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  #31  
Old 12-15-2005, 08:48 PM
atrifix atrifix is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

I don't know exactly who holds which beliefs. I'm not terribly keen on keeping track of people's religious beliefs. Religion and determinism are definitely compatible, and, I would say, not really related. All I know is that philosophically, both religion and libertarianism were both big at one point (Kant was a libertarian, Descartes offered several arguments for God, etc.), but these days they're both on the fringes. Not to say that they're wrong, but they are on the fringes.
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  #32  
Old 12-16-2005, 04:23 AM
SNOWBALL138 SNOWBALL138 is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
What determinism says is that the whole cannot be larger than the sum of its parts. If you're made up of atoms, you follow the same physical laws atoms follow. Since the atoms don't have free will, you don't have free will.


[/ QUOTE ]

Isn't this called the fallacy of composition?
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  #33  
Old 12-16-2005, 06:24 AM
purnell purnell is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
What determinism says is that the whole cannot be larger than the sum of its parts. If you're made up of atoms, you follow the same physical laws atoms follow. Since the atoms don't have free will, you don't have free will.


[/ QUOTE ]

Isn't this called the fallacy of composition?

[/ QUOTE ]

I think the inference is justifiable in this case. A human body is composed entirely of matter, and matter is subjuct to the laws of physics, thus a human body is subject to the laws of physics.


http://www.nizkor.org/features/falla...mposition.html
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  #34  
Old 12-16-2005, 03:14 PM
Trantor Trantor is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The original poster claimed that QM could be used to disprove determinism.


[/ QUOTE ]
QM is not inconsistent with determinism and could never be used to disprove determinism. To see why this is true, imagine a deterministic simulation of a QM universe

[unless you make non-determinism an assumption of QM but its not a neccesary assumption]

chez

[/ QUOTE ]

I think you've alluded to a computer simulation of the universe before and here you put it forward as a possible (ie in principle) approach to show the QM is not inconsistent with determinism. BUT, this assumes it is possible, in principle, to carry out such a computer simulation wheras QM says this is not possible (as QM is understood at present, ie no hidden variable theory)
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  #35  
Old 12-16-2005, 04:03 PM
chezlaw chezlaw is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The original poster claimed that QM could be used to disprove determinism.


[/ QUOTE ]
QM is not inconsistent with determinism and could never be used to disprove determinism. To see why this is true, imagine a deterministic simulation of a QM universe

[unless you make non-determinism an assumption of QM but its not a neccesary assumption]

chez

[/ QUOTE ]

I think you've alluded to a computer simulation of the universe before and here you put it forward as a possible (ie in principle) approach to show the QM is not inconsistent with determinism. BUT, this assumes it is possible, in principle, to carry out such a computer simulation wheras QM says this is not possible (as QM is understood at present, ie no hidden variable theory)

[/ QUOTE ]
I don't think thats right. I'm assuming by hidden variable you mean that each particle contains within it the information that will decide its measured spin. This is not the case in the computer simulation.
The simulation does not contradict Bell's inequalities if that what you mean.

chez
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  #36  
Old 12-16-2005, 05:11 PM
Bork Bork is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

The dice behaving in an apparently random manner is not sufficient to prove genuine randomness exists. Even the things physicists observe are not sufficient in my view.

Just because we cannot see deterministic reasons for an event, it does not follow that there are none. As I hinted at in my excerpt above I do not think determinism can be proven either, so I think we are just out of luck on getting a conclusive answer to this question.
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  #37  
Old 12-16-2005, 05:48 PM
atrifix atrifix is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

Well, the example wasn't particularly rigorous, just meant to shed some light on the subject. Even if it is valid, the assumption (that all processes are reducible to fundamental particles) is pretty clearly false.

Moreover, though, composition isn't always a fallacy (unlike ad hominem, say). In this case there is sufficient justification to make the inference. Of course, the simplistic statement "atoms don't have free will, so you don't have free will" is fallacious, but I only wanted to make sure my meaningwas understood.
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  #38  
Old 12-16-2005, 05:53 PM
maurile maurile is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
What determinism says is that the whole cannot be larger than the sum of its parts. If you're made up of atoms, you follow the same physical laws atoms follow. Since the atoms don't have free will, you don't have free will.


[/ QUOTE ]

Isn't this called the fallacy of composition?

[/ QUOTE ]
I'm not sure what it's called, but it's obviously fallacious.

Since atoms don't have a mother, you don't have a mother. Since atoms don't have a beautiful singing voice, Mariah Carey doesn't have a beautiful singing voice. Etc.

Free will, since it depends on consciousness, is an emergent property. Just because the individual parts don't have it doesn't mean that the whole doesn't.
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  #39  
Old 12-16-2005, 06:29 PM
atrifix atrifix is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
I'm not sure what it's called, but it's obviously fallacious.

Since atoms don't have a mother, you don't have a mother. Since atoms don't have a beautiful singing voice, Mariah Carey doesn't have a beautiful singing voice. Etc.

Free will, since it depends on consciousness, is an emergent property. Just because the individual parts don't have it doesn't mean that the whole doesn't.

[/ QUOTE ]

Okay, this inference might be a composition fallacy (even if it is, though, there are other arguments for determinism), but it's not nearly as obvious as this. You're mischaracterizing my argument. What I meant was that "since (any collection of) atoms don't have free will, you don't have free will". Your inferences are more like "since (single) atoms don't have a mother, you don't have a mother." Obviously certain collections of atoms do have mothers.
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  #40  
Old 12-16-2005, 08:00 PM
gumpzilla gumpzilla is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]

Consider the up/down spin of two entangled particles (pretty much the classic QM experiment). This is consistent with a computer simulation that doesn't calculate the up/down values until they are needed for something. When one of the particles is force by measurement to have an up/down value the 'program' pseduo-randomly allocates the values up/down to the particles. This happens at the speed of the computer which is many orders of magnitude greater than the max speed within the simulation.

[/ QUOTE ]

The pseudo-randomness is key here. It means that you've essentially put forth a hidden variable theory, since we can completely characterize the expected measurements of various quantities (since the pseudo-random generator is presumably deterministic.) This might be acceptable, but thanks to Bell's theorem it has consequences about what your theory needs to look like, and thus might run into problems with reality. For this, and some other reasons (the computer that's going to classically simulate our QM universe is going to be mind-bogglingly huge compared to our universe itself), I don't think that the prospect of QM all being a deterministic simulation (some kind of brain-in-vat exercise writ large) is terribly realistic. I guess that's not your point, but it does at least suggest that there is strong evidence for inherent randomness.

I haven't really read the rest of the thread, but I'll make a comment about randomness, one that I'd be surprised if it hasn't already been brought up. Even in the face of perfect determinism, there is such an incredible degree of complexity that there are many things that are going to be essentially random in the end because you just can't control all of the important parameters precisely enough. And in the end, that's what's important about randomness anyway.
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