The Final Nail in the Coffin for Determinism

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Ganondox
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21 Dec 2016, 5:07 am

Empirically speaking, it's generally considered to be impossible to determine determinism or indeterminism, but I think I found the one place were a clear difference between determinism and indeterminism would manifest. That is in symmetry. In a deterministic system, any symmetry that exists in the rule set for the system will be preserved in any patterns in the system. In other words, under a symmetric rule set a symmetric pattern will stay symmetric. I'm not going to go into the proof here, but this can be mathematically proven fairly easily. Instead I'll just give an example, here is one example from conway's game of life:



Notice how the pattern consistently has four-fold symmetry (technically it actually has a eight fold symmetry, but that includes reflections as well as rotations). This is the result of the square grid system Conway's Game of Life uses, which combined with the fact the number of the adjacent cells is the only information in the rule set implies four-fold symmetry, and the fact the initial pattern had four-fold symmetry.

This doesn't hold for non-deterministic systems though. Their rule-set can be completely symmetrical, but asymmetry can still be introduced into a pattern. For example, take Buridan's ass. The initial alignment is symmetric, with the ass equidistant between two identical bales of straw. In a deterministic system, the ass will starve, because in order to choice either bale of hay the symmetry would have to be broken. But in a non-deterministic system the ass could arbitrarily choose one of the bales of hay, and then it could eat.

In fact, overtime in a non-deterministic system were interactions are local large scale absolute symmetry would inevitably be lost. This is because symmetry will be broken once an outcome in one part of system results in a different outcome than another part, which is just a matter of probability. Overtime the probability of this happening will accumulate, approaching certainty over eternity.

So, now that we have our theory in place, we need to compare it to the world we leave. First off, physics is very much symmetrical. Every interaction is assumed to have two key symmetries. The first is translational symmetry: the absolute position of particles in the universe does not affect the way they interact. The second is rotational symmetry: the direction from one particle to another does not affect the way they interact. The other precondition for our test is if the universe was in a symmetric state in the past. According to the big bang theory, the universe was once in singularity, which is a pattern has both translational and rotational symmetry. Since we have both the preconditions needed to make a conclusion from empirical evidence for this situation, let's look at the world we live in.

...it's pretty obviously not symmetrical. Granted, in order to make our conclusion, we need to know the entire universe is not symmetrical, not just the portion we can observe. After all, the Conway's pattern had non-symmetrical parts. The thing is, the observable part of the universe is enough to show that the whole universe isn't symmetrical. That's because while the Conway pattern only had eight-fold symmetry tops, the physical mechanisms have infinite fold symmetry, and so does the singularity. That means that if the universe as a whole is symmetric, every single part of it must also be symmetric. The universe is demonstrably non-deterministic.

Granted, it's possible to still hold onto determinism, but that requires completely rejecting modern physics. Non-determinism is explicitly worked into mainstream quantum mechanics, but there are deterministic models for quantum mechanics. However, these alternative models fail to explain how the asymmetry in the universe, so modern physics still requires non-determinism. The only reason people still hold onto determinism is because of necessary determinism for certain theories, but if the theories don't fit the evidence, they should be overhauled.


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LoveNotHate
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21 Dec 2016, 11:59 am

I favor the determinism perspective.

1. Everything is energy (though, maybe 0 energy).
2. Energy behaves predictably (deterministically) based on the fundamental interactive forces (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear), and some yet unknown quantum fundamental force, such as, the theoretical "quantum gravity" force.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction

This is the most rationale perspective.

Superficially, "modern physics", specifically, knowing quantum particle position only through the probability distribution of the Wave Function, might seem to indicate energy can behave indeterminately, however, that may yet be explained based on some yet unknown, deterministic quantum fundamental force, such as "quantum gravity".



LoveNotHate
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21 Dec 2016, 12:15 pm

Your argument is a priori.

You don't explain why/what/how some time in the past energy acted indeterminately.



The_Walrus
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22 Dec 2016, 5:47 am

Ganondox wrote:
In a deterministic system, any symmetry that exists in the rule set for the system will be preserved in any patterns in the system.

Erm, citation needed?
Ganondox wrote:
For example, take Buridan's ass. The initial alignment is symmetric, with the ass equidistant between two identical bales of straw. In a deterministic system, the ass will starve, because in order to choice either bale of hay the symmetry would have to be broken. But in a non-deterministic system the ass could arbitrarily choose one of the bales of hay, and then it could eat.

This is a misrepresentation. Just because a choice is arbitrary does not mean it is not determined.

I don't think you're really looking at determinism here; you only need the slightest asymmetry to gain a hugely asymmetrical system, and a slight asymmetry is practically inevitable. Nonetheless, even if reality as a whole is not determined, that's pretty irrelevant on the level of the organism.



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28 Dec 2016, 1:28 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
In a deterministic system, any symmetry that exists in the rule set for the system will be preserved in any patterns in the system.

Erm, citation needed?
Ganondox wrote:
For example, take Buridan's ass. The initial alignment is symmetric, with the ass equidistant between two identical bales of straw. In a deterministic system, the ass will starve, because in order to choice either bale of hay the symmetry would have to be broken. But in a non-deterministic system the ass could arbitrarily choose one of the bales of hay, and then it could eat.

This is a misrepresentation. Just because a choice is arbitrary does not mean it is not determined.

I don't think you're really looking at determinism here; you only need the slightest asymmetry to gain a hugely asymmetrical system, and a slight asymmetry is practically inevitable. Nonetheless, even if reality as a whole is not determined, that's pretty irrelevant on the level of the organism.


1. I don't need a citation, it's a pretty trivial mathematical proof. The hardest part is precisely defining symmetries, patterns, and rulesets. Here is an easy way to think about it: determinism means the same initial pattern will always lead to the same outcome. Symmetry is multiple of the same configuration at once, and a symmetric ruleset allows them all to be run in parallel. Determinism will preserve symmetry because all the parallel executions will execute the same way.
2. No. You're wrong, because we're assuming the rule set is symmetric. If the rule set is symmetric, you can't make such arbitrary decisions. It doesn't matter if I'm applying Buridan's ass differently here than it's used other places, it's the context here that matters. All it is is an example here anyway.
3. Finally, while you only need the slightest asymmetry, an actual singularity does not allow for that, and modern physics assumes such. Also, NO asymmetry can be introduced that didn't already exist under determinism, no matter how slight, so it's not inevitable at all. Either it existed in the pattern, or in the ruleset, it's mathematically impossible to for it be introduced overtime deterministically.
4. "Nonetheless, even if reality as a whole is not determined, that's pretty irrelevant on the level of the organism." I keep seeing people try to inject this argument, but it's clearly a load of nonsense. If quantum mechanics is non-deterministic, then the level of the organism must all be non-deterministic, because we can observe quantum reactions, and act in different ways based on different outcomes. And that's just the thought experiment, chaos theory shows it has much greater and more common effects.


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28 Dec 2016, 1:32 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
Your argument is a priori.

You don't explain why/what/how some time in the past energy acted indeterminately.


YOUR argument is a priori, you seemed to missed how the conclusion is empirical. You're basically assuming determinism because it's "rationale", with some nonsense about energy which is just disguising circular logic. Anyway, I don't need to explain how something acted non-deterministically, as such an explanation assumes determinism and true non-determinism cannot arise from true determinism. I could say you need to explain why energy behaves in a predictable way, it's an irreducible claim.


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28 Dec 2016, 3:16 pm

Ganondox wrote:
LoveNotHate wrote:
Your argument is a priori.

You don't explain why/what/how some time in the past energy acted indeterminately.


YOUR argument is a priori, you seemed to missed how the conclusion is empirical. You're basically assuming determinism because it's "rationale", with some nonsense about energy which is just disguising circular logic. Anyway, I don't need to explain how something acted non-deterministically, as such an explanation assumes determinism and true non-determinism cannot arise from true determinism. I could say you need to explain why energy behaves in a predictable way, it's an irreducible claim.


Yes, I am , assuming determinism is the more rationale explanation.

All of our science shows us that energy behaves predictably in the "Newtonian world".

In case you missed it, I recently posted the favored quantum argument for indeterminacy
viewtopic.php?t=334587

That argument hinges on the idea of a non-casual force to determine behavior of a particle.

Do you have an underlying theory that explains your argument? Are you relying on this quantum argument? Or just saying "it doesn't matter"?



techstepgenr8tion
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30 Dec 2016, 1:39 am

Ganondox wrote:
Empirically speaking, it's generally considered to be impossible to determine determinism or indeterminism, but I think I found the one place were a clear difference between determinism and indeterminism would manifest. That is in symmetry. In a deterministic system, any symmetry that exists in the rule set for the system will be preserved in any patterns in the system. In other words, under a symmetric rule set a symmetric pattern will stay symmetric. I'm not going to go into the proof here, but this can be mathematically proven fairly easily. Instead I'll just give an example, here is one example from conway's game of life:



Is there an explanation anywhere of what symmetry and asymmetry have to do with determinism or indeterminism? There seem to be implied assumptions that aren't unpacking well.

Ganondox wrote:
Granted, it's possible to still hold onto determinism, but that requires completely rejecting modern physics. Non-determinism is explicitly worked into mainstream quantum mechanics, but there are deterministic models for quantum mechanics. However, these alternative models fail to explain how the asymmetry in the universe, so modern physics still requires non-determinism. The only reason people still hold onto determinism is because of necessary determinism for certain theories, but if the theories don't fit the evidence, they should be overhauled.


Well, so long as you aren't talking about something like libertarian free will (which is a significant step beyond determinism vs. indeterminism), we could have determinism or indeterminism - the results would still be the same on us aside from that in an indeterminist system there'd perhaps be cause for a greater array of disruptions and novelty. The trouble is we don't know what a 13 to 14 billion year old deterministic vs. nondeterministic system would look like and the only thing I can think of that classifies as nondeterministic is a system that was mistaken for being the whole system but that actually sits in a larger system that can disrupt it.

From that there are additional questions I'd have to ask:
1) Can we define a universal system that's indeterminite by the nature of it's fabric?
2) Can we model the differences between such a system, as defined in 1), against a deterministic system considering all possibilities of the trajectories of the big bang and all the different laws that came to bear on the outcome?


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30 Dec 2016, 2:04 am

Something else I might add - I do see know what you were suggesting, and it seems something along the line that if this were a deterministic universe then the initial payload of the Big Bang would have spread out so uniformly that life never should have occurred nor suns, galaxies, or anything else.

That would be true, *if* there were nothing here for the Big Bang to interact with.

The type of determinism I tend to argue for is chronological - ie. events follow one another in an inescapable manner and that nothing can really be anything other than what it is from snapshot moment to moment. From the way particles have a way of zapping in and out of existence I'm actually not averse to something like the idea that background activity of space is indeterminate (it may well be), just that wherever we are in the structure of time it seems like whatever happened did happen and so for us experiencing it a lot of things could have happened but one composite outcome took shape and it seems like the only two viable options are a) only the probability that materialized was real rather than merely perceived or b) if the all probabilities answer to the measurement problem holds true then you have a split along the boundaries of all of those possibilities where each outcome was what it was based on its relative P value but that leads to every value leading to an experience that reflects back on only one outcome occurring and all outcomes occurring is highly symmetric.

I don't know if that makes sense or just leaves things muddier than they need to be. It's an interesting set of questions but I think it needs more exploration for clarity.


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31 Dec 2016, 2:40 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
LoveNotHate wrote:
Your argument is a priori.

You don't explain why/what/how some time in the past energy acted indeterminately.


YOUR argument is a priori, you seemed to missed how the conclusion is empirical. You're basically assuming determinism because it's "rationale", with some nonsense about energy which is just disguising circular logic. Anyway, I don't need to explain how something acted non-deterministically, as such an explanation assumes determinism and true non-determinism cannot arise from true determinism. I could say you need to explain why energy behaves in a predictable way, it's an irreducible claim.


Yes, I am , assuming determinism is the more rationale explanation.

All of our science shows us that energy behaves predictably in the "Newtonian world".

In case you missed it, I recently posted the favored quantum argument for indeterminacy
viewtopic.php?t=334587

That argument hinges on the idea of a non-casual force to determine behavior of a particle.

Do you have an underlying theory that explains your argument? Are you relying on this quantum argument? Or just saying "it doesn't matter"?


Your claim that all the sciences show us energy behaves predictably in the Newtonian world is blatantly wrong. While it can be predicted in a probabilistic manner, it can't be predicted in a deterministic manner at all. Regardless, being able to make a prediction says *nothing* about determinism either way, because there can always be hidden variables in either direction.

I'm well aware of the non-local explanations for quantum mechanics like pilot waves, that has nothing to do with what I was talking about is because my argument is based on relativity, not quantum mechanics. If you actually read my post, I explained it.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
Empirically speaking, it's generally considered to be impossible to determine determinism or indeterminism, but I think I found the one place were a clear difference between determinism and indeterminism would manifest. That is in symmetry. In a deterministic system, any symmetry that exists in the rule set for the system will be preserved in any patterns in the system. In other words, under a symmetric rule set a symmetric pattern will stay symmetric. I'm not going to go into the proof here, but this can be mathematically proven fairly easily. Instead I'll just give an example, here is one example from conway's game of life:



Is there an explanation anywhere of what symmetry and asymmetry have to do with determinism or indeterminism? There seem to be implied assumptions that aren't unpacking well.

Ganondox wrote:
Granted, it's possible to still hold onto determinism, but that requires completely rejecting modern physics. Non-determinism is explicitly worked into mainstream quantum mechanics, but there are deterministic models for quantum mechanics. However, these alternative models fail to explain how the asymmetry in the universe, so modern physics still requires non-determinism. The only reason people still hold onto determinism is because of necessary determinism for certain theories, but if the theories don't fit the evidence, they should be overhauled.


Well, so long as you aren't talking about something like libertarian free will (which is a significant step beyond determinism vs. indeterminism), we could have determinism or indeterminism - the results would still be the same on us aside from that in an indeterminist system there'd perhaps be cause for a greater array of disruptions and novelty. The trouble is we don't know what a 13 to 14 billion year old deterministic vs. nondeterministic system would look like and the only thing I can think of that classifies as nondeterministic is a system that was mistaken for being the whole system but that actually sits in a larger system that can disrupt it.

From that there are additional questions I'd have to ask:
1) Can we define a universal system that's indeterminite by the nature of it's fabric?
2) Can we model the differences between such a system, as defined in 1), against a deterministic system considering all possibilities of the trajectories of the big bang and all the different laws that came to bear on the outcome?


I already explained the connection between asymmetry and non-determinism. Here is a paper about the topic of symmetry in stochastic systems and how they have properties non-stochastic systems, so the same general topic as what I was saying, but it's much more technical than what I wrote. The only other way I phrase it is that determinism can't introduce asymmetry, either the asymmetry existed in the initial pattern, or in the rule set.

I'm not making any claims about libertarian free-will, indeterminism is just a prerequisite for such. I was just thinking about if there is any way to test for determinism empirically, and the symmetry thing is something I've thought about for a long time, I just didn't connect it to testing for determinism until now.

1) I don't understand your question.
2) If you can model it as dynamic system, of course. But the simulations would all show addition asymmetry can't be added to universe under determinism, we can do that math.

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Something else I might add - I do see know what you were suggesting, and it seems something along the line that if this were a deterministic universe then the initial payload of the Big Bang would have spread out so uniformly that life never should have occurred nor suns, galaxies, or anything else.


Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. I don't consider the possibility of the big bang of interacting with anything else as then the universe would have to be extended beyond the scope of what is currently understood as the known universe.

I don't really understand the rest of what you're talking about, I'm just going to point out that everything I'm talking about a closed system, as there is no real difference between a deterministic open-system and non-deterministic closed system, as just the open part of the system ultimately behaves non-deterministically due to have multiple possible outcomes based on the external influence.


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31 Dec 2016, 2:59 pm

Ganondox wrote:
I don't really understand the rest of what you're talking about, I'm just going to point out that everything I'm talking about a closed system, as there is no real difference between a deterministic open-system and non-deterministic closed system, as just the open part of the system ultimately behaves non-deterministically due to have multiple possible outcomes based on the external influence.


There's a lot of jargon here and I'm not 100% sure what it means but I'll do my best.

If you mean open system as observing a dynamic that's happening in a space which happens to be a subset of a larger space I'm understanding the term.

I'd have to disagree on one point - if the background radiation of space is truly particles popping in and out of existence seemingly at random than we have a pervasive static crackle of indeterminism over the course of the life of the universe (up to present 13.8 billion years). That would make a significant difference as opposed to either an open or closed system which had no such background static.

If you look at the heat map of the beginning of the universe, the one that guys like Brian Greene will break out often, its largely uniform with just enough variation to cause increasing canopies of interference to occur and for galactic, solar, and planetary systems to form. With too much order (ie. perfect determinism in a closed system) or too little order (ie. chaos) we wouldn't be here.

Interference from an open-system may not be needed to create that array. More likely we had a deterministic detonation, ie. the Big Bang, flow out and it either flowed out into the chaos of background radiation (which would be your Genesis account of the parting of the waters with light or the Babylonian overcoming of Tiamat, the ouroboral serpent Goddess of chaos) or, if we want to really take the closed system model literally, the stretching of space by the big bang somehow created this background radiation in some kind of frictional sense.

If I'm still missing something let me know. I just don't think at this point we have either a fully deterministic or indeterministic set of circumstances to fully label the universe one or the other, to do so seems to falsely call one thing deterministic which isn't or falsely call another thing indeterministic which isn't.


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01 Jan 2017, 5:27 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
I don't really understand the rest of what you're talking about, I'm just going to point out that everything I'm talking about a closed system, as there is no real difference between a deterministic open-system and non-deterministic closed system, as just the open part of the system ultimately behaves non-deterministically due to have multiple possible outcomes based on the external influence.


There's a lot of jargon here and I'm not 100% sure what it means but I'll do my best.

If you mean open system as observing a dynamic that's happening in a space which happens to be a subset of a larger space I'm understanding the term.

I'd have to disagree on one point - if the background radiation of space is truly particles popping in and out of existence seemingly at random than we have a pervasive static crackle of indeterminism over the course of the life of the universe (up to present 13.8 billion years). That would make a significant difference as opposed to either an open or closed system which had no such background static.

If you look at the heat map of the beginning of the universe, the one that guys like Brian Greene will break out often, its largely uniform with just enough variation to cause increasing canopies of interference to occur and for galactic, solar, and planetary systems to form. With too much order (ie. perfect determinism in a closed system) or too little order (ie. chaos) we wouldn't be here.

Interference from an open-system may not be needed to create that array. More likely we had a deterministic detonation, ie. the Big Bang, flow out and it either flowed out into the chaos of background radiation (which would be your Genesis account of the parting of the waters with light or the Babylonian overcoming of Tiamat, the ouroboral serpent Goddess of chaos) or, if we want to really take the closed system model literally, the stretching of space by the big bang somehow created this background radiation in some kind of frictional sense.

If I'm still missing something let me know. I just don't think at this point we have either a fully deterministic or indeterministic set of circumstances to fully label the universe one or the other, to do so seems to falsely call one thing deterministic which isn't or falsely call another thing indeterministic which isn't.


An open system is one that get's information from outside it in order to determine it's succeeding states, a closed system is determined entirely by it's own contents. A closed system can still be non-deterministic though by having probabilistic weights for how it's future states are determined.

As far as I understand, you don't actually disagree with me on anything. I'm not saying the universe isn't mostly orderly, just that it needs to have some probabilistic elements to explain the variation. As far as I'm concerned the background radiation is part of the same universe.


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