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#1
Possibly other threads on the subject, or threads containing discussions on it, but I searched and nothing relevant came up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

The idea is, that essentially every event of the present is determined by previous events. This includes the motion, charge, and condition of all particles, and even, as Wikipedia puts it, Human Cognition.

Assuming that human thought is influenced/controlled by the cellular, electrical, and atomic arrangement inside a human brain, then the factors that have determined that arrangement will control the thoughts, and actions, of the individual.

Therefore, you could say that prior events have determined all human thoughts and actions.

One argument that I have FOR this theory is as follows.

You could argue that you control your thoughts, and to any situation you control your own action. But, I claim that there is only one decision that you could possibly make for any one specific input of information. Information being any and all possible input from the universe.

Now, take any possible specific input, and situation, down to the random quantum decay of particles, and duplicate it. If you, and an exactly duplicated you, were to experience both of these inputs, your actions would be exactly the same, assuming that all information was precisely the same.

We could then assume that for any other input, you would react accordingly to that input, and that you are not truly thinking, but following thoughts determined by your Environment, which is in this case is the entire Universe.

Sorry for the long post, but it takes considerable effort to explain. If you skipped because you already understand it, I can see why.

Discuss whether this is a plausible theory. If you've made if through the OP of course.
#4
Well, I was taught in college that it's part of the scientific model of the universe, and we had a whole lecture about it. So if people are going to tell me I'm ignorant or stupid for believing strongly in determinism, tell it to Fullerton College.
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#6
I wrote a paper last semester in school that advocated determinism and basically argued that Free Will doesn't exist because of it.

I really don't believe free will exists and people get on my case over it a lot. I don't deny that a decision making process exists, but I do object to the idea that it's ever free of inhibitions/patterns. If I don't have any true reasoning behind a choice, I consider that free will; but since all choices are results of prior knowledge teaching us what the best option might be, I don't believe free will exists.

Cool thread by the way, but it might belong in the philosophy thread.
#7
Quote by Life Is Brutal
@rgrockr

I try to tell people about this, and they call me an idiot. Did I do a decent job of explaining this or should I try and rethink it?

I dunno, it's hard to convince people about determinism without a long lecture. I advocate it every chance I get in the Pit, but every time I get shot down with things like electrons and radioactive decay. The way I see it, these things probably do behave through a determined pattern, just one that we don't understand yet since subatomic particles are a bitch to observe.
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#8
Quote by Life Is Brutal
@rgrockr

I try to tell people about this, and they call me an idiot. Did I do a decent job of explaining this or should I try and rethink it?

Made sense to me, but... 'If you skipped because you already understand it, I can see why.'

Seriously.

I'm also sure there's wayy more to his theory than that.
#9
Seems logical to me.
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#11
the way you put it here is a good explanation, most people just can't accept the fact that they're not actually capable of making their own decisions (in this fashion). As stated, a perfect copy of yourself in exact the same situation wuld just do the same because you're identical..

I also am a firm believer no one can be 100% original as from the moment you were conceived you already had information that will determine how you'll be later on (genetic diseases, herritage, skin colour, hair colour), and everything you ever see, feel, discover, hear,... will give you inspiration for your actions.
Don't know if what I just said made any sense and if I'm just not repeating what determinism is >_>
#12
But most people are not aware of the impacts of previous events on the present, therefore creating the illusion of free will. And if the illusion is believed strongly enough by a sufficient number of people, it could be argued that the perception of free will is close enough to the reality of free will to be called the same thing. So, assuming my assertions are correct, both theories are correct.
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#13
Quote by rgrockr
I dunno, it's hard to convince people about determinism without a long lecture.
I know, right. It's so hard to explain determinism in a sentence or two. It always takes me a few minutes to fully explain.
#14
I also wrote a paper on it.

I don't know if its so much a philosophy as a scientific theory, so I was conflicted over where it should go. If this threads runs it's course and doesn't go anywhere, Ill take it to the philosophy thead. Also, if I took it to "The ONLY Religion and philosophy thread", it would go into predeterminism and debates over why God (if the universe was created by God) would have everything "Planned", including "Free will".

And I think its important that I wrap quotes around "Free Will".

but every time I get shot down with things like electrons and radioactive decay. The way I see it, these things probably do behave through a determined pattern, just one that we don't understand yet since subatomic particles are a bitch to observe.


I once got into a discussion with a physicist in my Chemistry class over Determinism, and I brought up this point, but when the physicist disagreed with me there, the rest of the class said I "Lost" the argument. Which was actually just a discussion.
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Apr 23, 2011,
#15
Quote by The Madcap
I know, right. It's so hard to explain determinism in a sentence or two. It always takes me a few minutes to fully explain.

It's easy to explain what it is, it's more difficult to give convincing arguments to persuade someone.
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#17
Quote by Teh Traineez0rz
don't intend to be a troll but where does determinism begin?

if applicable...

Does there need to be a beginning?
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#20
Quote by Teh Traineez0rz
Does there?

Not necessarily. We humans can't comprehend infinity, so we can only think in terms of "beginning" and "end". Perhaps there was a big bang, and perhaps there will be a "big crunch", but that's not necessarily the beginning and end of existence, just events on an infinite timeline of the universe.
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#21
Quote by jwd724
But most people are not aware of the impacts of previous events on the present, therefore creating the illusion of free will. And if the illusion is believed strongly enough by a sufficient number of people, it could be argued that the perception of free will is close enough to the reality of free will to be called the same thing. So, assuming my assertions are correct, both theories are correct.

the only thing that holds you between the illusion and the reality is willpower, the will that you just want to see what you want while denying what really is there...
If we keep going like this, I'm gonna end up in jail, think you died but you're actually adopting my daughter while I'm gonna get hanged for supposedly killing you and then my twin brother's actually gonna kill you
#22
ahh k something circular.

so err then 'this' could be like a newer copy of the universe.
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#23
Quote by MakinLattes
it seems so fatalistic. I mean, how far can one integrate this concept into daily life?

You can't really, its something that merely is. If it exists and happens, anyway. Its like gravity, you don't really think about it until you fall.

In this case, the fall is anything that reminds you of Determinism and gets your mind on it.

As to how this started, we have two Options. Either...

The big bang caused the creation of the universe, and thus forming all information, such as the motion and states and ect of all matter, forces, and energy.

A divine being created the universe, and thus forming all information, such as the motion and states and ect of all matter, forces, and energy.

Take your pick, although the God choice causes some dissonance between free will and things such as human suffering, which I believe can be explained from a few Ideas in Hinduism, if you decide to take a theistic approach.

so err then 'this' could be like a newer copy of the universe.


If you go with a perpetual loop of Re-creation and "Crunching", this could easily be the Millionth time its run its course. Or the second. We could still be on the first.

But, its unclear if this cycle would create completely identical universes, or if the "Crunch" and Re-creation still follow the information set from the Indefinate beginning. As in, we are still continuing on the "Timeline" rather than repeating it.
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Apr 23, 2011,
#24
Quote by TimTheWizard
the way you put it here is a good explanation, most people just can't accept the fact that they're not actually capable of making their own decisions (in this fashion). As stated, a perfect copy of yourself in exact the same situation wuld just do the same because you're identical..

I also am a firm believer no one can be 100% original as from the moment you were conceived you already had information that will determine how you'll be later on (genetic diseases, herritage, skin colour, hair colour), and everything you ever see, feel, discover, hear,... will give you inspiration for your actions.
Don't know if what I just said made any sense and if I'm just not repeating what determinism is >_>

YES. People instantly react in a negative fashion when the idea that they may not have free will comes up. Of course, it's understandable since it takes an extremely abstract view, but a lot of people won't even try to see things the way a determinist might.
Quote by MakinLattes
it seems so fatalistic. I mean, how far can one integrate this concept into daily life?

That's a really good question. When I came to a personal conclusion that free will doesn't exist, I began to think of life as destiny instead. I realize that sounds cheesy, but determinism and destiny go hand in hand.

Whenever I do anything that I have second thoughts about, I just think that it's my destiny.
#25
Quote by Teh Traineez0rz
ahh k something circular.

so err then 'this' could be like a newer copy of the universe.

No. There's only one persistent universe (I won't get into parallel universes because they kinda conflict with determinism) that continually changes. It's not circular, it just has no beginning and no end.
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#26
Quote by rgrockr
No. There's only one persistent universe (I won't get into parallel universes because they kinda conflict with determinism) that continually changes. It's not circular, it just has no beginning and no end.


I might have to disagree with that, as it seems too definite of a conclusion. But I think I did state what you're saying in an edit above.

So we have a few possibilities here...

Universe continues as is, uninterrupted from the start of its course. We could call this a linear universe model.

Universe eventually Crunches in, and is remade in the exact same was as it was prior. Ill call this a Cycling Universe.

Universe eventually Crunches in, and is re-created, and while still following information from the "Original", it is not the "Original" or Prior Universe. I can't think of a name for this model.
#27
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I might have to disagree with that, as it seems too definite of a conclusion. But I think I did state what you're saying in an edit above.

So we have a few possibilities here...

Universe continues as is, uninterrupted from the start of its course. We could call this a linear universe model.

Universe eventually Crunches in, and is remade in the exact same was as it was prior. Ill call this a Cycling Universe.

Universe eventually Crunches in, and is re-created, and while still following information from the "Original", it is not the "Original" or Prior Universe. I can't think of a name for this model.

That depends on what you call the Universe. The way I see it, the big bang and big crunch are not beginnings or ends of a universe, just beginnings and ends of different stages in the existence of a persistent universe.
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#28
Quote by rgrockr
That depends on what you call the Universe. The way I see it, the big bang and big crunch are not beginnings or ends of a universe, just beginnings and ends of different stages in the existence of a persistent universe.



As for the discussion you two are having, this fits in the best with the theory. Which I'm finding highly intriguing, by the way. Not sure if I believe in it, but there's surely no way I can disprove it.

My mantra on life sort of correlates to "everything will turn out alright in the end", so the idea of this doesn't really bother me. It's just strange to think about.

But how would you explain things like my house burning down due to faulty wiring from ten years ago that just now decided to short circuit? Or could you attribute that to the predetermined state of the matter that the wire consisted of when it was installed? I guess it just all goes back to the lack of being able to view subatomic particles readily.

New hypothetical though, what if sometime in the future, this was proved true. How do you think people would react? Would suicide be rampant as people felt their lives held no purpose? Would religions all shut up or argue that it was "God's Plan" being put into action?

This is one of the more thought-provoking threads I've seen in the Pit in a long time.
#29
Quote by rgrockr
That depends on what you call the Universe. The way I see it, the big bang and big crunch are not beginnings or ends of a universe, just beginnings and ends of different stages in the existence of a persistent universe.


So your idea fits with the third possibily then, which is just as likely as the others, although I am unsure of the "Big Crunch".

Im not going to try and explain how I understand what you're saying, but I do understand.
#30
Some bloke said "we believe in free will because we know about our actions, but not about their causes". That put it well.

No idea who he was, though.
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#31
New hypothetical though, what if sometime in the future, this was proved true. How do you think people would react? Would suicide be rampant as people felt their lives held no purpose? Would religions all shut up or argue that it was "God's Plan" being put into action?

This is one of the more thought-provoking threads I've seen in the Pit in a long time.

Yeah, the possible purposeless is a problem, although life, despite "Pointlessness", would still be better than the possible "Unknown" the suicidees would throw themselves into. I don't think there would be mass suicides, but there would be some Im sure. But, I do think there would be a mass hysteria of frustration/depression. I was asked this once before, from someone who actually semi-accepted the idea, and I forgot what I said. But in order to figure out what would happen, it would either have to happen, or we would need a massive evaluation of the psyche of the world.

I try to think of it like this.

You're on a roller coaster, and you can't see the track in front of you. But instead, you can choose where it goes. And after arriving at a complete stop, you realize that you've followed tracks that have been set before hand, and you have decided to follow them. You did exactly what you wanted, but you were "Supposed" to do those actions. And despite having no control over the ride, you still get to experience it.

So you had no choice in the truth of it, but you follow the track regardless.

And I HATE roller coasters, BTW.

Also at Whalepudding's quote, I want to say that might've been Kant or Calvin who said that.
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Apr 23, 2011,
#32
Quote by whalepudding
Some bloke said "we believe in free will because we know about our actions, but not about their causes". That put it well.

No idea who he was, though.

so if you're really drunk or stoned it's not free will that you punched a guy in the face?

I just remembered I once explained determinism without knowing the term to some friends as an argument for why time machines would be useless would they ever be actually invented. First they didn't get it, I said "as in 12 Monkeys", then they went like "ooh.. hah, you can't prevent your own suicide "

#33
We are not individuals. We are chemical reactions. Mindless bags of chemicals waiting to fizzle into insignificant background energy. Determinism is.
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#34
Determinism in this sense is something which cannot be disproven and therefore should not be scientifically considered /nerdrage.
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#36
Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions; an effect which is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.[1] This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.[2] In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.[3][4] This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.


From the wikipedia article on chaos theory. I believe that nothing is random, we just can't tell the starting conditions.
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#39
Interesting that this thread should show up now, as I've been giving determinism a lot of thought over the past few weeks. It seems a sound idea.
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#40
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I also wrote a paper on it.

I don't know if its so much a philosophy as a scientific theory, so I was conflicted over where it should go. If this threads runs it's course and doesn't go anywhere, Ill take it to the philosophy thead. Also, if I took it to "The ONLY Religion and philosophy thread", it would go into predeterminism and debates over why God (if the universe was created by God) would have everything "Planned", including "Free will".

I tried having a conversation about it in that thread once. These things work a lot better in their own threads, trust me.


But yeah as much as I am a complete supporter of determinism as described here, I think to say it denies free will is just a negative way of looking at it.

Yes, you make every decision based on reasoning from the past etc etc that could not be different, but it is still your choice even if it couldn't be otherwise. You are in a way free to choose otherwise, but there is absolutely no reason you would. Offered a hug or a punch I would of course choose a hug every time (assuming that I would in that situation), but that's still a choice.
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