Free Will

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romansh
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Post by romansh » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:29 pm

Lets not rely on memory.
Here I reproduce what I thought of as relevant and some commentary:
and all life violates the second law of thermodynamics when it grows and becomes orderly.
Here is the original clarification
non-isolated systems may lose entropy, provided they increase their environment's entropy by that increment.

Living things can and do lose entropy.
I did not disagree with you here, In fact there is no violation here.

At which point I clarified my point.
rom wrote:At which point you suggest I have claimed that thermodynamics disproves free will. When in fact all I have claimed is that it is evidence of cause and effect.
You continually make the following point:
If there was a law of conservation of cause and effect
To which I ask are not energy differences cause (and as are activation energies? I don't recall an answer here. May be you can show me one or actually respond to my point?

You then say:
Let me explain. The conservation of energy law states that energy is conserved and there cannot be any sources of new energy. An empty room at thermal equilibrium obeys the law, but if a living thing brings a heater into the room, then the law is locally violated.

It is in this sense that I am talking about a source of causes.
Here I agree, you describe the first law. I have no problem here. But if you are suggesting we have a cause that keeps on causing then I would also agree I don't believe in perpetual motion machines. The second law describes how the ability to do work as we approach equilibrium diminishes. Nevertheless the second law of thermodynamics describes cause and effect.

You then repeat:
Living system can reduce entropy.
Which is true if we look at the bits we only wish to look at. If we look at the whole system, this is plainly not true.
The first one against free will is based on energy and the laws that explain how it works. This argument fails because we consume energy when we think. Decisions burn calories.
This I see as simply colloquial language. I think you understand; literally energy does not get consumed. Just the ability to do "useful" work does.

And to your last post:
The second law of thermodynamics assumes that there is no energy source within the closed system.
And yet engineers and chemists can work out how much energy is required in an open system. I would agree when you and I went to school it was taught that way. As I pointed out before ... thermodynamics (second law) applies to when we pump in energy to a lead acid battery to recharge it.
A living thing brings in energy from outside and can become more orderly in this way.

Taking this second statement together with the first, my intellect tells me that me that at very best we could say is that the second law of thermodynamics does not apply to life and not that life violates the law.
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Post by romansh » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:25 pm

Here's a thought experiment.

Get a test tube put in an appropriate electron donor and acceptor, some water and some micro nutrients. Add a small inoculum of bacteria and seal the test tube adiabatically.

Life will flourish until some free energy trough is attained at which point the bacterial population will begin to plummet.

Life is simply a catalyst for the second law of thermodynamics.
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Post by Roncooper » Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:42 pm

Rom wrote
Life is simply a catalyst for the second law of thermodynamics.
Do you really believe that?

It seems to me our difference is the area of cause and effect. Let me ask two questions.

How many chemical reactions( your causes) are going on in my body per second and by what mechanism do they decide on blue socks rather than black socks?
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Post by romansh » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:39 pm

Roncooper wrote: Do you really believe that?
I don't see catalysis as the purpose if that is what you men.

The last two years at work has been trying to understand how to react effectively methanol and nitrate in dilute solutions. The right bug certainly catalyses this reaction. We can look around and see bugs catalysing (or at least being hosts for catalytic reactions all over the place). So in that sense yes life does dissipate energy according the second law of thermodynamics.

If you are asking does it have any other purpose? Beats me.
Roncooper wrote:How many chemical reactions( your causes) are going on in my body per second and by what mechanism do they decide on blue socks rather than black socks?
1) I don't know but say 10^20 would be a first guess?

2) The chemical reactions don't decide whether to wear blue or black socks, but they do form the illusion that you are deciding on whether to wear blue or black socks.
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:56 am

How do they decide which illusion to form? Is it majority rule?
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Post by romansh » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:01 am

2) The chemical reactions don't decide whether to wear blue or black socks,

Chemicals don't decide stuff ... that is the illusion.

We make choices in exactly the same way a river chooses its path over a plain.

When flying over plains or glaciated valleys I find looking down on rivers an amazing metaphor.
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:22 pm

As an objective "scientific" image of reality I have a problem with materialism because it assumes that all nonphysical data is invalid, "illusion", and this assumption is unjustified.

However as a myth, I can see how it would be appealing to intellectuals. It reminds me of Adviata Hinduism in that it relies heavily on the idea of illusion. I find the differences as to what is illusion very interesting.

In Materialism only physical reality is real and nonphysical reality is illusion. In Adviata Hinduism only consciousness is real and all of physical reality is Maya, or illusion.

The justification for the Adviata conclusion comes from the "Thou Art That" experience which is experienced as an awakening to a state of consciousness that is much more real that normal everyday consciousness. Compared to that state we are somnambulists.

To me it is interesting to relate these myths to Jung's functions of the psyche. Materialism is a myth for the intellect and Adviata Hinduism is a myth for our intuitive consciousness.

Adviata Hinduism is a popular branch of Hinduism and its metaphysics is consistent with Buddhism so it is an established view.

When I test these perspectives to see if they could be a new "universal" mythology for all of humanity, I find big problems.

They contain biases that devalue the other functions. They classify the struggles and emotional gamut of life as illusion and therefore have no meaning for the majority who live willful or emotional lives. These two myths are useful for intellectual and intuitive individual. respectively, but the world needs an unbiased, universal myth.

While poking around I found another myth that is similar but does not rely on illusion. This is Vishistadviata Hinduism which states that both the transcendent realm of consciousness (and the intellect for that matter) and the physical universe are real. From this perspective the immanent and transcendent mystery became you so that you would live your life. Your personal reality is part of the story not an illusion.

The Hindu version of this perspective personifies everything with Gods like Vishnu, and as an intellectual I find these to be unnecessary, but for those who live by a different function, this might be comforting.

I won't go into details but this view is the closest to my personal myth because it is reasonable, unbiased, democratic, and all inclusive. It can be made into a world mythology.
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Post by romansh » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:12 pm

Here is my take Ron.

Materialism is real whether it is the only reality I don't know. Having said that our access to our material reality is limited and often (if not always) that reality is not what it seems. So in that sense, the material is illusory as well. I will go back to my favorite metaphor the tree, we treat trees as nouns - fixed material objects. But in reality trees are verbs, the interaction of a myriad of processes from the quantum, micro, meso, to the universal/cosmic. This is true for trees, bricks and us; at least as far as I can tell.

Now to the immaterial, you have mentioned the concept pi (as a proxy for the concept of infinite). I take it you think love as something as immaterial (and here we might include other feelings such as compassion and empathy, I would also include what by some are considered as negative feelings as well). And I presume we have other concepts like unicorns which as far as we can tell are imaginary.

Well we certainly have access to feelings ... chemically and perhaps through direct electrical stimulation of the brain or perhaps with intense magnetic fields. These things are immensely complex and no single chemical will be completely convincing. But having said that these chemicals etc are for me indicative of the underlying nature of what goes on in our brains.

The problem with the immaterial you have described is: the immaterial can be incorporated quite nicely within a materialistic world view. Basically as "patterns of energy" which come and go ... funnily enough as described by the second law, but also caused by activation energies.
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:49 pm

I have said my piece. If you are happy with your myth so be it. I find it lacking and so I have looked elsewhere.

To each his own.
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Post by romansh » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:49 pm

I was reminded by Andreas's Don't need luck ... of a quote by Galen Strawson

Luck swallows everything.

And looking it up came across this piece by G Strawson:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/dfwVariousStrawsonG.html

In it he points out a Kantian point of view ...
Kant is a famous example of a philosopher who was attracted by the idea that to display free will is to be governed by Reason in one’s actions. But he became aware of the problem just described, and insisted, in a later work, that ‘man himself must make or have made himself into whatever, in a moral sense, whether good or evil, he is to become. Either condition must be an effect of his free choice; for otherwise he could not be held responsible for it and could therefore be morally neither good nor evil’. Since he was committed to belief in ultimate moral responsibility, Kant held that such self-creation does indeed take place, and wrote accordingly of ‘man’s character, which he himself creates’, and of ‘knowledge [that one has] of oneself as a person who ...is his own originator’. Here he made the demand for self-creation that is natural for someone who believes in ultimate moral responsibility and who thinks through what is required for it.

And again I express the old saw .. he is a self-made man, thereby relieving god of an almighty responsibility.

So my advice to people who don't think they need luck ... they have it whether they want it or not.
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Post by Andreas » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:15 pm

I was trying to be funny.. jeez.. rom..
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 pm

All of these arguments are trapped by simple logic. The wave-particle duality has shown that reality defies simple logic. This duality is not a phase transition, it is the illogical and necessary conclusion that things have a dual nature.

Translating to human terms it says I am the whole and I am me. I am both connected and I am separate with unique qualities. It is not either or.

I doubt that any of these philosophers have studied this duality. They are familiar with science which focuses on change and interactions. But this duality addresses the nature of things in themselves.

Until mankind learns that reality cannot be described by simple logic, this argument will continue. The wave particle duality took 200 years of our best minds to work out. Free will will take even longer.
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Post by romansh » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:20 pm

When I do suggest philosophically minded physicists like Sabine who actually tackles the problem head on ... we have a simple dismissal of the issue using the word materialist. Do we not?

Here are a couple more of her blogs on free will from the theoretical physicist:

http://backreaction.blogspot.ca/2014/01 ... -will.html
http://backreaction.blogspot.ca/2013/07 ... -dont.html
http://backreaction.blogspot.ca/2012/02 ... ction.html

Incidentally, for those interested she tackles many other philosophical aspects of physics.

Personally I don't see it [quantum phenomena] as a duality ... the fact that depending on what instruments we choose, we describe the properties of the quantum phenomena in terms of our everyday meso world experience ... does not demonstrate an underlying duality.

There is a view that goes along these lines ... an electron is neither a wave nor a particle: an electron is an electron. Full Stop.
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:38 am

Rom wrote;
When I do suggest philosophically minded physicists like Sabine who actually tackles the problem head on ... we have a simple dismissal of the issue using the word materialist. Do we not?
Not in my case I have studied the various arguments. I will read hers and pray for something new.

As I see it many aspects of reality like qualities, and things like art, people, and even light cannot be explained with simple either-or logic. The tool isn't sufficient. It is like trying to catch the wind with net.
Personally I don't see it [quantum phenomena] as a duality ... the fact that depending on what instruments we choose, we describe the properties of the quantum phenomena in terms of our everyday meso world experience ... does not demonstrate an underlying duality.
This has been debated for over 100 years because it defies simple logic, and it definitely is a duality. It is not possible to reconcile interference patterns with the photoelectric effect in any logical way. The debate began with Newton and Huygens in the 1660s and continued until Einstein in about 1905. The data forced the physics community to accept an illogical reality.

It is a great story. There is a book called Quanta that discusses the experiments.



.
There is a view that goes along these lines ... an electron is neither a wave nor a particle: an electron is an electron. Full Stop.

There is the view that a human is a smart monkey with an intellect that is independent of cause and effect- full stop

Like I said if materialism floats your boat that is great. I just don't see it as a universal myth because it classifies much of reality as illusion.
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Post by romansh » Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:14 pm

romansh wrote:Here is a physicist claiming science is on her side.

Judge for yourselves ... assuming anyone cares ... :)
And your reply Ron
Roncooper wrote:What do you expect. She is a materialist. Of course she doesn't believe in free will. What I can't understand is why she is loyal to a theory that is so obviously wrong. A theory that only holds if you reject all the pertinent data. What kind of science is that?

I wish she had not closed down the discussion. Perhaps I could have shown her where she went wrong, but I doubt it. This is clearly a case of blind faith in materialism.
Note her reason for closing the blog down ... people were being quite rude to her.
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