Physics as fate?

  • Thread starter Math Jeans
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Hello. I am working on a paper regarding the concept of a lack of free-will, and I am taking the stance that physics could determine fate.

I am proposing that all actions (such as brain functions that cause our thoughts and feelings) could be pre-determined through the use of applied physics if all variables in the universe that could alter or change any results are taken into effect.

Basically, every brain functions of every life-form, every gravitational interaction, every death of a star, anything that could happen throughout the entire universe could be used as a variable to determine the future.

I was looking for PF input on this concept for extra ideas for the paper.

Thanks.
 

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  • #4
Math Is Hard
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Hi MJ,
You might find looking into Benjamin Libet's research helpful. This article gives a brief description of the study he's most famous for:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=neuroscience-and-the-law

Although brains can be viewed as more or less automatic devices, like clocks, we as people seem free to choose our own destiny. Is there a way to settle this dilemma?

A first step was taken in the 1980s by Benjamin Libet, now emeritus professor of physiology at the University of California at San Francisco. If the brain carries out its work before one becomes consciously aware of a thought, as most neuroscientists now accept as true, it would appear that the brain enables the mind. This idea underlies the neuroscience of determinism. Libet measured brain activity during voluntary hand movements. He found that between 500 and 1,000 milliseconds before we actually move our hand there is a wave of brain activity, called the readiness potential. Libet set out to determine the moment, somewhere in that 500 to 1,000 milliseconds, when we make the actual conscious decision to move our hand.

Libet found that the time between the onset of the readiness potential and the moment of conscious decision making was about 300 milliseconds. If the readiness potential of the brain is initiated before we are aware of making the decision to move our hand, then it would appear that our brains know our decisions before we become conscious of them.

This kind of evidence seems to indicate that free will is an illusion. But Libet argued that because the time from the onset of the readiness potential to the actual hand movement is about 500 milliseconds, and it takes 50 to 100 milliseconds for the neural signal to travel from the brain to the hand to actually make it move, then there are 100 milliseconds left for the conscious self to either act on the unconscious decision or veto it. That, he said, is where free will arises--in the vetoing power. Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran of the University of California at San Diego, in an argument similar to 17th-century English philosopher John Locke's theory of free will, suggests that our conscious minds may not have free will but do have "free won't."

We also once had a thread about this that you might enjoy reading:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=64156
 
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  • #5
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I foudn that ^^ interesting but i'm just wondering WHY it must be that we have no free-will just because we don't conciously know... couldn't and shouldn't freewill be PRIOR to conciousness?
 
  • #6
dst
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Hi MJ,
You might find looking into Benjamin Libet's research helpful. This article gives a brief description of the study he's most famous for:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=neuroscience-and-the-law



We also once had a thread about this that you might enjoy reading:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=64156

If you're on a Windows machine, browse to:

C:\Windows\System32\hal.dll

Well, I think the mechanism separating conscious thought (user mode code) & brain functions (machine code) would be analogous to that.
 

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