The Multiverse and Free Will

 
tdaddono
 
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tdaddono
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30 November 2016 22:38
 

Does anyone else see determinism and a multiverse as contradictory?  I believe determinism and the lack of free will to be true and that strongly opposes a belief in a multiverse.  A multiverse claims that there are infinite universes to where this exact moment is happening but the future will unfold differently.  For example, in Sam’s podcast with Max Tegmark they discuss how their conversation could and actually does go different ways in different universes.  Max proclaims in one of the universes he will start speaking french.  However, if every past moment leads to this specific one, can’t there only be one next outcome in determinism? If so why/how would I behave differently in a multiverse?  I’m shocked Sam hasn’t seen this contradiction himself (maybe he has but I haven’t read it).  Please think about this point, if this exact moment exists exactly the same somewhere else, there would be no deterministically valid reason for me to act differently in my next action.  And if any previous action on earth would have been done differently, this exact situation and moment would not have occurred.  The only way for me to behave differently is to change something in the past, which in turn wouldn’t lead to this exact moment. I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions on this.

[ Edited: 01 December 2016 14:15 by tdaddono]
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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01 December 2016 06:09
 

Perhaps the concept of multiverse is, like heaven and hell, a captivating fantasy.

 
TroliusMaximus
 
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TroliusMaximus
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04 December 2016 16:49
 

Multiverse or no multiverse, the notion of choice is an utterly fallacious one.

As Sam himself as touched on, no decision made by an individual is never wholly of his own determination.  For any logical process (assuming the use of the frontal cortex over the amygdala — admittedly somewhat of a leap, in this day and “post-truth” Age of emotive re├źnforcement) is patently influenced by prior experience — i.e., the neural pathway ‘wiring’ establish through the agency of lived experience.  As such, one cannot make a entirely unadulterated decision, free of the alloy of another’s influence.  Only an in utero child could perhaps do that (if its brain were functional enceinte), and even then, there would the ‘epigenetic’ argument—that the experiences of its parents would affect its DNA in some way.

No decision is vestal and free from subjectivity.  Everything we decide has echoes of that which has served to fashion the logical process that deliver us to the ultimate decision/s made.  This is why what we teach ourselves is of such import — once the neural pathways are set, you’re set / fucked for life.  Indeed, it’s why religion so eagerly embeds its cravenly claws into the most vulnerable —

Give me your child for its first seven years and I’ll give you the man.’ (Jesuit axiom) ...but, I digress.

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nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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04 December 2016 17:06
 
TroliusMaximus - 04 December 2016 04:49 PM

Multiverse or no multiverse, the notion of choice is an utterly fallacious one.

As Sam himself as touched on, no decision made by an individual is never wholly of his own determination.  For any logical process (assuming the use of the frontal cortex over the amygdala — admittedly somewhat of a leap, in this day and “post-truth” Age of emotive re├źnforcement) is patently influenced by prior experience — i.e., the neural pathway ‘wiring’ establish through the agency of lived experience.  As such, one cannot make a entirely unadulterated decision, free of the alloy of another’s influence.  Only an in utero child could perhaps do that (if its brain were functional enceinte), and even then, there would the ‘epigenetic’ argument—that the experiences of its parents would affect its DNA in some way.

No decision is vestal and free from subjectivity.  Everything we decide has echoes of that which has served to fashion the logical process that deliver us to the ultimate decision/s made.  This is why what we teach ourselves is of such import — once the neural pathways are set, you’re set / fucked for life.  Indeed, it’s why religion so eagerly embeds its cravenly claws into the most vulnerable —

Give me your child for its first seven years and I’ll give you the man.’ (Jesuit axiom) ...but, I digress.

Your post implies a severe brand of free will. Some definitions of free will are milder than what yours seems to be.

 
 
tdaddono
 
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04 December 2016 21:58
 
TroliusMaximus - 04 December 2016 04:49 PM

Multiverse or no multiverse, the notion of choice is an utterly fallacious one.

I agree with this and thats why I posed my initial question.  I don’t see how a multiverse could be possible under said conditions.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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05 December 2016 09:06
 

Arguing that free will can’t exist in the multiverse is like arguing that unicorns can’t exist in heaven.

 
 
tdaddono
 
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05 December 2016 11:16
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 December 2016 09:06 AM

Arguing that free will can’t exist in the multiverse is like arguing that unicorns can’t exist in heaven.

I’m not arguing free will can’t exist in a multiverse but rather that the lack of free will is evidence that a multiverse isn’t possible.  Maybe I didn’t make that clear.

 
CSM Engineer
 
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01 June 2017 10:18
 

The answer lies in the mechanism of the multiverse.  If we interpret the multiverse as dimensionally separate realities that spring into existence at every point of divergence, then the action of choice drives the mechanism and free will (or free choice) is a necessary condition.  If however, we interpret the concept of the multiverse as existing within the “bound” of one infinite dimension, wherein there lie the ability of any given set of particles to be arranged in every possible permutation, then according to that mechanism somewhere beyond the limit of our “observable” universe, but within this dimension, a version of me is currently typing this post in French, but living an otherwise identical life.

This, I think, was the thrust of the discussion between Sam and Max and resolves the paradox between free will and a multiverse.

 
Poldano
 
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04 June 2017 00:06
 

Somehow, I suspect that all these apparent paradoxes are a result of sloppy thinking about infinities (not that it’s possible to be other than sloppy). The notion of infinite “me’s”, for instance, may be bogus. What might not be bogus is the notion of indeterminate variability in localities that can each generate a “me”, but only to the exclusion of other possible “me’s” in nearby localities—like an exclusion principle.

 
 
tonycatman
 
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09 June 2017 19:22
 

I hadn’t thought of things in this way before. I can only conclude that you are right.

However I’d also point out that a multiverse, to use Stephen Hawkin’s phrase, is without observable consequence.

We can’t go there. We can’t observe it. There are things which we observe, which are attributed to parallel universes, but which are better attributed to further dimensions in our current universe.

Whether or not we live in a multiverse is completely irrelevant. Useful only in Sci Fi.

 
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10 June 2017 20:10
 
tonycatman - 09 June 2017 07:22 PM

I hadn’t thought of things in this way before. I can only conclude that you are right.

However I’d also point out that a multiverse, to use Stephen Hawkin’s phrase, is without observable consequence.

We can’t go there. We can’t observe it. There are things which we observe, which are attributed to parallel universes, but which are better attributed to further dimensions in our current universe.

Whether or not we live in a multiverse is completely irrelevant. Useful only in Sci Fi.

My own opinion is that there is no fundamental difference between “multiverse” and “parallel dimensions in our own universe”, because we currently do not have rigorous definitions of either, except in untested and perhaps untestable theories. Observability is one possible criteria for a difference, but observability is itself fuzzy. To whit, is the portion of our current expanding universe beyond our lightspeed limit observable? (Lightspeed limit is my term for the distance that light has traveled since the beginning of the universe.) That limit may itself be an infinity, because the frequency of radiation takes an infinite spatiotemporal distance to redshift to zero.

 
 
roboramma
 
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roboramma
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13 June 2017 09:31
 
tdaddono - 30 November 2016 10:38 PM

Does anyone else see determinism and a multiverse as contradictory?  I believe determinism and the lack of free will to be true and that strongly opposes a belief in a multiverse.  A multiverse claims that there are infinite universes to where this exact moment is happening but the future will unfold differently.  For example, in Sam’s podcast with Max Tegmark they discuss how their conversation could and actually does go different ways in different universes.  Max proclaims in one of the universes he will start speaking french.  However, if every past moment leads to this specific one, can’t there only be one next outcome in determinism? If so why/how would I behave differently in a multiverse?  I’m shocked Sam hasn’t seen this contradiction himself (maybe he has but I haven’t read it).  Please think about this point, if this exact moment exists exactly the same somewhere else, there would be no deterministically valid reason for me to act differently in my next action.  And if any previous action on earth would have been done differently, this exact situation and moment would not have occurred.  The only way for me to behave differently is to change something in the past, which in turn wouldn’t lead to this exact moment. I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions on this.

Change the claim to there being a place where everything is exactly the same, except that there is one water molecule in the air that’s moving 1 nanometer/second slower here than there.  That difference is too small to be perceived, but it will have consequences on the future unfolding of events that are unpredictable.

Quantum mechanics is unitary and as such any particular state will unfold deterministically.  But tiny changes lead to large differences over relatively small times.

 
Phate
 
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07 July 2017 09:38
 
roboramma - 13 June 2017 09:31 AM
tdaddono - 30 November 2016 10:38 PM

Does anyone else see determinism and a multiverse as contradictory?  I believe determinism and the lack of free will to be true and that strongly opposes a belief in a multiverse.  A multiverse claims that there are infinite universes to where this exact moment is happening but the future will unfold differently.  For example, in Sam’s podcast with Max Tegmark they discuss how their conversation could and actually does go different ways in different universes.  Max proclaims in one of the universes he will start speaking french.  However, if every past moment leads to this specific one, can’t there only be one next outcome in determinism? If so why/how would I behave differently in a multiverse?  I’m shocked Sam hasn’t seen this contradiction himself (maybe he has but I haven’t read it).  Please think about this point, if this exact moment exists exactly the same somewhere else, there would be no deterministically valid reason for me to act differently in my next action.  And if any previous action on earth would have been done differently, this exact situation and moment would not have occurred.  The only way for me to behave differently is to change something in the past, which in turn wouldn’t lead to this exact moment. I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions on this.

Change the claim to there being a place where everything is exactly the same, except that there is one water molecule in the air that’s moving 1 nanometer/second slower here than there.  That difference is too small to be perceived, but it will have consequences on the future unfolding of events that are unpredictable.

Quantum mechanics is unitary and as such any particular state will unfold deterministically.  But tiny changes lead to large differences over relatively small times.

This.

Determinism simply rules out free will. It does not mean that a multiple universes will necessarily unfold in the exact same way every time from initial big bangs, because randomness plays a role in the system.

Further, I don’t totally buy the notion of “if it’s possible then given infinity it must happen”. If you flip a coin for infinity, it’s possible that it could always be heads, and possible that it could always be tails, but it’s not possible that it could always be both. ie: it could very well be that heads=nothing, and tails=nothing, and our universe is the one time the coin landed on its end.

 
Poldano
 
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10 July 2017 21:38
 
Phate - 07 July 2017 09:38 AM

...

Determinism simply rules out free will. It does not mean that a multiple universes will necessarily unfold in the exact same way every time from initial big bangs, because randomness plays a role in the system.

...

I thought randomness was anathema to determinism?

Is randomness simply the lack of information, or is it a real indeterminacy of what the future will be?

This gets into the “hidden state” and “non-locality” issues of quantum mechanics and the rest of non-classical physics.

 
 
Phate
 
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14 July 2017 11:19
 
Poldano - 10 July 2017 09:38 PM
Phate - 07 July 2017 09:38 AM

...

Determinism simply rules out free will. It does not mean that a multiple universes will necessarily unfold in the exact same way every time from initial big bangs, because randomness plays a role in the system.

...

I thought randomness was anathema to determinism?

Is randomness simply the lack of information, or is it a real indeterminacy of what the future will be?

This gets into the “hidden state” and “non-locality” issues of quantum mechanics and the rest of non-classical physics.

Sure, it’s an open question whether there is anything truly random in physics, because maybe in the future we will discover that what we thought was random is actually determined.

However, as of our current understanding, there are events in physics that we consider to be random (Ex: radioactive decay of a nucleus). They may be small, rare and insignificant in terms of changing the course of direction that one persons life would take, assuming you had two identical starting points in identical universes. But at the scale and timeline of a universe from big-bang until now, surely these random events in physics, combined with chaos theory, would result in multiple universes that are similarly deterministic (same physical laws of nature and constants), but also vastly different in their configuration of particles.

In this sense, the universe is no less deterministic. You cannot manipulate cause and effect because you cannot control the output of random events any more than you can control the output of determined events. It simply means that you can have determined universes that are different in shape and size, despite being born in identical fashion.

 

 

 
Poldano
 
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15 July 2017 03:49
 
Phate - 14 July 2017 11:19 AM
Poldano - 10 July 2017 09:38 PM
Phate - 07 July 2017 09:38 AM

...

Determinism simply rules out free will. It does not mean that a multiple universes will necessarily unfold in the exact same way every time from initial big bangs, because randomness plays a role in the system.

...

I thought randomness was anathema to determinism?

Is randomness simply the lack of information, or is it a real indeterminacy of what the future will be?

This gets into the “hidden state” and “non-locality” issues of quantum mechanics and the rest of non-classical physics.

Sure, it’s an open question whether there is anything truly random in physics, because maybe in the future we will discover that what we thought was random is actually determined.

However, as of our current understanding, there are events in physics that we consider to be random (Ex: radioactive decay of a nucleus). They may be small, rare and insignificant in terms of changing the course of direction that one persons life would take, assuming you had two identical starting points in identical universes. But at the scale and timeline of a universe from big-bang until now, surely these random events in physics, combined with chaos theory, would result in multiple universes that are similarly deterministic (same physical laws of nature and constants), but also vastly different in their configuration of particles.

In this sense, the universe is no less deterministic. You cannot manipulate cause and effect because you cannot control the output of random events any more than you can control the output of determined events. It simply means that you can have determined universes that are different in shape and size, despite being born in identical fashion.

 

You seem to be saying that physical reality is deterministic because deterministic rules hold even where there are some causes that may be truly random and even where there is no way even in principle to find out what the starting conditions of a chain of events are. I assert that this makes determinism useful (immensely so, even) rather than absolutely true.

Also, free will usually applies to persons, while determinism applies most accurately to the domain of the physical sciences. The notion “person” is somewhat problematic in physical terms because we cannot really understand, physically, what the boundaries of a person are. A person only exists in the formal domain of physics as an abstraction that is about equivalent to a bag of water with some chemical contaminants, to paraphrase an alien from STTNG. Yet we are here engaged in activities that are far beyond the capabilities of our chemical constituents as described by the physical sciences, in ways that can be detected by the apparatus and methods of the physical sciences but cannot be fully explained by them.

Chaos theory may be an element of a deterministic explanation that at least partly explains the deviation from physical explanations of the actions of organisms, but it is not sufficient a priori. Chaos theory remains deterministic because it shows that even with deterministic assumptions, the inability to measure and control with sufficient precision results in a practical inability to predict specific outcomes, in systems of sufficient complexity. In order to prove that reality is indeed deterministic, it would be necessary to show that it is possible to overcome the constraints of measurement and control errors in systems of arbitrary complexity. I assert that this is impossible in practice, and additionally that it is theoretically impossible in any system in which there are measurement and control elements existing in the same system.

In summary, determinism is a useful principle, but it is far from proven that it is true of reality. Furthermore, free will is a concept at a different level of explanation from that to which determinism best applies, so even a slight gap in the applicability of determinism is sufficient for the concept of free will to remain valid.

[ Edited: 15 July 2017 03:52 by Poldano]