Choice

It seems the more we understand about the universe, the more deterministic our lives are. We are a product of these cosmic and natural patterns which are not only beyond our control, but control us.

Now it seems to me that the independent choices we feel we make are a product of our ignorance regarding our deterministic fate. The “choices” we make are influenced by a series of factors although it is as if we act like we are independent from these factors.

Is our lack of knowledge of a deterministic universe the invention of choice?

Before you resign yourself to determinism, you should check out quantum mechanics, and I guess the philosophy of quantum mechanics; which , from my limited physics background says that there on a subatomic level nothing is determined, there is an inherent uncertainty as to how a given particle will behave. This is not an epistemological, but a metaphysical uncertainty (though the two do become distinctly intertwined in quantum mechanics). Check out writings on Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Schrodinger’s Cat :slight_smile:

Determinism is a hang-up from the era of Newtonian Mechanics which did believe that if one could no every single cause in the universe, every single effect could be predicted. Quantum mechanics straight denies this.

Quantum mechanics showes us that nothing is impossible yet 99.9999…% of the possibilities are highly improbable. For example quantum mechanics says its not impossible for me to go through a wall yet 99.9999999999…% of the time I won’t. If this is where science has led us into a world of probabilities and possiblities then my problem is what determine(s)d these probabilities? Does this not seem to go along with the religious view point that the universe is/was chaos and god came along and ordered it (Old Testament)?

And don’t forget that quantum mechanics is still in direct opposition to Einstiens theories of relativity and all our understanings of the big things like gravity and space.

If quantum mechanics showes us a chaotic universe filled with improabalities yet we exprience a generally ordered universe, for example we dont go through walls the earth is still in orbit I’ve only exprienced this dimension and time, I think, while awake anyhow ect. and even perhaps one could say its all a false perception of sturcture and order but it is however what we exprience, not at the subatomic level (theoretically) but at this level isn’t it? Or is it all an illusion?

I’m uncertain that quantum mechanics really dissproves our perceptions of determinism.

Just look at choice is their any totaly free choice? Everychoice is bound in time, space, and cricumstance.

Let me ask you this question can one make a different choice if one has his life to live over. A choice you made yesterday for example can you have made a diffrent choice if you were to re-live yesterday being in the same circumstances and with the same charachter. Charachter ofcourse is your conditioning and influences from the outside. You realize that all your thoughts are influenced by society, idealogy, the outside world, a book you read, some exprience you had ect…

Interesting point regarding quantum mechanics although it seems to me that concepts such as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is just an extension of our uncertainty which is the essence of choice or possibly chance.

With certainty, there is no choice to be made. Now of course one can argue that nothing is certain, but is this not still a choice in itself through a level of certainty?

With concepts that we have a basic acceptance of such as language, breathing, et cetera; there really is no choice to be made because we accept it with certainty. Yet, when faced with uncertainty choice arises.

Now it is not to claim that everything is deterministic because as long as we have things which encompass uncertainty then we cannot claim everything is deterministic. In this uncertainty we find choice. In that in which we hold is deterministic there is no choice.

Can we safely say that the universe may very well have a deterministic purpose and that our ignorance of that purpose completely is the source of our independent choice within it?

The problem is how people interpret the Uncertainty Principle…

All, and I mean ALL it states is that you cannot know the position and velocity of a particle during any specific point in time (aka Now). This does NOT mean one cannot accurately predict what will happen if a particle of <x,y,z> velocity and direction collides with one of <a,b,c> … which is the concept of cause and effect. It also does not mean that one cannot know where a particle was and when it was there.

Quantum theory does not contradict determinism, as everything in quantum theory is still causal and predictable.

The problem with the previous posts is the idea of how perspective plays a role in randomness. Nothing is random…ever…at all. However, things can be “percieved” as random. It’s this apparent randomness that gives us probability…however, if you could rewind your perspective back in time, things would happen the exact same way no matter how many times you watched it happen. THAT is determinism, and THAT is what quantum theory DOES support.

Reletivity and whatnot really have no bearings on what happens, as they are all mathematically reduceable and therefore, concrete results for concrete causes who had many concrete effects preceeding them.

Chaos is nothing more than a quantification of apparent randomness. Fractals are considered products of modern Chaos Theory, and if you ever screw with a fractal program, you’ll see, given the same seed and preconditions, a fractal will turn out exactly the same no matter how many times you run it. Add variances in such as random number seeds (which as everyone knows, isn’t really random), or time dependency, and yes, you’ll see something different depending on when you run it…however, if you freeze the clock and run it again… same…damn… results.

God does not play dice with the Universe.” - Albert Einstein

Incredible thanks for clearing me up on those points I know so little of quantum theory other then that of what others have told me.
So your saying even on the sub atomic level in retrospect everything is determined and would happen the same exact way? I’m really looking for clarification on this point because I’m so confused about all this.

You’re not at all confused, that’s exactly right.

DAmn it Raf, you beat me to the thing about the Uncertainty principle, but I disagree with your overall messages.

You might consider looking into quantum fluctuations, and wave functions…Both are based off probabilities, which to me means that their is infact a random element in the fabric of existence…

No, actually you’re wrong.

Their calculations accomodate the uncertainty principle, but, like I said, post-facto given the same situation, the same results will occur. Just because we can never be sure of the preconditions does not mean they are there…

Uncertainty is about forward thinking, however, determinism is proved with backwards, reflective thinking.

There is a difference between Humans not being able to know, and the actual energy levels being based off probabilities…Similarly, there is a difference between humans not being able to know where something is actually located, and the idea that the object is there based off probabilities.

If I throw a baseball at a brick wall untill the baseball goes through the wall, and then I reverse time and do the exact same thing over, the same results will no necessarily occur. Infact, if I did this an infinite amount of times, their would be a infinite amount of different outcomes. Thus is the nature of probabilities…

It is really tough to say who is right or wrong regarding this because there really is so much we do not understand completely.

I think it comes down to a question of does the universe have a determined purpose, function, or goal or is the universe just a series of random events?

If we claim that the universe does have a specific function or goal, and we are just ignorant of it’s entirety, then it is understandable that the areas in which we do not understand completely leave room for individual choice.

It does seem that the more we understand is found in recognizable patterns. These patterns remove choice as long as they are consistent. For example the phases of the moon are pretty consistent based upon our knowledge of such patterns. However when there is no consistent pattern, then “choice” enters into the equation.

Just because we do not recognize a pattern doesn’t mean that there isn’t a pattern. Surely history has demonstrated quite clearly that we understand patterns more clearly through the progressions of time. Yet, unless we have these established patterns, then choice remains and choice is merely the lack of understanding in an established/consistent pattern which is ignorant of perhaps universal patterns beyond our awareness.

Hey, I know exactly what you’re refering to, Nihil, but it’s not correct. It’s derived from the very uncertainty principle I’m saying is a measurment problem. We know that energy can be expressed as a waveform, but we cannot know where we are in the waveform at any given time without disturbing the very waveform we’re trying to measure.

As a result, you have to use probability to figure where we are in the waveform. This is possible because of the periodic nature of energy…but I digress.

I think a better example of apparent randomness is the antimatter effect. It has been theorized that if two photons collide with a negativly charged lepton (read electron), this lepton will travel backwards in time. As an apparent result, we see spontaneous generation of positrons (antimatter), but it’s really just an electron traveling back in time. It continues to travel back in time until it collides with another electron and turns to unfocused energy or it hits two more photons…at which time it turns back into an electron. This has major implications in fusion energy, actually.

However, if you break the effect down, it’s not random. You can actually probablize (is that a word?) much of what would occur in such a reaction…and if you break it down into a mathematical sense, it’s described using parametrics in a R4 time over space displacement model… and can be replicated.

It’s APPARENT randomness. Don’t bring up Schrod’s Cat either…

“Quantum objects are described by probability fields, however, this does not mean they are indeterminit, only uncertain.”

That URL has a good model of the antimatter effect I was talking about earlier.

Yeah…

uh,

what Raf said.

Hey mister i have no original thoughts, why are you stating the obvious? Read a bit more before you start calling yourself a divine being; perhaps “Being and Nothingness,” rather than a simplified outline of Sartre’s work would do thee good. Husserl, Heidegger, Hegel–all essential to your synthetic comprehension of a man more difficult than “existence precedes essence.” Thy platitudinous prattle doth simplify the sagacious dicta of a man superior to thee. “Does our ignorance of a deterministic universe create choice?” !!! that’s not even a legitimate question, you overly dramatic, egotistical snob! I enjoyed the melodramatic rhetoric employed–you certainly made idiocy sound profound! the early buddhists you should read b/c they’ve got a lot of simple minded quotes that they flower up to sound profound also. you’re a poet, not a philosopher–that is, you are able to disguise platitudes in ornate circumlocution. Get off your high horse, you highfalutin’ jerkface. No one likes you although you want them to. Become a rhetoric teacher, or something more suited to a man of your calibur.

Dude, good job! I’m still laughing my ass off at that one.

…but don’t you worship a contrived religion…

wait… aren’t all religions contrived…

…carry on.

Yes, but who is the reverend Xen talking to?

[de’trop licks his chops in expectation]

Wait a second, let me get my thesarus and a plate of armor.

Okay, I’m ready.

Who cares? His opinion means shit to me, it’s just entertaining.

Xen…

[whistle, whistle]

Here boy…

He read it, PMed me saying how awesome I am.

I told him his opinion means shit to me.

He then told me how awesome I am again.

I then told him his opinion still means shit to me.

He told me how awesome I am.

I told him his opinion means shit to me.

I’m awaiting a reply for that last PM…

I wonder what he’ll say?

I guess you won’t be going with me to Vancouver, eh, Xen?

[snicker]