[ExI] Bell's Inequality

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Wed Nov 30 08:12:15 UTC 2016

Stathis wrote:
<How is the operation of free will different to the operation of any other
physical system?>

Good question. So lets start with types of physical systems that exist.
Free will as it is commonly understood is a property of living organisms
which are natural physical systems that are selectively open with respect
to their environment. By selectively open, I mean that they are open in
the thermodynamic sense but they are selective in the sense that not just
any kind of matter and energy can cross the boundaries of the system.

Furthermore living systems can maintain, relative to their environment, a
relatively low entropy state within their porous boundaries through the
selective importation of matter and energy energetically coupled to the
export of heat and entropic waste.

This process is called homeostasis and it grants living systems a high
degree of fault tolerance and robustness compared to artificially
engineered systems. This enables living systems to for example, climb
mountains which non-living natural systems don't do and operate
continuously for thirty plus years with no maintenance besides food,
water, and oxygen.

All this highlights the differences between systems containing free will
and artifical physical systems such as machines.

That being said, many man-made machines can also make decisions and act on
them. Even analog systems like your washing machine example

Using my very narrow definition of free will, that free will is simply a
choice being made, then at the exact instant that a decision is made,
there isn't really a difference between a human choice or a mechanical
relay clicking into place. Ultimately, a decision is a decision, no matter
who or what makes it.

If it were otherwise, then replacing Alice and Bob in the Bell Inequality
Test with robots or simply clock-work mechanisms that rotated the
polarizing filters on a set time table, would make the photon correlations
go away.

I don't know if this experiment has ever been done, but my hunch is that
the results would come out exactly the same as QM predicts. And that could
increase the liklihood that we live in a superdeterministic universe and
*don't* have free will.

Stathis wrote:
<I choose coffee rather than tea because the coffee-choosing neurons fire,
and the coffee decision comes out; my washing machine chooses the spin
cycle rather than the wash cycle because its spin cycle-choosing relay
fires and spin cycle comes out.>

I think you are underselling the brain here. While at the exact moment
that the choice happens, the washing machine's act of decision and your
act share a certain similarity, the processes by which the two reached
those decisions are vastly different.

The washing machine was following a very simple mechanical program and,
barring unforeseen mechanical failure would have always chosen the spin
cycle at that step of the program.

Your brain, on the other hand, not only has coffee neurons firing but also
has the tea neurons, soda neurons, beer neurons all firing. Your brain may
or may not have thirst neurons firing, and a whole host of inhibitory
signals firing such as the "it's too hot for coffee" or the "it's too
early for beer" neurons. So all these neurons are firing, and some of
these signals are building each other up while other signals are knocking
them down.

So you have this competition between sets of cooperating neurons
representing different choices and contraints having a cacophonic tug of
war for the future. Then suddenly in a flash, the decision is made, and a
function in multi-dimensional probability space collapses down to a single
point . . . Coffee.

Stuart LaForge

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