Free will is real

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bahman
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Re: Free will is real

Post by bahman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:02 pm

Londoner wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:57 am
'Conscious' meaning self-conscious? I am making a decision and at the same time reflect 'that I am now making a decision'.

I find it quite difficult to do this.
That is true because you can focally focus on one thing.
Londoner wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:57 am
As I write this post, I do not find the words and - at the same time - reflect that 'I am now choosing words' or 'I am going to press this letter on that keyboard'. It is more that I already have a thought on the subject and I realise that thought in words, without any awareness of language, or of the act of pressing keys on a keyboard. I might suddenly become aware of these aspects, if I mistype a word, or one of the keys sticks, but that would be a distraction from the act of writing this post. (This is Heidegger)
You of course have control on the direction that your thoughts should proceed. You makes a lots of decisions that you cannot be aware of them at the time you type or think but you can know them through reflection after you are done.
Londoner wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:57 am
Suppose I try to deliberately set up a situation where I make a self-conscious choice. Take a sip of coffee or do not take a sip of coffee. I find that if I am self-conscious about that choice I cannot make it. Normally, I would respond to the presence of the coffee. My taking a sip - or not - would be a realisation of that response. But if I am self-conscious, then I am thinking about myself, rather than the coffee. There is nothing to respond to, nothing to make a decision about. In order to respond to the coffee I have to forget the 'making a decision' part.
No. What you are forgetting is the focusing on decision making. You cannot focally focus on two things.
Londoner wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:57 am
So I am doubtful that we ever make 'a decision' in the sense of some discrete process that can be separated from the general stream of consciousness. I have written this post to express opinions that I already had. I already had an opinion about coffee before I made this particular cup. I cannot point to any point in my life where I made a decision about those things.
There is of course a point of decision which separate thought from act as I argued in OP.

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bahman
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Re: Free will is real

Post by bahman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:04 pm

commonsense wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:30 pm
bahman wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:52 am
We are not talking about reflex which is an unconscious act. We are talking about conscious free decision.
I'm sorry I missed that (others who posted before me seemed to have had the same misunderstanding). Good argument after all.
Actually I have to say sorry for not being more specific. I am glad that confusion is resolved and you agree with my argument.

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bahman
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Re: Free will is real

Post by bahman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:06 pm

Serendipper wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:53 am
bahman wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:46 am
Serendipper wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:13 pm
The will is considered free if there is no process determining the outcome that could be predicted by any method within the universe; in other words, the process is random and effectively causeless since the causes cannot be known, whether that be by imprecision or inability to gather information without affecting the information we're gathering.
No, that doesn't follow. It doesn't follow that a decision which is free is random. A decision is determined by mind.
What's the mind determined by?
Nothing. That is mind which determine things and decide. You can also ask what is randomness determined by?

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Re: Free will is real

Post by bahman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:09 pm

Belinda wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:18 am
Serendipper wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:13 pm
bahman wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:24 pm
We are all sure about the fact that thought precedes act and the fact that they are different. There is therefore a point in which there is neither thought nor act. Lets call this point the decision point. This point cannot be affected by thought because otherwise it is a part of chain of thought. Therefore decision is free.
The will is considered free if there is no process determining the outcome that could be predicted by any method within the universe; in other words, the process is random and effectively causeless since the causes cannot be known, whether that be by imprecision or inability to gather information without affecting the information we're gathering.

Does randomness exist?

It took a while, but hidden variable theory was eventually disproved by John Bell, who showed that there are lots of experiments that cannot have unmeasured results. Thus the results cannot be determined ahead of time, so there are no hidden variables, and the results are truly random. That is, if it is physically and mathematically impossible to predict the results, then the results are truly, fundamentally random. http://www.askamathematician.com/2009/1 ... andomness/

Obviously everything has a cause, but it's impossible to determine the cause without affecting what we're measuring, which produces an infinite regression of: info + our affectance on the info + our affectance on the info of our affectance on the info + ..... forever.

We are not objective observers of the universe and it's impossible to objectively discern causes within it. My mind is in my head and my head is in my mind and so on forever.

So I would say our will is free to the extent that it cannot be predicted and is fundamentally random, but it ultimately is determined by something.
I endorse Serendipper's argument which is possibly more concisely and clearly stated as anything else I've read on the topic.

I'd like to add that other animals , probably, do whatever action they do because mostly because their physiologies and environments cause them to do it, but humans' acts are caused by not only physiologies and environments but very significantly by layers upon layers of thinking, even when the thinker's mood is an impulsive one.
If you believe that thought and act exist and they are different then you need to argue against what is argued in OP. What is your response to OP?

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Re: Free will is real

Post by bahman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:11 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:02 pm
Local hidden variable theories were disproven. But it's unknown whether or not determinism still stands in the nonlocal sense.

On some level I'm with Einstein on this one: I suspect that dice is not being played, the world is fully deterministic. I think belief in free will is just some religious superstition and it's really getting old now.

But from our point of view things really are apparently random, and to a certain degree unpredictable.

I would advise against falling into infinite regressions when thinking about this; there is no sign of a duality of brain and mind in the quantum world, that could lead to such infinite regressions.
Could you please tell me what is wrong with my argument?

Moreover, we are not made of sole matter. We have minds.

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Atla » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:44 pm

bahman wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:11 pm
Could you please tell me what is wrong with my argument?
Your argument made no sense to me. We can give different answers to the free will question on different levels but to me it seems that you are mixing everything together. And how can you say these things are facts we are all sure about?

At the most fundamental level I can think of, there are no distinct "thoughts" or "acts". But everything is one universal process and we roughly say that this "part" of the universal process is a thought and that "part" is an act. Here it makes no sense to me to derive a decision point. I also don't see actual causality on this level, just correlations creating the illusion of causality.

If we are talking about everyday human psychology and biology. Everyday level things, everyday causality. Well, still not all acts are preceded by thoughts, some reflexes are automatic without thoughts.

It is also not true that there is necessarily a point when there is neither thought or act. I don't even know what this means. You can keep thinking about doing something, while you are already doing it.

Even if you think about something, then stop thinking, and then act after that. The pause between them is when the signals from your head are transmitted to the body part that will do the act. That is not nothing.
Moreover, we are not made of sole matter. We have minds.
Believing that there are such things as matter substance and mind substance, is also a wild speculation to me with nothing to back it up (they are one and the same).

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Belinda » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:14 pm

Bahman wrote the original post:
We are all sure about the fact that thought precedes act and the fact that they are different. There is therefore a point in which there is neither thought nor act. Lets call this point the decision point. This point cannot be affected by thought because otherwise it is a part of chain of thought. Therefore decision is free.
The human nervous system is such that there is an autonomic nervous system which controls unconscious behaviour such as blood pressure.

Human voluntary behaviours involve the other nervous system the central nervous system which includes thinking and awareness and other voluntary behaviours and spinal reflexes.The brain-mind is constantly using energy with no hiatus whatsoever. Even when the individual is in a state of deep sleep the autonomic nervous system is active.There is no hiatus.

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Serendipper » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:37 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:02 pm
Local hidden variable theories were disproven. But it's unknown whether or not determinism still stands in the nonlocal sense.
So the speed of light prevents nonlocal variables from having influence, but this is disproven with quantum entanglement which suggests to me that the entire universe is local.
On some level I'm with Einstein on this one: I suspect that dice is not being played, the world is fully deterministic. I think belief in free will is just some religious superstition and it's really getting old now.
If we could rewind the universe to the exact state at the big bang, then replay it, would it come out the same way? If so, then it is determined. If not, then there are fundamentally random elements at play.

Now, if it would come out the same, that seems to me a pointless existence. How could I be aware of anything, have a sense of self, and feel alive if it were all a product of deterministic switches like a computer simulation? That suggests that a set of dominoes could be arranged in a complex-enough state that would somehow result in being conscious of itself and feeling alive. I have a lot of trouble relating to that.
I would advise against falling into infinite regressions when thinking about this; there is no sign of a duality of brain and mind in the quantum world, that could lead to such infinite regressions.
What about the double-slit experiment where conscious observation affects the result? I don't believe there are any discontinuities in the universe; everything is connected and there really are no things, but aspects of the whole. If this is true, then there is no such thing as objectivity since we cannot disconnect ourselves in order to make an objective observation and that means anything we observe will be affected to some extent by our observation. If all that is so, then we're lost in infinite regressions.

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Serendipper » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:47 pm

bahman wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:06 pm
Serendipper wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:53 am
bahman wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:46 am

No, that doesn't follow. It doesn't follow that a decision which is free is random. A decision is determined by mind.
What's the mind determined by?
Nothing. That is mind which determine things and decide. You can also ask what is randomness determined by?
Randomness cannot be determined by anything or it would not be random, but determined.

What is the mind?

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... Psychology

In biology, the unitary approach makes it explicit why no organism can be thought of without an environment. An organism as a skin bag is no functioning system; it may be such only together with the relevant environmental parts. The same applies to neurophysiology or “cognitive” brain research: without the rest of the world the nervous system is not a system at all; neither is the agent of the behavior a part of the body, such as the brain.

The mind can only be regarded as the system of the whole universe observing itself from a point.

Is the wind moving the boat or the sailor who was smart enough to put up a sail?

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Serendipper » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:02 pm

bahman wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:24 pm
We are all sure about the fact that thought precedes act and the fact that they are different. There is therefore a point in which there is neither thought nor act. Lets call this point the decision point. This point cannot be affected by thought because otherwise it is a part of chain of thought. Therefore decision is free.
Do you breathe or does it happen to you? You can see it both ways, but is there really a difference?

If you aren't breathing, then who is doing it? If the answer is "no one; it's just a process", then what makes you think you're anymore than a process? Where does "you" end and "the process" begin? This is why meditators focus on breathing.
This point cannot be affected by thought because otherwise it is a part of chain of thought
There is only one continuous thing and "thought" cannot be apart from everything else that is going on. Is a thought a product of you or are you a product of a thought?

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Atla » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:43 pm

Serendipper wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:37 pm
So the speed of light prevents nonlocal variables from having influence, but this is disproven with quantum entanglement which suggests to me that the entire universe is local.
We are probably not talking about the same thing. What I mean by nonlocality are quantum entanglement correlations, not quantum entanglement influences (no action just correlation). These correlations are indeed not bound by the speed of light; they are supposedly instantaneous.

So to me, that means that the universe is either partially or fully nonlocal. (My bet is on fully btw.) And so, we see the quantum randomness in our experiments, but considering the whole universe, there might or might not be a nonlocal determinism to this apparent randomness.
If we could rewind the universe to the exact state at the big bang, then replay it, would it come out the same way? If so, then it is determined. If not, then there are fundamentally random elements at play.

Now, if it would come out the same, that seems to me a pointless existence. How could I be aware of anything, have a sense of self, and feel alive if it were all a product of deterministic switches like a computer simulation? That suggests that a set of dominoes could be arranged in a complex-enough state that would somehow result in being conscious of itself and feeling alive. I have a lot of trouble relating to that.
I don't see how you make the connection between determinism/randomness and a point to existence/feeling alive/self-awareness/complexity? Even if there is genuine quantum randomness, that doesn't mean that there is free will or any ultimate point to anything etc. (Peronally I'm horrified by genuine randomness hehe.)
Besides it is entirely possible that in the quantum world, every possibility actually happens. So for example every possible history of our universe plays out at the same time. And that's not much different than saying that random elements are at play, because everything that could be generated by randomness is part of the deterministic whole.
What about the double-slit experiment where conscious observation affects the result? I don't believe there are any discontinuities in the universe; everything is connected and there really are no things, but aspects of the whole. If this is true, then there is no such thing as objectivity since we cannot disconnect ourselves in order to make an objective observation and that means anything we observe will be affected to some extent by our observation. If all that is so, then we're lost in infinite regressions.
Umm.. no one knows for certain what a quantum observer is and what a collapse is.

Having said that, I would agree that something about most humans seems to qualify as quantum observers. But I also think that quantum observers can obviously also be other lifeforms, and non-alive things as well.
That something about most humans may be some part of what we usually call individual human consciousness.

Indeed, observed things seem to correlate with the human quantum observer, and because of that, objectivity was refuted 80+ years ago.

But this only seem to lead to infinite regressions when you try to use a Western dualistic thinking, where you still think in two components: you and the rest of the universe. But the two components are really one and the same. You are one and the same with the world. Human thinking is inherently dualistic on some level, so we can't ever fully grasp QM, but at least we can sidestep the unnecessary infinite regressions.

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Serendipper » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:21 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:43 pm
Serendipper wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:37 pm
So the speed of light prevents nonlocal variables from having influence, but this is disproven with quantum entanglement which suggests to me that the entire universe is local.
We are probably not talking about the same thing. What I mean by nonlocality are quantum entanglement correlations, not quantum entanglement influences (no action just correlation). These correlations are indeed not bound by the speed of light; they are supposedly instantaneous.

So to me, that means that the universe is either partially or fully nonlocal. (My bet is on fully btw.) And so, we see the quantum randomness in our experiments, but considering the whole universe, there might or might not be a nonlocal determinism to this apparent randomness.
Right, it's instantaneous meaning that whatever causes the one particle to choose states instantly causes the other particle to choose the opposite state, so there is no speed limit (ie no time and therefore no space) and therefore no such thing as local/nonlocal (the whole universe is local). Even the speed of light implies no time or space. How can there be a local or nonlocal if there is nothing to be local within?
If we could rewind the universe to the exact state at the big bang, then replay it, would it come out the same way? If so, then it is determined. If not, then there are fundamentally random elements at play.

Now, if it would come out the same, that seems to me a pointless existence. How could I be aware of anything, have a sense of self, and feel alive if it were all a product of deterministic switches like a computer simulation? That suggests that a set of dominoes could be arranged in a complex-enough state that would somehow result in being conscious of itself and feeling alive. I have a lot of trouble relating to that.
I don't see how you make the connection between determinism/randomness and a point to existence/feeling alive/self-awareness/complexity?
Because it would be a colossal waste of energy just to setup a few googolplexes of dominoes only to not be able to watch them fall because a dumb process, regardless of complexity, couldn't be conscious of the show. There is nothing in nature hinting that such wastefulness could exist and it would be far easier to have had nothing at all.
Even if there is genuine quantum randomness, that doesn't mean that there is free will or any ultimate point to anything etc.
No, but I'm not sure how you can imagine your existence being analogous to a set of dominoes falling. I can't imagine how a deterministic process could engender consciousness; it's like suggesting shape causes color; there is no way.
(Peronally I'm horrified by genuine randomness hehe.)
How come?
Besides it is entirely possible that in the quantum world, every possibility actually happens.
Now that's a REAL waste of energy lol. I truly can't believe Max Tegmark believes that. He seems like a reasonable, levelheaded guy, but that is silly.
So for example every possible history of our universe plays out at the same time.

I don't think our universe is big enough to calculate the number of universes that would be required to make that happen. Dark numbers are numbers that cannot be expressed within the observable universe when written on the planck scale and dark numbers would be dwarfed by the number of universes required to represent every possible combination of quantum events. It's ludicrous. One may as well claim there is an infinite amount of energy and therefore no such thing as conservation of energy. Can you imagine every quantum event for the last 13 billion years? And who know how much more time is to come. There could be trillions of years of every quantum possibility sprouting into a new universe which would then do the same thing within that universe and so on forever in causal-time and spacially into the infinite new universes. Crazy^2
And that's not much different than saying that random elements are at play, because everything that could be generated by randomness is part of the deterministic whole.
Yes I suppose what causes this event to happen in this universe and another event to happen in another universe would have to be random because I can't imagine what would determine it like a director directing the traffic of possibilities which way to go. If the universes cannot communicate (or they wouldn't be separate universes) then how can a director know which way to send which possibility?
What about the double-slit experiment where conscious observation affects the result? I don't believe there are any discontinuities in the universe; everything is connected and there really are no things, but aspects of the whole. If this is true, then there is no such thing as objectivity since we cannot disconnect ourselves in order to make an objective observation and that means anything we observe will be affected to some extent by our observation. If all that is so, then we're lost in infinite regressions.
Umm.. no one knows for certain what a quantum observer is and what a collapse is.

Having said that, I would agree that something about most humans seems to qualify as quantum observers. But I also think that quantum observers can obviously also be other lifeforms, and non-alive things as well.
I'm sure any conscious entity could collapse the wave function if it could understand what it is observing (being conscious of it). I don't know what "non-alive things" means since there are plenty of nonalive things in the test facility that failed to collapse the wave function. Whatever the entity is, it would have to understand what it is observing or have a possibility of conveying the information to someone who could understand it.
That something about most humans may be some part of what we usually call individual human consciousness.
Sure, if humans are conscious of information, then so is the universe. Walls, ceilings, floors, cannot convey the information that is understood by humans.
But this only seem to lead to infinite regressions when you try to use a Western dualistic thinking, where you still think in two components: you and the rest of the universe. But the two components are really one and the same. You are one and the same with the world. Human thinking is inherently dualistic on some level, so we can't ever fully grasp QM, but at least we can sidestep the unnecessary infinite regressions.
Well, yes, a magnet has a N and S pole, but is one magnet, but still has a N and S pole. We are here, we are also the universe, we are observing the universe and circular observation always results in infinite regressions.

If the universe observes itself, then it changes itself and requires another observation to account for the changes, but that observation changes itself yet again. There is no way for an eye to look at itself without having a camera pointed at its own monitor.

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Re: Free will is real

Post by -1- » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:26 am

bahman wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:53 am
-1- wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:17 pm
The decision point you spake of will pass, and causational affects will overtake it.
We are talking about the point of decision.
Yes.

Atla
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Re: Free will is real

Post by Atla » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:27 am

Serendipper wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:21 pm
Right, it's instantaneous meaning that whatever causes the one particle to choose states instantly causes the other particle to choose the opposite state, so there is no speed limit (ie no time and therefore no space) and therefore no such thing as local/nonlocal (the whole universe is local). Even the speed of light implies no time or space. How can there be a local or nonlocal if there is nothing to be local within?
Yeah well then maybe we are saying the same thing actually (?). Local/nonlocal seems to have at least two meanings. The whole universe is local, but from a pre-QM point of view, that's nonlocal.
Because it would be a colossal waste of energy just to setup a few googolplexes of dominoes only to not be able to watch them fall because a dumb process, regardless of complexity, couldn't be conscious of the show. There is nothing in nature hinting that such wastefulness could exist and it would be far easier to have had nothing at all.
No, but I'm not sure how you can imagine your existence being analogous to a set of dominoes falling. I can't imagine how a deterministic process could engender consciousness; it's like suggesting shape causes color; there is no way.
I really don't know what you mean. What does being conscious of snow have to do with whether or not there is randomness or determinism? How do you connect the two?
Why would the universe need energy to be set up?
How come?
Because it would break everything else I know about the world. I see that everything works in certain ways. Frankly, genuine randomness comes across as unexplicable magic to me.
Maybe there is genuine randomness though - in that case the result is still the same, we are here all the same.
Now that's a REAL waste of energy lol. I truly can't believe Max Tegmark believes that. He seems like a reasonable, levelheaded guy, but that is silly.
What waste of energy? The universe doesn't care about wasting energy. Why is it silly, several leading physicists accept such views.

On the other hand how do you explain that out of the infinite possibilities, only our peculiar world exists?
I don't think our universe is big enough to calculate the number of universes that would be required to make that happen. Dark numbers are numbers that cannot be expressed within the observable universe when written on the planck scale and dark numbers would be dwarfed by the number of universes required to represent every possible combination of quantum events. It's ludicrous. One may as well claim there is an infinite amount of energy and therefore no such thing as conservation of energy. Can you imagine every quantum event for the last 13 billion years? And who know how much more time is to come. There could be trillions of years of every quantum possibility sprouting into a new universe which would then do the same thing within that universe and so on forever in causal-time and spacially into the infinite new universes. Crazy^2
I didn't understand any of that. Why would we have to calculate or imagine everything? What does that have to do with anything?
Why do you imagine time as an endless one-way process? How do you know that?
Why would new universes actually spring into existence?
Yes I suppose what causes this event to happen in this universe and another event to happen in another universe would have to be random because I can't imagine what would determine it like a director directing the traffic of possibilities which way to go. If the universes cannot communicate (or they wouldn't be separate universes) then how can a director know which way to send which possibility?
I wasn't talking about different universes, just ours.
And what determines how randomness plays out, just in the correct way that leads to self-aware humans?
I'm sure any conscious entity could collapse the wave function if it could understand what it is observing (being conscious of it). I don't know what "non-alive things" means since there are plenty of nonalive things in the test facility that failed to collapse the wave function. Whatever the entity is, it would have to understand what it is observing or have a possibility of conveying the information to someone who could understand it.
Umm no offense but you have no idea what you're talking about. Quantum observation has almost nothing to do with the everyday meaning of observation/understanding/being conscious of.
Sure, if humans are conscious of information, then so is the universe. Walls, ceilings, floors, cannot convey the information that is understood by humans.
There is no such thing as literal information in this context, information is an abstraction. Quantum observation doesn't work like that.
Well, yes, a magnet has a N and S pole, but is one magnet, but still has a N and S pole. We are here, we are also the universe, we are observing the universe and circular observation always results in infinite regressions.
A circle is a circle, not an infinite regression. That's my point, we shouldn't misconceptualize it.
If the universe observes itself, then it changes itself and requires another observation to account for the changes, but that observation changes itself yet again. There is no way for an eye to look at itself without having a camera pointed at its own monitor.
No. The universe doesn't change itself by observing itself, that's a misconceptualization. Any "effect" it would have on itself is already part of itself, so really there are NO changes, no effects at all. There are only correlations.

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Re: Free will is real

Post by Dontaskme » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:19 pm

Atla wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:43 pm
Umm.. no one knows for certain what a quantum observer is and what a collapse is.
Only the bearer of knowledge would know that.

Atla wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:43 pm
but at least we can sidestep the unnecessary infinite regressions.
Yeah, we could just sidestep back into knowledge again.

The two step dance. :D

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