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Oct18-11, 06:32 PM
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apeiron's Avatar
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Quote Quote by Maui View Post
Science has no explanation for that except to say - "it's what we observe taking place in a deterministic universe" and that's really not saying much.
Well, in fact I have rather frequently argued that there is such a theory in the systems science approach. This is based on a different dichotomy to random~determined. It argues for local degrees of freedom in interaction with global constraints. Or vague indeterminacy organised into the crisply definite.

Simple "deterministic" physical systems are then argued to be pretty helpless about the constraints that prevail in their world. A system self-organises in the fashion of a symmetry breaking where any "choice" - or indeterminacy - is quickly eliminated in the transition to a new state of equilibrium. A cooling iron bar loses its local degrees of freedom as a general magnetic field orientation - a global state of constraint - freezes in a direction that seems deterministic.

But a complicated system - like a "far from equilibrium" dissipative structure - maintains a considerable number of degrees of freedom. A tornado moving across a plain seems to have a lot of "choice".

And then a complex system, like something that is living/mindful, can actually construct its own boundary conditions, or non-holonomic constraints. It has both the continuing supply of local degrees of freedom that a dissipative structure enjoys, and the capacity to choose how to dispose of them (according to anticipatory goals).

It is this ability to construct global constraints (as through the epistemic cut/semiotics, in the form of genes or words, but also membranes, pores and other forms of physical constraint) that is the "trick" ordinary physics does not see, but which is basic to biophysics.

So there is in fact well-worked out theory that explains what we observe. But only biologists seem to learn about it.

Although it would be worth reading Schroedinger's "What is Life?" as he showed how physicists naively believe in "order from order", whereas reality was about "order from disorder". Even a clock is a harnessing of entropy (the mechanism is a form, an organisation, that constrains the release of the energy in a coiled spring to do work for a purpose).

In the same way, an experimenter can construct the boundary conditions that constrain a state of quantum potential. The wavefunction is then that part of the system which the experimenter has "determined". And the probabilities the wavefunction contain are the degrees of freedom that still remain.

An act of observation is then the imposition of yet further constraints that "collapse the wavefunction" by yet further reducing the systems' degrees of freedom. The indeterminate becomes increasingly determined. Or rather increasingly constrained towards some single definite state.