Re: DNA vs Free Will

Omega (
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 01:49:26 -0800

John K Clark wrote:

> On Thu, 23 Jan 1997 Lee Daniel Crocker <> Wrote:
> >the chemical proper ties of the brain that we can understand
> >don't explain it [free will]
> If we could explain our free behavior then we could understand it, if we
> understood it then we could predict it if we could predict it then we
> wouldn't have it. We have free will if and only if we can't explain it.

This is an interesting point, "free will" to the extent that it "really"
exists is by nature inscrutable, but on the other hand, if "reality" is
ultimately deterministic (at least by my understanding of the word) then
irregardless of any amount of chaos and complexity, there is absolutely
nothing about our lives that isn't completely predestined, even the words
we type in here.

> Tell me what you mean by free will then we can talk about how much of it we
> have. If you mean our inability to predict what we will do next, then we have
> a lot of it. If you mean our actions are completely independent of outside
> forces then we probably have a little of it, but far more than I'd like
> because that's nothing but pure randomness.

This certainly sums up the problem with quantum mysticism. A "free will"
that's entirely random is not only of dubious benefit, but a "free will"
that is not free to select an object of desire can hardly be called "free
will" by any ordinary definition of the word. Jack Sarfatti in his web site:

makes a strong case that orthodox QM can not account for a free will that is
in any way tied to perception, it is an argument that I strongly agree with.

It's been a long winding road. Traditionally we assumed we had free will,
and then Newton discovered F = ma and we then grew to assume we didn't, and
then De Broglie proposed that lambda = h/p, and again many people started
assuming that free will may exist after all, and then Chalmers and others
started noticing that with advanced action, QM can be reinterpreted as
4-space standing waves without actually changing the math thus making clear
that there is no obvious reason to assume that QM describes a reality that
is anything other than fully determinstic.

So where are we now? Von Neumann's proof against determinism is long since
dead, not only has the many worlds interpretation bypassed its logic, but
Bell discovered in the 60s that it contained a mathematical blunder such
that it only rules out determinism if reality operates by strictly local
rules (Or in more modern terms, in a reality without the advanced action
Chalmers talks about).

So where does this lead. Determinism again seems to be the name of the
game, except that assumptions are still being made. The biggest one is
that the quantum vacuum (or maybe more accurately: "momentum-space") may
turn out to not be in thermal equilibrium after all, something that will
challenge Einsteinian causality far more seriously than existing QM does).

I think the best guidance on this subject doesn't even come from physics,
but from Godel; that it's safe to say that no intelligence can hope to
even answer the question of whether "free will" exists -- unless that
intelligence is transcendent to the realm its "free will" acts within.
Of course this just leads to an infinite regression.

As far as I can see "free will" and mysticism are automatically a package
deal if we believe what Godel tells us. Seems like a very definite value
judgement has to be made as to the value of pursuing this package.

In the Ecstatic Service of Life -- Omega