• TheMadFool
    3.9k
    I'm not a scientist but Newtonian physics applies at the quantum level. If I'm correct that means particles, their position and velocity, are deterministic in behavior.

    Knowledge of initial states of particles can be used to predict their properties at some other time in the future.

    We're physical, our brains are physical i.e. we're all made up of particles. That implies our brains are deterministic machines if you'll allow me to use that word.

    If that's the case then freewill shouldn't exist. It's existence would violate the laws of nature and it would be a true miracle. This can't be.

    Your comments...
  • Sunnyside
    33
    I'm not a physicist but I believe the "problem" (?) with quantum mechanics is that it's random. That wouldn't support free will but it doesn't sound like it supports determinism either. Randomness is a somewhat frightening prospect, possibly worse than just not having any say because of the anxiety of what might happen at any time. The odds aren't ever in our favor.
  • TheMadFool
    3.9k
    I'm not a physicist but I believe the "problem" (?) with quantum mechanics is that it's random. That wouldn't support free will but it doesn't sound like it supports determinism either. Randomness is a somewhat frightening prospect, possibly worse than just not having any say because of the anxiety of what might happen at any time. The odds aren't ever in our favor.Sunnyside

    In quantum mechanics, concepts such as force, momentum, and position are defined by linear operators that operate on the quantum state; at speeds that are much lower than the speed of light, Newton's laws are just as exact for these operators as they are for classical objects. At speeds comparable to the speed of light, the second law holds in the original form F = dp/dt, where F and p are four-vectors. — Wikipedia

    What do you think?
  • Shamshir
    745
    Before the script is written, it's improvised.
  • TheMadFool
    3.9k
    Before the script is written, it's improvised.Shamshir

    It's still a script :joke:
  • TheMadFool
    3.9k
    Our noggins ( :grin: ) could be real miracles!
  • Shamshir
    745
    But it's not scripted.

    And that irons out the irony.
  • Sunnyside
    33
    In quantum mechanics, concepts such as force, momentum, and position are defined by linear operators that operate on the quantum state... — Wikipedia
    You lost me. I've always heard it's random, so I don't know?
  • TheMadFool
    3.9k
    I know. I also thought that was the case. Randomness probably applies to sub-atomic phenomena and not at the atomic level. The two are different I believe. Your comments...
  • TheMadFool
    3.9k
    And that irons out the irony.Shamshir

    :smile:
  • TheMadFool
    3.9k
    there are laws
    everything follows

    is it free, my will?
    an uncaused skill?

    laws, break and bend?
    look here my friend

    even in chaos random
    behold! laws therefrom

    what free? what will?
    peach tree, peaches fill

    an exception no?
    like in a freakshow?

    it could be you know
    something against the flow
  • PoeticUniverse
    622
    it could be you know
    something against the flow
    TheMadFool

    Good poem!

    Who's the scribe of my slab written upon?
    I ask myself whether I’m stylus or slate,
    Or both the dancer and the danced upon?
  • removedmembershiprc
    113
    I am wondering why we still treat humans as causal agents with rewards and punishments that are functions of that supposed agency when reality is so obviously determined
  • Relativist
    829
    I'm not a scientist but Newtonian physics applies at the quantum level.TheMadFool
    Not true. Newtonian physics is strictly deterministic. Quantum mechanics is not.
    I believe the "problem" (?) with quantum mechanics is that it's random.Sunnyside
    That's true but imprecise. Quantum mechanics is probabilistically deterministic. This means there is not one discrete possible outcome; rather, there is a well-defined probabilistic distribution of possible outcomes.
  • Sunnyside
    33
    That's true but imprecise. Quantum mechanics is probabilistically deterministic.Relativist
    I'm having some trouble with this, could you explain it to me?
  • Sunnyside
    33
    ↪Sunnyside I know. I also thought that was the case. Randomness probably applies to sub-atomic phenomena and not at the atomic level. The two are different I believe. Your comments...TheMadFool
    What about them?
  • Echarmion
    648
    We're physical, our brains are physical i.e. we're all made up of particles.TheMadFool

    The physical is something that only exists in our heads. How then can we be physical if we contain the physical?
  • petrichor
    186
    I'm not a scientist but Newtonian physics applies at the quantum level. If I'm correct that means particles, their position and velocity, are deterministic in behavior.

    Knowledge of initial states of particles can be used to predict their properties at some other time in the future.
    TheMadFool

    There are things that happen all the time at small scales (with real and obvious effects at large scales) that seem to be truly random. Some interpretations try to restore a deterministic picture, but usually at the cost of some other intuition that we tend to hold, like realism, locality, or counterfactual definiteness.

    Even such things as whether a single photon will reflect from or pass through a glass surface appear to involve real randomness.
  • petrichor
    186
    Randomness probably applies to sub-atomic phenomena and not at the atomic level.TheMadFool

    Not so. It applies at all levels.
  • petrichor
    186
    Do you know that without quantum indeterminacy, the sun wouldn't shine?
  • Relativist
    829

    A quantum mechanical system evolves over time in strict accordance with a time-dependent Schroedinger equation. This means that at every point in time, the system is in a deterministic quantum state.

    A quantum state is a multivalued vector; i.e. it's not a discrete number, but rather a set of numbers - where "number" is referring to something that can be measured. Prior to measurement, all the values exist simultaneously, in what's called a "superposition". When a measurement is made, only one of the values will be measured. Across multiple measurement, the set of measured values will be consistent with a well-defined probability distribution.
  • enqramot
    13
    I've never believed in free will. To me, life looks rather like a multidimensional movie. Apart from the usual sound and vision, we get in the bargain pain, taste, memories, feeling of cold, warm, you name it. Imperfect beings cannot control anything. Our plans are bound to misfire from time to time. Moreover, we don't even control our thoughts. For all I know, they can be served by a foreign agent. How do they come about? Can you invent a thought? Sometimes there's a clear trigger for our thoughts, that trigger not being part of us. Humans are very prone to manipulation. Our feeble minds wouldn't stand a chance to see through such manipulation. The moment you stop believing you're being manipulated, the manipulation becomes 'perfect'. Now, is the future predetermined? It's hard to tell. Another possibility is: it is predetermined but it's not possible to find out what it's gonna be in advance. The truth that cannot be proven or disproven isn't any less true. I can't even imagine a situation where free will would be possible or make any sense.
  • Sunnyside
    33
    I'm still not sure how probability can factor into determinism, it seems like a contradiction of terms. What decides which value is measured?
  • Relativist
    829
    ↪Relativist
    I'm still not sure how probability can factor into determinism, it seems like a contradiction of terms.
    Sunnyside
    Do you agree that a system can be considered deterministic if it evolves over time strictly per an equation over time? That is the case with a quantum system. (I'll defer your question about measurement until you consider this).
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    I'm not a scientist but Newtonian physics applies at the quantum level. If I'm correct that means particles, their position and velocity, are deterministic in behavior.TheMadFool

    So one comment is that "I'm not a scientist" should be emphasized there.

    Why are you proposing that quantum mechanics is deterministic, exactly?
  • PoeticUniverse
    622
    Quantum mechanics is probabilistically deterministic. This means there is not one discrete possible outcome; rather, there is a well-defined probabilistic distribution of possible outcomes.Relativist

    That's a good way of putting it, for the probabilities add to 1, this being what is called 'unitary'.
  • Sunnyside
    33
    I've done some reading about this and now I have more questions than answers. My answer to your question is that yes, it makes sense that if a system can be modeled by mathematical equations then there should never be any place in time that system varies from where the equations say it should be. That's what I understand as determinism.
  • Relativist
    829
    Great. As I said, a Schroedinger equation indeed does that for a quantum system.

    The tricky part is that a measurement does something. What it DOES is subject to interpretation, and there are a variety of interpretations of quantum mechanics. For example, according to the "Copenhagen" interpretation, a measurement causes the wave function to collapse (the Schroedinger equation defines a wave): prior to measurement, all the eigenvalues exist concurrently; after the measurement only one exists: the wave function has collapsed to the single value.

    By contrast, in the "many worlds" interpretation, a measurement entails the measurer becomes "entangled" with a single eigenvalue, but the others continue to exist - but not within the world wherein lies the measurer. From the point of view of the measurer, this looks the same as the Copenhagen interpretation.

    It is unpredictable which eigenvalue will be collapsed to (Copenhagen) or experienced (Many Worlds), but it is a certainty that it will be one of them, and the probability for each is known. This is not strict determinism, but it is probabilistic determination. This is the term used by physicalist philosopher David Armstrong. The connotation is that these states are still the product of physical laws of nature.
  • Sunnyside
    33
    So in the many worlds version it's like an observed probability but not an actual one. In the Copenhagen version you say the wave function collapses and leaves only one value to measure, can it be any value? This doesn't entirely make sense to me because if the measurement is causing the particle to exist in only one way then that must have been the way it was before the measurement which means the effect would seem to precede the cause. Does anything determine which way becomes "real" or only the measurement? Is the measurement where the "random" part of quantum mechanics comes from?
  • mostlywrong
    4
    we all hallucinate conscious reality from dmt produced in small fleeting amounts as we go check into that about free will
  • mostlywrong
    4
    as far as the test goes scientifically it actually depends on the observer of the results as to where the particle is just to add more confusion it is if it remembers witch observer determining the outcome if we are talking the split particle test using photons units of light particles
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