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.

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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? -- 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.