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, i need input

  1. Nov 19, 2004 #1
    plz, i need input

    this is my first post in this forum, so hello everyone. :biggrin: i'd like to say that i have never really had experience in philosophy so if anyone recognizes my thoughts as someone elses theory then plz tell me so i can look into it.now to the real stuff. I would reallllllllly apprecaite some advice/wisdom about the topic(s) listed below.Sorry that all of this is jumbled together. (Right now I am trying to find answers and I have a lot of questions)

    i was thinking the other day(suprise) and for some strange reason i thought about a quote that Einstien said a lot "God doesn't throw dice!" and i began to think about wut he meant when he said that. To me it seems that all of this talk about the universe being random and that chemical and quantum reactions are random events seems odd to me. To me it seems logical to assume that if u had the EXACT same senario( im talking the SAME EXACT ONE!) that it would give u the EXACT same output. {plz correct me if I am wrong with my assumption} Also the human brain is made out of atoms and what not. So if that is true then if u have the exact same input to the human brain then would not get the exact same output? if u over simplfy it then u get chemical reactions. so is there a "random generator" in the brain anywhere? :yuck: :confused: :bugeye: or is it that the brain ,like an atom, just does certain designated tasks? if this is so then what is creativity? Is that just applying a perspective that some else hasnt seen onto a object? Most people would say that it is coming up with new ideas, but ideas come from the brain and the brain is just a input orientated device. So following that logic, does creativity even exist?
    What happens if you applied those thoughts to fate? my chain of logic is that if there is only 1 exact output for 1 exact input then doesn't that prove the absence of free will? Or do you want to get into string theory and the possiblities that is a "dimension" for every possible out/input. But if you assume that we are in 1 "dimension" then wouldn't that mean that there is only 1 output for everything?

    So to try and summarize all that i am asking, here is a list:
    1)Have you heard this chain of reasoning before? If so where?
    2)Can the human brain be over simplfied as a machine that just uses in/outputs
    3)Is there a "random generator" in humans?
    4)Do you think that MY chain of logic (proves/ doesnt do anything) to the argument of freewill/no freewill? (that question is to big for me to comprehend right now so I would like you to limit your response on this question so that it relates to my chain of reasoning. That way I can break it into little peices that I have a chance on understanding)

    thank you for ur trying to help me understand things (lol sry if i wasted your time)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2004 #2


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    Gold Member

    Welcome to the forum!

    The people in the quantum physics forum can give you a better answer than I can, but I am pretty sure the debate about whether or not these events are random is ongoing. I suggest you ask about non-local hidden variable theories in the quantum physics forum.
    Quantum randomness, if it exists, doesn't apply to *all* events. Once the wave function has collapsed, the normal, deterministic rules apply (I think!).
    So, in the case of our brains, physical phenomena occuring at the molecular and biological level are still as predictable as ever.
    Also, keep in mind precisely which parts of an event are random. For example, when flipping a coin, the result, landing on heads or tails, may be random, but the *possible results* are predetermined: either heads or tails.

    Congratulations on your discovery of a great set of questions. Yes, they've already been asked, and they're usually referred to as free will and determinism. A search on google for "free will determinism" should give you a good start if you want a more thorough treatment.

    They've also been discussed in this forum a lot; one I remember can be found here https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=28846. Try scanning through it and post whatever questions or comments you have here or there.

    By the way, one thing I highly suggest is to pay close attention to your use of words- defining a word precisely and using it consistently makes everything else much easier!

    Happy thoughts,
  4. Nov 20, 2004 #3
    thank you very much Rachel for your input. I will try to look into what you said, and in the future I will try to word my questions better.
  5. Nov 20, 2004 #4
    Random is just another way of saying "beyond our ability to understand". One of the fundamental principles of the universe is cause and effect. Everything can be traced back to a previous cause (except for the first, but thats where theology takes over). As far as humans go, there is a philosophy (greek I think) called "Tabula Rosa" or blank slate. It basically means the mind is an empty canvas at birth, and anything that happens in your life effects it. Since it is blank to start, exact influences will create exacly the same results. Evidence for this is in twins. They look, act, and think very silimar to each other. Both have slightly different biology, and do not occupy the same space at the same time so there are differences.

    The statment "God doesn't throw dice!" has two meanings, at least to me. The first is a theological one that God is omnipotent. There is no force outside of God (like chance). The second is that the universe has underlying rules and will always follow them.

    The more we learn about our universe and these rules, the more we realize there is less and less of what we consider random.

    A last point about the mind: I've talked to some poeple who think, though I'm not convinced...yet, that aside from the physical influences that effect our minds, there is also a unique "soul" attached to our body that uniquely alters our influences.
  6. Dec 6, 2004 #5
    BTW, just inserting randomness into the equation doesn't help. The problem with trying to find free will in the human mechanism is not so much that the mechanism is completely predictable (i.e., without any "slop"), but rather that the mechanism cannot explain true acts of will. We don't help the picture by adding randomness to it. Rather, what we end up with is an unpredictable machine - still incapable of making a decision which was not predicated on mechanical conditions.

    Twins studies, in fact, demonstrate this. The few that I have read show about a 40-50% behavioral correspondence between identical twins, 30-something% for fraternal twins, 20-something% for ordinary sibling, and 15-ish% for adopted. This implies that about 15% of behavior is "nurture," 35% "nature" (after subtracting the nurture factor), and thus about 50% "something else". This something else is free will, and evidently cannot be the product of physical mechanism, no matter how you spin it. This view is further bolstered by the fact that twins raised apart have a higher behavioral correspondence than twins raised together - thus showing that, although gentics have a strong influence, twins raised together are able to exercise free will and overcome their nature/nurture programming.

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