Can the future affect the past?

According to Quantum Mechanics future can affect the past.
There are many names for this “QM weirdness”; retro-causality, time flying backwards and so on…

Experiment Shows Future Events Affect The Past

There are just as many interpretations of this supposed weirdness that QM presents scientists with…Some say that we don’t know enough about TIME…Others say there is no such thing as time; at least on quantum level…

Though initially opposed or uncomfortable to with the problems QM presented him with, Einstein, just before he died, made the following statement about TIME itself.

Einstein once wrote, in a letter to comfort the widow of a recently deceased friend, “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Why would Einstein write such a letter if the great majority of his lifework were dependent on the existence of time?

But, that is not the motto of my OP,  though I realize that I have raised enough red flags for some to go on for a long time…

A while back, my older son asked me a question:

Why would a loving God destroy everyone but Noah and his family in the global deluge?

I may have answered this question somewhat, but I don’t think it really satisfied him…
A few days back I was researching another theme for my work and came across the QM experiments that indicate that the future can, and does affect the past…And it hit me like bolt of lightning! If our future events affect the past, God can access the future and perform acts of justice based on the future events… Noah’s Flood is no different…

After that my son even found some evidence that the Canaanites were given warnings by God/prophets, hundreds of years in advance to change their behavior or… they were going to be exterminated…

I love quantum mechanics… The more I learn about quantum mechanics, the more I’m in awe about it and whoever purposed it…It does serve an amazing purpose…

BTW: The more I learn about QM and subatomic world, the more I don’t like the ID term for the design movement thingy… I don’t know why…I’d like Purposeful Design much better…

105 thoughts on “Can the future affect the past?

  1. William J. Murray: Not sure what your confusion is.

    I suspect his confusion will not be ameliorated by the word salad that follows that statement.

    In addition William has made the claim that people, including me, are automatons with no free will whatsoever. He’s gone on to say that can be changed and that I can potentially make free will decisions. However if I have no free will how can I make a free will decision to have free will?

    Incoherence stacked on incoherence.

  2. William J. Murray: Not sure what your confusion is. The willful impulse to respond precedes the decision to respond (because you can also decide to not respond based on various reasons – the system of thought in your mind that examines the impulse), and decide how to respond based on what tools are available and you deem appropriate.

    Have you ever performed an experiment, or read a paper based on experiments to prove your point (s)?
    I would like to see some real evidence to prove your point other than speculations… I hope it exists…

    BTW: I don’t know what OMagouan is commenting about… I hope it is not on your comments…

  3. OMagain: William J. Murray: What we do have, though, is free will, which is the originating impulse – the loci of directed consciousness – that is then interpreted by the psychology of the personal mind and then filtered through the lens of physical opportunity.

    No, we don’t.

    Checkmate.

    I think that’s more like a stalemate, actually.

    An action is the outcome of a choice within constraints. The choice, according to the orthodox view, embodies an element of freedom, the constraints one of necessity. In non-standard cases, however, these equations do not hold….[M]en sometimes are free to choose their own constraints
    [But] the preferences underlying a choice may be shaped by the constraints. Considered together, these two non-standard phenomena are sufficiently important to suggest that the orthodox theory is due for fundamental revision…[T]o some extent it also corrects…an overly enthusiastic application of the idea that men can choose their own character….[T]here are limits to what may be achieved by character planning. There is hubris in the view that one can be the master of one’s soul – just as there is an intellectual fallacy in the view that everything that comes about by action can also be brought about by action. –Jon Elster, Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality

  4. OMagain: In addition William has made the claim that people, including me, are automatons with no free will whatsoever. He’s gone on to say that can be changed and that I can potentially make free will decisions. However if I have no free will how can I make a free will decision to have free will?

    To be clear, Murray has said if one doesn’t believe oneself to have libertarian freedom, then one must believe of oneself that one is an automaton. Hence he thinks that those of who deny libertarian freedom and don’t regard ourselves as automata to be inconsistent, even irrational. But I don’t know how someone who believes of themselves to be an automaton could somehow magically chose to believe that they are not.

  5. J-Mac: Have you ever performed an experiment, or read a paper based on experiments to prove your point (s)?
    I would like to see some real evidence to prove your point other than speculations… I hope it exists…

    What point is it that you think requires “proving”? Everything I’ve said is a matter of logic derived from what I assume is everyone’s personal experience. If you take issue with it, then it’s a matter of simply stating where you disagree and why.

  6. Kantian Naturalist: To be clear, Murray has said if one doesn’t believe oneself to have libertarian freedom, then one must believe of oneself that one is an automaton. Hence he thinks that those of who deny libertarian freedom and don’t regard ourselves as automata to be inconsistent, even irrational.But I don’t know how someone who believes of themselves to be an automaton could somehow magically chose to believe that they are not.

    I never said that nor made that argument. I’ve said that if one does not have libertarian free will, then one **is** a biological automaton, and will believe and say whatever their particular arrangements of matter ordered by physical laws dictates. It would be pretty self-contradictory to say that a biological automaton **should believe** anything in particular.

    Without a top-down non-physical loci of will that can override the physical interactions that supposedly generate mind, thought and beliefs, there is no escape from the “biological automaton” conclusion – other than denial.

  7. William J. Murray: Without a top-down non-physical loci of will that can override the physical interactions that supposedly generate mind, thought and beliefs, there is no escape from the “biological automaton” conclusion – other than denial.

    Like the ability to override sedation?

  8. William J. Murray: t. I’ve said that if one does not have libertarian free will, then one **is** a biological automaton, and will believe and say whatever their particular arrangements of matter ordered by physical laws dictates. It would be pretty self-contradictory to say that a biological automaton **should believe** anything in particular.

    Without a top-down non-physical loci of will that can override the physical interactions that supposedly generate mind, thought and beliefs, there is no escape from the “biological automaton” conclusion – other than denial.

    But I thought you weren’t making any metaphysical claims — only claims about what you yourself personally found it useful to believe. (You’ve said as much on numerous occasions.)

    You can either be making metaphysical claims, or not be making metaphysical claims, but it can’t be both!

  9. William J. Murray: Without a top-down non-physical loci of will that can override the physical interactions that supposedly generate mind, thought and beliefs, there is no escape from the “biological automaton” conclusion – other than denial.

    In the place where the non-physical loci resides, are there laws of existence that we could call analogous to our laws of physics? Is there cause and effect? Does repeating the same action cause the same result reliably? Are these laws consistent throughout the entire realm where these loci live? For the same input situation (e.g. cheese or cake for dessert) is the same output always given?

    What I’m getting at is that it seems to add nothing to say that a non-physical loci of will exists that can override physical interactions if it itself follows its own set of rules just like the physical aspect.

    And if it follows no such set of rules or laws, the how are decisions made in that realm? Randomly? Arbitrarily? What tools are used to weigh up the pros and cons?

    You see, you say “denial” but what you are doing is far more insidious. Denial and confabulation.

  10. Kantian Naturalist: You can either be making metaphysical claims, or not be making metaphysical claims, but it can’t be both!

    William claims that he can control his reality, but still gets up to wee instead of wishing it away. So he can indeed be doing both and denying he’s doing either.

  11. Kantian Naturalist: But I thought you weren’t making any metaphysical claims — only claims about what you yourself personally found it useful to believe. (You’ve said as much on numerous occasions.)

    You can either be making metaphysical claims, or not be making metaphysical claims, but it can’t be both!

    These are arguments based on premises and logic, not metaphysical claims. **IF** one has no non-physical loci of will that can override physical processes, **THEN** they are a biological automaton. **IF** they are a biological automaton, **THEN** then physical processes determine what they think and believe.

  12. OMagain, to William:

    What I’m getting at is that it seems to add nothing to say that a non-physical loci of will exists that can override physical interactions if it itself follows its own set of rules just like the physical aspect.

    Right. What many dualists (including William) don’t understand is that libertarian free will would be incoherent even if physicalism were false and the seat of the will were a non-physical locus.

  13. William J. Murray: I’ve said that if one does not have libertarian free will, then one **is** a biological automaton, and will believe and say whatever their particular arrangements of matter ordered by physical laws dictates.

    Hey William,

    Your conclusion is not quite warranted.

    For what it’s worth I don’t hold to libertarian free will or physical determinism.

    As a Calvinist I hold that our actions are predetermined not (entirely) by physical constraints but also by the proclivities of our (non physical) natures.

    peace

  14. William,

    Libertarian free will is incoherent and cannot exist. If you’re looking for free will, compatibilism is your only hope. And as the name implies, it’s perfectly compatible with determinism, and hence with “biological automata”.

    In Dennett’s memorable phrase, compatibilist notions of free will are “the only varieties of free will worth wanting”.

  15. William J. Murray: These are arguments based on premises and logic, not metaphysical claims. **IF** one has no non-physical loci of will that can override physical processes, **THEN** they are a biological automaton. **IF** they are a biological automaton, **THEN** then physical processes determine what they think and believe

    Nope.

    These “inferences” of yours are all fallacious. They really do not follow, not even as matter of logic.

    This has been pointed out to you many times before, and every single time you just pretend the criticisms have never been made.

    So you’ll excuse me if my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

  16. Kantian Naturalist: Nope.

    These “inferences” of yours are all fallacious. They really do not follow, not even as matter of logic.

    This has been pointed out to you many times before, and every single time you just pretend the criticisms have never been made.

    So you’ll excuse me if my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

    Disagreeing that a criticism represents a valid refutation is not the same thing as pretending that the criticism was never made.

    I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t care whether or not I’m “taken seriously”, eh? BTW, you might want to come up with a new zinger. It was cute the first time, but that’s like the third time you’ve used that one on me. Surely you can come up with a different line to cleverly connote your condescension?

  17. fifthmonarchyman: Hey William,

    Your conclusion is not quite warranted.

    For what it’s worth I don’t hold to libertarian free will or physical determinism.

    As a Calvinist I hold that our actions are predetermined not (entirely) by physical constraints but also by the proclivities of our (non physical) natures.

    peace

    The only form of free will is the libertarian kind. Calling something else “free will” doesn’t make it so.

  18. William,

    The only form of free will is the libertarian kind. Calling something else “free will” doesn’t make it so.

    Your personal inability to grasp compatibilist free will doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. You’d be a lot more persuasive if you actually understood this stuff.

    And if you were actually correct, and libertarian free will were the only kind that actually qualified, then that would imply that free will doesn’t exist, since libertarian free will is incoherent.

    Are you sure you want to shoot yourself in the foot?

  19. walto: So the conclusions are metaphysical. You’re engaging in metaphysics despite your denials.

    And that, my friend, is actual logic.

    I don’t understand your point. Where did I say I wasn’t engaged in metaphysics? Are you saying that logic cannot be applied to metaphysical premises?

  20. William J. Murray: What point is it that you think requires “proving”?Everything I’ve said is a matter of logic derived from what I assume is everyone’s personal experience.If you take issue with it, then it’s a matter of simply stating where you disagree and why.

    I like speculations but even they have to have some merit… Yours unfortunately don’t but I will wait to see what you can come up with…

    Just as some of the bloggers here already pointed out very well what is logical to you, may not be logical to others…QM has not logic… at least to those who think in linear terms of time….

    In this case, you’d have to do better than to appeal to metaphysics…

    Here is a piece of experimental evidence I had come across when I was researching free will. Jonathan Schoolers has performed actual experiments that totally contradict your assumptions. At least in my view:

    At 30 min mark his experiment is nicely depicted:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhRGVGZejyQ&t=9s

    Here is a transcript (not great) but it will do:
    “In 1994, a young man named Jonathan schooler picked up a book by nobel prize-winning scientist Francis crick. In it, crick wrote, “you are, in fact, “no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. ” Jonathan schooler eventually became a neuroscientist. Today he’s a star Professor at the university of California, Santa Barbara, but he’s still troubled by crick’s book. I was really taken with Francis crick’s “the astonishing hypothesis” for several reasons. First off, he said in absolute terms that science had conclusively ruled out the existence of free will, and I just wasn’t really persuaded that that degree of certainty was merited. Freeman: Crick’s beliefs have only become more popular over time, so a few years ago, Jonathan began running experiments to see how this message of strict determinism affects people’s behavior. In today’s experiment, a series of students will have their morality tested, but only after they are exposed to messages about the nature of fate and free will. At the end of the experiment, they will fill out a short survey and then be paid with a dollar coin taken from this jar. Some of the students read statements designed to induce a feeling that they are pawns of biology and fate. Other students read statements that bolster their belief in free will. Then all of the participants are given a cognitive test, but before they can finish, Jonathan pretends to be called away. Oh, dear, I’m late. I’m gonna need you to grade the test yourself. I’ll give you the key, and then score yourself $1. 00 for every one that you got correct, okay? Will the messages the students saw earlier affect their behavior? Most students only get a question or two correct. Some pay themselves accordingly. But other students take more than their share. Schooler: Those people who were told there’s no such thing as free will consistently took more coins than those who were not given that information. In other words, telling people there’s no such thing as free will to some degree undermines their capacity to act in a moral manner. Freeman: Jonathan suspects believing you are just a pawn in a cosmic chess game gives people an excuse for bad behavior. “Don’t blame me. I don’t have free will. ” Schooler: Another possibility is it kind of pulls the rug out from underneath them, that they have this experience of will normally, but when you tell them they have no such thing as free will, they just don’t have the oomph to be able to prevent themselves from resisting the temptation of avoiding cheating. Freeman: Like all thinking people, Jonathan has his own views on free will. He accepts that we are shaped by genetics, society, and the deep workings of the universe, but he also sees a place for conscious choice. From my vantage, free will is a lot like sailing. When you sail, you’re buffeted around by the currents, by the weather, by the wind. Nevertheless, you’re able to set a tack, and even though you can’t control where you are at any given moment necessarily, if you set your tack right, you can end up largely where you want to go. Freeman: This is what Jonathan believes, but neither he nor anyone else can prove it. Schooler: Although we’ve learned a great deal about the nature of human consciousness, about the nature of reality, about physics and so on, given what we don’t know, I think we need to be very cautious about ruling out the existence of something that’s so fundamental as free will. And keeping that option open, allowing people to be free to believe in free will, seems to be a really good idea, because free will — at least the belief in free will — seems to be of great value to people. Whether or not the universe controls our fate, humans will always be compelled to ask, why is this happening? We will always work for change, because even if our courses are predetermined, we don’t know them and probably never will. For us, every day is a new chance for discovery, a new opportunity to take control of our destiny Illusion or not.

  21. Oh, I see, walto. I said I wasn’t making a metaphysical claim, but rather making an argument about the logic that followed from certain assumptions. Maybe you are saying that I’m making a claim about what the logical conclusion is?

    My interpretation of the word “claim” is that it is, in an argument, the same as an assertion. I’m not making an assertion that things are in fact or in truth a certain way existentially, but rather I’ve made the argument that a certain logical conclusion follows from certain – yes, metaphysical – premises.

    Whether or not those premises (and thus, conclusions) are facts or truths about the nature of our existence is not something I’m trying to say or argue or claim.

  22. IOW, if we begin with the assumption (metaphysical) that there is no libertarian free will (free from the constraints of physical processes), then, logically, there is no way to avoid the conclusion (which is metaphysical in nature) that we are biological automatons that behave however physical processes determine.

    This is hardly a radical position as many materialists & atheists openly agree that that “free will” is an illusion – if any meaningful version of materialism or physicalism is true.

  23. J-Mac: Just as some of the bloggers here already pointed out very well what is logical to you, may not be logical to others…QM has not logic… at least to those who think in linear terms of time….

    Unless “Logic” is a universal absolute, the attaching the term “logic” as if it means something more than “I feel like …” renders it more than rhetoric.

    I don’t see how the video sheds any light on whether or not free will is libertarian in nature. Perhaps you could explain?

  24. William J. Murray: Unless “Logic” is a universal absolute, the attaching the term “logic” as if it means something more than “I feel like …” renders it more than rhetoric.

    I don’t see how the video sheds any light on whether or not free will is libertarian in nature.Perhaps you could explain?

    I’m not going to get sucked into this nonsense… If you don’t have any experimental evidence for your claims, unlike Jonathan Schooler I linked you to his research, you might as well sit down with the Darwinists… They have the same problem you do but they say they don’t…
    Do you see the problem?
    I know you either don’t see it or don’t want to see it…

  25. William J. Murray: The only form of free will is the libertarian kind. Calling something else “free will” doesn’t make it so.

    I would argue that if my actions are not constrained by anything outside myself then they are free.

    If I understand the concept of Libertarian free will it seems to claim that in order for my actions to be free they must not be constrained by anything whatsoever, not even by own nature.

    If nothing at all constrains my actions then I don’t see how they can be distinguished from randomness.

    I really don’t have a problem with you denying that free will exists when it comes to fallen humanity though. That was Luther’s aprasial of the situation and it makes a lot of sense.

    peace

  26. William J. Murray: IOW, if we begin with the assumption (metaphysical) that there is no libertarian free will (free from the constraints of physical processes), then, logically, there is no way to avoid the conclusion (which is metaphysical in nature) that we are biological automatons that behave however physical processes determine.

    This is a good argument. there is no need to add the baggage of “libertarian free will”.

    If our actions are wholly determined by physical constraints then we are biological automatons that behave however physical processes determine.

    The conclusion follows necessarily from the single premise. Nothing controversial there AFAIKT.

    peace

  27. William:

    IOW, if we begin with the assumption (metaphysical) that there is no libertarian free will (free from the constraints of physical processes), then, logically, there is no way to avoid the conclusion (which is metaphysical in nature) that we are biological automatons that behave however physical processes determine.

    fifth:

    This is a good argument.

    It’s a terrible argument. First, William’s definition of libertarian free will is incorrect:

    IOW, if we begin with the assumption (metaphysical) that there is no libertarian free will (free from the constraints of physical processes)…

    Because he uses a bogus definition, his conclusion doesn’t follow from his premise.

    Libertarian free will is incoherent whether or not physicalism is true, so one logical possibility is that we aren’t biological automata, yet we don’t have libertarian free will.

    William is in over his head, as usual.

  28. J-Mac: I’m not going to get sucked into this nonsense… If you don’t have any experimental evidence for your claims, unlike Jonathan Schooler I linked you to his research, you might as well sit down with the Darwinists… They have the same problem you do but they say they don’t…
    Do you see the problem?
    I know you either don’t see it or don’t want to see it…

    All I’m doing is asking you to explain how the video addresses whether or not free will is libertarian in nature. I’m familiar with the experiments that show that people who do not believe in free will, vs those who do, (or rather, people who have been primed with free will vs no free will messaging) has a correlation with their behavior – but again, I don’t see how this addresses the question of whether or not free will is libertarian in nature which, IMO, is the only concept of free will that gains any difference between being an automaton and being an actual responsible agency. All your form of free will does, it seems to me, is beg the question by moving our “automaton”-ness from that of purely physical forces to being an automaton driven by a combination of physical and spiritual (or non-physical) forces that are beyond our individual willful capacities to override.

    BTW, I’m not saying it is easy or automatic to recognize and utilize one’s free will, nor am I claiming everyone even has free will. I’m not saying that the capacity of libertarian free will frees us from being subject to manipulative or conditioned behaviors.

    My argument is one of logic. Until someone can explain how we can have true, independent agency without libertarian free will at least being available to us, the logic dictates that we are nothing more than automatons of one sort or another. There is no experimental evidence in the world that can make the case either way; even if one proved somehow using experiments that we have no libertarian free will, the logical argument still holds. The only thing such experiments would indicate is that we do not have libertarian free will. I’m not claiming in this argument that we do have libertarian free will; the point I’m making is about what it necessarily means if we do not.

  29. fifthmonarchyman: I would argue that if my actions are not constrained by anything outside myself then they are free.

    If I understand the concept ofLibertarian free will it seems to claim that in order for my actions to be free they must not be constrained by anything whatsoever, not even by own nature.

    Once again, I’m not talking about actions. All action and all decisions are constrained by various factors. What I’m talking about here is the will. If our will was created with deterministic impulses, then whether those impulses are physical, spiritual or a combination, then we do not have self-agency. We’re just automatons of one sort or another.

    If nothing at all constrains my actions then I don’t see how they can be distinguished from randomness.

    If we replace the word “actions” with “will” do you stand by the above sentence? It seems to me that you are saying the same thing materialists say – that without determinism, only randomness exists. IOW, unless our will is a deterministic result, then it is indistinguishable from “randomness”. Determinism is still determinism, whether it is physical or spiritual.

    I really don’t have a problem with you denying that free will exists when it comes to fallen humanity though. That was Luther’s aprasial of the situation and it makes a lot of sense.

    I haven’t denied free will exists, nor have I said anything about “fallen humanity.” Maybe this was meant for someone else?

  30. William J. Murray: If our will was created with deterministic impulses, then whether those impulses are physical, spiritual or a combination, then we do not have self-agency

    Why must our self be separate from our impulses??

    Aren’t our impulses exactly what determines our will??

    It seems to me that our impulses (our nature) are a big part of makes us who we are.

    I’m not sure how an entity with out impulses (a nature) could even be called a self.

    If our nature does not determine what we would choose what does exactly??

    Also I’m not sure what you mean by including “created” in your statement above.

    God did not create our sinful nature we inherited it from Adam.

    peace

  31. William J. Murray: It seems to me that you are saying the same thing materialists say – that without determinism, only randomness exists.

    It seems obvious that if nothing determines our choices then they are by definition random. What am I missing??

    William J. Murray: Until someone can explain how we can have true, independent agency without libertarian free will at least being available to us, the logic dictates that we are nothing more than automatons of one sort or another.

    What do you mean by independent agency?? Independent of our own nature??

    It seems what you are advocating is not agency at all. A world where our choices happen for no reason whatsoever.

    How is that not random??

  32. William J. Murray: I’m not claiming in this argument that we do have libertarian free will; the point I’m making is about what it necessarily means if we do not.

    Likewise you don’t claim that objective morality exists, but you argue that we act as if it does (hint: I don’t).

    Seems like this is your standard get-out clause.

  33. fifthmonarchyman: Why must our self be separate from our impulses??

    Not sure where you got that. Whether our self is considered separate from our impulses depends on how you metaphysically define “self”. An “impulse” can be defined or characterized many different ways, coming from different sources. If you consider your “self” to be your habits & personality, and “free will impulses” to be fully caused by your habits and personality, then we are deterministic slaves to our habits and personality. The question is, are your habits and personality under your control? Can you change your habits and personality? If so, then “you” are not your habits and personality.

    Aren’t our impulses exactly what determines our will??

    If will is determined by something else, it is not free. That appears to me to be a valid tautology.

    It seems to me that our impulses (our nature) are a big part of makes us who we are.

    We’d have to define what “our nature” means. Do you mean fundamental, unchangeable mental qualities of personality and behavioral impulse? If so, how is that, in principle, any different from reducing “our nature” down to physical processes?

    I’m not sure how an entity with out impulses (a nature) could even be called a self.

    I don’t think our capacity to access and use free will is of what we usually call the individuated self – in fact, I don’t think it can be, logically speaking. Free will must lie beyond what we usually refer to as “the self”, metaphysically speaking, if by “the self” we mean our individual personality, habits, affinities, etc. IMO, those things filter, translate and process will; they do not produce it any more than the individual nature of our physical bodies produce it. Unless free will is beyond the nature of the self (if by that we mean personality and habit), then one cannot change personality and habit, and thus their will is determined by something outside of their ability to change.

    If our nature does not determine what we would choose what does exactly??

    Again, free will is not free choice. If we have agreed on what “our nature” means, then I agree that our personality, mental structure, habits, etc. – translates the will into choice options, which are then usually filtered via physical capacity and various kinds of differential comparisons. However, again, unless we have the capacity to deliberately alter “our nature”, or channel our will against “our nature”, then we are still in principle a form of automaton.

    Also I’m not sure what you mean by including “created” in your statement above. God did not create our sinful nature we inherited it from Adam.

    I’m not a Christian, but we can discuss from this perspective arguendo. If it was not in Adam’s nature to be sinful, how is it he committed sin?

  34. William J. Murray: However, again, unless we have the capacity to deliberately alter “our nature”, or channel our will against “our nature”, then we are still in principle a form of automaton.

    Lots of words. Perhaps you can give an example of a decision that you were going to make but then did not because you are not an automaton and instead made a different choice?

    Or you could note if you are faced with the same situation again would your independent agency make the same decision it made the first time? If so, in what way is that any different to that which you are trying to avoid?

  35. fifthmonarchyman: It seems obvious that if nothing determines our choices then they are by definition random. What am I missing??

    Deliberate, uncaused agency.

    What do you mean by independent agency?? Independent of our own nature??

    Depends on what we mean by “our own nature.”

    It seems what you are advocating is not agency at all. A world where our choices happen for no reason whatsoever.

    Having reasons for making a decision does not cause the decision to be made, nor does it cause the thing to occur. “Reason to do a thing” is not the same as “causing a thing to occur”.

    How is that not random??

    Again, I think you’re not considering the difference between “reason” and “cause.” A reason, or set of reasons, to do a thing does not cause the decision. Reasons inform a decision – but we can use our free will to explore other reasoning, other perspectives, other frameworks. We can use our free will to question our proclivities, our habits, our personality traits and embark on changing them. Unless that capacity is beyond causal determination, then ultimately we are automatons.

  36. Anyone interested in some new ideas on compatibilities might want to take a look at Ismael’s “How Physics Makes Us Free”.
    Her approach is based on modern ideas in philosophy of science and mind regarding the self as emergent, physics-friendly downward causation, laws as regularities which do not necessitate, and the counterfactual/interventionist approach to causation, among others.

    There is a nice summary and critique of her ideas at this NDPR review

  37. Another sort of incompatibilism appears in Buanonamo’s Your Brain is a Time Machine. It includes a discussion of the block view of spacetime (AKA eternalism , AKA the B-series). The block view is (ETA:) considered by some to be a consequence of Relativity(*). The block view asserts that our experience of movement back and forth in space and forward in time is an illusion; in fact, a flow of time is not part of fundamental reality.

    The usual approach to explaining the appearance to us that time passes is that each instant of us in the block universe includes encoded memories of previous instants (where “previous” means smaller coordinate in the time axis). That’s the source of our consciousness in each instant.

    Buanonamo points out that neuroscience regards consciousness as a process in the brain, not a state of the brain. So that conflicts with the explanation in the block universe approach that our conscious experience arises in the series of discrete instants that make up the block universe.

    —————————————
    (*) on time and Einstein: In the OPs quote, Einstein was alluding to relativity and the block view, not to QM. Time remains part of QM for now, at least until is is merged with GR. Einstein’s considered concerns with QM arose because he wanted to preserve locality, and his EPR paper argued that QM as it stood did not.

  38. William J. Murray: If it was not in Adam’s nature to be sinful, how is it he committed sin?

    I love old books. It’s amazing how many seemingly modern questions were actually thoroughly explored ages ago.

    I suggest you check this out

    http://www.biblesnet.com/Thomas%20Boston%20Human%20Nature%20in%20its%20Fourfold%20State.pdf

    here is a quote to wet your appetite

    quote:

    It (Adam’s nature) was MUTABLE; it was a
    righteousness that might be lost, as is manifested by the doleful event. His will was not absolutely indifferent to good and evil; God set it towards good only—yet he did not so fix and confirm its inclinations, that it could not alter. No, it was moveable to evil, and that only by man himself, God having given him a sufficient power to stand in this integrity, if he had pleased. Let no man quarrel with God’s works in this; for if Adam had been unchangeably righteous, he must have been so either by nature or by free gift—by nature he could not be so, for that is proper to God, and incommunicable to any creature; if by free gift, then no wrong was done to him in
    withholding what he could not crave.Confirmation in a righteous state is a reward of grace, given upon continuing righteous through the state of trial, and would have been given to Adam if he had stood out the time appointed for probation by the Creator; and accordingly is given to the saints upon account of the merits of Christ, who “was
    obedient even unto death.” And herein believers have the advantage of Adam, that they can never totally nor finally fall away from grace.

    end quote:

    peace

  39. William J. Murray: Depends on what we mean by “our own nature.”

    I mean our nature our personality our desires and proclivities etc.

    What makes us, us

    William J. Murray: However, again, unless we have the capacity to deliberately alter “our nature”, or channel our will against “our nature”, then we are still in principle a form of automaton.

    Who is this “we” that purportedly stands apart from our personality and chooses to change it?

    A personality is

    quote;

    the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group; especially : the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics

    end quote:

    from here

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/personality

    remove the totality of what makes you you and what have you got left?

    If we can change our personality then it’s not our true personality but simply a character that we play and can abandon when we desire.

    In that case the person who stands behind the mask and can change it when it pleases him is our true self and it’s nature is our true nature.

    peace

  40. William J. Murray: Again, I think you’re not considering the difference between “reason” and “cause.” A reason, or set of reasons, to do a thing does not cause the decision.

    I think you are the one who is confounding these things

    Our nature is the cause of our choices. It’s not a reason for our choices.

    WJM: Why did you choose vanilla over chocolate?

    Reason: Chocolate is bitter
    Cause: I like vanilla more than Chocolate.

    Do you see the difference??
    peace

  41. BruceS: Buanonamo points out that neuroscience regards consciousness as a process in the brain, not a state of the brain. So that conflicts with the explanation in the block universe approach that our conscious experience arises in the series of discrete instants that make up the block universe.
    —————————————
    (*) on time and Einstein: In the OPs quote, Einstein was alluding to relativity and the block view, not to QM. Time remains part of QM for now, at least until is is merged with GR. Einstein’s considered concerns with QM arose because he wanted to preserve locality, and his EPR paper argued that QM as it stood did not.

    So, did Einstein contradict himself, or did you?
    So, if time is a part of QM, as you say it is, quantum entanglement must violate relativity by breaking the speed of light…

    Which one do you choose?

  42. William J. Murray: I’m not a Christian

    It’s not a surprise but then again BA77, Barry Arroganton and the gang claim to be Christians too…

    So…Where do you stand?

  43. J-Mac: It’s not a surprise but then again BA77, Barry Arroganton and the gang claim to be Christians too…

    So…Where do you stand?

    “… claim to be Christians, too“? I just said I am not a Christian.

    Not sure what you mean. If you’re asking if I am atheist, agnostic, or identify with any particular organized religion, none of the above. My personal views are (currently) somewhat a blend of simulation theory and the MWI.

  44. William J. Murray: . My personal views are (currently) somewhat a blend of simulation theory and the MWI.

    Don’t leave out aryuveda, Geller, yoghurt and aroma-therapy!

  45. FMM,

    You use the following definition of “nature” (as in, a individual’s nature):

    fifthmonarchyman: the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group; especially : the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics

    You state that it is our nature that causes our thoughts, will, decisions and actions.

    You state that Adam’s nature – the totality (in your perspective) of who he was as an individual – was not sinful.

    Your quote in answer to my question re how Adam then sinned says:

    It (Adam’s nature) was MUTABLE; it was a
    righteousness that might be lost, as is manifested by the doleful event. His will was not absolutely indifferent to good and evil; God set it towards good only—yet he did not so fix and confirm its inclinations, that it could not alter. No, it was moveable to evil, and that only by man himself, God having given him a sufficient power to stand in this integrity, if he had pleased.

    You said:

    If we can change our personality then it’s not our true personality but simply a character that we play and can abandon when we desire.

    Yet, the quote you offer says that our “nature” is indeed mutable (towards sin and evil) – by us (exactly what I said, that in order to have true free will our nature must be self-mutable), and that this is how Adam sinned.

    IOW, our nature does not cause our actions; if they did, Adam would have never sinned (from a Christian perspective). Also, unless we had agency beyond our nature, we cannot “change our nature” (mutable towards sin). We therefore must have agency that goes beyond our nature that allows us the power to change our nature – or, at least, act in defiance of it.

  46. fifthmonarchyman: remove the totality of what makes you you and what have you got left?

    Something that does not make you “you’ in the personality sense, but is rather beyond personality and individual nature.

  47. fifthmonarchyman: I think you are the one who is confounding these things

    Our nature is the cause of our choices. It’s not a reason for our choices.

    WJM: Why did you choose vanilla over chocolate?

    Reason: Chocolate is bitter
    Cause: I like vanilla more than Chocolate.

    Do you see the difference??
    peace

    Except liking something more doesn’t always mean I make that choice.

    You seem to be arguing that people’s nature’s cannot be changed. Your own quote disagrees with you and calls our nature “muatable” by ourselves. I know that I have deliberately changed aspects of my nature in my life on several occasions, to the point that now my “nature” is very fluid according to the situation. I can be nice, mean, passive, aggressive, helpful, uncaring, etc.

    Or, maybe I’m misunderstanding you?

    In any event, if our will is caused, even by some set, internal nature, then we are as much an automaton as rock rolling down the hill down whatever path its nature dictates.

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