[Paleopsych] Fwd: free will--fr. Ted Coons

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Thu Jun 2 05:45:49 UTC 2005

In a message dated 6/1/2005 2:47:37 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  eec1 at nyu.edu 

>Howard, before dealing with the math that a putative "free will"  would 
>require, I feel there is a paradoxical motivational issue  regarding "free 
>will" that first needs at least considering (if not  clarifying).  One of 
>the reasons "free will" is an attractive  concept is that it liberates us 
>from a smothering sense of external  control with which determinism 
>tyrannizes us.  Who among us  wouldn't like to throw off the behavior 
>chains of causality and "over  these prison walls fly"?  Yet when asked the 
>reasons why we do  things, we say "because....," thus, admitting to a 
>justifying  influence in vast preference to the insanity of doing something  
>without reason (the abhorrent equivalent of a motivationless crime, so  to 
>speak).  So the issue, at least psychologically, is: Can we  choose without 
>being chosen or, if we must be chosen, can we still  choose?  Perhaps 
>entanglement is somehow the  answer.....Ted
>At 11:19 PM 5/16/2005 -0400, you  wrote:
>>This is from a dialog Pavel Kurakin and I are having behind  the 
>>scenes.  I wanted to see what you all thought of  it.  Howard
>>You know that I'm a quantum  skeptic.  I believe that our math is 
>>primitive.  The  best math we've been able to conceive to get a handle on 
>>quantum  particles is probabilistic.  Which means it's cloudy.  It's  
>>filled with multiple choices.  But that's the problem of our  math, not of 
>>the cosmos.  With more precise math I think we  could make more precise 
>>And  with far more flexible math, we could model large-scale things like  
>>bio-molecules, big ones, genomes, proteins and their  interactions.  With 
>>a really robust and mature math we could  model thought and brains.  But 
>>that math is many centuries  and many perceptual breakthroughs away.
>>As  mathematicians, we are still in the early stone  age.
>>But what I've said above has a kink I've hidden  from view.  It implies 
>>that there's a math that would model  the cosmos in a totally 
>>deterministic way.  And life is not  deterministic.  We DO have free 
>>will.  Free will means  multiple choices, doesn't it?  And multiple 
>>choices are what  the Copenhagen School's probabilistic equations are all  
>>How could the concept of free will be right and  the assumptions behind 
>>the equations of Quantum Mechanics be  wrong?  Good question.  Yet I'm 
>>certain that we do have  free will.  And I'm certain that our current 
>>quantum concepts  are based on the primitive metaphors underlying our 
>>existing forms  of math.  Which means there are other metaphors ahead of 
>>us  that will make for a more robust math and that will square free will  
>>with determinism in some radically new  way.
>>Now the question is, what could those new  metaphors be?

Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A  Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution  of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate  Psychology Department, New York University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate  Institute
Founder:  International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution  Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango  Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the  Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, 
Academy of Political  Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human  Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; 
executive editor -- New  Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology  Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer  Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see  www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of  Mass Mind from the Big 
Bang to the 21st Century, see  www.howardbloom.net

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