From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The fact that the discussion on free will versus determinism exists proves that both are only partly correct. Marx's 'We are free to do as we wish, but in circumstances not of our own choosing' applies. (talk) 18:18, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

I thought that was Schopenhauer? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 18:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
This discussion may have ended months ago, but if it didn't it's worth noting that 82.x.x.x's claim is patently false.TallMan (talk) 21:38, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
I...can't...stop...myself...typing...this... --Scherben (talk) 16:34, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

Does every event in physics have a cause[edit]

Trying to understand this point. If I fire a single photon at a pane of glass - some will pass through and some will be reflected. I know statistically the probability results but at an individual photon level what determines what happens? Can anyone here can en lighten me. A musing from an alcoholic addict? ta. --Dirk Steele (talk) 09:37, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Short answer (AIUI): We don't know. Longer answer (again, AIUI): We have several ideas (many-worlds; hidden variables; randomness), but nobody has yet found a way to make a measurement that would allow us to eliminate any of them from consideration. Hydrogen and Time (talk) 10:03, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
So why is it that many here on RW are determinists on the basis that every physical event has a predetermined cause? --Dirk Steele (talk) 10:17, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
They are? Theoretical physicists could tell you of many physical events that don't appear to have a predetermined cause, you know. Like particles coming into existence from seemingly nothing (some sort of quantum mechanical effect) and that effect actually being a force that affects objects in space. I'm no expert, since I studied practical physics myself, but my roommate was working on such a topic. Nullahnung (talk) 08:20, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
It's complicated for me. You could call me a determinist for simplicity's sake, but the real answer is that it's a false dichotomy. The concept of free will is simply incoherent, so framing determinism as its only alternative is really misguided. I suspect the free will "debate" is only reason people even care about indeterminism. Personally, I think cause-and-effect is an abstract concept that really only makes sense if you're an animal with a linear perception of time that likes to compare stimuli for some sort of coherent explanation. (talk) 09:42, 23 March 2014 (UTC)