On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 4:45 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> On 11/27/2010 12:53 PM, Rex Allen wrote:
>> "Free will" = "ability to make choices that are neither random nor caused"
> This is a false dichotomy.  If a deterministic algorithm evaluates the
> probability of success for three different actions as A=0.5 B=0.45 and
> C=0.05 and then a choice between A and B is made at random, then the process
> has made a choice that is both deterministic and random.

Then we have two processes.  The deterministic process evaluated the
probabilities and deterministically rejected C.

Then the deterministic process deterministically chose between A and B
by using the output from some other random process.

The deterministic process's use of the random process’s output was
deterministically constrained to A or B.

If it had *become* a random process in the sense I mean - it might
have gone in with the options of (A or B) but then ended up taking
entirely unrelated action X.  Or not taken any action at all.  Or
turned into a bird.

By random, I’m using the Merriam-Webster definition of:  “without
definite aim, direction, rule, or method”.

I don’t mean: “relating to, having, or being elements or events with
definite probability of occurrence”.

As I’ve said before, I think that probabilistic processes still count
as "caused".

Ultimately I think the difference between deterministic and
probabilistic laws is not significant.

If a law is deterministic then under it's influence Event A will
"cause" Result X 100% of the time.

Why does Event A always lead to Result X? Because that's the law.
There is no deeper reason.

If a law is probabilistic, then under it's influence Event B will
"cause" Result Q, R, or S according to some probability distribution.

Let's say that the probability distribution is 1/3 for each outcome.

If Event B leads to Result R, why does it do so? Because that's the
law. There is no deeper reason.

Event A causes Result X 100% of the time.

Event B causes Result R 33.3333% of the time.

Why? For fundamental laws (if such things exist) there is no reason.
That's just the way it is.

Determinism could be seen as merely a special case of
indeterminism...the case where all probabilities are set to either 0%
or 100%.

Yes?  Or no?

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