Is free will possible in a deterministic universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Sarkus, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    And you’re the only one in this conversation who thinks it is, even though you have yet to explain how, and everything you do say (other than words to the effect of “it is relevant”) suggests you don’t actually know how it is relevant, and thus can’t explain why it is, or how it is.
    What you fail to grasp, even in this latest comment of yours, is that the theories of time that you have raised have nothing to say on what time actually is, only on whether time can be said to exist pre- and/or post- the present.
    You also agree that all of them allow a deterministic universe.
    And my contention is that it is that deterministic nature alone that negates the possibility of free will.
    One doesn’t need to know anything else about time, or reality, or anything else.
    One merely needs to understand what determinism means, what it allows and doesn’t, and from that one can answer the question posed.
    And for that reason, the theories around whether the past and/or future exist as well as the present are simply not relevant to the issue.
    If you wish to claim them relevant, the onus is on you, and to do more than just simply bleat that they are relevant.
    This is a strawman, in that I have never said that time is not an important ingredient, only that understanding its nature is not relevant to the discussion at hand, since it does not alter the nature of determinism.
    The only important thing is the relationship between cause and effect, and that is defined by determinism.
    Adherence to a specific ontological theory of time, or any other, is at best going to allow determinism or not, but since we have stipulated a deterministic universe... and you have agreed that each such theory allows a deterministic universe... where’s the actual relevance of which theory one adopts to the deterministic relationship between cause and effect?
    Just because one might see flour as a vital part of a cake, it is somewhat irrelevant when discussing the flavour of the icing.
    So you can bleat on about the importance of time in the whole recipe, but it is simply not relevant to the discussion at hand.
    Thanks for continuing the strawman.
    I have not said that time itself is not important to causation, only that the theories of time that you are wanting me to choose between are irrelevant to the discussion at hand, on the possibility of free will in a deterministic universe.
    The existence of the past and/or future along with the present does not change the relationship between cause and effect in a deterministic universe.
    You have agreed to this, else you would not have agreed that all the theories allow for a deterministic universe, where the determinism defines that relationship between cause and effect.
    If you are now changing your mind, explain why you think the theory of time one adopts alters what it means for a relationship to be deterministic.
    Assuming you haven’t changed your mind, with no impact upon the nature of determinism, how is the ontological nature of time relevant to issues involving the nature of that determinism?
    Only those unwilling or unable to comprehend the explanations I have given, or those simply obstinate enough to ignore them, could think that.
    To repeat what I have said, lest you digress to only engaging with your strawman: I have never said time is not important to causation, only that the theories of time you have put forward as being relevant, that are theories on the existence of a past and/or future along with the present, are indeed irrelevant to the actual discussion at hand.
    And the onus is on you, still, to show why it is relevant.
    And I’m putting the onus on you to cease engaging your strawman and engage with what I have been saying.
    You can run with them all you like, but if they do not alter what it means to be deterministic then they remain irrelevant to issues that can be addressed solely by examining the nature of determinism.
    That simple fact doesn’t seem to penetrate with you.
    So, rather than continue to bleat that it is relevant, rather than continue to argue against your strawman, are you ever going to show why the ontological theory of time one adopts impacts the question of whether freewill is possible in a deterministic universe?
    Physicists may have a preferred theory of time, but physics is reasonably agnostic on the idea, especially with regard the ontological nature of time.
    There are philosophical arguments for all such ontological theories, none of which can be falsified, all of which thus appear to be outside the remit of science.

    So, are you ever going to actually explain how the ontological theory of time one adheres to impacts the nature of determinism, and thus (or otherwise) the possibility of free will in a deterministic universe?
    Because thus far... zip.
    Time for you to engage rather than merely type words.
    Time for you to participate rather than continue your obfuscation and strawman.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
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  3. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Yet you literally admitted you inferred it, rather than anyone implying it. The former can occur without the latter, hence you seeming to conflate the two. And you've given no one reason to believe your inference is valid, other than your say so.
    And I assume you mean bandwagon fallacy, as I have no idea what a "Band Wagon Irony" might be.

    I obviously can't get through to you. I've repeatedly explained that:
    • Physics prefers eternalism because its ontology of time is equivalent to a dimension of space, where we simply move along a dimension that is equally real in both direction.
    • Eternalism means that all time was realized at the initial conditions, which does not allow for one time to be causative of another, as all already have a direct cause.
    • Growing-block universe means that the ontology of time does not grant existence to the future, the only reasoning being that the future is not set, for us to move into like a dimension of space.
    • Presentism means that the past nor future exist, again, due to their lack of being set, as something that can be moved along.
    • None of these compromise determinism and all of them have consequences for exactly how determinism works.
    • None of these are just philosophical rhetoric, devoid of ontology or consequences.
    You just keep repeating "irrelevant" like some kind of mantra. It's sad and boring.
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  5. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I literally admitted I inferred it because that was what I did.
    I didn't say, or imply, "rather than anyone implying it".
    You asked if I can either quote it (which I couldn't, due to it being implied, not explicitly stated) or whether I inferred.
    I'm sorry you don't seem to like my answer.
    It can indeed occur without the latter, and your reply here is evidence of it doing so: you infer that I seem to conflate the two, yet nothing I have written implies it.
    I have given explanation in post #1155 as to why I consider it rather obviously valid
    No, I don't refer to the bandwagon fallacy.
    I refer to both the film "Band Wagon", and the fact that a number of people on this site have started posting that which is ironical.
    You have jumped on the bandwagon of irony that seems prevalent here at the moment.
    Hence you seem to have joined the cast of that film in no small measure.
    The humour of the reference to the film obviously fell flat.
    Mea culpa.
    But the observation stands.
    Explaining, and you being right, are two very different things.
    But to highlight your errors thus far:
    • Physics itself does not prefer eternalism: physicists may, as already explained to you, but physics can and does work with all theories of time.
    • Your point regarding Eternalism not allowing one time to be causative of another is simply bizarre: if, in a deterministic universe, A is the cause of B and B the cause of C, then A can also be considered the cause of C without violating the notion that B was the cause of C, it merely becomes a prior cause.
    • There is a difference between whether something yet exists and whether it is yet set, and your conflating the two isn't helping your understanding.
    • Regarding the growing block universe, your "only reasoning being that the future is not set" is hocum, as there are many reasons, none of which in a deterministic universe would be that the future is not set, rather than simply not yet happened (note the difference between happening and "being set").
    • One argument for the growing block, other than that it most closely resembles common sense (we don't know the future but we know the present and the past etc), is due to the asymmetric nature of our physics, whether deterministic or not.
    But please, explain how a future not being set allows for determinism, as you would have growing block universe or presentism?
    I am comfortable that not being set, and not existing, are different matters entirely, and that determinism means the same in all three theories, as it pertains to the relationship of cause and effect.

    You, though, still have quite some distance to go to show how the theory of time is relevant to the nature of determinism.
    You are arguing that none of these compromise determinism, but impact how that determinism works - yet you haven't said how it works might be different.
    Nor, rather importantly, have you said how the difference in how it works has any impact on whether free will is possible in a deterministic universe.
    To summarise: you haven't provided anything as to the relevance of the theory of time to the question of this thread.
    Despite post after post after post of asking you to.
    Seriously, are you ever going to?

    I keep repeating it, with explanation, because you keep refusing to supply anything to support its relevance.
    Even in this latest post of yours there is nothing.
    You say that the theory one adopts results in differences to the way determinism works... but nothing as to what those differences are, or, importantly, how those differences impact on the question of whether freewill is possible in a deterministic universe.
    Now, if you have no intention of ever doing so, just let me know.
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  7. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    If you couldn't quote anything, there's no reason to believe that it was implied at all. All we can conclude is that you, as you admitted, inferred it.
    So, an implied accusation, that you can't quote anything indicating it may not be wholly imagined? Okay, buddy.

    What you imagine without being able to quote anything to corroborate is not convincing.

    So, more imagined stuff you really can't substantiate. Okay, buddy.

    No, modern physics, itself, quite literally formulates time as a fourth dimension, on par with any dimension of space. As such, eternalism (where each direction of time is just as real as any direction in space) is the only theory of time that fits. To refute that is to refute a whole lot of modern physics. Otherwise, you need to explain how time could be a dimension equivalent to those of space but without being just as real in each direction. Sounds anti-science to me.

    Should be easy enough to understand. If all time comes into existence at the same time, there is no time between moments (other than in our human perception as we traverse the preexisting timeline) for causation to play out among them. All moments are a direct effect of the first cause. Otherwise you have to explain how causation can work without any elapse of time at all. But I'm starting to understand why you don't seem to appreciate the role time plays in causation. You seem to have a shaky grasp of causation in general.

    Then give us a concrete example. Something, anything, that everyone can agree is set, but does not yet exist. You keep making this leap without filling that gap.
    Now things can exist but not yet be set, like paint, but I'm not sure about the inverse.

    Again, you have yet to justify the leap in assuming anything can be set but not yet exist. If you do, indeed, have many reasons, please, share them already. Bare assertions and incredulity ain't going to cut it.

    Barring QM, most laws of physics are time-symmetrically deterministic. The notable exception is the second law of thermodynamics, but that's not enough to prove physics time-asymmetric without the CPT theorem or other findings of QM/QFT. Hence, no such proof in your stipulated universe. When are you going to accept the consequences of your own stipulations?

    You're comfortable with something you've yet to explain, whereas something not yet existing also not being set is pretty easy for anyone to grasp.
    The future not being set merely means that the present contributes to the cause of the future in some way the past alone does not wholly account for. Just a distributed cause, but deterministic nonetheless. A deterministic system only excludes randomness, not distributed causes. You've argued that yourself, when discussing smoking causing death.

    I've repeatedly said that no theory of time changes the nature of determinism, so that's a transparent straw man. How could they, when you even admit that I argued that none compromise determinism?
    There's no accounting for the comprehension of someone who cannot justify their own presumption that something can be set yet not exist. And until you do, your complaints about irrelevancy are moot. You'll apparently just keep yelling "irrelevant" no matter what I say.

    I get that you believe you've offered explanation, but you've only given us bare assertions about unrevealed "many reasons" for your incredulity.
    Unless or until you can manage to honestly engage with the discussion about theories of time, instead of just repeatedly declaring it "irrelevant", there's no way you can understand, much less accept, any further argument in that vein.

    I'm more than willing to chalk this whole thing up to your lack of comprehension.
  8. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    If you need convincing you can always read the original post on the matter.
    I have no interest in personally convincing you of what was implied.
    The poster knows he implied it, and I know he did.
    That's the end of it as far as you and I are concerned.
    Formulating something as a dimension does not equate to its eternal existence, as you imply.
    One can certainly model it that way, and doing so may make understanding of things easier.
    But it doesn't make it true, given that physics can, and does, work with all the theories of time.
    If not, physics would have disproved the theory.
    Simple as that.
    So even your own arguments, while I actually disagree with them, should confirm to yourself that you are introducing irrelevancies.
    If only eternalism is possible by modern physical laws (I am assuming you are continuing to leave out matters of QM), then introducing alternate and thus non-possible theories, as you will have done, is to introduce irrelevancies.
    But I'm guessing this has slipped you by as well.

    Further, while I disagree that modern physics has effectively disproven the other theories, unless and until you can actually get round to explaining how the theory of time affects the nature of determinism, you're still just talking the colour of a car in a discussion of performance.
    I.e. you continue to be irrelevant.

    Well, you're finally getting round to providing some explanation.
    Well done.
    Cause and effect need have no time between the cause and effect, other than due to our subjective perception.
    All that is required for determinism is that the effect is fully determined by the cause, whether we percieve there to be time between the two or not.
    Time is not a requirement for determinism.
    Just the relationship between cause and effect.
    Now, if you're saying that eternalism effectively removes the possibility of determinism, then you would be once again arguing an irrelevancy, since we are discussing a deterministic universe.

    So, again, why is the theory of time relevant to this discussion?
    How is it relevant?
    How does it alter the nature of determinism such that it impacts upon the possibility of free will or not in a deterministic universe?
    Are you ever going to get round to that?
    Whether it exists or not would be dependent upon the theory of time one adopts.
    If I adopt a presentism or growing block universe, then we agree that, according to that theory, the future is not set.
    Yet in a deterministic universe, the type we are discussing, the future is fully determined (i.e. set) by existing or previously existing conditions.
    Thus the future, that which is set, does not exist - by definition of the theory of time.
    Simple as that.
    But if you equate something being set with existing, then you are discounting presentism and gorwing block theories of time from consideration for a deterministic universe.
    In which case you would be confirming that you had introduced irrelevancies.

    So what's it to actually be: theories of time being relevant to a deterministic universe, in which case you yourself have to accept by definition that something can be set (i.e. determined) in advance of it existing?
    Or you can hold to the idea that only eternalism is relevant to a deterministic universe, in which case "set" and "exists" are, by definition, equivalent, and in which case alternative theories of time are irrelevant to the discussion?
    Which is it?
    Try not to hold the a priori assumption of a theory of time.
    Then re-read your dilemma above.
    Then try to explain your way out of your continued irrelevance with the issue of the theory of time.
    All I'm stipulating is a deterministic universe.
    The rest is pretty much irrelevant.
    You can argue all you want about theories of time but unless they alter what it means to be deterministic, they remain irrelevant for all the reasons given - including in this post.
    That would, once again, depend upon the theory of time one adopts.
    Not in a deterministic universe.
    Now, again, if this means that you are arguing that a deterministic universe invalidates certain theories of time, then great, argue that so you can finally drop your irrelevancy of having raised it in the first place.
    Stick to what it means to be deterministic.
    "Distributed cause"?
    You'll need to explain that one, and how it impacts upon the question at hand.
    It's not a strawman in being an argument for it being an irrelevancy to this discussion about freewill and a deterministic universe.
    When it is the nature of determinism itself that can and does answer the question, anything else being raised is an irrelevancy.
    If you wish to continue to argue that something is relevant, you need to actually explain why.
    No, only when you raise something that is irrelevant.
    I'm not here to offer explanations justifying your irrelevancies.
    I have explained why I consider them irrelevant, whether you can understand those explanations or not.
    I can't really dumb it down much more than the analogy of you arguing about colour in a discussion about the performance of a car.
    I'll honestly engage when you can get off your hypocritical arse and actually explain the relevance, without those explanations actually confirming the irrelevance.
    There is no lack of comprehension on my part, but I'm willing to chalk it all up to you raising something before you realised that it was actually irrelevant, and you being too proud to then back down?

    Now, about the relevancy of the theory of time to the question of the possibility of free will in a deterministic universe... care to provide anything at all to support it?
    Or are you just going to blather on about how I'm not engaging with it?
  9. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Comes off as disingenuous after you've spent so many posts trying to justify it.
    But that's okay if you want to beg off because you can't. Just quit whining about stuff you can't even minimally demonstrate.

    Relativity only works by accepting that time is a dimension, as real as any of space, where time dilation and length contraction interact as if they are both equally real. It's not simply modeling when acceleration through space (or depth in a gravity field) actually alters the rate of time. You're sounding increasingly anti-science, or maybe just ignorant of relativity. I'm leaning toward you just being scientifically illiterate, since you seem to think science can disprove anything.
    I've repeatedly given you the choice of your preferred theory of time in order to give you all the leeway possible. Eternalism is the most compatible with current, non-QM science, but current scientific knowledge is known to change. Again, you're free to choose whichever you think best supports your argument. And yes, I continue to avoid anything QM.

    As already said, you're arm-waving about untold "many reasons" to justify your mantra of "irrelevant" is transparent avoidance.

    Sorry, I grossly overestimated your reasoning skills.

    Obviously false, as every definition of determinism requires that cause precede the effect, and that can only happen with some duration of time inbetween.

    Wait, so time is "the relationship between cause and effect" even if there is no time? No time means cause and effect are one in the same. Learn to reason.
    And again, no theory of time precludes determinism. This is a straw man you keep repeating, apparently in lieu of any other reason to call it "irrelevant".

    I've repeatedly told you that no theory of time alters the nature of determinism, as I agree that would make it your little straw man of being irrelevant.
    I've already told you why it's relevant. Distributed cause.

    So I guess you couldn't come up with even one example of something being set but not yet existing.
    Again, a deterministic system only requires that there be no random inputs. It says nothing about how far in advance any future must be considered to be "set". But you also just said it yourself. "determined by existing or previously existing conditions" is the distributed cause of both past (previously existing) and present (existing) both influencing the future. And if the present has influence, the future is not wholly "set" beyond the present. Still determined by the past and present, but not "set" beyond the current moment.

    The type of determinism you've presuming is, at best, only once again begging the question.
    But thanks for proving that you have zero concrete examples of anything being set but not yet existing.

    False dilemma, as you're argument is nothing but "X because X". The future is set even if it doesn't exist because it's set even though it doesn't exist. That's not even an argument. And as shown above, no theory of time makes that unfounded presumption at all. Nor has anyone claimed that eternalism is the only theory of time relevant to determinism. Seriously, a little intellectual honesty please.
  10. Vociferous Valued Senior Member


    Quit trying to weasel out of your unjustified assumption that anything can be set but not yet exist.
    And again, I'm good with ANY theory of time you prefer. That's how an intellectually honest argument works.

    Do you even hear yourself?
    You literally just said that I could only argue something if it altered determinism, but you've repeatedly said that anything that alters determinism is irrelevant. The height of question-begging hypocrisy.

    No, it wouldn't. As anyone can equally grasp that if something already exists it can already be set, e.g. eternalism. All theories of time are easy to grasp, if you're not being evasive and intellectually dishonest.

    You obviously have some idiosyncratic definition you refuse to share.
    Cite your source claiming that determinism must mean that some distance in the future is set in advance.

    Memory failing you? You made the argument yourself, that smoking causes death through a variety of contributing factors other than just smoking itself. That is distributed cause, just like the present and past contributing to the future, rather than just the past determining both the present and future.

    You increasingly don't seem up to the challenge your own arguments readily present.

    It's a straw man because I've repeatedly told you that no theory of time alters the nature of determinism. If no one made the argument, it is a straw man. See how that works? Denying any argument but your own idiosyncratic definition of determinism is literally begging the question.

    No one is asking you to justify my argument, Mr. Straw Man.
    You've only explained that your presumptions are true because they're your presumptions, nothing else. No argument other than saying the same thing different ways.

    Already and repeatedly done. Apparently completely beyond your comprehension or confirmation bias.

    There is ample, demonstrable, and repeatedly pointed out evidence of your lack of comprehension.
    And all you can continue to do is ward of frightening arguments with your mantra of "irrelevant".

    You better have some semblance of intellectual honesty in your next post, or I'll be forced to write you off as completely incapable of ever doing so. You can babble your endless question-begging to yourself for all it'll ever accomplish.
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Can we say that if there is "result", cause and function must have been in the past?
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member


    Darwinian evolution, for example, often has results behind which there was and is nothing one would label a "cause".
    Rainfall is a result that often lacks a cause, as well.
    That kind of thing. Cause and effect can be a useful mental shorthand or heuristic tool, but it doesn't always apply or enlighten.

    One can even describe the advances of twentieth century scientific theory and analysis as a progression away from cause/effect explanations.
  13. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I’ve merely been responding to your queries about it, with no attempt to justify to you that which is of no concern to you.
    So me answering your questions is whining?

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    How bizarre.

    You really don’t grasp that the theories of time aren’t science.
    They are metaphysics.
    All of physics, all of our understanding, must work with each metaphysical theory if that theory is to be valid.
    So either you are stating that physics has indeed disproven certain theories of time, in which case you raising them is a red herring, or you are raising a matter which has no bearing on the workings of physics, in which case you are raising a red herring.
    I really can’t continue to explain the apparent irrelevancy of the theories of time to you in any simpler a way.
    Either you are too dumb to comprehend, or too obstinate to concede the matter.
    I’m leaning to you being both.
    Where do I claim that science can disprove anything?
    Another strawman to fill your barn, it seems.
    And I can give you the choice of colour for your car, giving yo all the leeway in the performance of your car possible.
    For the umpteenth time: I don’t need to choose any, as the choice is irrelevant.
    Does the choice alter the nature of a deterministic system?
    Hence the choice is irrelevant, since the question relies solely on what is or is not possible in a deterministic system.
    Get it yet?
    Or are you just going to erect more and more strawmen?
    I can not be held accountable for your inability to comprehend what is, to most people, quite a simple matter: the colour of a car has no bearing on the performance.
    The theory of time one adopts (colour) has no bearing on the nature of the deterministic system (performance of car).
    The nature of what it means for a system to be deterministic is sufficient.
    So unless you can show how the theory of time one adopts impacts what it means for a system to be deterministic, you are just raising an irrelevancy.
    And I have yet to find any such skill from you to be able to assess.
    A fine pair we make.
    Of course, because our language is based almost entirely on the perception of time.
    And I agree that all such definitions do imply the perceived passage of time.
    But I suggest you read up on the B-theory of time more closely, the one that you seem to favour, especially with regard it being an atemporal philosophy, where the flow of time is an illusion.
    So on one hand you want to favour a theory of time where reality is atemporal, and then you want to insist on there being actual time between cause and effect...?
    Which is it?
    Your lack of comprehension of what you have raised is leading you to contradiction after contradiction.
    No, being deterministic is to define a nature of the relationship between cause and effect.
    Sayeth the one who suggests physics favours atemporal reality.
    I am aware that this is what you have said, but you then keep saying that the theory of time is relevant.
    Just as you wouldn’t say that the colour of a car effects it’s performance, but then want to keep discussing, and insist upon a choice of, colour rather than look at what is actually relevant.
    We’ll get on to your misunderstanding of that in a moment.
    And I guess you missed the part about it being dependent on the theory of time one adopts: if you are favour eternalism then everything is set in stone and exists; if you favour presentism or growing block then, in a deterministic system, everything is set in stone (I.e. is certain to happen as determined by the present) but does not yet exist.
    Simples, really.
    If there are no random inputs then every moment is fully determined by the preceding moment, which in turn was fully determined by the moment preceding that, etc.
    And given that the next moment fully determines the next moment, and that will fully determined the one after, logic alone shows you that a deterministic system is one where every outcome since the initial input is set in stone, irrespective of one’s theory of time, irrespective of whether one wishes to consider the past or future actually existing now along with the present.
    Do you get it yet?
    Where does the theory of time come in?
    Good grief, are you that stupid?
    The past determines the present determines the future.
    Thus the past determines the future.
    It’s not a case of taking one thing from the past, one from the future, and those things combined determine the future.
    The totality of a single moment fully determines every moment thereafter.
    As does the next.
    As did the one before.
    So when I said “existing or previously existing” it means that both the past and the present are equal in how they determine the future.
    Take either the present, or take any moment in the past, and in a deterministic system you can determine every moment in the future.
    A deterministic system is where the next step is wholly determined by the current.
    Or by any of the past moments.
    And that all arises due to the lack of any randomness, where if A leads to B it always leads to B.
    ”Type of determinism”?
    Oh, for Pete’s sake.
    There is only either determinism, or there isn’t.
    There are no “types of determinism” in this regard.
    Either if A leads to B it always leads to B, or it doesn’t.
    But if you want to weasel your way out of it that way, bon voyage, and I’ll wait for someone more honest and capable to come along.
    How many times do you need explaining to you that the answer will depend on the theory of time one adopts?
    I suspect the issue here is that you don’t recognise that being a deterministic system means the subsequent states are set, unchangeable, certain.
    Alas that much is the inevitable conclusion of what it means for a system to be a deterministic: A always leads to B, which will always lead to C, which will always lead to D, etc.
    So starting with initial conditions A, every moment to Z and beyond is set, fully determined.
    Whether one considers a given state (A, B, C, etc) to exist or not depends entirely on the theory of time one adopts, and the state at which you find yourself.
    If this is your point of disagreement then great, we can focus on it, but note that no theory of time need be considered.

    If it’s not where you actually disagree, and you agree that a deterministic system is one in which all states are determined, and thus set, by the initial conditions, then I guess it’s back to you showing just how the theory of time is relevant to this discussion, while putting the onus on me to dispute what you can not demonstrate.
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Can you explain your concept of cause? AFAIK, in a deterministic universe everything has a cause.
    Rainfall is caused by atmospheric conditions.
    Evolution is caused by selection of beneficial mutations. In hominids it was a mutation that resulted in the formation of chromosome 2 and created humans.
    All scientific advancements are a result of responses to necessity or practicality. Even if a scientific discovery is accidental, it is still a result of a causal condition. I cannot think of any effect that is not a result of a prior cause. The definition of prior is "previous" (in the past), no?

    Is there something else that can be uncaused? What am I missing? An uncaused causality?
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  15. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    See above.
    If you need your hand held through the reasoning, let me know.
    No, honesty would be you accepting that I don’t need to work with any theory of time, and that I consider it irrelevant.
    Instead of trying to force it upon the discussion - as you have been trying to do for weeks - you need to show the honesty in either validating its relevancy - which you haven’t done, despite being asked repeatedly - or querying the position I hold in the absence of the theory of time - which you haven’t done.
    If you had done the latter perhaps you might have shown by now how the theory of time really does need to be considered in the matter.
    Until then you’re left having raised an issue but with no place to put it in the discussion.
    We call that being irrelevant.
    On the contrary, it is simply you being unable to follow:
    If the theories of time do not alter what it means for a system to be deterministic then any argument that can rely solely on what it means to be deterministic does not require the theories of time to be considered; i.e. the theories are irrelevant.
    However, if the theories do impact upon what it means for a system to be deterministic, they can be discussed, up to the point that what it means is that the system must be indeterministic, at which point that theory becomes irrelevant, as we are only discussing deterministic systems.
    You do comprehend the difference between altering what it means to be deterministic, and requiring it to be indeterministic?
    But my guess is that the slack I was leaving you to come up with a way in which the theories are deterministic (by perhaps requiring a change in understanding of what it means to be deterministic) will be lost on you.
    So we return to you being unable to show why the theories of time are relevant to this discussion.
    Apologies, I meant that it would depend on whether the system was deterministic or not.
    Nothing idiosyncratic, I assure you.
    Simply the notion that every event is fully determined by preceding events, which encompasses there being no randomness, such that if A leads to B then A will always lead to B.
    That the future is thus set is a logical conclusion of this.
    No, I was just perplexed as to why you raised it.
    And so I ask again, what relevance does it have?
    How are such distributed causes the answer to how the theory of time one adopts being relevant to this discussion???
    If and when you ever present one, you’ll perhaps find out.
    Yet you repeatedly dispute the notion that things can be set in stone without existing?
    Deterministic logically equates to being set in stone (metaphorically), so unless you can accept that things can be set in stone while not being real, how else am I meant to take what you say other than as the theory of time altering the nature of determinism, such that it is no longer equating to being set in stone?
    I didn’t say “argument” but “irrelevancies”, Mr. Irony, because you haven’t actually offered an argument, simply thrown in the matter of theory of time and expected me to guess as to its relevancy.
    And as stated, I am not here to justify your irrelevancy.
    No, I’ve explained in detail that I consider the theories of time to be irrelevant because of the premises adopted, notably that of a deterministic universe.
    You really haven’t.
    You have repeatedly shown them to be irrelevant, and continued along irrelevant lines each time.
    So again: if none of the theories of time alter what it means to be deterministic, how are the theories of time relevant to the discussion?
    The nature of determinism alone is sufficient to answer the question posed.
    What need is there for theories of time?
    Oh, bless.
    That’s adorable.
    Seriously, for someone who has posted so much, you’ve posted nothing that is frightening, other than your inability to explain why what is obviously a key pillar of your argument is actually relevant to the discussion.
    You’ll do what you do.
    I put it down to you not quite grasping what it means for something to be deterministic, genuinely thinking the theories of time as relevant, but then realising your error but being too dishonest to admit it.
    Look, I’ve explained to you quite fully why I consider them irrelevant, how I can answer the question without the need to consider theories of time.
    You, though, constantly claim theories of time to be relevant to the discussion, yet can’t explain why, can’t formulate a relevant argument that actually requires them, and can’t even counter the criticism of them being irrelevant.
    You brought the matter up, so the onus is on you to explain why it is relevant.
    And if “distributed causes” is all you have, then that would indeed be frightening, in just how far you still have to go.
  16. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    if you’re restricting the question to a deterministic universe then yes, everything, by definition, has a cause.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Can a future result be probabilistic (several possible causalities) resolving in a deterministic causality and result?
    Are "trends" an example of a probabilistic future which resolves in a specific causal condition, yielding a deterministic result?

    As I understand it, in a chaotic condition any future result may be probabilistic, but any actual emergent result is still a product of deterministic causality. Is that logical?
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  18. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    When one is talking probability one needs to differentiate between inherent probability where we can’t know things, and probability arising merely because we don’t know things (which can theoretically be known) but wish to predict.

    In a deterministic system you can have the latter but not the former.
    If you don’t know everything about the system (either the states or the laws) then you can only predict a future state based on that incomplete information.
    But the actual state that transpires will be wholly determined by the initial state, and can be nothing but what it transpires to be.

    If there was a system that went from state 0 to 1 then back to 0 then you could know with certainty how the system will progress.
    If there was a more complex system, like the toss of a coin, it would be true in a deterministic system that if you knew everything about the initial state of the toss (I.e. all details of the relevant system, and governing laws) then you could know with certainty what the outcome would be.
    But in practice we don’t know what the initial state is.
    There are too many unknowns for us to predict with certainty.
    In fact, what we find, is that with the knowledge available to us, it is a 50/50 chance which side of the coin it lands.
    This probability is not due to the system but due to our knowledge of the system, and is absolutely acceptable in a deterministic universe.

    What would not be allowable is a system where even could we know everything about it, and the laws, the result can not be known with certainty.
    This might be due to inherent randomness within the system, for example.
    The result of any system in a deterministic system is wholly determined by the previous state, chaotic or otherwise.
    No probability involved.
    It was A and will therefore be B.
    Absolutely and inviolably.

    Probability only comes into it when we are looking to predict some future state and are working with incomplete knowledge of the (deterministic) system/laws.
    E.g. the roll of a die: if you know nothing about it other than it will land on one of six numbers, you might predict each number having the same probability of coming up.
    If you knew every single detail of the roll, and I do mean every detail perfectly, you could theoretically predict the result perfectly.
    It wouldn’t be case of each number having equal probability but of one number having certainty of coming up.
    Probability is for when we don’t know the system/laws perfectly and/or are unable to process the future quickly enough.

    Chaotic systems are merely those where the output has great sensitivity to the initial conditions.
    It makes prediction with imperfect knowledge that much more difficult the longer out one tries to predict.
    Otherwise it is no different to any other deterministic system.
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  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    A few more. Is chaos a deterministic condition? i.e. Can the future theoretically be mathematically predicted from all current chaotic physical conditions?

    Can evolutionary mutations in living organisms be mathematically predicted from prior physical patterns? If not, would that make the inanimate universe purely deterministic, but living organisms not completely deterministic? If so, could that even qualify as "free will'?

    Does this inquiry even make sense?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  20. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    The level of chaos is a property of dynamic deterministic systems, being the sensitivity of the output to small changes in the input.
    If a small change in the inputs leads to a significant change in the output, then it is more chaotic than a system where a large change in the input leads to only a small change in the output.
    Chaos is only significant when you don’t have precise knowledge of the initial conditions / inputs or the governing laws.
    Chaos: when the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.” - Edward Lorenz.

    Theoretically there is no reason why not... IF the mutations were deterministic in how they arose (which we can assume to be the case if we are talking of a deterministic universe) and IF we knew absolutely everything about the organism and the system in which it operated - down to the smallest relevant scale.
    Practically, I can’t see how, as it is far too complex for us to model.
    And if we don’t model it with absolute accuracy, and the system being modelled is chaotic, then even slight inaccuracies in the initial state will lead to inaccurate outputs.
    You can’t mix and match if you have assumed the universe to be deterministic.
    Everything operates in a deterministic manner: each effect is wholly determined by preceding causes, and there is no randomness.
    Any sense of indeterminism that might arise due to our lack of knowledge of the system (states and governing laws) is just an illusion of indeterminism: it isn’t actually indeterministic, but just appears that way because of our lack of knowledge.
    If you mean to ask whether free will is similarly just an illusion...?
    But then that would be me putting words in your mouth.

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    You may need to reword, given my responses above, if I’m not understanding you properly.

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  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Thank you. I like the mathematical implications.......

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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  22. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    No, you whining is whining.

    Straw man, as no one ever said the theories of time are science. They are philosophical, just like questions of determinism. And no, science does not preclude certain philosophical theories, because the methodology of science does not speak to philosophical matters. Hence the separate disciplines. And because science cannot verify a philosophical theory is exactly why I've given you the option of which you prefer, even though Relativity does favor one.

    If you have the least bit of intellectual honesty, you would simply accept that a discussion that stipulates the philosophical position of determinism, also not science, is open to other, equally philosophical, considerations. If not, you're just proving that you've been begging the question this entire time.

    I have no preference in the theory of time, which is why I have repeatedly given you complete freedom in choosing one.
    I've only told you what is most compatible with Relativity, since you've precluded QM from the discussion. And you've finally seemed to understand the problem eternalism presents for your idiosyncratic definition of determinism. These are the lengths I must go to in order to shirt your intellectual dishonesty, and you finally engaging the argument demonstrates its relevance.

    So, since you seem to reject eternalism, how about growing-block or presentism? If not, then we're back to you needing to provide a definition of determinism without time. Your choice.

    Again, then you need to provide a definition of determinism without time,m if you want to dismiss any discussion of time as irrelevant.
    Come on, man, everyone but you can see the corner you've backed yourself into.

    I can't help what Relativity literally states, and you've refused any discussion of QM that might resolve that quandary scientifically. So we're left with philosophy in addressing your wholly imagined, stipulated universe.

    You repeating your bare assertion is not an example.

    You know what? I'm bored of your perpetual intellectual dishonesty and question-begging nonsense. You just keep making bare assertions and making up idiosyncratic definitions you refuse to support or cite references for. You can continue your little navel-gazing game on your own.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Can you not see that in a "permittive" environment, "emergent time" associated with duration of existence and change, answers all question regardless of determinism or indeterminism. Occam would turn in his grave at all the convoluted mental gyrations people come up with in relation to concept and properties of time.

    Space does not exist because Time exists, Time (duration) exists because Space exists. This is why Time is uni-directional.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020

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