Determinism and the Big Bang

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by markl323, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. quantum_wave Contemplating the "as yet" unknown Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think you can wave away the long standing issue of incompatibility by defining "incompatibility" in a way that differs from what it has meant for as long as I have been aware of the issue. If it is merely a matter of semantics then I have no ground to stand on except to refer to how the term has been used to address the subject. The way I use the term is the same way that it is used in the 166,000 links I refer to. If I have changed how I use the term in this short exchange of posts without realizing it, then my faculties are slipping away from me. If that is the case I have no defense left except to claim that we have a disconnect because I have suddenly lost my compass. Too bad too because someone of your obvious intellect should be aware of this long standing incompatibility, meaning that in their current form, General Relativity and Quantum mechanics cannot both be correct.
     
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I am aware that the probabilistic structure of QM is difficult (or impossible?) to merge into one formalism with any of the strictly deterministic theories of physics.

    QM and those deterministic theories do not apply to the same domains. To conclude from this fact that QM must be wrong is a conceptual error.
    They both can be (and probably are) correct.


    Only QM can produce the 12 significant figure prediction accuracies, so I do not expect any significant revision in it. For example, I bet that the change in the separation between the Earth and sun’s mass centers produced by one full orbit cannot be predicted with even half that accuracy even if GR is used to modify Newton's gravity forces and all other planet masses are considered in multi body calculation. I could lose my bet but it would need to include the internal mass dynamics of the sun and most of the asteroids. QM is on amazingly solid EXPERIMENTAL ground WITHIN ITS DOMAIN compared to all other theories.

    For example, the famous displacement of a star's appearant position when the starlight passed near the sun, which first confrimed GR was of such low measurement accuracy that only one of the two observation (one was in Brazil) could even observe a definite deflection! I do not know but bet no GR prediction is confirmed experimentally to more than four significant figures. If that is true, then QM is known to be 100 million times more accurate than GR is known to be!!! Are you suggesting that GR is wrong? :shrug:

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    Or just making a "conceptual error"?
     
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  5. quantum_wave Contemplating the "as yet" unknown Valued Senior Member

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    Lol, well we have gone full circle. You imply that the 12 figure accuracy eliminates a common sense rejection of QM, I remind you of the need to keep the concept of "tentativeness" in mind, we get into semantics about "incompatibility" and now you corner me with the type of argument that pits two straw men against each other. But, oh well ... I do think that GR is wrong if the other choice is that I have made a conceptual error

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    .

    Do you think the QM is right in spite of the requirement that in science, theories must be considered tentative, or do you disagree that tentativeness is a characteristic of the scientific method?
     
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I said that I thought both GR and QM were "probably correct." I have no reason to not suggest that are fully correct except as you note, science is a continuing process of learning about nature and it is possible, but not very probable in my judgment, that GR and /or QM could be modified.

    What I am quite certain of is that just because there is no currently (or even future) possible unification of two different theories into one as special sub cases is no evidence that one of them must be wrong. To take two historic examples:
    (1) The theory of magnetism was not wrong when it was considered to be separate theory from electric theory. Both were more complete once they were unified and man's understanding of the EM part of physics greatly improved (radio wave were predicted and found, etc.) but the earlier separate theories were not "wrong."

    (2) The original theory of heat was wrong despite for many years it predicted and explained ALL heat experiments correctly. It was accidently disproved when Lord Kelvin was placed in charge of a canon factory. The workers had for many years known that it was a good idea to pour water into the bore as it was being drilled or otherwise the drill bit would get hot and soften - lose its cutting edge. Lord Kelvin realized that this violated the theory that phlogiston was always conserved part of the then accepted theory of heat.

    For either QM or GR to be found to be wrong they must predict results of well done experiments incorrectly. - Not being unified into only one theory does not make either wrong. - That is my point.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2009
  8. Froska101 Registered Member

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    Within reality, I believe humans have free will. However, as you know, things in your life (e.g. being in a car crash, etc...) affect your actions. If this is true for larger, more obvious occurrences, why can't it be true for very subtle occurrences (e.g. which neurons are activated in your brain, etc...). If you look at it from a perfectly logical point of view (and briefly forget QM), people's actions could be entirely deterministic. Its interesting to think that maybe you could use the initial conditions that caused the big bang to predict every event in the universe. At the same time, I don't see any logic in the existence of the universe. I honestly don't think its possible for humans to come up with an explanation. Fractals are very interesting examples of deterministic phenomena, showing that relatively simple conditions can create extremely complex results. This leads me to believe that a deterministic universe is possible. Whether our universe is completely deterministic or not shouldn't affect our philosophies regarding free will. If free will is experienced, it must exist from a human's point of view. Anyway, probability and free will can't be compared. If our decisions are probabilistic/random, does that mean we have a choice? No, because the decision is based on a dice roll, not human thought. One could even argue that we have no free will, regardless of whether the universe is probabilistic or deterministic (or both...?). I still believe in free will. People who attempt to base their belief in free will/no free will on facts are kidding themselves, it is a purely philosophical discussion.
     
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Froska101 Welcome to Sciforums.
    I am certain you will find interesting: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/is...fe-is-it-an-illusion.49127/page-4#post-905778
    (even though it takes a few minutes to read) and probably this too:
    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/unconscious-perceptions.142766/#post-3314621
    as it gives some details on one (unilateral neglect cases) of the many facts that support my RTS ideas.

    For many years, I believed "free will" was a universal illusion men have, but accidently in my studies of vision's mechanistic processes, discovered it does not necessarily conflict with the fact that the laws of chemistry and physics deterministicly control the firing of each and every nerve cell in your body.
    Now I am not so sure, free will is only a universal illusion all have.

    BTW, QMs uncertainty could give a randomness to "free will" but I for one would rather be a fully deterministic creature than a randomly acting one. After all evolution has spent a long time developing us to be quite "fit" for the environment we had (before we changed it with AGW.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  10. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From Quantum Wave Post #20
    On the issue of determinism, I agree with your last sentience, but disagree with the first.

    The many processes governed by probabilistic laws refute determinism. Radioactive decay being the most well known such process.

    From Gluon Post #18
    The above in response to my Post #2
    My understanding of Pilot Wave Theory is that it relies on some form of reverse causality, which seems as paradoxical as the SciFi version of time travel to the past.
     
  11. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From QuantumWave Post #20
    On the issue of determinism, I agree with your last sentience, but disagree with the first.

    The many processes governed by probabilistic laws refute determinism. Radioactive decay being the most well known such process.

    From Gluon Post #18
    The above in response to my Post #2
    My understanding of Pilot Wave Theory is that it relies on some form of reverse causality, which seems as paradoxical as the SciFi version of time travel to the past.
     

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