1. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    14 Jul '07 19:14
    I found this on the net. I know that copy and pasting too much is not really on but I rarely do it so I thought I would indulge myself....



    " Try the following thought experiment. Our
    brilliant neurophysiologists come up with an equation
    that they claim will predict all of our behavior. The
    equation is so good that it even incorporates our reaction
    to the equation, our reaction to knowing that it
    incorporates our reaction, and so on indefinitely. Suppose
    that the equation says that the next thing that you
    will do is raise your arm. Do you seriously believe
    that you couldn’t falsify this prediction by failing to
    raise your arm? But if you can falsify any prediction
    about your arm, and if the prediction is derived perfectly
    from a comprehensive knowledge of your
    body’s constituent micro-particles, then your mind
    must be free. In a crucial sense, then, the denial of
    free will is predicated on our ignorance of the very
    causal laws that supposedly show that free will is impossible.
    For once these allegedly binding laws of nature
    were compiled and capable of making falsifiable
    empirical predictions, it would be child’s play to falsify
    them forthwith. Surely if human behavior were unfree,
    then science could in theory at least predict when
    I am going to raise my hand. And why should the
    equations be unable to compensate for the subject’s
    knowledge of the prediction? And yet, it is very hard
    to believe that upon the proclamation of these alleged
    causal laws, that I would find it any harder to falsify
    them than I would find it to falsify e.g. the reader’s
    prediction about when I will raise my hand.

    Nor would it help if these scientific laws were probabilistic
    rather than deterministic. It is child’s play to
    falsify the prediction that I will raise my right hand
    now with certainty. Is it any harder to falsify the
    claim that I will now raise my right hand with probability
    .3? Simply by deciding not to raise it, couldn’t
    I instantly make the probability equal to zero?"
  2. Joined
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    14 Jul '07 19:30
    by predicting you would raise your hand, any free will you had is eliminated, as by knowing the prediction you pretty much force yourself not to raise your hand.
  3. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    14 Jul '07 19:371 edit
    Originally posted by doodinthemood
    by predicting you would raise your hand, any free will you had is eliminated, as by knowing the prediction you pretty much force yourself not to raise your hand.
    But if the prediction was made by a perfect equation then the only way you could defy the prediction would be by having actual free will (ie the ability to defy deterministic causal neccesity). You would force yourself to not lift your hand thereby proving that you have it within your power to not succumb to fate therefore free will.
  4. Standard memberNemesio
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    14 Jul '07 19:41
    Stop starting new threads until you finish off the old one.
  5. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    14 Jul '07 19:55
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Stop starting new threads until you finish off the old one.
    Good point , I had better just let this one run by itself for a while.
  6. Earth
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    15 Jul '07 07:24
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I found this on the net. I know that copy and pasting too much is not really on but I rarely do it so I thought I would indulge myself....



    " Try the following thought experiment. Our
    brilliant neurophysiologists come up with an equation
    that they claim will predict all of our behavior. The
    equation is so good that it even incorporates o ...[text shortened]... imply by deciding not to raise it, couldn’t
    I instantly make the probability equal to zero?"
    That is a great experiment. But humanity's problem is not in "having" the free will. The problem is "using" it.

    Scientists make all kinds of predictions about human behaviour that come true. Scientists who work for Apple, for example, predict that a large number of people will stand in long lines for hours to buy a $100 product for the outrageous price of $700. These types of predictions come true on a regular basis. Does it mean we have no free will?

    No, we have free will, but we have no will power. If all the "predictable" people would just wait for a week and not buy a single I-crap, Apple would be forced to sell their stupid phone for $50.

    You may be able to resist raising your hand, but for every one who can resist there are a billion who can't.
  7. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    15 Jul '07 07:411 edit
    Originally posted by Varqa
    That is a great experiment. But humanity's problem is not in "having" the free will. The problem is "using" it.

    Scientists make all kinds of predictions about human behaviour that come true. Scientists who work for Apple, for example, predict that a large number of people will stand in long lines for hours to buy a $100 product for the outrageous price of esist raising your hand, but for every one who can resist there are a billion who can't.
    You may be able to resist raising your hand, but for every one who can resist there are a billion who can't. VARQA

    But determinism requires a 100% record in order to be true. Even if there is only one person on earth who can resist raising their arm then determinism falls like a pack of cards. If there is only one example of free will in a human being then the whole game is off and we have to consider that there is more to this life than "just determinism". This is where determinism is vulnerable. As someone who believes in free will I can still believe that many acts and choices are determined , but it doesn't work the other way round.

    (BTW -All those people may be choosing freely to stand in queues)
  8. Earth
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    15 Jul '07 07:50
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    You may be able to resist raising your hand, but for every one who can resist there are a billion who can't. VARQA

    But determinism requires a 100% record in order to be true. Even if there is only one person on earth who can resist raising their arm then determinism falls like a pack of cards. If there is only one example of free will in a human bei ...[text shortened]... rk the other way round.

    (BTW -All those people may be choosing freely to stand in queues)
    Maybe I was not clear enough. I believe we all have free will, and I am no determinist. All I am saying is,

    ... you know we all have wings, but some of us don't know why.
  9. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    16 Jul '07 08:15
    Originally posted by Varqa
    Maybe I was not clear enough. I believe we all have free will, and I am no determinist. All I am saying is,

    ... you know we all have wings, but some of us don't know why.
    I understand.

    Is that quoting someone?
  10. Cape Town
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    16 Jul '07 10:022 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    Our brilliant neurophysiologists come up with an equation that they claim will predict all of our behavior.
    What you don't seem to understand is that behavior is dependent on inputs, so for a neurophysiologist to claim that he can predict your behavior he must also know all your inputs including the fact that he will tell you that he has predicted that you will raise your hand. If he is telling the truth and has actually got an accurate formula and does not what all your future inputs will be then yes you will raise your hand.
    I personally believe that:
    1. It would be next to impossible to create a computer which could do the required calculations to predict not only your behavior based on a given set of inputs but also all the inputs that will occur. For example, if a butterfly flaps its wings on Jupiter it affects our weather on earth and as a result may ultimately affect whether or not you raise you hand.
    2. A significant amount of the operation of the universe is essentially random (ie we cannot predict it) and so it is actually impossible (Heisenberg uncertainty principle) to predict many things.

    3. your argument is essentially a feedback time paradox ie information about the future travels to the past thus affecting itself in the future resulting in an infinite feedback loop.
    For example suppose the brilliant neurophysiologists tell you that you will discover the "Theory of Everything" and even tell you what the Theory is that you will discover thus allowing you to discover it! Now where did this information come from?

    The impossibility of passing information back in time is actually a fundamental law of science. In fact, time is a result of information flow.
  11. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    16 Jul '07 10:29
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I found this on the net. I know that copy and pasting too much is not really on but I rarely do it so I thought I would indulge myself....



    " Try the following thought experiment. Our
    brilliant neurophysiologists come up with an equation
    that they claim will predict all of our behavior. The
    equation is so good that it even incorporates o ...[text shortened]... imply by deciding not to raise it, couldn’t
    I instantly make the probability equal to zero?"
    Suppose a team of engineers tried to predict the behavior of a computer, specifically, whether it would illuminate a red light or not.

    Matters were arranged so that, when the engineers had made the prediction, they fed it back to the computer.

    The computer was then designed to do exactly the opposite of what the engineers had predicted. That is, if the engineers had predicted the red light would come on, the computer would make it stay off, and if the engineers had predicted that the red light would stay off, the computer would make it come on.

    Does this disprove determinism?

    (Kudos to Dr. Scribbles for pointing out this rival thought experiment in a previous thread)
  12. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    16 Jul '07 10:31
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    You may be able to resist raising your hand, but for every one who can resist there are a billion who can't. VARQA

    But determinism requires a 100% record in order to be true. Even if there is only one person on earth who can resist raising their arm then determinism falls like a pack of cards. If there is only one example of free will in a human bei ...[text shortened]... rk the other way round.

    (BTW -All those people may be choosing freely to stand in queues)
    But to be true, libertarian free will requires both the determinism and haphazardism be false.

    But an alternative is a little hard to understand, isn't it?
  13. Cape Town
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    16 Jul '07 11:39
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    Does this disprove determinism?
    I think it disproves the concept that the future of a non-isolated deterministic system can be predicted. Essentially the engineers can never predict the computers behavior because one of the inputs (their prediction) is unknown when doing the calculation.
  14. Joined
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    16 Jul '07 15:10
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I found this on the net. I know that copy and pasting too much is not really on but I rarely do it so I thought I would indulge myself....



    " Try the following thought experiment. Our
    brilliant neurophysiologists come up with an equation
    that they claim will predict all of our behavior. The
    equation is so good that it even incorporates o ...[text shortened]... imply by deciding not to raise it, couldn’t
    I instantly make the probability equal to zero?"
    maybe if they said "we can predict your behavior. raise your arm..." then later said "we knew you wouldnt raise your arm because you thought we wanted you to do so but we predicted you would not raise your arm the entire time." then it would work
  15. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    16 Jul '07 19:16
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think it disproves the concept that the future of a non-isolated deterministic system can be predicted. Essentially the engineers can never predict the computers behavior because one of the inputs (their prediction) is unknown when doing the calculation.
    Isn't this also true in the human case? Isn't the failure to predict in the human case also due to the fact that one of the inputs, namely what information is given to the human person, doesn't feature in the initial computations?

    Isn't this sufficient explanation for the failure to predict? Hence, doesn't the analogy entirely fail to bear on the truth of determinism?
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