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View Poll Results: Do we have Free Will? Or is Everything Determined?

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  • Yes, we have free will.

    6 54.55%
  • No, everything is determined.

    3 27.27%
  • Everything is determined by free will.

    1 9.09%
  • Everything is random and beyond control.

    1 9.09%
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  1. #1
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    Default Do we have Free Will? Or is Everything Determined?

    Timeline Dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by Montalk
    According to our model, if you travel into the past quantum mechanically, you would only see those alternatives consistent with the world you left behind you. In other words, while you are aware of the past, you cannot change it. No matter how unlikely the events are that could have led to your present circumstances, once they have actually occurred, they cannot be changed. Your trip would set up resonances that are consistent with the future that has already unfolded.

    This also has enormous consequences on the paradoxes of free will. It shows that it is perfectly logical to assume that one has many choices and that one is free to take any one of them. Until a choice is taken, the future is not determined. However, once a choice is taken, and it leads to a particular future, it was inevitable. It could not have been otherwise. The boundary conditions that the future events happen as they already have, guarantees that they must have been prepared for in the past. So, looking backwards, the world is deterministic. However, looking forwards, the future is probabilistic. This completely explains the classical paradox. In fact, it serves as a kind of indirect evidence that such feedback must actually take place in nature, in the sense that without it, a paradox exists, while with it, the paradox is resolved. (Of course, there is an equally likely explanation, namely that going backward in time is impossible. This also solves the paradox by avoiding it.)

    The model also has consequences concerning the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory. The world may appear to keep splitting so far as the future is concerned. However, once a measurement is made, only those histories consistent with that measurement are possible. In other words, with time travel, other alternative worlds do not exist, as once a measurement has been made confirming the world we live in, the other worlds would be impossible to reach from the original one.
    These 3 paragraphs from the link above them all struck me more than anything. I think it's saying that the future is open to our alterations, but once acted upon, the initial choices remain set. In quantum mechanics, a similar spectrum of possibilities exists, but it becomes a definitive result upon observations, chosen out of many other factors that, under different chance results would have unfolded towards another destination.

    All future transformations are contingent with how the present shapes out, and free will gives us the power to direct its ultimate course. Free will, assuming we actually have it would be the random variable and the unknown factor which determines the future. Paradoxically, we could say that the indeterminate nature of free will can command what comes to happen and, with sufficient force of will could theoretically by the guidance of our determination make any event imminent.

    Perhaps this is the prime cause for all actions that happen everywhere, that they are moved by some kind of mind, maybe even by minds above our own. Under a system along these lines, any vision could become real, and the present would have all promise for those who seize it with the right tenacity to become anything. Ultimately, my personal conclusion is that everything is determined by free will.

    Stephen Hawking also has good thoughts on this question, as depicted in the below videos:




  2. #2
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    In my opinion, certain roads are determined but choice between the roads is given to us. So, I think people have certain amount of free will and freedom of choice but there are also coincidences, things that happen no matter if you want them to happen or not. These coincideces could also be said to be things that are determined for us. So, I believe some things are given to us and some things we can decide.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Scheherezade's Avatar
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    free will is not real, to be blunt, but if you consider free will the commencement in the brain of the process of a decision that you consider to be an expression of your free will, then indeed it is free will

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    Albert Einstein - "God does not play dice with the universe."



    Stephen Hawking - "Not only does God play dice but... he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen."

  5. #5
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    No, it is most likely illusory. Mechanisms in the brain are based on particle interaction through electrochemical processes. As such, like Hawking states in the quote below, we are governed by the laws of physics just like every other object in the universe. Sense of free will emerges due to the vast amount of factors that impact any given situation or state, most of which are not perceivable directly.

    The laws of physics are already determined. All that is needed now is a set of previous conditions that will influence the next state. We cannot know all the many parts of the previous condition, which is why it feels like we are free, when in actual fact the previous conditions determine the next event in a very specific way which is inevitable.

    An individuals personality, exact placement of particles in the brain, and millions of environmental factors all play a part. It feels like choice, but it's really the sheer amount of factors that go into the initial (previous) state that add together to create the exact outcome. If you are outside somewhere with a cricket ball, for instance, and you wonder whether to throw it across the field or not, it isn't really your choice. If you do throw it, that's because many conditions triggered that response, and if you don't, it's because of the same reason. Even the thought that predicated the "choice" was created through physical/electrochemical interactions, subject to other external physical systems.

    There's just so many factors that are incorporated into the initial state. Think of science experiments. They are overly simplified and isolated in comparison to an entire present state, but it's the same principle. If the setup is exactly the same each time, the end result will also be the same. (Not taking into account outside influences such as air humidity etc.)

    I should also mention that just because free will is an illusion, it doesn't mean that the universe is completely determined. Even if God plays dice, we are still not in control of them. Or perhaps it is determined, and the whole universe was set out to go precisely in a single direction from the initial state of the BB, but QM makes this unlikely.

    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    Stephen Hawking - "Not only does God play dice but... he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen."
    This quote is in regards to quantum mechanics, not free will. Even in the seemingly free-will-accommodating paradigm of QM, we are still subject to the laws of it, which are so minuscule in its effects relative to our scale that it is almost irrelevant on most occasions. Hawking actually believes that free will is nonexistent. To quote from The Grand Design:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
    Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets. Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws. For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.

  6. #6
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    Lets put it this way, if during the big bang something would had been just slightly different, at least some particular atom somewhere wouldnt had formed like it did. So that small difference which one atom has isnt that relevant during that time when it happened to the overall picture of things. However that small difference of one atom would most likely had made something different because the atoms interaction with other atoms would had happened differently. Basically the whole thing is just one big chain reaction that spreads wider and wider, and even subtle differences to some of those reactions at one point might get amplified over time and one difference of an atom might cause whether the star had formed where all the gold in our known universum is from was ever formed or not and without gold there might not even be earth as we know it(since there is quite a lot of gold in our planets core which most likely has at least some small effect on earths magnetic fields and our whole civilization would had gone differently is that gold wasnt there).

    So if something would had gone even slightly differently during the big bang, at least something in our current world would be different. Even if there are some form or multiverse thing going on, that wouldnt rule out the fact that everything which now exists, exists and is the way it is because things were as they were during the big bang or some multibang or what ever. Even if there is some big bearded guy over the clouds who knows magix, the reasons for it being are caused by similar chain reaction which i explained.

    TLDR version: yes all your thoughts are physical reactions to begin with and the physical reactions which caused your thoughts were dictated by the big bang.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  7. #7
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    The quantic dyanamicism of the human mind broke the universe free of its tether!

    I used to like that concept, that the universe was open to future possibility but closed once past - that was my zipper of reality theory.

  8. #8
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    In regards to humanity: We have free will. Saying otherwise is rationalizing away blame and consequence of actions. "The universe made me do it!" Etc

    If you want to talk about the free will of physics... Then no.

    But as always there are obvious cause and effects. Become a magical vat of pudding and the only outcome is to be consumed by gluttonous forces.

  9. #9
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    In regards to humanity: We have free will. Saying otherwise is rationalizing away blame and consequence of actions. "The universe made me do it!" Etc

    If you want to talk about the free will of physics... Then no.

    But as always there are obvious cause and effects. Become a magical vat of pudding and the only outcome is to be consumed by gluttonous forces.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    I talked about it a while ago with the late erm: here.

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