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This is a spin-off from rookie1ja's Lazy-Bones Paradox (if there is a destiny, why bother going to the doctor's when ill?). A belief in destiny may lead to bad decision making, but that's not to say the belief itself is incorrect.

I'd like to get some thoughts on the Destiny vs Free Will subject, but first let's get a few things out of the way:

The question of destiny doesn't depend on some quasi-religious notion of a "master plan". Destiny may simply exist without anyone knowing what the "plan" is, perhaps just as a consequence of physics. If the current state of the universe and the laws of physics acting upon it dictate all that happens, then this determines the future regardless of whether we can predict it. In my opinion destiny simply requires there to be just one possible future.

Clarification of "possible": "Possible" is often taken to mean "something we do not know to be untrue (or impossible)". If I bought a ticket for last night's lottery but haven't checked the results yet, and you ask me "Did you win the lottery?", I might answer "It's possible, I don't know yet". In reality, the outcome is already determined, so my winning the lottery is only possible if it actually happened. I either won or I didn't, I just don't know which it is, so I used the word "possible" to indicate a lack of knowledge in this case. But that's not what I mean when I say "one possible future". I mean only one future which may happen (regardless of knowledge).

Picture a hypothetical observer standing outside of time. Would they see time as a line, as a single sequence of events from the distant past to the distant future? If so, however unpredictable the future may be, destiny is a reality. In this case, the notion of "free will" may be a useful one, but it is an illusion (caused by our inability to keep track of the underlying mechanics, the cause and effect which dictates our every thought). You might say that those who believe in destiny and make bad decisions because of it were destined to do so, and those who believe in free will and make good decisions because of it were equally destined to do so.

You might argue that Free Will can exist alongside Destiny. Consider this example:

You've been kidnapped and locked in a room with a red door and a green one. You are told "You have the freedom to leave the room by whichever door you choose, and accept the consequences". So you choose (say) the green door, which leads to a reward and an exit. Later you find out that the red door was a fake door with just a wall behind it. The maker of this room (having studied the way you think in infinite detail) knew that you were certain to choose the green door and therefore didn't bother building a second exit. It's true that you had "the freedom to leave the room by whichever door you choose", since you would only ever have chosen the green door, regardless of how "free" you thought your choice was. Freedom doesn't necessarily mean that there is more than one possible outcome.

For the purposes of this debate, however, I would like to define "Free Will" as the ability to make more than one possible choice. Which makes it utterly incompatible with Destiny.

So it's a fight to the death. And I propose that the deciding factor is whether or not we have more than one possible future.

Let battle commence!

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heres what i think.

Im not very religious but i think what will happen will happen. your'e choices are not made for you but you will always choose a certain choice. refering to the door example, you were not forced to choose the green door but that was what you were going to pick no matter how hard you thought about it. If destiny is a definite reality then there is no way to change it. im not saying i belive or do not belive in destiny for sure but if it does exisist whatever you do is "known" already and trying to change that is useless and does not change anything.

Now that im thinking about it, what if there is no destiny. that means what you do is not predetermined. this would also lead me to belive that amything uneeded or catastrofically useless and pointless could ocurr at any time. The lack of any form of destiny could also mean the lack of any higher entity

I agree that there could be a balance. i do not think that there is absolutly no destiny but i do not feel that we are forced to do everything we do. i think destiny keeps balance and order. I also belive that sometimes human nature is explained as destiny.

after writing this and thinking about it, i have concluded that there is a balance of destiny and free will

im interested to see what other people will write.

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In my opinion destiny simply requires there to be just one possible future.

...

For the purposes of this debate, however, I would like to define "Free Will" as the ability to make more than one possible choice. Which makes it utterly incompatible with Destiny.

So it's a fight to the death. And I propose that the deciding factor is whether or not we have more than one possible future.

It's a thought-provoking question indeed. However, I disagree with the premise of your proposal, particularly your definition of destiny. Destiny connotes determination of events. This is closely tied to causality, the relationship between events and their outcomes. That there is guaranteed to be only one outcome does not guarantee that only one is possible.

Consider rolling a die ten times. There are 610 possible outcomes. You know in advance that you will only end up with one of those results, but that does not make any one outcome any less possible than another.

Let's say, however, that you could travel in time one minute and observe the result, then, with that knowledge, return to the present. Would it be fair to say that now there is only one possible outcome? Does this knowledge change the available possibilities? No, because there's no causal connection between your knowledge and the result of the die throw. All the actual factors in the result (the manner of the throw, the physical laws governing the bounce and roll on the surface of the table, etc.) have not changed, so regardless of your knowledge, all the possible outcomes are just as possible.

This paradox is at the heart of much of the philosophical and speculative debate around such topics as time travel, parallel universes, and predetestination, so there are plenty of great minds that have pondered these enigmas. That said, I am of the opinion that "free will" is perfectly compatible with "one possible future," and that this does not in any way imply destiny, or a predetermination of the outcome.

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Posted · Report post

I didn't really read most of what people said, though I probably should

but I believe in free will

because for destiny to exist, everything must be predetermined.

I don't think that's logical

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i do not agree that for destiny to exist everything must be predetermined. i know this is confusing(my fault) but i think that certain events will not happen and certain events will but on a daily basis, desicions like "what should i wear today" and "what should i have for breakfast" are not predetermined and generally unimportant.

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Now that im thinking about it, what if there is no destiny. that means what you do is not predetermined. this would also lead me to belive that amything uneeded or catastrofically useless and pointless could ocurr at any time.
It does, doesn't it? Or is that just my life?

The lack of any form of destiny could also mean the lack of any higher entity
Could do. But then if there is a destiny there's nothing left for the higher entity to do. Tee hee. Well, you did say you weren't very religious! ;)

That there is guaranteed to be only one outcome does not guarantee that only one is possible.
Interesting. Can something be possible if it doesn't happen?

Consider rolling a die ten times. There are 610 possible outcomes. You know in advance that you will only end up with one of those results, but that does not make any one outcome any less possible than another.
Do the multiple "possible" outcomes not just relate to a lack of knowledge? We don't know what the one outcome will be, but perhaps it is predetermined nevertheless. The roll of a die gives an unpredictable result, but is it a truly random result? Does such a thing even exist? (for clarity, I'm not trying to imply some religious-style "plan" here, just talking about physics)

Let's say, however, that you could travel in time one minute and observe the result, then, with that knowledge, return to the present. Would it be fair to say that now there is only one possible outcome? Does this knowledge change the available possibilities? No, because there's no causal connection between your knowledge and the result of the die throw. All the actual factors in the result (the manner of the throw, the physical laws governing the bounce and roll on the surface of the table, etc.) have not changed, so regardless of your knowledge, all the possible outcomes are just as possible.
Hang on. You know what the outcome will be, but you say other outcomes are still possible, even though you know that they will not happen? Not sure if I can buy that!

A lot of this comes down to that awkward little word "possible", doesn't it? I didn't define what it means, only what it doesn't mean in this case. The dictionary doesn't help much either, as it defines "possible" using various synonyms. I'd say that in common use, "possible" means "not known to be false". Take knowledge out of the equation (or assume complete knowledge of all things, including the future), and "possible" now means "not false", or just plain old "true". This is more than just word play. I think in a general sense, possibility is equivalent to reality. That which is (or will be) is possible. That which is not (or will not be) is not possible. Only my opinion of course! :D

Some interesting points raised, keep 'em coming!

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Hang on. You know what the outcome will be, but you say other outcomes are still possible, even though you know that they will not happen? Not sure if I can buy that!

I buy it perfectly

because you would have to exactly duplicate your action from the future where you saw the dice roll

if you are rolling the dice, then this would be pretty much impossible, a small twitch that differs from what you saw in the future could change the results, and If you are viewing, with the person rolling the dice sitting across from you, your actions might influence their actions just a bit. which is enough

just like Marty McFly knew that Chuck Berry wrote Johnny B Goode,

yet by playing it at the Party Under the Sea dance, Chuck Berry heard it over the phone, so Marty actually wrote it

things set in stone were changed

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I buy it perfectly

because you would have to exactly duplicate your action from the future where you saw the dice roll

if you are rolling the dice, then this would be pretty much impossible, a small twitch that differs from what you saw in the future could change the results, and If you are viewing, with the person rolling the dice sitting across from you, your actions might influence their actions just a bit. which is enough

That leaves two possibilities:

1) Despite all this, the dice roll must come out exactly the same because there is only one future. May not be as unlikely as it seems in this scenario because by skipping forward one minute into the future and then returning to the present you have not done anything to change the course of history, just taken a sneaky peek at the result. The result you saw in the future was presumably rolled by you having returned to the present after seeing that result. There could be one consistent series of events here. We could come up with a paradoxical series of events by rolling the die then going back into the past to witness yourself doing that, when you hadn't been there the first time. That would probably change the outcome. But I'd rather not get too hung up on time travel paradoxes - it's a bit off topic, and paradoxes are paradoxes after all.

2) The dice roll turns out differently, as you suggest. The future in which the first result happened was real (you were there!), and the future in which the second result happened is certainly real, since that seems to be the one we're going forward with. But that still doesn't create a distinction between what is possible (many results) and what is real (many futures).

I think Duh Puck was suggesting the first of these scenarios, but we needn't necessarily dismiss the second.

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I'd like to correct something I said about Free Will earlier - rather than the ability to make more than one possible choice, I think it is perhaps the ability to make a choice which was not predetermined. A small but significant distinction.

Using my just-moved goalposts, I'll put my own cards on the table (since everyone else seems to have lost interest but I still find it fascinating). Personally I don't believe in either Free Will or Destiny. I think all the evidence suggests we have many futures, all of which are predetermined. So there.

Talk to me, somebody! I'm bored! :blink:

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I think all the evidence suggests we have many futures, all of which are predetermined. So there.

Continue on with this thought.Who or what predetermined the future.

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Continue on with this thought.Who or what predetermined the future.

My understanding of physics is this:

Newtonian physics gives us a model of a clockwork universe where everything is predetermined. If only we knew the current state of the universe in sufficient detail we could predict the future with complete certainty.

Only trouble is, it doesn't work like that.

Quantum mechanics is something I'm presently trying to get my head round (more the philosophical implications than the detail - I'll leave that to the physicists). Particularly the idea of decoherence interests me. In simple terms, this is when a particle stops acting like a wave and starts acting like a particle. It's triggered by interaction with other particles (ie. measurement or detection). A wave spreads out in all directions, is in many places at once. A particle has a particular location. The wave aspect (which is very real, in the sense that it has interference patterns for example) describes the probability of the particle being at any given place, and decoherence is when the particle "chooses" to be in one place based on that probability wave. That's a gross oversimplification but I think it's a pretty good model for a non-physicist to work with. The point I'm getting at is that it seems to be a really random event. The probability is predictable, the actual outcome is not. This sort of non-deterministic behaviour is what Einstein was railing against when he said "God does not play dice".

I personally find a lack of determinism troubling. A random event leaves more to be explained in some sense - what decides that the random outcome will be this and not that? Some people might be happy to give God the job, but this is no explanation in my opinion. The most elegant model, in my mind, is one in which all possible outcomes occur in an equally real sense. We cannot experience all these realities interactively (ie. one reality cannot be aware of another). Effectively we have infinitely many parallel universes branching into infinitely many more at every instant of time. Looking at one branch it seems that the course that branch took was random, but in fact all available courses were taken. On some level that may be mind-boggling, but it's also very simple.

The implications are interesting, for example time travel paradoxes are no longer paradoxes, since they invariably assume one course of events. Every possible course our lives could take is taken, by ourselves, in a very real sense. Any bad decision you ever made, which could have been done better, was done better, by you. Not in this branch of reality but another equally real one. It's reassuring to think that. But this does not give us Free Will, since your actions remain predetermined. But what is also predetermined is that you will live out every possible course of action you could do. Who needs Free Will when you can have every possible future, and not be stuck with just choosing one. Now that's having your cake and eating it (and not having it, and having it but not eating it).

Enough. Time for someone else's thoughts.

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I don't think that there are really any random actions or events in this world. A machine could be made to flip a coin or to roll a dice and get the same every time. I think that peoples actions are 'determined' by their history and their personality. Kind of like the green door example, there is the choice, and it isn't 'predetermined' but, if there were some kind of observer who studied humans, and nature, he could predict what would happen.

On the many universes that you were talking about, if I understand what you are saying, then all the other people in this world could be 'living' in another dimension and I could be the only person who is truly living in this world. That doesn't seem logical some how but I am not sure how yet. I will keep thinking on that.

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Posted · Report post

All of us have one certain destiny in this mortal coil, but the universe will outlive us all.

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There’s a fly in your ointment. It is true that most people’s actions can be determined with much certainty. If you were to throw someone with mental illness in the mix , their actions could be anything then predictable even in view of their history.

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Octopuppy, have you been watching BBC documentaries again? :rolleyes:

I'm still interested in this topic and have enjoyed the observations so far, but I just haven't had much time to participate lately. Don't go away.

Edited by Duh Puck
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I don't think that there are really any random actions or events in this world. A machine could be made to flip a coin or to roll a dice and get the same every time.
Maybe, maybe not. Flip it high enough or roll it far enough and quantum unpredictability could come into play. The apparent randomness of quantum mechanics can't be ignored. It works its way up into large scale systems.

I think that peoples actions are 'determined' by their history and their personality. Kind of like the green door example, there is the choice, and it isn't 'predetermined' but, if there were some kind of observer who studied humans, and nature, he could predict what would happen.
When I say 'predetermined', all I mean is that the future is determined by the past. I think it has to be, unless there is some other factor like randomness involved.

On the many universes that you were talking about, if I understand what you are saying, then all the other people in this world could be 'living' in another dimension and I could be the only person who is truly living in this world.
Wow, that's not at all what I meant but it's a curious idea. Our universe is all that we can experience or interact with, so other people are in the same one as you, otherwise you wouldn't be able to see them. On the other hand, you can not experience an alternative future, or an alternative present based on something that happened differently in the past. But that's not to say they don't exist. These are the parallel universes I'm talking about. Other versions of the whole universe containing other versions of you (providing you haven't died in them) and everybody else, living out a different story that branched off from yours at some point in time.

There’s a fly in your ointment. It is true that most people’s actions can be determined with much certainty. If you were to throw someone with mental illness in the mix , their actions could be anything then predictable even in view of their history.
I wasn't talking about predictability. I'd say most people's actions are unpredictable in general. Given the complexity of the human brain it's understandable, and quantum mechanics suggests that there would not be predictability even if we could know all there is to know about someone's brain. What I'm saying is there's two ways to look at that. It's either random, or if all possible actions are carried out in parallel, it's deterministic in a sense (but not from the point of view of a single timeline). Since we're naturally predisposed to look at things from the point of view of a single time line you need to step back a bit to see the determinism.
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Octopuppy, have you been watching BBC documentaries again? :rolleyes:

I'm still interested in this topic and have enjoyed the observations so far, but I just haven't had much time to participate lately. Don't go away.

Thanks for the link, Duh Puck. That was very interesting. The physics I'm going from is a bit old-fashioned by comparison, but it's funny how the whole notion of parallel universes is suddenly gaining respectability. I'd say what was in that program is a whole different chain of thought, though. I may never have a good understanding of that kind of physics, though it struck me that the "parallel universes" mentioned there can actually interact with each other, which is a curious notion.

What I'm putting forward here is that the complete reasoning behind one particular kind of parallel universe is not beyond us mere mortals. All it takes is an attempt to understand wave-particle duality.

But you can also put forward arguments for parallel universes in even more mundane terms. Check out this quite readable paper by Max Tegmark, describing many different kinds of parallel universe. The "level 1" type depends on nothing other than infinite space with a reasonably homogeneous distribution of matter, which we seem to have. I don't think it does a terribly great job of explaining the quantum physics part so you feel like you really understand it, but I guess that's beyond the scope of the paper.

http://www.wintersteel.com/files/ShanaArti.../multiverse.pdf

What really left an impression on me was the level 4 type, which sheds a little light on what makes real things real. If you could conceive of some other universe which was logically consistent, how could it not exist? What's so special about our universe that gives it the property of existence? Perhaps reality is a human invention.

Keep it real, people!

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There’s a fly in your ointment. It is true that most people’s actions can be determined with much certainty. If you were to throw someone with mental illness in the mix , their actions could be anything then predictable even in view of their history.

What makes some one 'mentally ill' I don't know, but I would guess that they just don't think like most of us do, so, in our great brilliance, we say they are 'mentally ill' and put them in asylums. I would imagine that their actions actually do have a logical source, but we just can't see it.

What I was saying about the multiple realities was that everybody would be experiencing other worlds or realities so they couldn't be in yours. Let's take a very simple example. If I am walking with two friends and we come to a fork in the road, there are 8 possibilities. If I understand your theory correctly, at that moment 8 new universes would have been created. So let's say that I happen to choose the right fork with both of my friends in my reality but in their realities, they both go down the left fork. So now, they the physical person are in all the universes, but something is different about the one where they took the left fork, so in my reality, they aren't really there. After not very long, I could be the only true person left on this earth in my reality.

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That leaves two possibilities:

1) Despite all this, the dice roll must come out exactly the same because there is only one future. May not be as unlikely as it seems in this scenario because by skipping forward one minute into the future and then returning to the present you have not done anything to change the course of history, just taken a sneaky peek at the result. The result you saw in the future was presumably rolled by you having returned to the present after seeing that result. There could be one consistent series of events here. We could come up with a paradoxical series of events by rolling the die then going back into the past to witness yourself doing that, when you hadn't been there the first time. That would probably change the outcome. But I'd rather not get too hung up on time travel paradoxes - it's a bit off topic, and paradoxes are paradoxes after all.

2) The dice roll turns out differently, as you suggest. The future in which the first result happened was real (you were there!), and the future in which the second result happened is certainly real, since that seems to be the one we're going forward with. But that still doesn't create a distinction between what is possible (many results) and what is real (many futures).

I think Duh Puck was suggesting the first of these scenarios, but we needn't necessarily dismiss the second.

Man, there are some juicy morsels left on the table in this thread, and I'm irritated that I haven't made time to consider them fully yet. You've really got me thinking octopuppy, and I wish I had more time to ponder this. Hopefully in the next few days ...

I will say that you are correct that I was referring to the first scenario, but I did want to make a small clarification. If you returned to the present time after gaining knowledge of the outcome of the dice throw, then I can't see how your possession of that knowledge would not alter your throw, and thus become a causal factor, if it's you who are throwing the dice. In that case, you end up with the typical paradoxes depicted in Back to the Future. In my initial post, however, I was thinking about it from the standpoint of a third party. What if you saw the outcome of somebody else's throw, then returned to the present, and observed without interfering in any way? In that scenario, I think it's more plausible to say that the possible outcomes are not affected by your knowledge, since there's no causality.

In any case, the main thing you've got my brain stuck on is the concept of determination due to the laws of physics. As I sit here, deciding what keys to press, I have to wonder whether or not my choices are truly the result of an unavoidable series of physical events. My gut reaction is no, but why? Since this question wanders into the realm of metaphysics and clearly has philosophical implications, it's impossible for me not to draw upon religious belief. However, while most Christians might be able to easily rationalize this as the effect of a spiritual soul influencing the material functions of a physical mind, this is not my belief. I believe that I am a soul, in the biblical sense, not that I have one, and that my thought processes are thus directly connected with the amazing function of my brain. If you were able to materially duplicate my exact physical structure, down to the quantum level, I believe you would have another me, complete with my memories and decision-making inclinations. If so, then my belief would be affected by the concept of determination due to physical laws. Is it possible that quantum fluctuations are the indeterministic loophole that God built into the system so as to enable free-will? Seems like a long shot, but an interesting point to ponder.

In any case, after reading what you said about Einstein's comment that "God does not play dice," and your own uncomfortability with indeterminism, I thought you might enjoy Stephen Hawking's comments on the topic, if you haven't read them already. Probably nothing you haven't already heard, but nicely summed up.

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What I was saying about the multiple realities was that everybody would be experiencing other worlds or realities so they couldn't be in yours. Let's take a very simple example. If I am walking with two friends and we come to a fork in the road, there are 8 possibilities. If I understand your theory correctly, at that moment 8 new universes would have been created. So let's say that I happen to choose the right fork with both of my friends in my reality but in their realities, they both go down the left fork. So now, they the physical person are in all the universes, but something is different about the one where they took the left fork, so in my reality, they aren't really there. After not very long, I could be the only true person left on this earth in my reality.

It's a wonderful thought, but observation would seem not to bear that out. If my friends disappear they can usually be found down at the pub, but not in a different reality, unless they manage to get a few pints in before I arrive.

Drollery aside, lets go through your example. If 3 people choose from a fork in the road there are 8 outcomes (not counting turning back etc). It's a bit oversimplified to say that 8 new universes are created. Really what I'm suggesting is that infinitely many new universes are created in every instant of time, and all variations on the 8 outcomes will each be played out in these, but that's a bit beside the point. Let's say we just pick eight. In one reality, everybody goes down the right fork. In another, you go down the left fork and your friends go right. In another, you go right, one of your friends goes with you and the other goes left. And so on. But there is no reality in which you go right and your friends cease to exist because that's impossible*. I think you're getting confused by the idea that there is one reality which is your reality. Not so. You exist in many realities. There are many equally real versions of you, so all realities are "yours" (except ones where you got run over by a bus last week). Same goes for your friends.

*Actually on consideration it probably is possible but extremely unlikely. In which case there is a reality in which that happens but if you're confused ignore this because it will only confuse you more. Bear in mind it is extremely unlikely.

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Man, there are some juicy morsels left on the table in this thread... You've really got me thinking
Music to my ears, or eyes, even though I can't read music.

I will say that you are correct that I was referring to the first scenario, but I did want to make a small clarification. If you returned to the present time after gaining knowledge of the outcome of the dice throw, then I can't see how your possession of that knowledge would not alter your throw, and thus become a causal factor, if it's you who are throwing the dice.
If there is one course of events, there is nothing to alter. The throw was made by you after having returned from the future, while in possession of whatever knowledge you got there. There was no course of events in which you threw the dice without having visited the future so nothing to change. Of course you could always monkey about by going back to earlier than when you started from, and try to create some paradox or other. If there are multiple futures you'll be thwarted, and simply branch off into some other course of events, with no paradox. If there is one future you'll have to be thwarted in some more contrived manner.

In any case, the main thing you've got my brain stuck on is the concept of determination due to the laws of physics. As I sit here, deciding what keys to press, I have to wonder whether or not my choices are truly the result of an unavoidable series of physical events. My gut reaction is no, but why?
I'd like to propose an answer to that. It isn't in your best interests to think that your destiny is beyond your control. Thinking like that, you'd never have the incentive to get past difficult situations, and your species would never have survived the test of evolution. Gut feelings are there for practical reasons, and here philosophy seems to conflict with practicality. A belief in determinism suggests that we cannot control our future, and it's a bad idea to think that. I think the best way out of that quandary is to consider the notion of "control" as a practical construct which belongs in a different level of understanding. I think you can believe in determinism but understand that, for practical day to day decision making, it's a fact best ignored.

I believe that I am a soul, in the biblical sense, not that I have one, and that my thought processes are thus directly connected with the amazing function of my brain. If you were able to materially duplicate my exact physical structure, down to the quantum level, I believe you would have another me, complete with my memories and decision-making inclinations.
I agree with you, but surely if you believe the word "soul" means anything, it means that there is something indivisible and unique about you that is independent of the material world. What you've just said suggests to me you don't believe such a thing exists, so why do you use the word "soul"? Does this suggest a religious inclination or do you just use it as another term for "self"?

Is it possible that quantum fluctuations are the indeterministic loophole that God built into the system so as to enable free-will? Seems like a long shot, but an interesting point to ponder.
Being an atheist, I'm not particularly inclined to go for that. I find it hard to see what "free will" could mean in this context, other than a random outcome. Why would God want random outcomes? Of course we could drag the "soul" back into this, and say that quantum randomness gives the soul room to operate and make decisions that are not determined by physics. But then what are these decisions determined by? Backing out of physics only enables us to replace one system with another. Churches talk about the world of spirits and souls and the "supernatural" in the woolliest terms because we are not supposed to understand it. But suppose we tried (supposing first that it even exists). Are there reasons for what happens in that world? Cause and effect? If not, it's just random chaos. If so, then there are underlying mechanics. It's another physical system. Maybe different laws of physics but we still haven't escaped from either determinism or randomness.

Loving this discussion, by the way :D

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Well i have a bit of religion on my side but i think destiny is the over all out come that is going to happen no matter what.We have free will but the out come of our decisions and the decisions themselves are destined for us to make

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I like what Octopuppy said about many possible futures. This fits in here:

If death by definition is a lack of experience.

And all possible things happen in the quantum universe.

If there is a situation where you would either live or die (lets say it is a 50/50 probability either way)

Then you would only experience the situation where you live.

Now imagine that the odds are 1,000,000 to 1 that you will die. That one in a million chance of you living is an extremely low probability and would represent an extremely unlikely event. It would represent the only possible future in which you would have any experience so that would be the path your consciousness would take. The odds could be even worse but the outcome would always be the same as long as there is just one chance in however many billions of possible outcomes that would be the one that you would experience.

Now before someone steps in front of a truck hoping that all of its atoms will decay at precisely the same moment remember that there could be many negative outcomes that would be slightly "better" than death (maimed, coma, etc.) so why risk it.

Edited by hugemonkey
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Posted · Report post

I like what Octopuppy said about many possible futures. This fits in here:

If death by definition is a lack of experience.

And all possible things happen in the quantum universe.

If there is a situation where you would either live or die (lets say it is a 50/50 probability either way)

Then you would only experience the situation where you live.

Now imagine that the odds are 1,000,000 to 1 that you will die. That one in a million chance of you living is an extremely low probability and would represent an extremely unlikely event. It would represent the only possible future in which you would have any experience so that would be the path your consciousness would take. The odds could be even worse but the outcome would always be the same as long as there is just one chance in however many billions of possible outcomes that would be the one that you would experience.

Now before someone steps in front of a truck hoping that all of its atoms will decay at precisely the same moment remember that there could be many negative outcomes that would be slightly "better" than death (maimed, coma, etc.) so why risk it.

Wow, this takes me back a bit! You make an interesting point. In theory if you were to invent an activity that was incredibly risky, but had sufficient randomness involved that it is (only just) possible to survive, and the only negative outcome was instant death, you might participate in it without fear, knowing that you would survive (in all the futures you continue to experience). Now that's taking thrill-seeking to the next level!

EDIT: Hmm, I'm thinking high-speed motorcycling around an obstacle course where the obstacles are large dangling mines, slightest touch and ka-blooey! No safety helmet required. Anyone want to give it a try?

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Posted · Report post

I'm in :P

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Wow, this takes me back a bit! You make an interesting point. In theory if you were to invent an activity that was incredibly risky, but had sufficient randomness involved that it is (only just) possible to survive, and the only negative outcome was instant death, you might participate in it without fear, knowing that you would survive (in all the futures you continue to experience). Now that's taking thrill-seeking to the next level!

EDIT: Hmm, I'm thinking high-speed motorcycling around an obstacle course where the obstacles are large dangling mines, slightest touch and ka-blooey! No safety helmet required. Anyone want to give it a try?

Nooo! think of all of the duplicate versions of your family that would have to attend your funeral in most of the duplicate universes! :unsure:

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