[Paleopsych] free wills and quantum won'ts

David Smith dsmith06 at maine.rr.com
Tue May 17 03:29:39 UTC 2005

Traditionally, the problem of free will is not a question of whether or not we have choices, it is the question of whether or not these choices are caused by prior events.  


----- Original Message ----- 
  From: HowlBloom at aol.com 
  To: paleopsych at paleopsych.org 
  Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 11:19 PM
  Subject: [Paleopsych] free wills and quantum won'ts

  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 predictions.

  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 about?

  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: www.paleopsych.org
  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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