about the usefulness of randomization is a lie. That fact is talked about in an intro class that, at my university, is required before you can even be admitted as a CS major, and it’s mentioned frequently after that.

    Another thing to note is that random number generators in computers are deterministic–something any student of CS should know. That’s why we more accurately call them ‘pseudorandom.’

  17. 17
    Peter says:

    gpuccio,

    I like Stephen Barr’s view:

    ‘Physics scenarios and theories are merely mathematical stories.’

    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....g-universe

    While the majority of physicists may agree that randomness is intrinsic, I do not. There seems to be too many loose ends to me. Is light a wave or particle? Is it both simultaneously? If it is a wave then why is there no medium? Electrons and protons have mass and must obey all the laws of physics. With all the strange quantum affects, such as particles appearing out of nowhere, I can’t help but believe QM is incomplete. Because of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle we may never know. For now I will continue to believe that randomness is just another story in the quantum world just like it is in the rest of reality.

  18. 18
    Timaeus says:

    bornagain:

    I’m not denying free will; I strongly affirm it. But I don’t need to ground it in some shaky philosophical interpretation of quantum physics. Theories in physics change constantly. The Big Bang Theory is radically modified, it seems, every two or three years now, if the science news can be believed. I choose not to rest my theological beliefs on the tentative constructs that current science makes available.

    Most of your quotations are not to the point: you are preaching to the converted. I don’t need to be convinced that mind is a reality independent of matter. As a Platonist, I’d hardly believe otherwise.

    I don’t disparage physicists as such. But over the many years I’ve observed scientists, I’ve often found that, outside their specialized fields, they are frequently no more intelligent than the average person, and on philosophical questions, they are often completely incompetent. So when I hear a physicist speculating about consciousness, mind, etc., I immediately brace myself for a large dose of amateurish blather.

    Sometimes a physicist actually has some philosophical gifts; but those are few and far between. (Even rarer are biologists who have philosophical gifts; about the best they can scrape up over the last 50 years is Stephen J. Gould, but usually they descend to the philosophical bathos of Francisco Ayala, Francis Collins, and Ken Miller.)

    I believe in free will because it makes the most sense of human experience. It also appears to be confirmed by most of the great religious traditions of the world. I don’t claim to know *how* free will works, any more than I claim to know *how* God created the world, but I don’t need a physicist’s permission to believe either of those propositions, nor do I have to await a satisfying physical explanation before affirming that free will exists. That would be to hold life hostage to theory.

    I have nothing against anyone speculating about free will and quantum theory, but if they do, they had better know *both* quantum theory *and* philosophy really well. And how much of Kant, Spinoza, Locke, Wittgenstein, Plato, Aristotle, etc. have most physicists read? In my experience, very little.

    T.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Timaeus,

    I’m glad you have reached what I also believe to be the obviously correct conclusion ‘because it makes the most sense of the human experience’, but as you well know science runs on empirical evidence, and to simply appeal to common sense or deep philosophical understanding, simply does not cut it for as to actually proving the ‘common sense’ conclusion that we all have a independent consciousness. You may disdain that people would actually have to use empirics to prove certain points in science because of what you perceive to be the ‘shifting sands’ of science, but that ‘shifting sands’ view you appealed to is actually somewhat of a ‘old fashioned’ view. A view which held much more validity as a valid view not so long ago when the evidence widely swung into either a materialistic or theistic direction from time to time, but I firmly believe that our understanding, especially over the past century of breakthroughs, has consistently advanced the case for a Theistic view of reality beyond the breaking point of being able to justify using the ‘shifting sands’ view any longer, that is at least as far as the current dominant philosophy of science, materialism, is concerned.

    Theism compared to Materialism within the scientific method:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

  20. 20
    Aleta says:

    I’d like to thank Timmaeus on his comments in this thread on the flaws in trying to invoke quantum theory in respect to things like consciousness and free will. Despite the speculations of some, we really have no idea if there is a connection.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Aleta you state,

    we really have no idea if there is a connection.

    please speak for yourself.

  22. 22
    Aleta says:

    This was the generic we – mankind in general.

    I was agreeing with Timmaeus, who said things like “I have nothing against anyone speculating about free will and quantum theory, but if they do, they had better know *both* quantum theory *and* philosophy really well. And how much of Kant, Spinoza, Locke, Wittgenstein, Plato, Aristotle, etc. have most physicists read? In my experience, very little.”

    and

    “Analysis of your quotations show that not a single one of them (as far as is evident from what’s here) actually addresses the specific relationship between free will and quantum indeterminism. They all hit vaguely around notions of mind and matter and quantum theory, without addressing my argument.”

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    Aleta and now you have authority to speak for mankind in general??? , and exactly what is your position??? Do you agree with Timaeus that we do indeed have a free will that is independent of our material brain? If you are consistent in your worldview I think you would be sure to deny that!

    notes:

    Quantum mind–body problem
    Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....dy_problem

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Wigner

    Further weight for consciousness to be treated as a separate entity in quantum mechanics, and thus the universe, is also found in the fact that it is impossible to ‘geometrically’ maintain 3-Dimensional spherical symmetry of the universe, within the sphere of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, for each 3D point of the universe, unless all the ‘higher dimensional quantum information waves’ actually do collapse to their ‘uncertain 3D wave/particle state’, universally and instantaneously, for each point of conscious observation in the universe just as the experiments of quantum mechanics are telling us that they do. The 4-D expanding hypersphere of the space-time of general relativity is insufficient to maintain such 3D integrity/symmetry, all by itself, for each different 3D point of observation in the universe. The primary reason for why the 4D space-time, of the 3D universe, is insufficient to maintain 3D symmetry, by itself, is because the universe is shown to have only 10^79 atoms. In other words, it is geometrically impossible to maintain such 3D symmetry of centrality with finite 3D material resources to work with for each 3D point in the universe. Universal quantum wave collapse of photons, to each point of ‘conscious observation’ in the universe, is the only answer that has adequate sufficiency to explain the 3D centrality we witness for ourselves in this universe.

    From a slightly different point of reasoning this following site, through a fairly exhaustive examination of the General Relativity equations themselves, acknowledges the insufficiency of General Relativity to account for the ‘completeness’ of 4D space-time within the sphere of the CMBR from different points of observation in the universe.

    The Cauchy Problem In General Relativity – Igor Rodnianski
    Excerpt: 2.2 Large Data Problem In General Relativity – While the result of Choquet-Bruhat and its subsequent refinements guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a (maximal) Cauchy development, they provide no information about its geodesic completeness and thus, in the language of partial differential equations, constitutes a local existence. ,,, More generally, there are a number of conditions that will guarantee the space-time will be geodesically incomplete.,,, In the language of partial differential equations this means an impossibility of a large data global existence result for all initial data in General Relativity.
    http://www.icm2006.org/proceed.....l_3_22.pdf

    The following article speaks of a proof developed by legendary mathematician Kurt Gödel, from a thought experiment, in which Gödel showed General Relativity could not be a complete description of the universe:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: Gödel’s personal God is under no obligation to behave in a predictable orderly fashion, and Gödel produced what may be the most damaging critique of general relativity. In a Festschrift, (a book honoring Einstein), for Einstein’s seventieth birthday in 1949, Gödel demonstrated the possibility of a special case in which, as Palle Yourgrau described the result, “the large-scale geometry of the world is so warped that there exist space-time curves that bend back on themselves so far that they close; that is, they return to their starting point.” This means that “a highly accelerated spaceship journey along such a closed path, or world line, could only be described as time travel.” In fact, “Gödel worked out the length and time for the journey, as well as the exact speed and fuel requirements.” Gödel, of course, did not actually believe in time travel, but he understood his paper to undermine the Einsteinian worldview from within.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    The fact that photons are shown to travel as uncollapsed quantum information waves in the double slit experiment, and not as collapsed particles, is what gives us a solid reason for proposing this mechanism of the universal quantum wave collapse of photons to each conscious observer.

    Double-slit experiment
    Excerpt: In quantum mechanics, the double-slit experiment (often referred to as Young’s experiment) demonstrates the inseparability of the wave and particle natures of light and other quantum particles. A coherent light source (e.g., a laser) illuminates a thin plate with two parallel slits cut in it, and the light passing through the slits strikes a screen behind them. The wave nature of light causes the light waves passing through both slits to interfere, creating an interference pattern of bright and dark bands on the screen. However, at the screen, the light is always found to be absorbed as though it were made of discrete particles, called photons.,,, Any modification of the apparatus that can determine (that can let us observe) which slit a photon passes through destroys the interference pattern, illustrating the complementarity principle; that the light can demonstrate both particle and wave characteristics, but not both at the same time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....experiment

    This following experiment extended the double slit experiment to show that the ‘spooky actions’, for instantaneous quantum wave collapse, happen regardless of any considerations for time or distance i.e. The following experiment shows that quantum actions are ‘universal and instantaneous’:

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    And of course all this leads us back to this question. “What does our conscious observation have to do with anything in collapsing the wave function of the photon in the double slit experiment and in the universe?”, and furthermore “What is causing the quantum waves to collapse from their ‘higher dimension’ in the first place since we humans are definitely not the ones who are causing the photon waves to collapse to their ‘uncertain 3D wave/particle’ state?” I can only think of one sufficient explanation;

    Psalm 118:27
    God is the LORD, who hath shown us light:,,,

    In the following article, Physics Professor Richard Conn Henry is quite blunt as to what quantum mechanics reveals to us about the ‘primary cause’ of our 3D reality:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (personally I feel the word “illusion” was a bit too strong from Dr. Henry to describe material reality and would myself have opted for his saying something a little more subtle like; “material reality is a “secondary reality” that is dependent on the primary reality of God’s mind” to exist. Then again I’m not a professor of physics at a major university as Dr. Henry is.)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    Professor Henry’s bluntness on the implications of quantum mechanics continues here:

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-designer/

    As Professor Henry pointed out, it has been known since the discovery of quantum mechanics itself, early last century, that the universe is indeed ‘Mental’, as is illustrated by this quote from Max Planck.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – (Of Note: Max Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have a deep Christian connection.)

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

  24. 24
    gpuccio says:

    Timaeus:

    I think you can find some papers by Eccles at this link:

    http://philpapers.org/s/John%20C.%20Eccles

    Penrose describes his theories mainly in the book “Shadows of the mind”.

    I think the main focus of these scientists, especially Eccles, is not so much to do phylosophy, but rather to find a way that classical physics, with its rigid determinism, can be “matched” with concepts like free will, or in general the action of a non classically physical entity like consciousness.

    The problem with rigid deterministic systems is that in principle everything is pre-determined according to necessity laws. Even normal randomness, or chaos systems, do not really escape that rule.

    QM does. I don’t believe it is the final answer. I do believe that our understanding of physical reality will be much different in some decades, and probably it will be much easier to reason on possible mind – brain interfaces. But for the moment, the wave function collapse in QM uis the only kind of event which escapes the rigid boundaries of absolute determinism. In essence.

    I would not undervalue its importance. The recent developments about entanglement are really changing our views. If it will be shown that entanglement can act to carry information, important perspectives will open, both physically and phylosophically.

    One thing is certain: if cosnciousness and mind are not an emergent property of matter (and I do believe they are not, as I think you do), then an interface must exist. The concept of an interface is, IMO, fundamental.

  25. 25
    gpuccio says:

    Peter:

    So, you are one of the last “einsteinians”. No problem with that. It’s a perfectly tenable position, although not certainly popular.

  26. 26
    Aleta says:

    to gpuccio: I agree that if consciousness and mind are immaterial, and not purely material, then yes – an interface of some sort must exist.

    Over on the Fibonacci thread, my last post (which really was a new direction for the thread, and got no responses) is quite pertinent here:

    OK, so our free will can act as a local first cause, and add an additional cause to the stream of natural cause-and-effects that are going on. Presumably this intervention takes place inside us – in our biology – because for an act of free will to make any difference, we must act on it.

    So how does this happen? How does the immaterial will move the material world, so to speak? What is the nature of the immaterial/material interface.

    Or to put it another way, if we could examine every molecule of every cell in our body, what would we see when the will acted? Would we actually see anything that was any different from, and/or was distinguishable from, what we would see when our will was not acting?

    Any thoughts?

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    gpuccio, Thanks for bringing clarity once again, you seem to have a gift for clearly stating the issue, though I do disagree with you on some minor points, I certainly appreciate your clarity:

    essential note to previous:

    The Known Universe by AMNH (Please note the centrality in the universe for our point of observation from the earth)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    The indeterminacy of quantum wave collapse is actually a requirement of how foundational physical reality should behave since centrality of the universe focuses on unique points of observation in the universe rather than any physical or material center of the universe that might be entertained.

  28. 28
    Aleta says:

    ba writes, “Aleta and now you have authority to speak for mankind in general???”

    Relax, ba. I don’t presume to have the authority to speak for all mankind, and you know that. I was just making the kind of statement that is made everyday, stating what I think is the case about the general state of human knowledge. I am certain that there is no well-developed theory, and probably not even any well-stated empirical hypotheses (as opposed to speculations) as to how quantum effects might be the cause of consciousness or free will.

  29. 29
    gpuccio says:

    Aleta:

    I think my #12, although brief, is in the direction of what you ask.

    The workings of neurons are not really understood, but some things we know. For instance synapses are certainly an important part of the network. The response of a synapse may depend critically on very small concentration variations of transmitters. Stimulating and inhibiting factors are always creating a delicate balance, at each synapse.

    The connection between consciousness and matter should be searched, IMO, inside the individual neuronal cell. Penrose thinks, I believe, that microtubules and quantum gravitation are implied. I don’r know.

    I know that, when a wave function collapse happens at quantum level, reality seems to change a little. And that the only understanding of what will happen is intrinsically probabilistic.

    Entanglement can be an important factor too. Entanglement is understood only in simple cases. But potentially, entangled responses could have an important value.

    What would we see, if we could analyze better the effect of consciousness on matter in our brains?

    A possibility is that we would witness unexpected design: pseudorandom quantum effects which have a meaning and a function. Entangled quantum responses which carry information. That is a possibility which can in principle be verified or falsified. Not today, not tomorrow. But, I hope, soon.

    Please, remember that all living systems are far from equilibrium systems. We cannot really explain them with conventional physics in a really effective way.

    The assumption that cell completely obey the known laws of physics is onlyt a gross assumption, and a generalization.

    Living beings are a very very special subset of “nature”. We don’t really understand them. They can, and IMO will, offer great surprises, which will transform not only biology, but physics itself.

  30. 30
    Kyrilluk says:

    Two things:
    1- QM doesn’t state that randomness in nature is intrinsec. If you believe that truly random event happen, please give me an experiment that prove such a thing.
    2- I find it very strange to try to justify its belief in free will (or one interpretation of it) with a speculative link between the brain and some random quantum fluctuation.
    3- Lastly: Newton, Maxwell, etc..did considered the world to be deterministic even though they surely believe in free will. So why there is such a will from some part of christianity that free will come from speculative ideas from QM interpretations?

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Kyrilluk you state:

    ‘1- QM doesn’t state that randomness in nature is intrinsec. If you believe that truly random event happen, please give me an experiment that prove such a thing.’

    Nobody is arguing for random. They are arguing that they are indeterministic. The experiment is wave function/packet collapse:

    Wave function collapse
    Excerpt: In simplified terms, it is the condensation of physical possibilities into a single occurrence, as seen by an observer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....n_collapse

    All you, or anyone else, has to do to prove that they are completely deterministic is to predict with 100% certainty exactly where the wave function will ‘instantaneously’ collapse into a particle instead of giving a probability of where it will collapse into a particle.

    you then state:

    ‘2- I find it very strange to try to justify its belief in free will (or one interpretation of it) with a speculative link between the brain and some random quantum fluctuation.’

    Yet if mind were merely a product of a purely deterministic material basis, then you would in reality have no choice as to what things you thought were strange or not,,, and that is a very strange thing 🙂 to believe.

    you then state:

    3- Lastly: Newton, Maxwell, etc..did considered the world to be deterministic even though they surely believe in free will. So why there is such a will from some part of Christianity that free will come from speculative ideas from QM interpretations?

    The conflict comes from materialism not Christianity.

  32. 32
    gpuccio says:

    Kyrilluk:

    1) QM states that the wave function collapse, which is expressed in our measures, depends probabilistically from the wave function. All QM experiments are interpreted in that sense. And it works. The formal properties of the theory, and many experiments, confirm that the probability values are intrinsic to the theory itself.

    Einstein conceived a thought experiment, the Einstein Podolsky Rosen experiment, to test the completeness of QM. I will not go into details, because I am n ot a physicist, and the subject is very complex. I can only say that the experiments on Bell’s inequality are the basis for the modern discussion about the interpretation of QM’s meaning. And that an interpretation which relies on hidden variables is definitely rare.

    Wikipedia lists 12 different interpretations of QM in a table. Of these, 10 do not accept hidden variables, one is agnostic, and only one (de Broglie-Bohm theory) accepts them.

    2) Nobody is trying to justify the belief in free will with random quantum fluctuations. Belief in free will is based on other things. But, as I have tried to say, QM theory could be useful to explain how free will can act on brain structures (I suppose you would admit it does) without violating strict physical and biochemical rules.

    3) The problem of the difficulty which arises from a strictly deterministic model of all physical reality and the belief in free will is an old one. Phylosophy is full of different attempts to solve it. I don’know what the personal approach of Newton and Maxwell was, but the scientific problem is more valid today than at their times. Today we have vaster scientific theories, and crtainly a better understanding of many parts of physical reality. And we have an arrogant scientistic phylosophy which is passively accepted by many as a new religion.

    A deeper understanding of the scientific events behind life, consciousness and fee will is badly needed. Mere philosophical arguments will not do. We have instruments and knowledge which require new detailed questions and new answers. Our whole scientific representation of reality must change.

  33. 33
    Kyrilluk says:

    Thank you for your answers Bornagain77 and gpuccio.
    1) The collapse of the wave function is not a random event. It’s might not even be an event! The collapse of the wave function occurs when an experimentator measure something.
    Secondly, given the fact that everything we know is deterministic, it’s not enought just to say “well some stuff are purely random because I believe in free will”. You do have to prove it.
    Regarding Bell inequalities, they didn’t prove the existence of pure inderterministic phenomena. It just prove that any theory using Schrodinger equation to model a wave function could not escape the fact that the collapse of the wave function for entangled particles is non-local and no amount of local variable would change that fact.

    2) Bornagain77 you said:Yet if mind were merely a product of a purely deterministic material basis, then you would in reality have no choice as to what things you thought were strange or not,,, and that is a very strange thing to believe.
    Noone can compute the billions of differents deterministics events that happen in your life which has made you what you are. So even in a deterministic world, there is free will. Moreover, if we believe in the existence of God, angel, the devil, etc.. then, even if you did had the power to compute from the initial state of the universe every single things, you would still not be able to predict the behaviour of a man.
    By the way, which verse in the Bible do you think support your conception of free will?

    3) The problem of the difficulty which arises from a strictly deterministic model of all physical reality and the belief in free will is an old one.

    It’s a problem if you consider free will as an absolute and inborn quality of human being. But we all know that a lot of our choice are conditioned by deterministic events (being abused by a parent, growing up in a certain family, in a certain neighborougth, etc..). The environment is influencing my choices. But the God of the Bible decides that these influences (environement,imperfection, etc..), beyond a certain level, don’t change the way he considers me responsible. This is “free will”. Nothing to do with our choices being immune against determinitics events.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    Kyrilluk, though I think you are over-complicating the problem by not focusing on the indeterminacy of wave function collapse,, I will just address this one question that you asked:

    By the way, which verse in the Bible do you think support your conception of free will?

    Genesis
    And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

    and this one:

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

    etc.. etc…

  35. 35
    Kyrilluk says:

    Thank you Bornagain77. Basically, these verses mean that God is considering us responsible for our sin. This is “free will”. God will never forces us to do something that we don’t want to do. God could of course determined perfectly our future, but he doesn’t do that.
    Even if some Quantum random event would happen to influence the brain, I don’t believe one minute that such phenomena would escape the ability of such an almighty creators as ours to predict our future.
    Free will is a gift and it means that God doesn’t forces us to abide by its will and he doesn’t try to find out what kind of person we are going to become.

  36. 36
    gpuccio says:

    Kyrilluk:

    Thanks for your thoughts, although I find them a little bit confused on many points.

    Anyway, I apologize, but unfortunately at this moment I have not the time and the possibility to embark again in a long discussion about free will. We had a very long one quite recently.

    My notres about QM were not intended as a discussion about free will, but only as a reflection about how QM could represent some form of interface for it.

    I understand you have a different interpretation of QM, and you are obviously entitled to it. After all, as I mentioned, the Wikipedia page lists 12 of them, and there are certainly others.

    But frankly, I have difficulties to follow some of your reasonings, such as:

    “The collapse of the wave function is not a random event. It’s might not even be an event! The collapse of the wave function occurs when an experimentator measure something.”

    In what sense would something that “occurs” not be an “event”?

  37. 37
    Timaeus says:

    gpuccio:

    Thanks for the reference.

    Let me further clarify my argument:

    I’m not against the idea of seeking an “interface” of some kind. If someone well-equipped in quantum theory and philosophy wants to have a go at explaining how such an “interface” would work, I have no objection.

    My original point was (a) that the mere fact of indeterminacy, by itself, in no way guarantees free will, and (b) that all of the writers I have read on the subject have vaguely suggested that it does. It is for this reason that I have tended to scoff at the “indeterminacy saves free will” argument. However, a *thoughtful* account of the connection I would not reject without a hearing.

    Finally, in the meantime, while those of a speculative bent are working out such an account, I will continue to believe in free will based on common sense and the support of the great religious and ethical traditions of the world.

    T.

  38. 38
    Robert Byers says:

    I don’t agree the two greatest scientists were Einstein/Darwin.
    This itself is a presumption packed full.
    Fame does not make you right. Fame does not make you the best .
    Its all on the opinions of other people.
    Thats been a problem for creationists because prestige has been used against us as opposed to the merits of the case.

    Einsteins prestige is based on a prejudice that physics is more intellectually difficult and more important then other stuff. lIkewise before him Newton was king.
    Yet in fact they are simply doing single ideas in a particular study of no greater difficulty then other other things dealing with nature or man.
    Biology is a more complicated thing then physics but Darwin also has prestige because of this difficulty demanding less need for exact science or process to back up conclusions.
    Evolution, origin subjects, are not scientific ones as biblical creationists are taught all the time. starting with the great Henry Morris.
    Its not relevant about determinism to creationism.
    its just reinforcing here that the prestige of people is selling their conclusions more then the merits.
    Gotta say it.
    Physics is a very poor country bumpkin to the glory of life called biology.
    laws in biology are still not the origin of biological processes which are the essence of biology.

  39. 39
    gpuccio says:

    Timaeus:

    I absolutely agree with you. Quantum probabilism is certainly not an “explanation” of free will, in any way.

    I don’t think that any serious researcher with a serious belief in true free will could think that.

    But you are probably right that there are many approximations which seem to attribute everything to QM without understanding it (that’s not surprising: QM is really difficult to understand, and the 12+ interpretations of it by specialists are abundant evidence of that).

    So I believe there is no difference in our positions about that.

    If you have read the long thread about free will here, where I have posted rather abundantly, you may know that I consider free will as an essential property of the transcendental self.

    But, whatever our conception of it, of we believe in “true free will” (and not in one of the bleak counterfeits created by materialists in the last decades), the problem of the physical interface and of the apparent determinism of physical events will arise. That problem has to be solved.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    gpuccio, I think you may find this talk by Penrose interesting:

    Conscious Understanding: What is its Physical Basis?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f477FnTe1M0

  41. 41
    above says:

    @Timaeus

    First I would like to congratulate you on the following comments:

    -“I’m not denying free will; I strongly affirm it. But I don’t need to ground it in some shaky philosophical interpretation of quantum physics. Theories in physics change constantly. I choose not to rest my theological beliefs on the tentative constructs that current science makes available.”

    I could not agree with you more and I think that is the most mature way to think about such issues. Science is provisional and to be obsessed with its current state, especially at the backdrop of its volatility (ever-changing nature), is surely not a healthy approach.

    -“I don’t disparage physicists as such. But over the many years I’ve observed scientists, I’ve often found that, outside their specialized fields, they are frequently no more intelligent than the average person, and on philosophical questions, they are often completely incompetent.”

    That is so true! I think philosopher of science Feyerabend talks about that and exposes how many modern scientists are philosophically and metaphysically illiterate and are not in a position to provide correct and coherent interpretations of science. That I think is one reason why you see this fallacious clash between “religion” and “science”. A lot of it has to do with the philosophical and metaphysical (not to mention Theological) ignorance of scientists.

    Finally, a point of disagreement:

    -“ The great European and later Chicago philosopher of science, Carnap, rejected the notion of grounding free will in quantum indeterminacy.”

    I would not call carnap a great philosopher myself but that’s a matter of opinion. However, I would like to point out that he was a hard core positivist who tried to literally bullshit his way into rejecting metaphysics. That is poor philosophy at best and intellectual ineptitude at worst. Let’s also not forget that positivism has been overturned decades ago leaving much of what this man said refuted. So I would take what he says with a grain of salt.

    As far as the QM issue is concerned I think it could provide a ground for a more science-based explanation of free will. I definitely see the logic behind it as explicated by gpuccio and I have seen some articles here and there that defend this view. However, I am well aware that given the incomplete understanding we currently have of QM maybe we just are not at the stage where we can provide the stellar defense that you might be looking for. Either way, the answers that science can give us are very limited in both kind and scope. I would not in the least be bothered if it did not provide an answer to the free will question.

    Always a pleasure reading everyone’s insight on this blog. Cheers!

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