DNA vs Freewill

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 12:53:18 -0800 (PST)


On Sat, 25 Jan 1997 Omega <omega@pacific.net> Wrote:

>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.

But there is no way we could know what that predestined behavior is so we
would still feel free, we would still have free will.

>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).

Von Neumann was a very great mathematician, I don't think the man was capable
of making a mathematical blunder even if he wanted to, however Von Neumann
was not a great physicists, his mistake was physical not mathematical.
At any rate, I don't think the question of determinism has much to do with
free will because even if the universe is completely deterministic (and I
doubt that it is) it would still not be predictable, and I'm not just talking
about practical concerns and chaos theory.

>I think the best guidance on this subject doesn't even come from
>physics, but from Godel

I agree, and Turing's work may be even better, he proved that no computer
program (and I think that's what we are) can predict what it will do next,
that is, if it will ever stop. The easiest, indeed the only way to know what
a computer program will do is to run it and see, we figure out what we are
going to do when we actually do it. This would be true regardless of whether
the Universe is deterministic or not.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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