hell is other people: fate or farce?

Some partial backups of posts from the past (Feb, 2004)

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Thomas Knierim » Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:48 pm

<span style="color:white;">David: Since a particle necessarily depends on a destructive force not being there at the moment of its birth, this is enough to show that it cannot arise independently of causal conditions.</span>

Bilge. Bosh. Bunkum. Flapdoodle. The existence of a particle does not depend at all on the presence or absence of an IMAGINED force or any other IMAGINED magnitude. Physics deals exclusively with what is observable, not with what is imaginable.

<span style="color:white;">David: It says that quantum fluctuation is a causal phenomenon, with the Big Bang being one its causes.</span>

If you say that quantum fluctuation is caused by the Big Bang then that is plainly wrong. The error here lies in the misapplication of language. A surrounding universe does not qualify as a cause. It is certainly a necessary condition (for everything), but it is not sufficient to explain quantum phenomena. It is therefore not a cause. You did not give much thought to Hume, did you?

<span style="color:white;">David: Because we can only currently predict sub-atomic particles with "non-deterministic" models (i.e. statistical models), you're saying that the particles themselves are non-deterministic, irrespective of whether or not they are completely causal in nature from the Universe's perspective. Is that right?</span>

This is what the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics says (originally brought forward by Bohr).

<span style="color:white;">David: It sounds as though you have a different conception of "non-determinism" to me. For you, it seems that non-determinism is a function, not of the Universe itself, but of our ability to make predictions.</span>

According to the Copenhagen interpretation, non-determinism is a property of the universe.

<span style="color:white;">David: Just as it is impossible to say where exactly a couple of dice will land when thrown on a table, even though we have a rough idea of where they'll end up.</span>

The throwing of dices is something that can be modeled deterministically. If you know the shape of the dice, the initial momentum and spin, the properties of the contact surface, et cetera all within a given margin of error, you can predict the number it will show. Hence, your comparison doesn't hold. The actual outcome of a wave function is undetermined, even with precisely defined start conditions.

<span style="color:white;">David: Just as a train could either be at Central Station or Bond Street Station.</span>

This comparison is equally inadequate, sine it overlooks the fact that we know exactly how the train gets from Central Station to Bond Street Station, but we don't know how the particle gets from A to B.

<span style="color:white;">David: I haven't been impressed with them [alternative philosophical interpretations of quantum phenomena] thus far. What's the best one, in your view?</span>

I haven't been impressed with any deterministic explanation of quantum mechanics either. But, even if quantum phenomena should be deterministic, for all that matters, they behave as if they were not. In fact, quantum phenomena make randomicity in the universe possible without which there wouldn't be much of a universe.

Thomas
Thomas Knierim
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2002 6:20 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby jimhaz » Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:23 pm

Being as we are caused beings and have minds that react only to causes, anything that we can therefore possibly investigate or imagine must have a cause, otherwise there would be no effects that we could possibly recognise.
jimhaz
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 7:28 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Thomas Knierim » Tue Jan 20, 2004 3:32 pm

<span style="color:white;">Jimhaz: Being as we are caused beings and have minds that react only to causes, anything that we can therefore possibly investigate or imagine must have a cause, otherwise there would be no effects that we could possibly recognise.</span>

You did not provide any reasoning to support your assertion.

As far as I can tell the question whether we and how are caused ourselves as human beings is -although interesting- quite irrelevant to the investigation of causality itself. The fact that our mind can "recognize" causality has to do with our abstraction ability, not with the fact that our mind itself is caused. An insect's mind is also caused, but it does not consciously recognize the principle of causality, or does it?

Thomas
Thomas Knierim
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2002 6:20 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby jimhaz » Tue Jan 20, 2004 4:28 pm

Well explain to me how we could possibly understand something that doesn't have a cause. To understand something that doesn’t have a cause would mean that one themselves would have not to have been caused. You're the one that seems to be insisting that things can just pop into existence from emptiness like magic, not me. You have not stated anything that doesn’t have a cause yourself, you've only stated a few theories that a limited number of scientists agree might be possible if they abandon everything that we otherwise know as logic. Sure material could seem to pop into existence, but only if the source is energy or it comes from elsewhere in the universe. Do you at least accept that imagination and invention is caused?

Yes the insect can recognise a very limited form of causality. Instinctual behaviour is still caused behaviour. In a way that is what life is, a recognition of causality.
jimhaz
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 7:28 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Thomas Knierim » Tue Jan 20, 2004 6:26 pm

<span style="color:white;">Jimahaz: Well explain to me how we could possibly understand something that doesn't have a cause.</span>

Non-determinism can be understood mathematically. Like a deterministic model, say meteorology, a non-deterministic system consists of states and transitions. In a deterministic system, future states of the system can be predicted with absolute certainty if all present states are known, because all transitions are defined as either 1 or 0. In a non-deterministic system they can't. Either the model is probabilistic, meaning that a given input state is associated with a number of output states each having probabilities between 0 and 1, or the model is purely non-probabilistic meaning that a given input state leads to unknown output states within a known state space.

<span style="color:white;">Jimhaz: You're the one that seems to be insisting that things can just pop into existence from emptiness like magic, not me.</span>

There's no magic here, Jimmy. Just number theory.

<span style="color:white;">Jimhaz: You have not stated anything that doesn’t have a cause yourself, you've only stated a few theories that a limited number of scientists agree might be possible if they abandon everything that we otherwise know as logic.</span>

A limited number of scientists? Abandoning logic? You gotta be kidding. Quantum theory is a mainstream scientific theory. Very few physicists doubt it. The present endeavor of physics is rather to weave quantum theory into a larger unified theory.

<span style="color:white;">Jimhaz: Do you at least accept that imagination and invention is caused?</span>

It depends whether "qualia" are "caused". It is a very difficult question since it has to do with the nature of consciousness. Some mind philosophers, such as Daniel Dennett say qualia are caused and painting a deterministic picture of mind, while other philosophers such as Roger Penrose (who is also one of the most outstanding contemporary mathematicians) deny exactly that. As you might have imagined, I tend to agree with Penrose. :-)

Thomas
Thomas Knierim
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2002 6:20 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby birdofhermes » Tue Jan 20, 2004 7:19 pm

I don't quite understand the difference between the idea that, say, particles are caused (which I am sure they are) and that their subsequent behavior may be undetermined.

However, it seems to me that string theory can account for it.

Quote:
Quote:<hr>[In the past]"Although each particle was viewed as elementary, the kind of "stuff" each embodied was thought to be different. Electron "stuff" had negative electric charge, while neutrino "stuff" had no electric charge. String theory alters this theory radically by declaring that the "stuff" of all matter is the same. Each elementary particle is composed of a single string--that is each particle is a single string--and all strings are identical. Differences between the particles arise because their respective strings undergo different resonant vibrational patterns." <hr>

This rock bottom identicality of all "things" allows for variation and nondeterminism because the source has the capacity to become anything at all. But once the string has been given its form/vibration, all events from there on out should be determinable.

It is sort of like saying that you can take a piece of clay from a huge vat and make anything you want from it.

But of course, this brings up the question, who pulls the strings? And must they be pushed only from the side that precedes form, or can they be pulled/shaped from "our" side?
birdofhermes
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:34 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby David Quinn » Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:42 am

Thomas wrote:

Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: Since a particle necessarily depends on a destructive force not being there at the moment of its birth, this is enough to show that it cannot arise independently of causal conditions.

Thomas: Bilge. Bosh. Bunkum. Flapdoodle. The existence of a particle does not depend at all on the presence or absence of an IMAGINED force or any other IMAGINED magnitude. Physics deals exclusively with what is observable, not with what is imaginable. <hr>
Science constantly engages in hypothesizing. It asks, "If this were different in the world, what would be the outcome?"

In a similar vein, I ask, "What if a destructive force were to exist at the moment of a particle's birth, what would be the result?" The answer is, no particle. Thus, its existence is definitely dependent upon causal conditions.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: It says that quantum fluctuation is a causal phenomenon, with the Big Bang being one its causes.

Thomas: If you say that quantum fluctuation is caused by the Big Bang then that is plainly wrong. The error here lies in the misapplication of language. A surrounding universe does not qualify as a cause. It is certainly a necessary condition (for everything), but it is not sufficient to explain quantum phenomena. It is therefore not a cause. You did not give much thought to Hume, did you? <hr>
I've already given an adequate answer to this in my book:

--

It might be argued that things like space and time, and the Universe itself, should be classified as "background conditions" of the quantum pairing, rather than its causes. While they are certainly necessary to the pairing’s existence, the argument might continue, they do not constitute a sufficient cause of it. The sheer fact of their existence does not directly lead to the pairing’s existence. They merely lay the platform for its possible arisal.

The problem with this argument is that it is ultimately impossible to distinguish between a "background condition" and a "cause". All causes are merely "background conditions" in the end. It is impossible for any one thing to cause another thing into existence all by itself. It always needs the help of countless other causes (or "background conditions") to do its creative work. It is powerless all alone.

Consider the birth of a human being, for example. Under the schema provided above, the parents would constitute the main "cause" of the child, while space would merely be a "background condition". The latter would be relegated to its lowly status because, although it is necessary for the child’s existence, it lacks the power to bring the child into being on its own. The trouble is, the same reasoning can equally be applied to the parents. The parents too lack the power to bring a child into existence on their own. Without the help of other things, such as food, air, molecules, atoms, genes, womb, time, and yes, space, the parents would not be able to create a thing. So they are no different to space in this regard. They too constitute nothing more than a "background condition" as far as the child is concerned. In the final analysis, the child is a product of countless background conditions, of which the parents only play a very small part.

We can see, then, that the millions of causes which contribute to the creation of an object are really just background conditions, each playing a small contributory role, none of them standing out as having any greater importance than the rest. It is only our imaginations which zero in on one or two of these background conditions and blow them up to gigantic proportions, thereby dwarfing the rest.

It is in our practical interests to do this, of course. It is usually more practical for us to think of the parents as being the main cause of the child, even though from the ultimate perspective they are no more the main cause than space or time or carbon-based molecules are. It is more practical because we potentially have a far greater influence over the existence of the parents than we do of space or time. Parents are much more fragile and fleeting, whereas space seems stable and constant. Parents easily go in and out of existence, which influences the probabilities that a child will be created.

I use the word "probabilities" because the very occurrence of two people becoming parents in and of itself does not guarantee the birth of a child, for the child might die as a foetus or as a conceptus. All it does is increase the probabilities that a child will be born. Being aware of these kinds of probabilities is of practical benefit to us, even though it can easily distort our picture of the Universe if we are not careful.



--


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: Just as it is impossible to say where exactly a couple of dice will land when thrown on a table, even though we have a rough idea of where they'll end up.

Thomas: The throwing of dices is something that can be modeled deterministically. If you know the shape of the dice, the initial momentum and spin, the properties of the contact surface, et cetera all within a given margin of error, you can predict the number it will show. <hr>
Nonsense. There are always too many factors involved. What face the dice will show can never be predicted with any certainty, no matter how much we know.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> Hence, your comparison doesn't hold. The actual outcome of a wave function is undetermined, even with precisely defined start conditions. <hr>
Which is exactly the same as throwing a dice. It doesn't matter how precisely we know the starting conditions, we will always have no real idea of what face the dice will show up next.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: Just as a train could either be at Central Station or Bond Street Station.

Thomas: This comparison is equally inadequate, sine it overlooks the fact that we know exactly how the train gets from Central Station to Bond Street Station, but we don't know how the particle gets from A to B. <hr>
Imagine an alien who has never seen trains before and doesn't know how they work. Imagine that he is suddenly asked to predict whether a train will be at Central Station or Bond Street station. He has no idea how to precede. From his point of view, the train is either at Central Station or Bond Street Station. In the absence of any other data, he begins to create statistical models based on the past behaviour of trains as indicated by timetables given to him. But no matter his ingenious his statistical models become, he still won't know which station the train is at until he actually looks.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: I haven't been impressed with them [alternative philosophical interpretations of quantum phenomena] thus far. What's the best one, in your view?

Thomas: I haven't been impressed with any deterministic explanation of quantum mechanics either. But, even if quantum phenomena should be deterministic, for all that matters, they behave as if they were not. <hr>
Then why are we having this disucssion? If you accept that the behaviour of particles can seem non-deterministic from our current point of view (and no one is disputing this), even though they might be completely caused, then why on earth are you arguing with me? Honestly, Thomas, what a clutz you are.


--

Edited grammatical errors - DQ

---




Edited by: DavidQuinn000 at: 1/20/04 9:49 am
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Thomas Knierim » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:45 am

<span style="color:white;">Anna: I don't quite understand the difference between the idea that, say, particles are caused (which I am sure they are) and that their subsequent behavior may be undetermined.</span>

The behavior of particles is far more interesting than their creation. According to the mass-energy relation, particles are just forms of locked-up energy, most of which are unstable and some of which are stable. So you could say that matter is "caused" by energy, because it appears so if you observe a process that moves from an energy field to a stable particle (such as in a supercollider), but because energy and matter are equivalent, the observed "causation" process is really only "equivalence in action". The interesting thing about the creation and death of particles is rather the spontaneous nature of these events. They seem to happen randomly. This means that it is impossible to calculate and predict spacetime localities for quantum fluctuation events (which David mentioned), or occurrences of radioactive decay. We can say that this "spontaneous" non-deterministic nature of particle events manifests in many ways, such as in the probability clouds of bound electrons, for example.

<span style="color:white;">Anna: However, it seems to me that string theory can account for it.</span>

String theory might explain particles and forces and in more cohesive way, but it does not solve the underlying philosophical problem, since the vibration of strings in string theory is also probabilistic, meaning that nondeterministic quantum phenomena simply map to nondeterministic string vibrations.

<span style="color:white;">Anna: This rock bottom identicality of all "things" allows for variation and nondeterminism because the source has the capacity to become anything at all. But once the string has been given its form/vibration, all events from there on out should be determinable.</span>

I think the conclusion is wrong. Non-determinism in string theory is merely one level "deeper" and it leaves us with exactly the same phenomena (and the same resulting philosophical problem) described by quantum mechanics.

Thomas
Thomas Knierim
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2002 6:20 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Thomas Knierim » Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:48 am

<span style="color:white;">David: Science constantly engages in hypothesizing.</span>

This is really getting quite silly. Science does engage in hypothesizing, okay, but an unsubstantiated hypothesis cannot be used to prove another hypothesis, since it doesn't offer any support. A (physical) hypothesis requires empirical evidence to be of any value. Ergo, you argue out of thin air.

<span style="color:white;">David: In a similar vein, I ask, "What if a destructive force were to exist at the moment of a particle's birth, what would be the result?" The answer is, no particle. Thus, its existence is definitely dependent upon causal conditions.</span>

This argument is so flawed – it is plainly embarrassing that you keep repeating it. Once again, the absence of a non-existing (hypothesized) force has nothing to do with the creation of a particle. You actually make two errors in this argument. First, -as already mentioned above- you are not allowed to use an unsubstantiated hypothesis to prove a statement and second, according to Occam's "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem" meaning "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity" the factoring of an unrelated entity is ill advised. Since only the most ignorant person could fall for that, I strongly recommend to revise that argument in your book.

<span style="color:white;">David: There are always too many factors involved. What face the dice will show can never be predicted with any certainty, no matter how much we know.</span>

It seems you misconceive the problem. The rolling of a dice is a completely deterministic and linear(!) process, hence, it can be modeled in a computer with comparable ease and with good accuracy. You need to know the geometrical properties of the dice and the contact surface, the starting forces (spin, momentum) and voila – you can compute the face for any roll. You can do this on a cheap home PC, really. It is far less complicated than you might imagine.

<span style="color:white;">David: Imagine an alien who has never seen trains before and doesn't know how they work. Imagine that he is suddenly asked to predict whether a train will be at Central Station or Bond Street station. He has no idea how to precede. From his point of view, the train is either at Central Station or Bond Street Station. In the absence of any other data, he begins to create statistical models based on the past behaviour of trains as indicated by timetables given to him. But no matter his ingenious his statistical models become, he still won't know which station the train is at until he actually looks.</span>

This comparison can be invalidated with ease. In your story, the alien must be capable of perceiving the train to be in a certain location, at Central Station or at Bond Street. This means that we can assume the alien observer is capable of perceiving the train at any given location. The observer will therefore soon discover that the train is not only found at Central Station and Bond Street, but at any point between the two stations. Given a sufficient number of measurements, a continuum will emerge and it can be concluded by the alien observer that the train describes a path between Central Station and Bond Street. In quantum mechanics, however, such a continuum cannot be measured in any way, regardless of the precision and number of measurements.

<span style="color:white;">Thomas: I haven't been impressed with any deterministic explanation of quantum mechanics either. But, even if quantum phenomena should be deterministic, for all that matters, they behave as if they were not.

David: Then why are we having this disucssion? If you accept that the behaviour of particles can seem non-deterministic from our current point of view (and no one is disputing this), even though they might be completely caused, then why on earth are you arguing with me? </span>

Intellectual integrity requires me to work with the best possible explanation we currently have and that is -like it or not- the assumption that non-deterministic process are a property of nature. I don't see sufficient reason to believe any of the deterministic explanations, such as the many world theory or Bohm's version. I could return the question and ask you why you insist on "hardcore determinism" while you proclaim that you haven't been impressed with any deterministic interpretation of quantum theory.

Thomas
Thomas Knierim
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2002 6:20 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby jimhaz » Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:09 am

<span style="color:blue;">Does</span> <span style="color:yellow;">anyone</span> <span style="color:navy;">else</span> <span style="color:lime;">hate</span> <span style="color:olive;">Thomas's</span> <span style="color:teal;">quoting</span> <span style="color:white;">in white text</span> <span style="color:maroon;">- or is that just my IE setup.</span>
jimhaz
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 7:28 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby birdofhermes » Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:56 am

No, I find it useful. why does it bother you?
birdofhermes
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:34 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby jimhaz » Wed Jan 21, 2004 2:24 pm

I just find it difficult to read, so I highlight the text.
jimhaz
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 7:28 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Biggier » Thu Jan 22, 2004 5:59 am

David,

You are telling me that the "distinguished minds" embracing your UR are ALL DEAD?!"

Well, how convenient. ; )

Besides, the names you mentioned were hardly of one mind about the nature of existential reality---let alone an ULTIMATE one.


I simply don't see the point of taking you seriously, my friend. Pointing to nature and saying "there's the truth!" is sophistic in the extreme. Can you imagine if natural science stopped there? We'd still be living in caves. And anyone who tells me that the Nazis were as blameless "as a newborn babe"---yet worthy of moral condemnation is, in my view, about 299 pins short of a perfect game in the thinking department. You are postulating determinism AND free will simultaneously.

You are just words defending other words to me. Again, I don't see the point in continuing our exchange because, quite frankly, I have no respect at all for your intellecutal depth. None.

But that is just me. The best of luck with all the others in here.

Biggie



Biggier
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 3:45 am

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby David Quinn » Sun Jan 25, 2004 10:13 am

Biggie wrote:

Quote:
Quote:<hr> David,

You are telling me that the "distinguished minds" embracing your UR are ALL DEAD?!"

Well, how convenient. ; )<hr>
Kevin Solway and Dan Rowden are still alive. There are also others on this forum who are in the process of embracing it. It remains to be seen whether they reach the level of a "distinguished mind".


Quote:
Quote:<hr>Besides, the names you mentioned were hardly of one mind about the nature of existential reality---let alone an ULTIMATE one. <hr>
I beg to differ. They were all fully conversant with Ultimate Reality. The way they expressed their thoughts about it might have differed, but not the wisdom behind these thoughts.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> Pointing to nature and saying "there's the truth!" is sophistic in the extreme. Can you imagine if natural science stopped there? We'd still be living in caves. <hr>
The understanding of Ultimate Reality is a completely separate discipline to science. Success in the one does not automatically mean failure in the other. There is no reason why our species cannot do both, and do both well.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> And anyone who tells me that the Nazis were as blameless "as a newborn babe"---yet worthy of moral condemnation is, in my view, about 299 pins short of a perfect game in the thinking department. You are postulating determinism AND free will simultaneously. <hr>
I don't think in terms of moral condemnation. Rather, I think in terms of shaping the future. I focus on initiating changes in the unfolding causal processes of Nature to make it more difficult for Nazism and other forms of irrationality to arise.

User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby David Quinn » Sun Jan 25, 2004 10:53 am

Thomas wrote:

Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: Science constantly engages in hypothesizing.

Thomas: This is really getting quite silly. Science does engage in hypothesizing, okay, but an unsubstantiated hypothesis cannot be used to prove another hypothesis, since it doesn't offer any support. A (physical) hypothesis requires empirical evidence to be of any value. Ergo, you argue out of thin air. <hr>
It is not a physical hypothesis. The truth that all things have causes is a purely logical assertion, and the argument which utilizes the "destructive force scenario" is also purely logical in nature. That a particle cannot possibly arise if the process of causality deploys a sufficiently destructive force at the moment of its birth is necessarily true from a logical point of view. End of story. There is nothing more to the matter. Your demand for empirical evidence is both unnecessary and unwarranted.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: In a similar vein, I ask, "What if a destructive force were to exist at the moment of a particle's birth, what would be the result?" The answer is, no particle. Thus, its existence is definitely dependent upon causal conditions.

Thomas: This argument is so flawed – it is plainly embarrassing that you keep repeating it. Once again, the absence of a non-existing (hypothesized) force has nothing to do with the creation of a particle. You actually make two errors in this argument. First, -as already mentioned above- you are not allowed to use an unsubstantiated hypothesis to prove a statement and second, according to Occam's "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem" meaning "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity" the factoring of an unrelated entity is ill advised. Since only the most ignorant person could fall for that, I strongly recommend to revise that argument in your book. <hr>
I know you have trouble with these kinds of reasonings, Thomas. You always have. Since I don't think I can restate the argument any more simply, I'm going to have to leave it there. If you can't see it, then you can't see it.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: There are always too many factors involved. What face the dice will show can never be predicted with any certainty, no matter how much we know.

Thomas: It seems you misconceive the problem. The rolling of a dice is a completely deterministic and linear(!) process, hence, it can be modeled in a computer with comparable ease and with good accuracy. You need to know the geometrical properties of the dice and the contact surface, the starting forces (spin, momentum) and voila – you can compute the face for any roll. You can do this on a cheap home PC, really. It is far less complicated than you might imagine. <hr>
What if your home PC predicts that the next roll of the dice will turn up a two, and then during the process of the dice rolling a meteor suddenly falls out of the sky and smashes the table and dice to smithereens before the dice has a chance to finish its roll? What happened to the predictive powers of your PC there?


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: Imagine an alien who has never seen trains before and doesn't know how they work. Imagine that he is suddenly asked to predict whether a train will be at Central Station or Bond Street station. He has no idea how to precede. From his point of view, the train is either at Central Station or Bond Street Station. In the absence of any other data, he begins to create statistical models based on the past behaviour of trains as indicated by timetables given to him. But no matter his ingenious his statistical models become, he still won't know which station the train is at until he actually looks.

Thomas: This comparison can be invalidated with ease. In your story, the alien must be capable of perceiving the train to be in a certain location, at Central Station or at Bond Street. This means that we can assume the alien observer is capable of perceiving the train at any given location. The observer will therefore soon discover that the train is not only found at Central Station and Bond Street, but at any point between the two stations. Given a sufficient number of measurements, a continuum will emerge and it can be concluded by the alien observer that the train describes a path between Central Station and Bond Street. <hr>
Unfortunately, the aliens aren't able to do this because, unbeknownst to them, they have a peculiarity in their visual cortex which prevents them from perceiving trains in motion. Because of this, they naturally create the theory that trains don't actually move at at all, but simply blink in and out of existence in a random manner. Indeed, believe it or not, they have actually come to believe that trains just pop into existence without any cause at all, as a result of a quantum fluctuation. The silly fools.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> David: If you accept that the behaviour of particles can seem non-deterministic from our current point of view (and no one is disputing this), even though they might be completely caused, then why on earth are you arguing with me?

Thomas: Intellectual integrity requires me to work with the best possible explanation we currently have and that is -like it or not- the assumption that non-deterministic process are a property of nature. <hr>
Translation: I am too cowardly to think for myself. I just submit to whatever is popular.


Quote:
Quote:<hr> I don't see sufficient reason to believe any of the deterministic explanations, such as the many world theory or Bohm's version. I could return the question and ask you why you insist on "hardcore determinism" while you proclaim that you haven't been impressed with any deterministic interpretation of quantum theory. <hr>
Because, as I have shown, it is logically impossible for anything to arise uncaused. This knowledge is more authoritative and powerful and more cutting than any of the tentative theorizings currently entertained by quantum physicists.
User avatar
David Quinn
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 6:56 am
Location: Australia

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Naturyl » Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:38 am

You've shown no such thing, David. All you have actually shown is your willingness to conflate accessory circumstances with genuine causality. In this attempt to re-define the concept of causality to support your position, you are guilty of intellectual dishonesty. In addition, your conflation of concepts involves a number of logical fallicies, most notable among them being a form of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy of causality.
Naturyl
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:12 am

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Thomas Knierim » Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:15 pm

<span style="color:white;">David: That a particle cannot possibly arise if the process of causality deploys a sufficiently destructive force at the moment of its birth is necessarily true from a logical point of view. End of story.</span>

Yes, but what does this prove? It proves nothing. Neither does it point to any alleged cause of matter-antimatter fluctuations, nor does it provide a formally valid argument. If you want to establish a causal nature of quantum fluctuation you need to provide a theoretical framework with a PREDICTIVE quality that establishes a clear logical connection to its alleged causes and you need to make sure that the theory can be corroborated by observation. An imagined (absent) destructive force is not going to cut the cake.

<span style="color:white;">David: I know you have trouble with these kinds of reasonings, Thomas. You always have.</span>

Anyone with a minimum training in logic would have trouble with that kind of reasoning. You say: “if there is an inhibiting force (F) there is no particle (~P)”, and you conclude that “if there is no inhibiting force (~F) then there is a particle (P), therefore P is caused.” In other words: (F -> ~P) -> (~F -> P). That’s a fallacy. But, the argument is already semantically messed up when you state F -> P, because the truth value of F is unascertainable. Not that the latter is a problem for formal logic, but it is certainly a problem when you talk about F and P as physical entities. Besides, as Naturyl mentioned there is good reason to dismiss the argument right away on account of post hoc ergo propter hoc, because that force you mention is not a part of our observation of quantum fluctuation. I had addressed the same point citing Occam’s “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”.

<span style="color:white;">David: Since I don't think I can restate the argument any more simply, I'm going to have to leave it there. If you can't see it, then you can't see it.</span>

See, this is what always happens when your argument is refuted beyond any trace of doubt. You say that others just don’t get it. Thus you achieve two things; first, you tire your opponents, who probably don’t care to invest energy beyond the refutation itself; second, you manage to bluff those who did for some reason not detect the fallacy at first by suggesting that you might be right after all. It would be commendable if you do everyone a favor and delete the argument from your book, thus increasing the book’s overall quality. While you are at it, you might want to expel all other quantum mechanics references as well. This course of action was suggested by Naturyl for obvious (well-meaning) reasons.

<span style="color:white;">David: What if your home PC predicts that the next roll of the dice will turn up a two, and then during the process of the dice rolling a meteor suddenly falls out of the sky and smashes the table and dice to smithereens before the dice has a chance to finish its roll? What happened to the predictive powers of your PC there?</span>

The computer’s prediction will obviously be wrong. The system modeled in the computer is necessarily incomplete and it does not consider magnitudes such as meteors. Remember that your contention was:

<span style="color:white;">David: What face the dice will show can never be predicted with any certainty…</span>

…to which I answered that the rolling of a dice “can be modeled in a computer with comparable ease and with good accuracy.” Good accuracy means something like 99% accuracy, which is pretty good, meteors, earthquakes, and other accidents notwithstanding.

<span style="color:white;">David: Unfortunately, the aliens aren't able to do this because, unbeknownst to them, they have a peculiarity in their visual cortex which prevents them from perceiving trains in motion.</span>

That is an unnecessary fabrication. You could have argued more convincingly that the trains move through tunnels and that they are only visible to the aliens at the train stations which are above the ground.

<span style="color:white;">David: Because of this, they naturally create the theory that trains don't actually move at at all, but simply blink in and out of existence in a random manner.</span>

Well, then the aliens are pretty damn stupid. If they were intelligent, they would create a theory of motion, regardless whether the trains can be seen when they move or not. They would only need to look at neighboring train stations and record the time when trains pop up at any given station. First, they would notice that a train pops up at stations in a defined sequence. They always move in an ABCD pattern, not ACDB. They would then compare the measurements of different trains at different stations and notice that the spatial distance between two stations is proportional to the time that elapses when a train pops up at successive stations. This could be expressed as v=delta(AB)/t which is precisely the formula for linear motion. It is probably superfluous to mention that electrons do not fit into this picture, since measured electron positions do no suggest linear motion.

<span style="color:white;">Thomas: Intellectual integrity requires me to work with the best possible explanation we currently have and that is -like it or not- the assumption that non-deterministic process are a property of nature.

David: Translation: I am too cowardly to think for myself. I just submit to whatever is popular.</span>

Where do you see cowardice? Quantum mechanics has nothing to do with blind faith. It’s a bare fact, something that you can validate with your own intellect – if you have one. The question of determinism is a philosophical one. QM leaves space for deterministic and non-deterministic interpretations, and both seem to enjoy equal popularity. I find the non-deterministic interpretation more convincing. You have not yet answered my question why you avoid the deterministic explanations of QM.

Thomas
Thomas Knierim
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2002 6:20 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Kevin Solway » Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:20 pm

Thomas wrote:

Quote:
Quote:<hr>David: In a similar vein, I ask, "What if a destructive force were to exist at the moment of a particle's birth, what would be the result?" The answer is, no particle. Thus, its existence is definitely dependent upon causal conditions.

Thomas: This argument is so flawed<hr>


What David's argument is essentially saying is that if the Universe has created conditions for a particular quantum event to take place, then that event will take place, and will thus have been caused by those necessary conditions.

As all events, quantum or otherwise, rely on certain conditions, they are all necessarily caused.

David phrased his argument more dramatically because he didn't think you would understand the above. That is, he thought you would be able to more easily imagine a destructive force than a creative one. And the absence of a destructive force is just as much a condition (or cause) as the presence of a creative one.

Naturyl claims that David is redefining the term "cause" to suit himself, but what is a "cause" other than something that is necessary for the existence of something else? That is the most sensible definition of "cause". And the absence of a destructive force fits within this definition.
User avatar
Kevin Solway
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 8:43 am
Location: Australia

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Dave Toast » Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm

As stated elsewhere, it is an unavoidable semantic consequence.

It is no use, however, to equate semantic or logical causality with temporal determinism, as future temporality is not a logical entity.
User avatar
Dave Toast
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:22 pm

Re: hell is other people: fate or farce?

Postby Kevin Solway » Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:43 pm

Dave Toast wrote:

Quote:
Quote:<hr>It is no use, however, to equate semantic or logical causality with temporal determinism, as future temporality is not a logical entity.<hr>


What do you mean by saying future temporality is not a logical entity? Future temporality is logically dependent on what is not future temporality. Anything you can name is a logical entity.

The present is caused by the past, and the future by the present.
User avatar
Kevin Solway
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 8:43 am
Location: Australia


Return to Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron