Is the belief in determinism an excuse for bad behavior?

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The Value of Believing in Free Will: Encouraging a Belief in Determinism Increases Cheating

Abstract

Does moral behavior draw on a belief in free will? Two experiments examined whether inducing participants to believe that human behavior is predetermined would encourage cheating. In Experiment 1, participants read either text that encouraged a belief in determinism (i.e., that portrayed behavior as the consequence of environmental and genetic factors) or neutral text. Exposure to the deterministic message increased cheating on a task in which participants could passively allow a flawed computer program to reveal answers to mathematical problems that they had been instructed to solve themselves. Moreover, increased cheating behavior was mediated by decreased belief in free will. In Experiment 2, participants who read deterministic statements cheated by overpaying themselves for performance on a cognitive task; participants who read statements endorsing free will did not. These findings suggest that the debate over free will has societal, as well as scientific and theoretical, implications.

182 thoughts on “Is the belief in determinism an excuse for bad behavior?

  1. keiths: The wave function evolves from one state at t0, before the experiment is performed, to another state at t1, after the experiment is finished. As determined by the Schrödinger equation.

    Huh? Can you explain your mumbo-jumbo?!? Meanwhile, I offered a VERY SIMPLE thought experiment that demonstrate determinism is dead even under your MWI nonsense. Try to understand it.

    Side note: the Schrödinger equation ‘describes’, but does not ‘determine’.

    keiths: The programmer is not there in Modoc to make the decision, and they can’t anticipate every single situation the car will face.

    Who cares about “Modoc”? The programmer better anticipate every single situation OR AT LEAST default to a fail-safe. Otherwise he kills people like Boeing and Tesla and many others that try to do their best but can only do so much. You need to look up ‘logic diagrams’ and ‘truth tables’.

  2. J-Mac: Again, the measurement itself is does not collapse the wave function!
    The knowledge of the which path of the photon does, get it?
    Write it down!

    Why do you insist on “collapse”? And what has “which path” to do with “QM disproves determinism”, let alone “…excuse for bad behavior”?

    Did I mention my argument for “determinism is dead” does not rest on “collapse” or “which way”? Turns out even “many worlds” (as stupid as it is) STILL kills determinism. Did you understand the argument?

  3. Nonlin,

    Who cares about “Modoc”?

    Why the quotes? Modoc is a real place.

    keiths:

    The programmer decides what the flowchart and the code will look like. The code decides how to get around the Modoc pothole.

    This should be obvious. The programmer is not there in Modoc to make the decision, and they can’t anticipate every single situation the car will face. The car has to make decisions on its own.

    The programmer probably doesn’t even know that Modoc exists, much less where its potholes are.

    Nonlin:

    The programmer better anticipate every single situation OR AT LEAST default to a fail-safe.

    The programmer doesn’t have to anticipate the existence of a pothole at the corner of Elm and Conley in Modoc. The programmer tells the car how to decide; the car does the deciding.

    You need to look up ‘logic diagrams’ and ‘truth tables’.

    Don’t try to snow me, Nonlin. I’ve done both microprocessor design and systems programming, and I can tell that you’re bluffing.

  4. keiths,

    Unlike the car, nonlin both has anticipated every possible situation and would figure out something cool and original to do even if he hadn’t been. No failsafes necessary for the guy who refuted determinism with his knock-down slam-dunk argument!

  5. BruceS: I read him as saying that the passive AI that Dennett and Chalmers discuss was flawed because it failed to incorporate action. I would have guessed you’d be somewhat sympathetic to that concern.

    Yes, but only somewhat. My understanding of action seems to be very different from Andy Clark’s.

  6. Nonlin.org: Why do you insist on “collapse”?

    As a matter of fact, I don’t. But, unlike you, I have a theory, or an explanation, as to why I don’t. Your just “measuring of particles” in the double slit experiment tells me that nobody but you knows what that means and that’s even doubtful too…

    Nonlin.org: And what has “which path” to do with “QM disproves determinism”, let alone “…excuse for bad behavior”?

    Who says it does?

    Nonlin.org: Did I mention my argument for “determinism is dead” does not rest on “collapse” or “which way”?

    Just because you say it, it doesn’t make it true… You’d have to prove it first, which is not going to happen if you continue to be confused about the implications of the delayed choice quantum eraser with determinism…

  7. keiths: The programmer doesn’t have to anticipate the existence of a pothole at the corner of Elm and Conley in Modoc. The programmer tells the car how to decide; the car does the deciding.

    The programmer anticipates a pothole-like situation in a generic place. That is when the decision is made – the rest is execution.

    keiths: I’ve done both microprocessor design and systems programming, and I can tell that you’re bluffing.

    I find that very hard to believe given your lack of understanding.

    On another note, did you finally understand how QM invalidates determinism? Even in the crazy “many worlds”? If not, read the thought experiment again.

  8. J-Mac: Nonlin.org: Why do you insist on “collapse”?

    As a matter of fact, I don’t. But, unlike you, I have a theory, or an explanation, as to why I don’t.

    Then go ahead and explain yourself.

    J-Mac: You’d have to prove it first, which is not going to happen if you continue to be confused about the implications of the delayed choice quantum eraser with determinism…

    Again, what has delayed choice to do with determinism? Are you concerned that a non-interferential system reverts to Newtonian mechanics? So what? Newtonian mechanics is no more deterministic than QM.

    Did you see my thought experiment below?
    “Experimentally, we KNOW that a system described by the Schrödinger equation is nondeterministic. Here’s a thought experiment that disproves determinism:
    We have a double slit experiment with single photon emissions and the target area separated in 10 different sections labeled 0 to 9. Once a section is hit, it stays on (cannot detect multiple hits) Determine the output sequence? Is it 012…9? Is it 8754219036? What is it? Even if you have “many worlds”, the output is still not determined in either of those worlds.

    If you roll a fair die, “a number from 1 to 6 will be obtained” and that’s the extent of Determinism. What number will be obtained is Random. If one gets 4 or 2, etc, no one in their right mind would say “that was predetermined” …this aside from “many worlds” being a totally retard fantasy to begin with… and a fantasy that doesn’t even help your case.”
    Do you agree?

  9. Nonlin,

    Like I said, a program does not decide. It just executes instructions.

    By your logic, kids don’t divide numbers. Even if they do all the steps correctly and come up with the right answer, they haven’t divided. They’ve just followed their teacher’s instructions.

    That’s silly, of course. If the kids do the steps correctly, they’ve done division. If the car executes the instructions correctly, it’s made a decision.

    On another note, did you finally understand how QM invalidates determinism? Even in the crazy “many worlds”? If not, read the thought experiment again.

    Your mistake is to ignore the parts of the wave function that you don’t happen to find yourself in.

  10. J-Mac:

    I think it is pretty clear that the photon at D0 registers either a clump or an interference pattern PRIOR to its entangled twin registering either
    at D1, D2 = interference pattern
    D3, D4 = clump pattern

    A single photon can’t create a pattern, J-Mac. The patterns only emerge by looking at many photons and separating them out based on what happens at D1 through D4. That’s what the coincidence counter is about.

    Whatever the photon registers at D0 always correlates with what its entangled twin will do which implies that the twin photon “knows” where it will end up, or there is no such thing as time on subatomic level…

    You’re assuming that the photon has already definitely taken one path or the other by the time it reaches D0. But why? That doesn’t make sense even by your own reasoning, because wave function collapse doesn’t happen until someone finally looks at the results and learns which path was taken. That’s long after the twin photon has arrived at a detector.

  11. Neil Rickert: Yes, but only somewhat.My understanding of action seems to be very different from Andy Clark’s.

    I take it as a given that
    if x is an element of the set of philosophers,
    and y is an element of the set of topics that philosophers address,
    then Neil’s understanding of y differs from x’s understanding of y.

  12. walto:
    keiths,

    Unlike the car, nonlin both has anticipated every possible situation and would figure out something cool and original to do even if he hadn’t been.

    I am pretty sure you are just in it for the entertainment value.
    But there is an important point about Deep Learning (which I think driving AI uses) that is not captured in NonLin’s posts.
    For Deep Learning, the programmer only implements a way of learning. Then the car’s AI learn’s how to drive (starting with driving in a simulated environment).

    Old-Fashioned AI:
    Data+Programming -> Computer -> Output

    Deep Learning
    Data + Output -> Computer -> Programming

    Source (with prettier picture too)
    https://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/traditional-programming-versus-machine-learning-in-one-picture

    Now, as it turns out, people are much better at learning than current Deep Learning computers,. Much, much, much better.

    Computers need a vast number of correct examples (output in above); people successfully generalize from few.. Computers need whole hydroelectric dam’s worth of electricity; people only need a bowl of Cheerios. Computers cannot do the many types of general learning that people can do. Computers have difficulty acting in and learning from the real world and tend to stick to the internet version.

    Well, on further consideration, maybe people today are not that different on that fourth point about the internet. But, still, the first three apply.

  13. Bruce,

    I take it as a given that
    if x is an element of the set of philosophers,
    and y is an element of the set of topics that philosophers address,
    then Neil’s understanding of y differs from x’s understanding of y.

    That’s a nicely indirect, Canadian way of saying that Neil isn’t a philosopher, because otherwise x could be Neil and the understandings would match in that case.

  14. Bruce,

    I am pretty sure you are just in it for the entertainment value.

    Bingo. Nonlin is basically a chew toy.

    But there is an important point about Deep Learning (which I think driving AI uses) that is not captured in NonLin’s posts.
    For Deep Learning, the programmer only implements a way of learning. Then the car’s AI learn’s how to drive (starting with driving in a simulated environment).

    Good point. But I’m sure the chew toy will say that that the decisions are still implicit in the code. The car is “just executing instructions”, after all.

  15. keiths: That’s a nicely indirect, Canadian way of saying that Neil isn’t a philosopher, because otherwise x could be Neil and the understandings would match in that case.

    Are you assuming that I always agree with myself?

  16. keiths:
    Bruce,

    That’s a nicely indirect, Canadian way of saying that Neil isn’t a philosopher, because otherwise x could be Neil and the understandings would match in that case.

    That’s a good point which I should have been explicit about (assuming I would have thought of it)..

    Sean Carroll in hist latest podcast mentions that listeners will enjoy his interview with Pat Churchill because of her “charming Canadian accent”.

    Which came off as patronizing to me.

    Of course, I don’t mean anything too serious by that comment on Sean C, and let me offer my apologies in advance to any American who was offended by my offhanded comment.

  17. It’s true bruce. I do find non-lin’s incredible hubris very entertaining. Neil gets that way a bit too. They can be dismissive because…they just know better.

    I get that humans remain much better at some thngs than computers. Making a free will argument out of that is not trivial though. To non-lin everything is trivial.

  18. keiths: By your logic, kids don’t divide numbers.

    You’re attacking a straw man. Better stick with actual quotes.

    keiths: Your mistake is to ignore the parts of the wave function that you don’t happen to find yourself in.

    Huh? What does that even mean? And how is that tied to the thought experiment discussed? You know, the one that clearly demonstrates determinism is dead.

  19. Chew toys get boring after a while.

    I bite…he squeaks.
    I bite…he squeaks.

    And it’s just the same squeaks over and over.

  20. BruceS: For Deep Learning, the programmer only implements a way of learning. Then the car’s AI learn’s how to drive (starting with driving in a simulated environment).

    Only we were not talking about learning but about determinism, free will, and decisions. Humans learn and machines record – a trivial task.

  21. walto: It’s true bruce. I do find non-lin’s incredible hubris very entertaining.

    Wish I could say the same about your jokes (somehow the word “lame” comes to mind).

  22. Nonlin.org: Wish I could say the same about your jokes (somehow the word “lame” comes to mind).

    keith’s comments on the other side… very funny. Especially his many… many… many worlds. Pure entertainment. Why don’t you learn from him?

  23. Nonlin.org: Wish I could say the same about your jokes (somehow the word “lame” comes to mind).

    I can easily imagine the word “lame” coming to your mind.

  24. keiths: A single photon can’t create a pattern, J-Mac. The patterns only emerge by looking at many photons and separating them out based on what happens at D1 through D4. That’s what the coincidence counter is about.

    How did you come to the assumption that only one photon was used in the experiment?
    So… this experiment is way over your head, eh?
    Well, you can continue to “torture” Nonlink…He developed a new version of quantum gravity; The Quantum Newtonian Reverting… I hope he can prove it…lol

  25. Nonlin.org: Again, what has delayed choice to do with determinism?

    Nothing as far as I can tell…

    Nonlin.org: Are you concerned that a non-interferential system reverts to Newtonian mechanics?

    I’m not because it doesn’t…

    Nonlin.org: So what? Newtonian mechanics is no more deterministic than QM.

    Really?! How so?

    Nonlin.org: “Experimentally, we KNOW that a system described by the Schrödinger equation is nondeterministic.

    I agree… but you can’t prove it…

    Nonlin.org: If you roll a fair die, “a number from 1 to 6 will be obtained” and that’s the extent of Determinism. What number will be obtained is Random. If one gets 4 or 2, etc, no one in their right mind would say “that was predetermined” …this aside from “many worlds” being a totally retard fantasy to begin with… and a fantasy that doesn’t even help your case.”
    Do you agree?

    I agree but this can only apply to our free will being “restricted” to the number of quantum states we can affect or create in the universe due to the law of conservation of quantum information…capish?

  26. J-Mac: Nonlin.org: So what? Newtonian mechanics is no more deterministic than QM.

    Really?! How so?

    Experimental evidence that Trump-s all theories. You’re falling for the materialist scam that claims determinism should be the default. But why? There’s NOTHING in Newtonian mechanics that favors determinism. Unless you can prove otherwise, Chaos [theory] is just a manifestation of QM which never goes away. So onto QM…

    J-Mac: I agree… but you can’t prove it…

    Is this not convincing to you:
    “We have a double slit experiment with single photon emissions and the target area separated in 10 different sections labeled 0 to 9. Once a section is hit, it stays on (cannot detect multiple hits) Determine the output sequence? Is it 012…9? Is it 8754219036? What is it? Even if you have “many worlds”, the output is still not determined in either of those worlds.”?
    Why?

    J-Mac: I agree but this can only apply to our free will being “restricted” to the number of quantum states we can affect or create in the universe due to the law of conservation of quantum information…capish?

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, catfish. Explain!
    Btw, there’s nothing quantum about information. You’re falling for another materialist scam (next you’re gonna tell me microevolution is a thing). You must be bruised all over.
    http://nonlin.org/biological-information/.
    This was discussed at TSZ as well.

  27. J-Mac,

    How did you come to the assumption that only one photon was used in the experiment?

    I didn’t. Read my words:

    A single photon can’t create a pattern, J-Mac. The patterns only emerge by looking at many photons and separating them out based on what happens at D1 through D4. That’s what the coincidence counter is about.

  28. keiths: Experimental evidence that trumps all theories. You’re falling for the materialist scam that claims determinism should be the default. But why? There’s NOTHING in Newtonian mechanics that favors determinism. Unless you can prove otherwise, Chaos [theory] is just a manifestation of QM which never goes away. So onto QM…

    That why you are getting one week off…
    Short attention span… to nonsense too 😉

  29. J-Mac: Short attention span… to nonsense too 😉

    Ironic really, short attention span, given you barely interact in your own threads. I guess your windows are all already broken, so hey, why not…

  30. J-Mac,

    Speaking of your short attention span, that quote is from Nonlin, not me.

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