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B "no free will" simplest explanation for spooky action?

  1. Jun 20, 2016 #1
    Isnt "there's no free will" the simplest explanation for "spooky action at a distance" ?

    Bell himself said it:

    "There is a way to escape the inference of superluminal speeds and spooky action at a distance. But it involves absolute determinism in the universe, the complete absence of free[/PLAIN] [Broken] will"

    I mean why bother with extra dimensions, parallel universes, all kinds of complicated explanations, when "there's no free will" sounds so simple.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
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  3. Jun 20, 2016 #2

    DrChinese

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    That's not the simplest explanation, and in fact is no explanation at all. Why would entangled state statistics be a consequence of free will?

    And as far as a simple explanation goes: just chalk it up to the existence of a deity that likes to play with us.

    Superdeterminism is not a theory, and it is not really an interpretation. There is no paper, for example, that explains how entangled state statistics could appear from measurement of pairs of particles and is due to a prior state of the system. All that is out there is non-scientific speculation.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2016 #3
  5. Jun 20, 2016 #4
    Which is it? 14% or a third?
     
  6. Jun 20, 2016 #5

    Nugatory

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    Both. 14% to get a violation, 1/3 to get a maximal violation.
     
  7. Jun 20, 2016 #6

    Nugatory

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    To make this argument work we have to extend it a bit beyond just free will for us conscious entities choosing our detector settings - the mechanical random number generators used to choose the detector settings in most experiments must also have an underlying deterministic behavior. But yes, once you make that more general "no free will" assumption, you can explain Bell-type experiments while keeping both locality and realism and that has great intuitive appeal.

    But is is really simpler? Do our Bell-type experiment with the source of entangled particles in orbit around alpha centauri four light-years away, one of the detectors on earth and the other floating in space four light-years on the far side of source. Now you have to assume a causal process that determines the characteristics of the particle pair when it is created, and also determines the output of the random number generators years later and trillions of miles away. To get a sense of just how bizarre that is.... You're basically saying that if the local weather conditions on alpha centauri are such that the particle pair is created in state A, then ten years later on earth this particular radioactive atom will decay in a particular microsecond, but if the particle pair had been created in state B the atom would decayed one microsecond sooner or later. I'm not finding this any easier to believe than any of the other "explanations" floating around.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  8. Jun 20, 2016 #7

    stevendaryl

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    Yes, if in the EPR experiment, Alice and Bob are predestined to pick the settings for their detectors, then it is possible to guarantee the QM predictions without nonlocal effects. However, that way out is enormously implausible, in my opinion. Alice can base her decision on absolutely anything--the discovery of gravity waves, the outcome of an election, the score of a baseball game. If Bob's particle and detector have to take into account what detector setting Alice was predestined to use, that might require simulating potentially the whole rest of the universe. So even without the philosophical qualms about giving up free will, it seems to me like a very implausible way out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  9. Jun 20, 2016 #8
    "No free will" in the meaning one would need if one would use it to explain BI violations would be the end of science. Science depends on doing experiments, and on the assumption that we are not forced by some magic to do experiments in some special way.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2016 #9

    Paul Colby

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    No free will, or no real randomness? I've always viewed the probability of the Born Rule as some form randomization imposed by the observation process and it so clearly isn't. If Alice prepares Bob's particles by first measuring a particle and sending the unmeasured one onto Bob she will know (given Bob's filter is aligned with hers) with certainty Bob's results prior to measurement. Now, I refuse to believe that the fundamental nature of the Born probability changes with the alignment of either detector. We also all agree that there is no measurement or data reduction that Bob could do which would show Alice's state of awareness of his apparent random results.
     
  11. Jun 20, 2016 #10

    stevendaryl

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    "No real randomness" means determinism, and determinism is not enough to reproduce the statistical results of the EPR experiment. You need superdeterminism, which means that not only are the outcomes a deterministic function of the particle state + detector setting, but that the detector setting itself must be predictable. In a sense, if things are deterministic, then that means that Alice's settings are predetermined, but that doesn't imply they are predictable. Her settings might depend on absolutely anything else in the universe, and so for the settings to be predictable, you would need complete knowledge about the entire universe.
     
  12. Jun 20, 2016 #11

    Paul Colby

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    Well, for one detector setting Alice has complete knowledge of Bob's results and Bob has no way to tell Alice has this information or not. Predetermination is clearly possible in some cases and Bob can't tell. Clearly one cannot predetermine all measurements but one example is enough for me to conclude that there is no interaction randomizing a previous unknown value. I'm still very much in the QM is fundamental camp however this is an interesting aspect of measurement I feel comfortable with. Quantum ensembles certainly have weird superposition properties that just aren't classical.
     
  13. Jun 20, 2016 #12

    atyy

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    Superdeterminism is fine, but it doesn't seem to be useful. Usually, we would like to use our scientific theories to make predictions. However, superdeterminism seems to require a degree of knowledge of the initial conditions that we cannot have. In classical physics, we do take a god-like view of nature. However, we don't have to be truly god-like, just a lower level god with blurry vision. Superdeterminism seems to require much sharper vision than we can ever have.

    However, as you can see I have only made hand-wavy arguments, so there is room for an advocate of superdeterminism to come up with a good concrete proposal.
     
  14. Jun 20, 2016 #13
    Not sure if this is appropriate... but I tend to think of the future as a probability, with the current time simply being the one that had the highest probability of occurring. It is clear (to me) from the experiments that our actions do in-fact determine the future. The only question is... how much of it? All or just the bit we can measure?

    I only know of one other explanation that makes any sense... and it is that the universe is actually a simulation. This perfectly explains the existence of magic... *cough cough* err quantum physics :smile:
     
  15. Jun 20, 2016 #14

    bhobba

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    Are you aquainted with the central limit theorem?:
    http://www.math.uah.edu/stat/sample/CLT.html

    This means that total randomness can look a lot like determinism.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  16. Jun 21, 2016 #15

    Demystifier

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    It's not only absolute determinism. It's superdeterminism. In other words, not only that future is completely determined by initial conditions, but initial conditions must be fine tuned, so that nature looks as if there are laws which really aren't there. This is like saying that apple does not fall due to gravity, but that it is a pure coincidence that the apple falls down whenever it happens that your hands let it free. Why bother with Newtonian gravity, general relativity, or even quantum gravity, when pure coincidence looks so simple?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  17. Jun 21, 2016 #16
    I would be more interested in whether such a deterministic model fits our observations of reality than how it "seems" at first glance. Things happen regardless of whether we like them or find them plausible. I don't see any philosophical qualms about "giving up free will", especially if it turns out to be a purely fabricated notion. If anything, it could be viewed as a negative to pretend it is there when it isn't.

    "No free will = end of science" doesn't follow. An update to our understanding of reality does not necessarily change our behavior. Calling an assumption of determinism "magic" is roughly as credible as calling an assumption of free will "magic", absent convincing evidence to believe one over the other. Whether the universe has free will or the concept is an illusion created because our minds can't model complexity at nearly the pace needed make consistently perfect predictions, we'd behave the same way as far as we know (IE we don't have complete knowledge of the entire universe at every instant to reliably utilize determinism and can't process thought to handle it, if that's how things work).

    Our motivation to do experiments and interpret them does not change between either model.

    Superdeterminism exists or it doesn't, regardless of whether it's within our ability to make useful predictions, to the best of my understanding. However, If we can't falsify it or make future predictions then it's true that wouldn't be too helpful in practice. However, that would be true if superdeterminism doesn't exist too. We need something we can test and use.

    Why is that necessarily true, if the "laws" are consistent with the initial conditions? I am not an expert in these fields and joined this forum out of interest alone, so I'm looking at this from a simple consistency/conceptual framework. However, it seems to be that superdeterminism, should that be how reality works, is being given assumptions that don't necessarily follow.
     
  18. Jun 21, 2016 #17

    stevendaryl

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    Well, for discussions of interpretations of QM, the phrase "free will" doesn't mean anything too philosophical. It's just that in an EPR experiment, Alice can decide at the last minute what setting to choose. That doesn't have to be a "really" free choice, because she might use a pseudo-random number generator, or she might decide "If I see a shooting star in the next 30 seconds, I'll choose this setting", or she could decide "If I hear thunder, I'll choose this other setting." None of those strategies for choosing the setting is really random, but they are in practice unpredictable, unless you have perfect information about the current state of the universe. For superdeterminism to be a possible way out of violations of Bell's inequalities, it would be comparable to arranging shards of glass to rearrange into an unbroken glass bottle.
     
  19. Jun 21, 2016 #18

    bhobba

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    Unfortunately in QM many many models, including superdeterminism, fits the facts. That's one of its big issues.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  20. Jun 21, 2016 #19

    Nugatory

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    The deterministic model matches observation just fine. That's something of an unhelpful tautology though, because the deterministic model has no testable candidate theory of what the underlying mechanism might be, only the hypothesis that there is a mechanism that deterministically produces results that match observation.

    This is a general issue with all quantum mechanical interpretations: We've already rejected all the ones that don't match observation (the most recent to go being the EPR hypothesis that there is an underlying local hidden variable theory, killed off in the decades after 1965). Thus, all the survivors match the observational results and there are no experiments that could tell us which one is right. Instead, we're left with personal aesthetic choices: The "simplest" in the thread title, the words "plausible" and "implausible" used by you and other posters in this thread.... Those are basically statements of preference, not empirical fact.
     
  21. Jun 21, 2016 #20
    Superdeterminism as a model for reality does *not* assume we can make predictions merely by its existence. That is what I'm objecting to. For the purposes of making preditions, you're going to have a heck of a time predicting what Alice chooses to do last minute regardless of whether superdeterminism or randomness is in play. As such, it's not a useful objection to the conceptual possibility; as an objection it does not distinguish between alternative models.

    We're not arranging things regardless in this thought experiment, and the universe/reality carries on.

    I'm aware, but what confuses me is that some interpretations are favored over others despite the lack of good reason to pick one based on evidence. At the very least, I would like to see objections that are not commonly applicable to each interpretation :p.
     
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