Randomness and free will.........

Is anything truly random? You roll dice and have a 1 in 6 chance of picking the correct side it will land on. If we knew the angle it is thrown at, the friction, the speed, x number of variables, etc. we can find out exactly what side it will land on. So this poses some questions.

1a) God created the universe in the big bang and all of the laws (gravity etc.) we know today are made. Therefore, by these first few causes, the effects are set in stone. Life forms slowly and becomes very complex to the point we know it today. God would know the outcome already. When taking a look at life forms today, we are far too complex to try and propose the thought that we do not have free will. However, when you break it down into all of the very basics and then build upon the basics slowly, it becomes more apparent that we could all be living the way we were set up to be from the very beginning with the big bang. Not only could it be predicted from those first few causes, but also that everything we do today is a result of the first causes. Even though we think we have control, we are just a result of all the “laws” imposed on us from the beginning.

-How likely is this?

-If it can be proven that we have free will, how do you prove that we have free will? How do you show that God created us with his variables defined for us, yet we have free will? From my thinking it seems like we simply accept free will but are not completely fufilled by the answer. Such as a question that is either too complex for our simple minds or we do not have even close to enough information to solve at this time. Such as how space or God or whatever it is has always been (logically).

1b) The universe is a result of the big bang for an unknown reason (or in the absence of reason). The exact same argument is proposed, except this time any reasons for being are left out of the question. Does this change anything?

  1. Is it possible to show when choice first came into being?

A dice throw is about as good a random number generator as you can get. Einstein claimed that God does not play dice, but I think even he would agree that dice play dice.

Your argument seems to assume that the universe is inherently deterministic, like Newtonian physics. That’s probably not the case. There’s no sensitivity to intitial systems in initial states with Newton; shoot the cannonball ten times, get the exact same ten results. Other areas of physics, like fluid dynamics and quantum physics, not so much.

Really, though, I just wanted to pop in and say I initially misread your thread title as “Roadrunners and free will.” :smiley:

I’ll ignore the God stuff for the moment…

How does randomness qualify as free will anyway ? It’s an old philosophical problem with free will; if you are deterministic, you have none; if you are random, you have none - you’re just random.

Now my personal belief is, there is no free will; it’s a useful illusion. We believe in free will because it’s so hard to function believing otherwise. IMHO, we are simply ignorant of most of our thought processes, and call the resulting blindness to our own motives/reasoning “free will”.

Mind you, while I don’t believe in it, I talk and act like I do all the time; anything else is far too awkward.

Einstein was wrong in his assumption though. We have an uncertainty and really my question has to do with if this uncertainty still allows for free will.

What I meant by bringing up randomness is that if everything is indeed random, we are simply a result of random occurances. We have no free will. This brings up the question of how you could put people in jail for their randomness :smiley: Obviously this wouldnt be something we could follow even if it were true.

May I ask you to define free will as you conceive it, since you believe it is nonexistent. Do you deny that we do and can make choices?

Which is my point; as someone once said “Everyone believes in free will - we have no choice”.

The lack of a good definition is part of why I don’t believe in it; I find I hard to believe in something that people can’t seem to define properly.

I believe we make choices much the same way that a computer does, just messier and more sophisticated. No “free will” is involved, just a bunch of neural networks responding to input as they have learned to.

So do you think that on a whole, if you knew all the necessary variables at the beginning of the universe, and yet not the actual events that happen, you could predict what would happen? The reason being, at some event, (any event), a certain percentage follow one path and another pecentage follow another path. Therefore we are simply random consequences. Is this correct? Believing that there is no free will is a huge leap to make. Do you think you can explain more of how you can come to that conclusion?

But you say you believe it is nonexistent. How can you hold a proposition to be false if you cannot assign it a meaning?

What I’m trying to get at is that no one (I think) denies we make choices and act upon them. Also no one can deny that what will happen will happen. When you say there is no free will what are you saying? What is the contradiction between free will and determinism?

Ah, yes, but can the choices we make on a daily basis, really be called choices by the very definition of the word* choice?* Every single choice that is made, is decided by a myriad of determining factors and as such can not be rightly deemed a choice, as you do not have the ability to alter the line of causation or use your ‘free will’ in deciding the outcome of your action. The probabilistic nature of dice rolls, or quantum mechanics is only probabilistic because the factors that determine the outcome are not completely accounted for. If they were, then QM would be just as deterministic as Newtonian physics.

He didn’t say it was false, he said he didn’t believe it. Which makes sense: it’s imposibble to believe a proposition you can’t define.

This sounds like a good book and/or movie. :smiley:

First, there appears to be pure randomness in the universe ( QM ), plus chaotic processes that rapidly expand the effects of that randomness. So no, I don’t think the universe is predictable. Second, we are not “random”; we are the result of evolution, not randomness.

Third, not only do I lack a good definition of free will ( like Apos said ), I don’t see where it could come from. What part of our brains can generate “free will”, and how can we meaningfully judge any answer to that question without a good definition ?

Choice: The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.

I happen to prefer chocolate to vanilla. It may be true that this is the result of a line of causation beyond my control. (Why would I want to change it?) Nonetheless, at the ice cream store, I can choose chocolate and that’s what I get. Why would you say I did not choose?

How can he say there is none if he doesn’t know what it is?

How can we say it exists, if we can’t even define it ?

If the universe is inherently unpredictable (a scientific and not a philosophical judgment, by the way, and thus subject to change with new data), what sense can be made of the concept of determinism?

That touches on the apparent conflicts between QM ( random ) and relativity ( determinist ), which means you’re looking for the next Einstein, not some guy on a message board. :slight_smile:

That being said; as far as I can tell, the universe is largely deterministic, with randomness constantly welling up from the quantum level.

If it’s not completely deterministic, wouldn’t you say it’s not deterministic at all? Either there’s only one possible future, or there isn’t.

Not necessarily. Parts of the world can be deterministic, parts random; for example, one can plot planetary orbits far into the future, while those planets are made of particles that act in a random manner.

If the universe is inherently unpredictable than there is nothing but free will. In that case, actions cannot be attributed to anything but the universe. Your body cannot make a free choice, because there is no probability - that is, the notion of a deterministic entity is nonsensical. However, perception allows for memory, thus the appearance of determinism. The universe makes the decision, which is not a decision at all. It’s not free or unfree, because the universe contains itself. There question of freedom arises when memory attributes actions to the body, despite the fact that the universe itself was the actor and the acted upon. Memory can only be discontinuos because it is limited by that which remembers, resulting in ideas of time and space. It is only through memory that boundaries become possible. We are absolutely free - so free that free cannot even apply. All choices are perfectly spontaneous.

Livin’ up to your name. Cool.