Old 01-10-2009, 12:55 PM   #16
Sternwallow
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Y'know what goes real well with beer (yes, of course more beer)? Hot buttered popcorn with Cinnamon.

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Old 01-10-2009, 12:57 PM   #17
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You have eliminated all of the forces under which causality works and you have eliminated randomness (and I agree), so now what is the process of free will?
The physical laws work just fine as descriptions. They don't control anything. There's nothing being forced at all. Whatever happens in nature, there are true descriptions of it. There are regularities in nature but that's just the way nature is. There's no need for hidden forces or laws that govern the universe. That's a throwback from religion.

Causality remains but it's a description of what happens, not something that controls it.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:16 PM   #18
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It seems you have a fairly distorted view of the laws of nature and causality. Causality doesn't force anything. The laws of nature are just a description. How do you think a description is able to force something to happen? How do you even know these unobservable forces exist? What's the difference between the regularities of nature simply being a coincidence versus there being some underlying hidden causality that forces things to be the way they are? How can you prove this difference is real? What empirical observations lead you to believe that there are forces at work causing things to be the way they have to be.

Do you really expect me to believe that you can tell the difference between real choices and illusory choices just based on your gut instinct?
No need for huffiness. Also I don't remember mentioning my considerable gut as a citation for my information.

We use the term "laws of nature" as a verbal shorthand for our observation that events fall into regular patterns and that those patterns can be used to predict future events. It is that predictability that makes the "laws" seem to be actual cosmic laws and not just coincidences.

Of course there is no gravity cop at every cosmic intersection (down to Plank scale) directing every particle where to go. It does make conversation easier to just call it the Law of Gravity and to note, along with Einstein, that the great miracle of this universe is that there are no miracles.

I can determine whether choice A is a real choice and choice B is an illusion, and without inspecting my inward parts, by showing that every event in the causal chains leading to them is in place and the chains are intact. This eliminates choice A as a "real" choice since only an acausal force (and for human volition, a psychologically directed acausal force) can break the causal chain and that force is currently unknown or even conjectured.

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Old 01-10-2009, 01:24 PM   #19
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We use the term "laws of nature" as a verbal shorthand for our observation that events fall into regular patterns and that those patterns can be used to predict future events. It is that predictability that makes the "laws" seem to be actual cosmic laws and not just coincidences.
Right, I understand that. The question I'm asking is, what is the empirical research that can prove the difference between a cosmic coincidence and a cosmic law?

The next question, assuming you can answer that, is, why do these laws exist? I assume, unless you're a theist, you'll just say "that's just the way things are". We can agree that all explanations must come to an end. At some point you have to stop asking "why" and say "that's just how things are".

The problem is that you need to stop your explanation BEFORE you cross the line into superfluous unempirical metaphysics. Unless you can design some kind of experiment that can test for things that "have to be the way they are" and things that "just are the way they are" then the best thing for science to do is reject it. It's not needed and puts us on unempirical grounds, where science doesn't belong.

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I can determine whether choice A is a real choice and choice B is an illusion, and without inspecting my inward parts, by showing that every event in the causal chains leading to them is in place and the chains are intact. This eliminates choice A as a "real" choice since only an acausal force (and for human volition, a psychologically directed acausal force) can break the causal chain and that force is currently unknown or even conjectured.
Sure you can, the only problem is that the same thing can be said for a string of coincidences. A precedes B precedes C and so on. But you can't actually perform any experiment that can tell the difference between A causing B causing C or simply that A coincides with B coincides with C. There's no testable difference yet you insist that you know there is one. How?
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:27 PM   #20
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The physical laws work just fine as descriptions. They don't control anything. There's nothing being forced at all. Whatever happens in nature, there are true descriptions of it. There are regularities in nature but that's just the way nature is. There's no need for hidden forces or laws that govern the universe. That's a throwback from religion.

Causality remains but it's a description of what happens, not something that controls it.
When studied, the "what happens", behaves as though it was under the complete control of forces and states. If this were not true then Newton's gravity equations would be useless. So, either free will is just a part of that causality and hence illusory (since there are no real choices in that case) or free will must be a way to circumvent or distort causality (which, for conversational purposes, I have called a force by analogy with the Newtonian forces).

My position is not a throwback to religion, but a refutation of it. I do not believe there is any extra or hidden force that enables free will for the same reason I do not believe in angels, no evidence plus an entirely adequate explanation using only the known forces.

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Old 01-10-2009, 01:34 PM   #21
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When studied, the "what happens", behaves as though it was under the complete control of forces and states.
We can agree that there are regularities in nature that allow us to make predictions. The question I'm asking you is, are there any experiments you can perform that can prove that these things are controlled and aren't simply extremely large coincidences?

Let me put it simpler, what is the testable difference between a law that controls a coin to land 50 heads in a row versus a coincidence that there happen to be 50 heads in a row? What have you really explained with declaring that there is a law that gives 50 heads in row? With or without the idea of a law we can still make the predictions. It's completely superfluous.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:50 PM   #22
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So can anybody tell me if KnowledgeIsPower has been totally owned by Sternwallow because of free will or some other causality?

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Old 01-10-2009, 01:55 PM   #23
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Haha, here's a challenge for you ghouslime.

Imagine two universes that are identical in every way but one.

In universe A there is a law that governs the outcome of every coin flipped so that there is always 50 heads in a row followed by 1 tail and so on.. 50 heads, 1 tail, 50 heads, 1 tail..

In universe B everything is exactly the same in every way except that there isn't a law that governs the outcome of every coin flipped but it just so happens by coincidence that every coin flipped comes out 50 heads, 1 tail, 50 heads, 1 tail and so on..

Now try to think of an experiment that you could perform to verify which of these two universes you are in.

When you realize that there is no experiment you could perform to do that, you will also realize why the claim that our universe is under some kind of control is unempirical.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:00 PM   #24
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And thus you can never prove free will. THAT'S exactly what I was trying to say before.

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:03 PM   #25
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Now, THIS is what I call a discussion!
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Right, I understand that. The question I'm asking is, what is the empirical research that can prove the difference between a cosmic coincidence and a cosmic law?
You and I have been imprecise in our use of the language. There is no provable difference between a cosmic coincidence and an event that conforms to our understanding of a cosmic law. However, if one searches the last 13 Billion years or so and finds evidence for not a single instance of failure to conform to that law, one could be very wrong about the law even existing and yet would be justified in betting the planet on the outcome of the next few such events. Science is not about proof and I assume you do not really mean "proof" in your post.
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The next question, assuming you can answer that, is, why do these laws exist? I assume, unless you're a theist, you'll just say "that's just the way things are". We can agree that all explanations must come to an end. At some point you have to stop asking "why" and say "that's just how things are".
Another good question. I wonder, if laws exist, whether it matters much to our use of them as models of real system behaviors, "why" or "how" or "must" they exist.

Why is F = MA? Because, if it wasn't, we would use another equation instead. There is no necessity for F = MA to be true. Some deist kind of god might have decreed it, I suppose. Personally I think that the laws and constants in this universe are simply those under which such a universe can develop. Again, because, if they were different, it wouldn't be in this universe.
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The problem is that you need to stop your explanation BEFORE you cross the line into superfluous unempirical metaphysics. Unless you can design some kind of experiment that can test for things that "have to be the way they are" and things that "just are the way they are" then the best thing for science to do is reject it. It's not needed and puts us on unempirical grounds, where science doesn't belong.
I see no scientific grounds for rejecting the vast collected body of knowledge that has been gleaned at great individual effort over tens of millenia. But I do not see why you care about the distinction between something that must be versus something that just is, when the things have already occurred. What is the probability that all of the electronic states in my CPU would take on the exact pattern down to each individual bit, two seconds ago? Exactly 1.0000000000... .

Remember that empirical methods are not strictly limited to what can be performed in controlled laboratory experiments.
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Sure you can, the only problem is that the same thing can be said for a string of coincidences. A precedes B precedes C and so on. But you can't actually perform any experiment that can tell the difference between A causing B causing C or simply that A coincides with B coincides with C. There's no testable difference yet you insist that you know there is one. How?
I guess you never heard the story about the old guy sitting on his front porch watching a dog chase a rabbit around the house around and around and finally decided based on his observations that rabbits cause dogs.

I also guess you have not heard of repeatability. Without repeatability of some sort a phenomenon cannot be verified and so must be accepted, if at all, with only a tiny reliance. However, if a phenomenon does show repeatability, its probability of being a real phenomenon goes up accordingly. Some phenomena have been verified and repeated so often that you are willing to trust your life and that of your loved ones (if any) to it without a qualm.

There is no religion or mysticism or metaphysics involved here. It is as simple as "2+2=6 ... -2" as Cal insists.

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:14 PM   #26
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We can agree that there are regularities in nature that allow us to make predictions. The question I'm asking you is, are there any experiments you can perform that can prove that these things are controlled and aren't simply extremely large coincidences?

Let me put it simpler, what is the testable difference between a law that controls a coin to land 50 heads in a row versus a coincidence that there happen to be 50 heads in a row? What have you really explained with declaring that there is a law that gives 50 heads in row? With or without the idea of a law we can still make the predictions. It's completely superfluous.
I think that using known physical laws (yes, I know it is verbal shorthand) to model a situation and, from them to predict that there will be a 50 head run in the next 50 flips would disqualify that run as a coincidence. You are right that it might still really be a coincidence that the system behaved as though it was not a coincidence. Since we are not in the realm of proof and absolutes (that is mathematics), we can, as we must, work based on the probabilities and we will occasionally be wrong, say once every 10^100 times.

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:17 PM   #27
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you can simply get the desired probability that it is a coincidence by how many times you do the experiment. Since no absolute proof (of anything) will ever be forthcoming for the entire concept to make sense some degree of improbability will have to be set so as to make any observations meaningful, and therefore one could, within those bounds, "prove" which universe it was.

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:17 PM   #28
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So can anybody tell me if KnowledgeIsPower has been totally owned by Sternwallow because of free will or some other causality?
I don't really think I owned KIP since that would require volition and, by my own argument, I have none. But that would mean that I didn't own my argument either so maybe, in a small way, I did own part of KIP. I just can't decide empirically.

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:18 PM   #29
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So can anybody tell me if KnowledgeIsPower has been totally owned by Sternwallow because of free will or some other causality?
not me- I'll stick to psychology and criminals thank you- much easier

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #30
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Haha, here's a challenge for you ghouslime.

Imagine two universes that are identical in every way but one.

In universe A there is a law that governs the outcome of every coin flipped so that there is always 50 heads in a row followed by 1 tail and so on.. 50 heads, 1 tail, 50 heads, 1 tail..

In universe B everything is exactly the same in every way except that there isn't a law that governs the outcome of every coin flipped but it just so happens by coincidence that every coin flipped comes out 50 heads, 1 tail, 50 heads, 1 tail and so on..

Now try to think of an experiment that you could perform to verify which of these two universes you are in.

When you realize that there is no experiment you could perform to do that, you will also realize why the claim that our universe is under some kind of control is unempirical.
You can't determine which universe you are in because both of them are being controlled in the same way, to the same extent and with the same outcomes. The universe you say does not have this law, obviously does have it since, using it to model the behavior of the universe yields the same result as the universe with the explicitly identified law.

You logic failed when you defined an invalid difference between the two universes which are, in every way identical INCLUDING whatever it is that is apparent in the pattern of their behaviors.

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"Atheism: rejecting all absurdity." S.H.
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