Mathematicians Prove that Particles Have Free Will

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Mathematicians Prove that Particles Have Free Will

Postby PatrickPowers » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:35 pm

Consider the ancient game of Twenty Questions. Alice thinks of something, and Ben has to figure out what it is. Ben may ask twenty questions, to which Alice has to answer yes or no.

This being a game with humans, Alice may try to cheat. If she thinks that Ben is getting close, Alice can change her imaginary goal. But in order to not get caught cheating, the new goal has to be consistent with all of the questions and answers asked so far. If she cheats she wants to do so without leaving any evidence for a later trial and possible conviction.

Something like this be can be done between a human and a proton. The human can ask questions about the state of the proton and the proton answers yes or no. It has been proved is that sooner or later the proton must "cheat." There simply is no consistent set of yes/no answers to the questions. So the human can never win by uncovering the proton's state. The proton doesn't have a complete state, so it can never be discovered.

Over time the proof has become increasingly simple. No one has been able to find anything wrong with it. The latest version is by several contributors with the capstone set by mathematician John Conway and physicist Simon Kochen. Many critics of the proof have appealed to "randomness" or "indeterminacy" or even "stochastic phenomena," but Conway isn't impressed. He has already excluded all that. Says John,

If we have free will then the indeterminacy of the particles can’t be explained by randomness. Einstein’s statement that God plays dice with the universe, well that doesn’t matter. Einstein said that because he thought that the opposite of determinism was randomness in some way and it’s not. Randomness does not help.

Many people thought I should say the particle’s behaviour is indeterminate. But it would be really rude if I told you that you were indeterminate! It’s the same property and I don’t see why we should be required to speak of it as if it were a different property. Our theorem says that if human’s have it[free will], then so do particles."


It then follows that if particles don't have free will, then people don't either. That's your choice. Free will for everything, or no free will for anything. Nothing in between.

The "no free will at all for anything" position has its supporters, including Nobel Prize winner Gerard t'Hooft and rich guy Stephen Wolfram. This belief is called superdeterminism. Not just elementary particle behavior is determined: everything is determined beforehand. They believe they have had no choice other than to believe in superdeterminism, while Conway has had no choice other than to believe in free will. Everything has been determined from the beginning of time.

Conway can't disprove superdeterminism but he isn't buying it either. Instead in true mathematical tradition he has followed the free will argument to its logical conclusion. He believes that our Universe is the creation of the collective free will of its inhabitants, including elementary particles.

It’s really affected how I look at the world. I believe that the glimmerings of freedom are in every particle – in the clouds, in everything – the particles are all taking free decisions.

You must have played with magnets – they feel alive! This one is pushing that one and it’s not touching it! You put it the other way around and you can’t bring them together – they obstinately refuse to go. Well the whole world’s alive, the whole Universe is alive.

I can’t prove this nonsense, but there’s no reason to disbelieve it!


[url]From https://plus.maths.org/content/john-con ... l-part-iii.[/url]
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Re: Mathematicians Prove that Particles Have Free Will

Postby ubersketch » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:43 pm

PatrickPowers wrote:Consider the ancient game of Twenty Questions. Alice thinks of something, and Ben has to figure out what it is. Ben may ask twenty questions, to which Alice has to answer yes or no.

This being a game with humans, Alice may try to cheat. If she thinks that Ben is getting close, Alice can change her imaginary goal. But in order to not get caught cheating, the new goal has to be consistent with all of the questions and answers asked so far. If she cheats she wants to do so without leaving any evidence for a later trial and possible conviction.

Something like this be can be done between a human and a proton. The human can ask questions about the state of the proton and the proton answers yes or no. It has been proved is that sooner or later the proton must "cheat." There simply is no consistent set of yes/no answers to the questions. So the human can never win by uncovering the proton's state. The proton doesn't have a complete state, so it can never be discovered.

Over time the proof has become increasingly simple. No one has been able to find anything wrong with it. The latest version is by several contributors with the capstone set by mathematician John Conway and physicist Simon Kochen. Many critics of the proof have appealed to "randomness" or "indeterminacy" or even "stochastic phenomena," but Conway isn't impressed. He has already excluded all that. Says John,

If we have free will then the indeterminacy of the particles can’t be explained by randomness. Einstein’s statement that God plays dice with the universe, well that doesn’t matter. Einstein said that because he thought that the opposite of determinism was randomness in some way and it’s not. Randomness does not help.

Many people thought I should say the particle’s behaviour is indeterminate. But it would be really rude if I told you that you were indeterminate! It’s the same property and I don’t see why we should be required to speak of it as if it were a different property. Our theorem says that if human’s have it[free will], then so do particles."


It then follows that if particles don't have free will, then people don't either. That's your choice. Free will for everything, or no free will for anything. Nothing in between.

The "no free will at all for anything" position has its supporters, including Nobel Prize winner Gerard t'Hooft and rich guy Stephen Wolfram. This belief is called superdeterminism. Not just elementary particle behavior is determined: everything is determined beforehand. They believe they have had no choice other than to believe in superdeterminism, while Conway has had no choice other than to believe in free will. Everything has been determined from the beginning of time.

Conway can't disprove superdeterminism but he isn't buying it either. Instead in true mathematical tradition he has followed the free will argument to its logical conclusion. He believes that our Universe is the creation of the collective free will of its inhabitants, including elementary particles.

It’s really affected how I look at the world. I believe that the glimmerings of freedom are in every particle – in the clouds, in everything – the particles are all taking free decisions.

You must have played with magnets – they feel alive! This one is pushing that one and it’s not touching it! You put it the other way around and you can’t bring them together – they obstinately refuse to go. Well the whole world’s alive, the whole Universe is alive.

I can’t prove this nonsense, but there’s no reason to disbelieve it!


[url]From https://plus.maths.org/content/john-con ... l-part-iii.[/url]


Perhaps particles do have sort of will, but it has to be very unreasonable and might as well be random. We are just a higher order version of this made complex through morphogenesis leading us to analyze our surroundings and create an answer. A particle cannot analyze its surroundings so it replies with a mostly random result.
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