It is the only question worth thinking about. High five for posting this! "What the mathematicians proved is this: if you have the slightest freedom to choose the axes [in the representative experiment involving the spin of a particle] and order of measurement, then particles everywhere must also have the same degree of freedom. That means they can behave unpredictably."

Count me in here. I choose, therefore I am. It ain't easy but it is worth it! --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "matrixmonitor" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > Here's the first part of the article, and then underneath, selected > quotes and summaries of the main points: [brackets, mine]. > > Free will - you only think you have it > > > 04 May 2006 > > > Zeeya Merali > > > Magazine issue 2550 > > > Underneath the uncertainty of quantum mechanics could lie a > deeper > > > reality in which, shockingly, all our actions are predetermined > > > "WE MUST believe in free will, we have no choice," the novelist > Isaac > > > Bashevis Singer once said. He might as well have said, "We must > > > believe in quantum mechanics, we have no choice," if two new > studies > > > are anything to go by. > > > > > > Early last month, a Nobel laureate physicist finished polishing > up > > > his theory that a deeper, deterministic reality underlies the > > > apparent uncertainty of quantum mechanics. A week after he > announced > > > it, two eminent mathematicians showed that the theory has > profound > > > implications beyond physics: abandoning the uncertainty of > quantum > > > physics means we must give up the cherished notion that we have > free > > > will. The mathematicians believe the physicist is wrong. > > > > > > "It's striking that we have one of the greatest scientists of our > > > generation pitted against two of the world's greatest > > > mathematicians," says Hans Halvorson, a philosopher of physics at > > > Princeton University. > > > > > > Quantum mechanics is widely accepted by physicists, but is full > of apparent paradoxes, which made Einstein deeply uncomfortable and > have never been resolved. For instance, you cannot ask what the spin > of a particle was before you made an observation of it -- QM says the > spin was undetermined. And you cannot predict the outcome of an > experiment; you can only estimate the probability of getting a > certain result.. > [next paragraph - QM works well but it's not complete; e.g. the > failure to unite QM with general relativity. "A radical change is > needed", says Gerard 't Hooft.]. > [next -'Hooft has been working on studying a "hidden" layer of > reality at scales smaller than the Planck length of 10-^(-35) meters. > The 'states" he investigates behave predictably according to > deterministic laws. 't Hooft has worked out a kink in his > calculations which gave him a negative energy . See > www.arxiv.org/quant-ph/0604008.] > "Essentially, t'Hooft is saying that while particles in QM seem to > behave unpredictably, if we could track the underlying states, we can > predict the behavior of particles". > "As enticing as 't Hooft's theory may be to physicists, it has an > unexpected and potentially frightful consequence for the rest of us. > Mathematicians John H. Conway and Simon Kochen, both at Princeton > University, say that any deterministic theory underlying QM robs us > of our free will". > "When you choose to eat the chocolate cake or the plain one, are you > really free to decide?" asks Conway. In other words, could someone > who has been tracking all the particle interactions in the universe > predict with perfect accuracy the cake you will pick? The answer, it > seems, depends on whether QM's inherent uncertainty is the correct > description of reality or 't Hooft is right in saying that beneath > that uncertainty there is a deterministic order". "...are your > choices a matter of free will, or are they predetermined?" > "What the mathematicians proved is this: if you have the slightest > freedom to choose the axes [in the representative experiment > involving the spin of a particle] and order of measurement, then > particles everywhere must also have the same degree of freedom. That > means they can behave unpredictably. However, if particles have no > freedom, as implied by 't Hooft's theory, the mathematicians proved > that you have no real say in the choice of axes and order of > measurement. In other words, deterministic particles put an end to > free will (www.arxiv.org/quant-ph/0604079)". > "Kochen and Conway stress that their theorem doesn't disprove 't > Hooft's theory. It simply states that if his theory is true, our > actions cannot be free. And they admit that there's no way for us to > tell. "Our lives could be like the second showing of a movie -- all > actions play out as theough they are free, but that freedom is an > illusion", says Kochen". > "Since the mathematicians believe that we have free will, it follows > for them that 't Hooft's theory must be wrong. "We have to believe > in free will to do anything," says Conway. "I believe I am free to > drink this cup of coffee, or throw it across the room. I believe I > am free in choosing to have this conversation". > Halvorson [Hans Halvorson, philosopher of physics at Princeton] says > the debate really boils down to a matter of personal taste. "Kochen > and Conway can't tolerate the idea that our future may already be > settled,", he says, "but people like 't Hooft and Einstein find the > notion that the univere can't be completely described by physics just > as disturbing.". > "For philosophers, both arguments can be troubling. Quantum > randomness as the basis fo free will doesn't really give us control > over our actions," says Tim Maudlin, a philosopher of physics at > Rutgers. "We're either deterministic machines, or we're random > machines. That's not much of a choice." > [last, Halvorson says]:, "There are very important questions to be > asked about free will, and maybe physics can answer them.". > [end of article]. > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> See what's inside the new Yahoo! 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