Determinism vs chance

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Quantum Quack, May 13, 2010.

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  1. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Thank you iceaura.

    Alas, if you look over the history of this thread, you'll see that QQ has some sort of blindspot when it comes to understanding how science works. He seems to think that science makes proclamations of universal applicability; explanations for how the world 'really' works. As opposed to probabilistic theories that reliably predict behaviour within the constraints of a particular scope.
     
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  3. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Which had nuthin to do wit the post im refferin to in which you said this:::

    Doreen to Glaucon---"it is not completely obvious to me that believing in determinism cannot have negative effects.

    Do you agree, for example, with clueless, that there should be no punishment?

    He indicates this belief followed for him from determinism.

    And note: it doesn't matter if you agree that this position necessarily follows from there being no free will. I think it is clear that it can and will lead to this position for some. If you do not see that position as a problematic one, I assume you will give up certain moderator actions here."


    Yep... cause thats esactly what you'r post indicated you had done.!!!

    You wasn't talkin about the word "shoud"... you'r focus was on what you assumed my positon on punishment was which you refered to as problamatic.!!!
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
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  5. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    now, to be fair, Glaucon, maybe you would like to offer as an opinion on the ontological validity of the above statement and all the other statements made by those proponents of randomness and chance.
    Given that Ice Aura have made universally applied statements I think it fair to consider it, universality, as the ontological domain he is referring to.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
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  7. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    So then what is it that makes scientists deem something as random. Or that randomness applies?

    It has to be either of one claims:
    1) non-causiality (miracle).
    2) unknown cause (hidden variables).

    If it is neither of those claims then what is it? Usually when we say that something is random we apply the unknown cause, like the throw of a dice, there are so many variables that control which side will be up that it is nearly impossible to forsee so we deem it to be random. Quantum physics seem to rather go for the first case (non-causiality). So when you say that randomness applies what does it mean?

    How could randomness NOT be related to causiality, when it describes the causiality of something?
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No, it doesn't.

    It can be instead what we find in actual mathematical descriptions and scientific theories, famously such as those of quantum electrodynamics, in which a "probability" appears as a constituent part of the world - a term in an equation that is used to describe and predict physical behavior, with hidden variables and miracles alike explicitly excluded.

    Once again, a link to Bell's Theorem makes a good start if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell's_theorem

    But the central problem is not these physical findings (an entirely separate argument or approach can be made from chaos theory, or even Zen koans, reaching the same point) but the error of reasoning involved:

    -> the assumption that "cause" or 'causality" is more fundamental or real or assured, somehow, than other human abstractions or shortcut simplifications humans use to imagine the universe at that level (such as "randomness"), is not valid. <-

    You are mistaking human description for the reality described, taking the map for the territory.
     
  9. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    You make think that fair, but it would be incorrect to say that he is referring to all of 'reality'. All scientists take it as understood that, while they may make claims of the sort "X is applicable to all Y", the claim is always limited to the scope of the domain (model) that's being discussed. Thus, it is perfectly sensible for one to claim that, say, Newton's First Law universally applies, despite the fact that, on the Quantum level it does not. When science makes use of the term "universal" it is understood to mean that it is universal within a particular domain. Again, there is no claim of any ontological sort.
     
  10. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    fair enough....
     
  11. RoyLennigan Registered Senior Member

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    I have never believed in determinism. Yet ever since I was much younger, I came to believe that true chance, or randomness, couldn't exist either.

    I have read symbolists (Carl Jung), philosophers (Sun Tzu), and ethnographers turned modern-day shamans (Carlos Castaneda) speak of a kind of dual existence--not necessarily dualism. It is so far beyond our ability to understand it that the only ways to think of it are either in symbols or in terms that seem to make no sense:

    Randomness and determinism both exist and do not exist. If all is chance, then it certainly is a chance that lends itself to the formation of rules and organization. If all is determined, then it is certainly carried out in a manner that--for all intents and purposes of any living entity (of the sort we know)--is fraught with chaos beyond understanding in any length of future. Now granted, we, or our ancestors, may transcend the limited beings that we are to someday understand (or become one with, however you want to envision it) the universe fully. Or perhaps even then, it is basically a feeling, or state of being-- and can never be quantized. But basically that means that you and I as we are now will never know.
     
  12. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Nope. And that was the post I was thinkling of. It led to a position that, I think, Glaucon disagrees with. Glaucon and I do not share all the same opinions. I have already stated that I agree with you on that one. Glaucon seemed to think - my interpretation- that one cannot draw ethical conclusions and certainly not ones he would disagree with from a determinist position. I showed him that both these ideas were incorrect, in your case, and I think this is likely to be true in others, also.

    I understood Glaucon to be questioning, mainly, the idea that a belief in determinism could lead to ethical positions, then, specifically negative ones. See, I think he is thinking that if everything is determined there is no reason to change any of one's behavior, given this belief. And yes, he mentioned problem, and I responded in relation to problems, but the main issue is that specific ethical position can and are drawn from determinism. I do not think this is logical, but I think it happens with regularity. Often the positions are ones I happen to agree with, as is the case here. I do not agree with ethical stances I think are horrible.

    I had an exception at hand in relation to his incredulity and I used it.

    Again. I have discussed a lot of issues with Glaucon. I made assumptions about his position that I think are correct. He was, essentially, thinking that determinism is ethically neutral and could not lead to problems. I was showing that it 1) can be used to create ethical stances and 2) ones that he disagrees with. Unless I am mistaken in some of the threads about sciforums' moderation you and he have different takes. I never for a moment thought he would think you had taken a horrible moral position, simply one that he would disagree with. Further, I was showing that what seems ethically neutral, need not be taken that way. And I do not think determinism is taken ethically neutrally. It is used to justify ethical positions. There was a shorthand element to our back and forth. I am sorry you felt misrepresented, but the fact is you said people did not deserve punishment. You have now clarified that you would not undo current systems of punishment, and honestly, I am not sure how that position is coherent. but all that is secondary....you have ethical positions based on determinism and I do not think that works. This would mean you think that people do not deserve to be punished, but you are not against punishment.

    Notice my response to Glaucon in post 158. I am not focusing on your ethical failings - which I have no evidence of since I happen to share your views on punishment - but on the problem of moving to should. That was the focus, even if it might not be obvious to a third party, in this case, you. I have now apologized for sloppily representing your position. I have stated that I agree with your ethical opinion. I have also said that what was really happening there for me was something other than how you took it and I think the continuation of our discussion, mine and glaucon's shows what my focus is.

    I think this is enough on my part.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  13. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    can I ask:
    "How would you describe the supposedly infininte number of digits derived by the ratio Pi - Determined or random?
     
  14. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks... you'r longer esplinaton clears up how you was atemptin to make you'r ponts to Glaucon... an now to clear up som thangs on my part:::

    Yes thats what Glaucon answrd to you'r representaton of my position... but his answr may be diferent about my actual position on punishment... which includes people bein held responsible for ther actons.!!!

    Yes i dont thank anybody deserves punishment... an i also dont thank anybody shoud be punished... an in my ideal world no one woud be punished... but the reality is... our justice system is the bes we can curently do... but at leas the direction of the mor civilized people is to treet all incarsarated people humainly.!!!

    Like the esplination Sarkus gave:::
    To perceive "consciousness" is to have a sinsation of "free-will".!!!

    But to you... Doreen... you seem to thank that a person who coms to thank that evidence ponts to thangs bein determined... that they coudnt (or shudnt?) continue to live ther life as if they had free-will an have moral positons.... but mayb this will help you grasp my pont of view:::

    I dont know if thangs are totaly deterministic but the verifiable evidence i know of ponts in that directon... an jus because i dont see any evidence that we have "free-will"... dont equate to livin my life as if i didnt have free will... cause i dont know what the future holds any mor than you do.!!!

    Dew to my personal esperience... i dont thank the idea (in itsself) that thangs are determined... necessarly leads to negative ethical positons... if a person has "mental" prollems... whether they thank free-will esists or not... they still may have negetive moral positons.!!!
     
  15. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    Excuse me but taking the map for the territory is exactly what you have done. You seem to think that mathematics is reality while it really isn't! That things have a cause are not abstract, it is natural! Everything have a cause.

    What do you think probability is? It is a way to predict to a reasonable accuracy how something will fall out, basically because there are "random" influences.

    Tell me one thing; how does anything come about for no reason? It doesn't only contradict common sense, it contradicts logic! Science doesn't always have to be believed you know...
     
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    ? Where did I do that?

    I merely observe that "caused" shares a basic logical level of explanation with "random". The two concepts stand or fall together.
    Prove that.

    Lacking proof, you are back in the realm of reasoning from evidence - and we have plenty of stuff that doesn't seem to have a cause, for all kinds of different reasons: rain, radioactive decay, quantum electromagnetic effects, minimum energy paths, the behavior of nonlinear feedback looped entities, etc.

    And we have plenty of stuff whose "cause" is based on probabilities, whose behavior is determined by aspects such as the law of large numbers.

    Some of the most completely determined behaviors there are - the more or less even distribution of gas molecules within a container, say - are determined by conjunctions of various probabilities.

    btw: what is math not as real as?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  17. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    behaviour is never determined by probability or laws of large numbers.

    The laws are determined by behaviour...Now aint that so?

    I think you have it round the wrong way... show me one law that is not deteremined by behaviour or reality itself?
     
  18. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    That wasn't what iceaura said.

    Behaviour is indeed based on probabilities. It could not possibly be otherwise, as that would require complete knowledge.

    Laws are not determined by behaviour. Rather, they are determined by their performance in describing and predicting behaviour.

    You're confusing the nature of a Law with 'reality'. The two are completely different classes of objects: a Law is a description, as for 'reality', well, who knows...
     
  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    If someone wants to offer a refutation then they goota stop being so lazy.

    "Desciptions of observed behaviour can indeed be based on probabilities however the behaviour itself is not goverened by the probabilities we use to make predictions"


    So with out the behaviour there are/is no law(s) yes?

    What determines what is indeed a real problem here.



    nope not at all...see above...


    a law is a description of what?

    reality is not a hypothesis nor is it an indictively derived theorum

    Probability is purely the province of the observers mind and as you have rightly stated is not a determiner of reality* but merely a describer of an observation that is subject to errors due to incomplete knowledge.

    *in context with the discussion at hand and not entirely true as it has been shown that the observer can indeed impinge on the reality he is observing.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  20. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    Glaucon could you please then share with the board how you are interpreting Ice Auras obvious statements concerning cause and probability?
     
  21. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Incorrect. The onus of proof falls to the minority position.



    Exactly.
    Again, the discrimination here details the difference between a description of behaviour, and 'reality'.



    Correct. But moot.
    This doesn't mean in any way that behaviour determines Laws, but rather that they are the subject of Laws.


    Not at all. What "determines" is what we choose to be called such.
    You're confusing the descriptor "determines" with some notion of causality..



    Nope; ibid


    A description of the probability of an outcome.


    It is indeed the former, not the latter.

    Which is all we can know.
     
  22. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    I'm interpreting it in the only reasonable sense: given that causality has not been established, all that we can fall to is probabilistic analysis. This in turn, relies upon particular models, from whence we derive Principles that can serve to predict behaviour within the confines of the model in question.
     
  23. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    so why do you think science will talk of describing reality and not mere mental abstractions of reality?
     
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