On 26 February 2010 16:41, Rex Allen <rexallen...@gmail.com> wrote: >> We could, for example, have the belief that we only survive for a day, >> and the entity who wakes up in our bed tomorrow is a different person. >> We would then use up our resources and plan for the future as if we >> only had hours to live. But people who acted as if they believed this >> would not be very successful. > > Could we actually? I can imagine such a thing, but is it really possible? > > So, for arguments sake, let's just assume that deterministic > physicalism holds for our universe. > > In that case, are there *any* initial conditions for our universe > which would lead to the existence of someone similar to me who holds > the belief that he only survives for today and that the entity who > wakes up in his bed tomorrow will be a different person? > > Could our universe *actually* produce such a being by applying our > presumably deterministic laws to any set of initial conditions over > any amount of time?
Of course it could. People could have any belief whatsoever, and the day-person belief can't even be shown to be logically or empirically false. It's just a contingent fact about human psychology that it is a rare belief. > Let's go further and assume quantum indeterminism. With this extra > wiggle room, is there any set of initial conditions plus subsequent > random events (constrained by the framework of QM) that would lead to > the existence of a person with such beliefs? > > Whether it's possible or not has nothing to do with evolution. It is > entirely a question of the fundamental laws of physics as applied to > initial conditions. > > So, since evolution can't answer this question, what good is it? > > Okay. Let's say I have some light blue butterflies, and I want to > breed a strain of dark blue butterflies. One might think that the > theory of evolution would predict that the best way to go about this > would be to repeat the process of selecting the darkest colored > butterflies and interbreeding them over several generations. > > BUT...if we are physicalists, we have to put this into context within > the "big picture". What explains me knowing about Darwin, having > light blue butterflies, wanting dark blue butterflies, and actually > going through the process of selecting for the darker color over many > generations? > > The initial conditions of the universe, plus the causal laws of > physics as applied over 13.7 billion years. That's what. > > Whether I actually succeed in breeding dark blue butterflies is also > entirely dependent on the initial conditions and causal laws. Given > those, maybe it's just not possible to get from light blue to dark > blue butterflies using nothing but selective breeding. > > So again, evolution does no work, and explains nothing. If you think > it's a useful concept, that's entirely because of the initial > conditions of the universe plus the causal laws of physics as applied > over 13.7 billion years. > > And (still assuming physicalism) what explains initial conditions plus > causal laws? Ultimately, nothing. They just are what they are what > they are. And so the world just is what it is. > > Right? > > -- > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups > "Everything List" group. > To post to this group, send email to everything-l...@googlegroups.com. > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to > everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. > For more options, visit this group at > http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. > > -- Stathis Papaioannou -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to everything-l...@googlegroups.com. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.