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
> 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
> 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.
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