Free will continues – still no shared understanding

Trick and I continue the free will debate

NO Trick

It really is far deeper than that.

It really does go deeply to the nature of interaction, the ability of systems to influence, rather than to be seen as hard cause.

Hard causality can only exist where there is hard time.

Relativity destroys the notion of hard time, and makes time local.
That blurs the distinction cause.

QM takes that blurring a step further.

Complexity does not require hard boundaries, it can work with sufficient regularity.
It does seem to do so.

[followed by]

I was suggesting Trick only what I said – that time is local. That the sequencing of events depends upon the reference frame being considered – that there is no absolute sequencing of things – it is all relative.

That was not in any way intended to be any direct inference about a mechanism for free will.

It was an attempt to show that classical notions have changed.
It was an argument by analogy.

Rather than make the effort to look for the substantive argument you insult from error.

[followed by]

No Trick
That is not what I am pointing to.

What I am pointing to is the change of perspectives – Universal time, to frame relative time.

A sequence from fixed eternal heavenly perfection, to Newton’s eternal clockwork, to something probabilistic.

A shifting of paradigms.
A series of better approximations to something.
Hard truth, to probabilistic approximation to something.

In a systems sense, it is a journey from simple binary approximations to Bayesian approaches to infinities.

[followed by]

No Trick

Once again you misinterpret me.

The paradigm shift on time – was from universal to relative (though any particular measurement will have probabilistic margins of error on it, that wasn’t the point – the point was paradigm shift).

The spatial aspect really does come down to quantum probabilities – both in HUP and in “wave function”.

And the point was the nature of paradigm change.

It is not trivial, not easy, and you haven’t got it yet.

[followed by 19/5/18]

It is another – yes and no.

Yes – we can make more accurate time measurements, and not exact – ever.

It seems very probable to me that you do not have much idea at all of how or what I think, if you did, then you would not be making false assertions with the frequency that you seem most likely to be doing.

This approach is clearly not a productive use of time.

Can I suggest exploring a couple of definitions:
Freedom; and

Start with freedom.
You first.

[followed by]

My understanding of time is a mix of relativity and QM.

Time seems to me a local phenomenon mediate by the exchange of photons (and the information they carry).

As such time also seems to be part of quantum mechanics, and subject to uncertainties at the Plank level.

Thus I am closer to Hericlitus, and significantly different in detail.

It seems to me every particle only has the eternal present, which is constantly evolving as conditioned by influences and uncertainties.

[followed by]

This is our problem in every dimension – our paradigms of understanding are so different, they do not easily map one to another.

I was explicit.

It seems clear to me that the notion of any sort of universal time is illusory, though a useful approximation in many common contexts.

It seems that time is a local phenomenon to each “particle” of matter, and it is given by the exchange of information embodied in “photons”.

This understanding seems to work for both relativity and QM.

[followed by to Trick’s:
I will continue to ask questions to see if I can get an actual answer at some point, though it seems futile. I’m suggesting that if you cannot categorize your theory of time (e.g. A / B series), you don’t understand the topic (and how it relates to “particle” relativity). To get to the heart of the matter, in YOUR VIEW, is the relativity of simultaneity:
1) An ontological fact (two events can *exist* together in the same reference frame and for another reference frame the same two events can *exist* one after another)
2) NOT an ontological fact about event order but rather about a lack of knowledge over whether two events are ontologically simultaneous (*exist* at the same time absolutely or not)
3) Neither 1 nor 2
4) I don’t know]

Most closely approximates 1 in most contexts, and contains aspects of 2, and aspects of 3; and because it is explicitly heuristic knowledge (as all knowledge is in my paradigm of understanding), probably has aspects of 4 embedded and undistinguished.

If all one wants to do is build a house, and a road to the next village, then “flat earth works”.

Understanding the range of cosmology to intelligence, and all that seems to embody, seems to demand one accept evolutionary epistemology.

[followed by]


The idea “agnostic” doesn’t apply well to me.

All my understandings have both contextual confidence and essential uncertainty.

I am very confident that the very idea of “Ontic simultaneity” seems to be a simplification of something profoundly more complex and fundamentally uncertain at the margin. It is a low resolution model of something very different at the next level. Different in ways that are fundamentally important to the nature of freedom.

[followed by
If by “freedom” you mean the freedom to have been or done otherwise, do you agree that ontic simultaneity being relative (e.g. to a particles frame) is incompatible with that freedom?]

If by “ontic simultaneity” you mean that reality is a “hard” causal system, with no uncertainty at the margins, then yes.

But that does not seem to be the sort of reality we live in.
So – No.

It does seem to be the sort of thing people like to model – which is not at all the same thing.

The sort of reality we live in seems to have ontic uncertainty at the margins, always.

That marginal uncertainty allows for systems to operate in ways that are free from hard “causality” in degrees.

[followed by]

That is relativity. Space-Time is relative.
Basic stuff.

That is not the issue.

(And keep the idea that it seems probable that all models are useful approximations at some level.)

The issue is much deeper.

It is the quantum uncertainty at the margins (be it the “time like” or the “space like” margins) that seems to be real, and it is fundamental to the ideas that there may be uncertainty in outcomes, and systems may be conditioned over time as to how they employ such uncertainty.

[followed by]

No Trick.

You do not allow of the possibility of ontic uncertainty.

You deny it, ignore it, repeatedly, at every level.

Of course, if you do that, then free will must, by definition, appear as illusion.
That is simple logic.

I am making the strong claim that the evidence strongly supports the hypothesis that such a model is not how reality is.

I make the strong claim that ontic uncertainty seems very likely to exist, and is fundamental to freedom.

[followed by]

No Trick

You keep making assumptions about what I am saying, that are strictly at variance with my explicit statements – but fit with your model.

I see no indication of your having comprehended what I wrote.

You seem to deny the possibility of uncertainty.

You seem to deny the possibility of time as a local phenomenon, given by photon interaction, which always has quantum uncertainty.

[followed by]

What you do not seem to acknowledge Trick, is that we have fundamentally different ontic (and epistemic) paradigms.

I have tried many times to make mine available to you, but it remains hidden.

I understand the grief and frustration as I keep saying things that make no sense in your paradigm.
I get that.
I have explicitly stated many times, I am not using that paradigm.

I do not require you to adopt my paradigm ongoingly, but acknowledging it as a possibility is a start.

[followed by]

Scientific method for me means a recursive process of:
Examine evidence;
Generate hypotheses to explain evidence;
Design experiments to discriminate between hypotheses;
Perform experiments;
Use best available tools to examine results;

It has been an exploration of domains of enquiry and understanding.

It started with True and False;
Then came probabilistic tools for deciding True or False;
Then came non-binary Truth values, starting with T/F/Undetermined…

[followed by
Trick wrote:
Good, so we BOTH incorporate the scientific method in our epistemological standard (and hence we will get back to the relativity of simultaneity later). Now you also happen to believe free will exists (a metaphysical topic). Is that based on the scientific method alone, or do you have other epistemological standards you use as well (e.g. like analytic logic)? What other method (if any) do you use to conclude “free will exists”?
Note: I’m not asking for your argument for free will, I’m asking what methodology other than science do you use to argue for its existence?

I have used the scientific method, recursively, across many domains.

That has lead me to an interpretive meta-schema where it seems that all interpretive schema are very probably, at best, some sort of useful approximation to reality in some set of contexts.

It seems very probable that reality has ontic uncertainty at all levels.

It is logical that uncertainty at the boundaries of systems can lead to uncertainty in the relations between sets of systems that meets the definition “freedom”.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
What epistemological method do you use for your “interpretive meta-schematic”? Does it, for example, take a scientific finding (such as uncertainty), and other findings or axioms as other premises, and use those premises in order logically deduce a conclusion from them? If so then we are on the same page with the use of logic as well. If not, what method other than logic or the scientific method do you use here?]

Here is where it starts to get uncertain again.

What do you mean by logic?

Do you mean using the tools of probability to determine which of the infinite sets of possible logics best meets Ockham’s Razor in that specific context, which can itself lead to a recursive process with higher order logics becoming involved if the context gets really complex (as biology often does)?

If you mean that – yes.

If you mean simple Boolean logic in all contexts, then no.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
So you don’t use DEDUCTIVE logic (which differs from mathematical Boolean logic) to conclude that free will exists? Meaning premises follow to the conclusion that it exists. It is just a scientific fact that we can assess from a probability distribution?]

One can only reliably use deductive logic within defined domains. It is great within mathematical and logical domains.
Goedel is one of the few thinkers who’s work I have closely investigated in whom I found no significant errors, largely because he stayed in the domain of logic and made no claims about reality.

When it comes to reality, one can use deductive logic to refine conjectures (hypotheses), and one must always test those hypotheses in reality.

Reality has uncertainties.

[followed by
Do you use deductive logic for your conjecture (hypothesis) about free will existing?]

Yes certainly.

And in doing so I use all the logics I have gathered from QM, relativity, biochemistry, evolution, games theory, systems, cybernetics, history, psychology, economics, politics, complexity theory, logic, computational theory, information theory, neuro-anatomy and physiology, artificial intelligence, probability, mediation, martial arts, religious and cultural evolution, etc; and all the abstractions I have made from my 50+ years of study and experience across these domains.

[followed by
Great, so you use both scientific method and logical deduction for your epistemological standard of evidence to conclude what ‘exists’. So rather than we have “fundamentally different ontic (and epistemic) paradigms” as you suggest…. there seems to be more of a communication problem, and I’d argue the problem has everything to do with a lack of clarity on your end. For example, it was like pulling teeth in over four comments to get you to just say that you used the “scientific method and deductive logic”. I didn’t ask about your (irrelevant) resume, just your epistemic standards.
So shall we go back to your ontic position on the relativity of simultaneity and what it means?

Everything depends on how each of those terms is interpreted.

I use simple binary logic forms when writing computer code.
I rarely use them in relation to anything in reality that isn’t trivially simple.

The differences in ontic and epistemic paradigms doesn’t relate to the use of logic and models, but to the forms of models and logic being used.

I’m still not confident that you have that distinction.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
I only care about what forms you use for the free will conclusion you make, which (if I have it correct) is obtaining information from science, placing that info into premises, and having a deductive conclusion that follows logically from the premises (whether done formally or informally). I could care less about binary logic in computer code, we are addressing a philosophical topic in relation to an ontological claim you are making regarding something IN REALITY.
Before we move on, let me ask you this: If there is an ontological contradiction anywhere in your “interpretive meta-schema / conjecture”, is it logically sound? If it is not, should you accept the conjecture?

What does the word logic mean to you?

Is it restricted to classical binary logic forms, containing only binary truth values (True and False), or does it allow for any of the infinite class of possible non-binary logics eg the simplest trinary form (True, False, Undecided).

If open, then you immediately have uncertainty deciding how to search the space of possible logics for appropriate hypotheses, and how to test competing claims, in respect of any particular physical system.

[followed by
Trick Wrote:
In contains both classical AND modal/multivalued logic, and when you use one over the other depends on the information you have or do not. Modal and multi-valued logic are an EXTENSION of classical logic depending on the conditions, they are not a replacement as you seem to suggest. But no matter what you use here, one thing is the case in all of these – if ontological identity is contradicted – it is unsound and hence illogical. So I ask again:
According to your usage of logic (whatever that may be), if there is an ontological contradiction anywhere in your “interpretive meta-schema / conjecture”, is it logically sound? If it is not, should you accept the conjecture?

Ontological contradictions, if supported by evidence, indicate that the logic in use is not appropriate to the task.

The meta schema seems logically sound.
It seems to be a useful approximation to reality, which is all any evolved entity has any right to expect.

Logic gives us the best models we have of reality.

There is no demand that reality follow any form of logic exactly, though whatever reality is must approximate the forms of logic at some level for them to work as they do.

[followed by
If your epistemological standard of evidence allows in ontological contradictions (something that exists that does not need to be identical with itself) and, hence, the principle of explosion (which applies to all ontological contradictions), it is neither scientific evidence, nor empirical evidence, nor logical evidence, (all which depend on identity) but something else (what I’m unsure of). So it seems you are right about one thing after-all, our epistemological paradigms are fundamentally different, and communication about what exists or does not becomes impossible. Knowing this makes things very easy, as convo on philosophical topics end full-stop. It also should be noted that without identity as a fundamental standard, you cannot know anything at all about what exists as it could, at the very same time, also not exist….so any free will claim becomes rather absurd (as free will need not be identical to itself per such a standard). All knowledge goes out the window.]

Once again – you misinterpet what I wrote.
For me:
Evidence is king.
Systems of logic must fit the evidence.
If the evidence points to ontological contradiction, then it means the logic is not appropriate to the evidence.
So we are saying something very similar, in different ways.

The difference, is that you seem to attach primacy to the particular logical form that you happen to be using, rather than to the evidence sets available.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
To suggest that there could be evidence of an ontological contradiction is cart-before the horse and proves that your standard of evidence does not depend on identity / non-contradiction, which is a requirement of A) any deductive reasoning regarding an ontological claim, B) any inductive reasoning regarding an ontological claim, C) any abductive reasoning regarding an ontological claim, and D) falsification / any science regarding an ontological claim. They all depend on identity. You are basically saying no matter how many contradictions I show in your reasoning, you can just hand-wave them away by magical evidence that does not require identity.
I cannot use logic to convince you of the merits of logic, so we are at an impasse.

Not quite there.

You seem to subscribe to the notion that reality must fit the particular logic that you subscribe to.

The abstract space of all possible logics seems to be infinite.

I have gotten to the idea that all knowledge seems to be heuristic approximation to whatever reality is (in as much as reality may be approximated by any system). At all levels that seems to be what evolution does, as a system.

It seems clear that all evidence sets come with levels of uncertainty.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
No Ted, I’m addressing epistemological standards that address ontology that there is currently no replacement for. If you have an epistemological standard that does not have identity at its very base, you have some standard of evidence that is not known to humans yet. Perhaps you are an alien with your own form of reasoning in regards to “reality”, I don’t know. If so, you should write a book on this new epistemological standard that does not require that A is identical to A and teach us humans a better system. Right now, all standards of rational evidence (from physics to syllogisms, etc.) for ontological claims rely on the tautology of identity and without it the principle of explosion kicks in and we can’t know anything.]

But that is precisely the point.
A = A is simple tautology.
It says nothing, whatsoever, about the nature of reality.
A is a symbol, that in an abstract space equals itself.
So what!!!

If you make any logical inference between that and any aspect of reality, that is a category error of logic.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
A tautology says everything about the nature of reality. It is true in every possible interpretation. It isn’t a category error in logic when it is the very basis of logic itself. My point is that there is no evidence for any ontological claim that you can point to that breaks identity. If there is, it is no TYPE OF EVIDENCE any human knows of. To suggest there is “evidence” that is outside of this means you do not understand the term “evidence”.]

Wrong Trick.

Tautology is a non entity.
It is valid only in its domain of logic.
Correspondence of any logic domain to reality requires evidence.

Evolutionary epistemology is different.

Evolutionary epistemology requires only that something has a greater than random probability of utility.
Evolution will select for that, and for any subsequent variant that delivers greater divergence from randomness in that specific set of contexts.

Thus systems successively approximate.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
No Ted, what you are calling “evidence” requires the tautology that A is identical to A. You have this all backward. To have evidence for A, it cannot also be NOT A. If your evidence for A is X, X cannot also be NOT X.]

Your fundamental error is in assuming that any percerpt or concept you have of reality is directly related to reality.

The evidence is overwhelming that our experiential reality is a low resolution subconsciously generated model of reality that is strongly conditioned by our many levels of highly evolved systems.

It is a fundamental error of logic to think that anything you experience as reality is actually the thing it represents.

Back to evolutionary epistemology.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
Right, you are then an epistemological solipsistic who should not be making the claim you have evidence for free will. There can be no knowledge about reality OR ANYTHING under your epistemological position. You cannot talk about evidence being overwhelming for ANYTHING when you have no standard of evidence. You cannot have your cake and eat it too here.]


Saying that all information we have is some sort of probabilistic approximation is nothing at all like saying we have no confidence about anything.

Stop trying to make a binary out of an infinite spectrum.

Your claim is the exact opposite of the initial proposition.

You seem to have lost all contact with reality in your pursuit of being right.

[followed by
If you are suggesting that there is no precept or concept that is related to reality, that is epistemological solipsism. If, however, you just mean that all relations are indirect (whatever that would mean), that is a meaningless distinction and any indirect evidence still requires identity.]

If you see a car you have the impression you do of car.

What you perceive, is what is presented by subconscious processes.

That perception is not identical to the car it represents.

The car is vastly more complex than any perception you may have of it.

Yes there is a relationship, but it is not one of identity, but one of degree.

Same appears to be true of all aspects of reality.

Bacon’s great contribution to science was the use of experiment over logic to resolve such claims.

[followed by

Sorry Trick – but that is simple tautology, and utterly irrelevant.

Of course a thing is the thing it is, when it is.

But that does not tell you anything.

The thing you do not acknowledge, is that nothing in reality has to be as we conceive it to be.

Our conceptions are pointers, models, not the thing itself.

One cannot make any necessary binding statements about reality.
One can only make probabilistic assessments based upon evidence.
That is science.

[followed by
You said (1)“Ontological contradictions, if supported by evidence, …”
Now you are saying (2)“Of course a thing is the thing it is, when it is.”
So which is it, because (2) contradicts (1).
Also the fact that we only ever model reality through precepts that come through senses and internal conceptualizations (which I never claimed otherwise) is entirely irrelevant to my original question: if there is an ontological contradiction anywhere in your “interpretive meta-schema / conjecture”, is it logically sound? If it is not, should you accept the conjecture?

It is all definitional Trick – what does is mean? Give examples.

To me, saying A = A says nothing about reality.

Science is about examining the evidence.
If A is real we can never know what A is, we can only ever approximate what it was.
Sure, if there seems to be a logical contradiction in the evidence, then one will suspect a fault in the evidence, and examine it carefully.

If having done that, and the evidence remains strong, then one must look at the logic being used to model A.

[followed by
The whole point is that you don’t seem to have a standard OF evidence if you allow in any ontological contradictions (which always is in opposition to identity), so for you to say “examining the evidence” and “[if] the evidence remains strong”, I have no idea what you mean by “evidence” here.
To suggest that the evidence can remain strong in light of a contradiction is completely cart before the horse. If there is a contradiction, the evidence fails….because ALL evidence requires consistency with identity. An ontological contradiction within the argument for A is always evidence that the argument fails and hence is not evidence.]

No Trick.

Here is where you have the cart before the horse.

The only method we have to determine what reality is, is to test it with experiment and see what it does.

Saying something has identity implies that some list of attributes are present that one can test.

The only way we have of determining what that set of attributes might be, and what the values of any attribute was, is by experiment.

Evolution seems to have given us this ability by successive approximation.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
You simply cannot “test X with experiment” (empiricism) if X (which can either be the internal model or the reality) need not be identical to itself. All empirical evidence relies on identity at base level. Saying X has identity does not say anything specific about the attributes other than they cannot be in contradiction whatever they happen to be (and regardless if we can the specifics or not). When you say that evidence can remain strong in light of an ontological contradiction, your standard of evidence fails as the principle of explosion kicks in and all so called “evidence” is lost. This is why your position is cart before the horse, identity precedes evidence (any type).

No Trick,

1/ Recall how many times I have said that this is really complex – more than 16 levels of recursive process.

2/ Models or processes do not need to be identical or perfectly aligned with reality to survive, they only need be closer approximations than the alternatives.

3/ The idea of identity you champion is true only in the most trivial of senses. Evidence is clear – we don’t get to experience reality directly, ever. All we have is a historically near enough model.

[followed by
1) Complexity is irrelevant as I said even more times. Recursive process (whether a million levels) grant no allowance of contradiction.
2) STOP saying that I’m suggesting that “our models need to be identical to reality” – you are just displaying your own intellectual dishonesty or incapacity to read when you do.
3) Again, us not experiencing reality directly is irrelevant to whether the reality (which we cannot perfectly know)can hold a contradiction OR (more importantly) our imperfect models OF reality (what we call evidence) can be in contradiction and still be evidence. Neither one can!
We are at a stand-still because your epistemological standard of evidence is decrepit and needs a complete overhaul that I cannot help you with. This is why for philosophy the “agree to disagree” mantra is sometimes required.]

When you write “be in contradiction” what precisely do you mean?

Do not use a symbol “A”.

Give an example.

Symbols exist in an abstract realm of logic where the rules of identity are trivially true.

There is no necessity for reality to be constrained by any rule set in all instances.

We find out what rules (if any) apply in reality via evidence.

You appear to be mixing logical realms – something Rand did often.

[followed by
You don’t know what a contradiction is? The entirely furless bunny that has fur all over has eyes and has no eyes at the same time. Given that “fur” and “eye” is defined the same in both usages, that bunny is in contradiction (has properties that contradict each other).
There is no necessity for reality to be constrained by any rule set in all instances.
Then something (whatever that thing may be, the symbol “A” just represents whatever you want to insert) in reality does not have to be identical to itself per you – correct?
And don’t compare my epistemology with Rand, that is an ad-hom. The reality is that you do not understand logical realms and why identity / non-contradiction is a requirement for all ontological assessments.]

No Trick.

It is not that I don’t understand the concept of identity.

What I fail to see is any place that it has anything to do with the argument we are having.
You just keep raising it without explicit connection.
I have made no arguments about bunnies.

I have made the explicit claim that human freedom of choice, to the degree that it exists, exists in a system that is 16 or more levels of complex adaptive systems, each level with a necessary balance between order and disorder.

[followed by]

In any non trivial discussion one has to make assumptions.

Any argument in logic has to be free of contradictions if it is to be coherent. If one cannot assume that, one cannot do anything, so I was looking for much deeper meaning than the obvious in your questions. Unfortunately – it seems such meaning was absent.

And in a very real sense, that is almost irrelevant to the conversation, as the conversation is dealing with realty, with uncertainties at every level, with approximations.

[followed by
I’m not going to let you spin doctor your way out here, you said:
“Ontological contradictions, if supported by evidence, …”
and in a different comment:
“If the evidence points to ontological contradiction, then it means the logic is not appropriate to the evidence”.
…there is no way to spin your way out of that by suggesting some deeper meaning or that what I asked is trivial (it is anything but), but since you seem to be backtracking (which is fine but be honest about it)….I will ask you again: if there is an ontological contradiction anywhere in your “interpretive meta-schema / conjecture”, is it logically sound? If it is not, should you accept the conjecture?

I am not trying to spin doctor my way out of anything.

I stated plainly – what I am trying to communicate is very complex.

I accepted that you are intelligent – I would not be attempting to communicate with you otherwise.

I expected that the basics would be given, and we would not need to start from grade school all over again.

I was, therefore, looking for depths of meaning, involving at least three levels of abstraction, in what you were writing.

Basic rules apply at meta level.

[followed by
Ted, the problem is that there is no other way of interpreting what you wrote other than something that goes against the basics of any evidence, this is why the basics are our top priority right now. But I’m willing to let the past be past and to move on by saying this: YES!… let’s address the very basics of epistemological standards of evidence, and applying those basics, please answer my question:
(1) if there is an ontological contradiction anywhere in your “interpretive meta-schema / conjecture”, is it logically sound? Y or N
(2) If it is not, should you accept the conjecture? Y or N
I also now want this answered too:
Can the basics of identity/non-contradiction be trumped via complexity? Y or N]

To the best of my ability to test and evaluate, there are no logical contradictions in the meta schema.
And many of the conjectures present will seem orders of magnitude more alien than those of general relativity do to someone living in a flat earth model of reality.

Einstein got to relativity by the conjecture:
We observe C as constant.
What happens to the equations if I make C constant?

Coherence must be preserved, and almost everything one once accepted might vanish in the process.

[followed by Trick wrote:
I recognize that you don’t see any contradictions, but there are. Right now we are not addressing whether your argument does or does not have a contradiction, but rather epistemological standards of evidence. So please answer my three questions or I will take it that you are not really interested in communication but rather proselytization. If we find out in the future that C is not a constant, then that contradicts it being a constant, and we should reject theory that is based on it being a constant.
So please, next comment place the numbers 1, 2, and 3 and answer each with either a “Yes”, “No”, Maybe”, “I don’t know”, or “Other”. Appreciated.]

Now take a simple case, the uncertainty principle.


The standard deviation of position, multiplied by the standard deviation of momentum must exceed this version of Planck’s constant (hbar divided by 2).

h|/2 is a constant, so let us just call it k for now.

Now assume we can define p with absolute precision.
What happens.
The uncertainty of p is now zero.

s(x) >= k/0

Whatever we have so defined can no longer exist in observable space, so it must vanish.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
Thank you! It seems we are back on track with epistemological standard of evidence agreement here for the basics. What a relief.
I think we would measure p rather than define it, but otherwise, sure. If we are taking an IIQM the wave function would collapse to p (a collapse we would have no say over). But let’s get back to relativity since we are not the same page regarding no ontological contradictions now.
Does the relativity of simultaneity exist at event source in your view? Y, N, Maybe, I don’t know, etc. Let’s try to be clear with our answers]

In my understanding, relativity means that space-time is relative to every “particle” of matter.
In this view, our experience of time as a universal is an illusion created because most of the time we are dealing with things that are going at about the same speed in about the same place, so it usually works within the errors of measurement.

So a simple yes no doesn’t clarify a lot, because either answer could be interpreted to reinforce the illusion of time as some sort of universal.

[followed by
Trick wrote:
We are getting there, but I will rephrase the question in hopes for a clearer answer:
Under your view, can there be two space-like particles which have events that EXIST *ABSOLUTELY* simultaneous with each other – or is whether they EXIST simultaneously always relative to a specific ontological worldline slice (frame) in which there are other ontological worldline slices that the events are not simultaneous for as well?
Note: I know this can be confusing, so let me know if this wasn’t clear to you and I can re-word.

You’re right, hard to resolve.
The term “worldline” has history and I acknowledge the heuristic utility of such a view in most normal contexts and I use it in those.

To me, it seems probable that at the most fundamental level we have yet explored (without making any claim of absolute), the most powerful interpretive schema is that space-time is relative to each and every “space like” entity.

The uncertainty principle seems to demand uncertainty in those relationships at this level.

[followed by
Still getting there, but let’s put this in the context of two position measurements of two different space-like particles (at the expense of momentum measurements being uncertain). Let’s imagine that someone in location L1 measures particle P1 location causing collapse to a specific observable collapse location of C1X ….and another person in location L2 measures particle P2 location, causing collapse to a specific observable collapse location of C2Y.
P1 and P2 both collapse to their specific collapse locations simultaneously (e.g.C1X/C2Y) per one reference frame, but one before the other for all others (e.g. C1X first C2X next).
Is (per you) the “more powerful interpretive schema” for the collapse event order:
A) the idea that all reference frames are equally correct ontologically speaking about event order (relative order), or
B) that only one is ontologically correct about event order (absolute order) but there is a lack of knowledge which one is the absolute frame

A is the more useful approximation of the two.

And in my schema, both A and B miss essential aspects. Both imply a sense of localisation that is a reasonable approximation at human scale, but doesn’t work at all well at the quantum scale. At this scale, rather than “things” being localised by some simple set of integers across some set of dimensions, it seems that the arrays that best describe identity are complex functions that deliver probability distributions over multiple dimensions.

[followed by Trick wrote:
I have a lot to say about your comment and I will get to why A is incompatible with your position on “otherwise” possibilities, but before I do, I want to inquire about what “dimensions” you are referring to if you don’t mind? What “dimensions” are you talking about here (I assume you are referring to dimensions within a sect of theoretical physics with the term but if not let me know that as well)?]

The 4 dimensions of space-time are the prime set of interest.

It does seem likely that there are more present, last time I had a serious look, seemed like 7 more was most likely to be the next set.

I suspect that deeper exploration may find more. That has been the general trend over the last few centuries.

I suspected that by answering as I did you might ignore most of what I wrote, and we’ll see where this goes.

[followed by Trick wrote:
I just wanted to be clear, because to add in extra dimensions beyond the fourth dimension of time (e.g. 10 dimensions for superstring theory, or 11 for m-theory, etc. – theories with no empirical evidence for them BTW), one must invoke in the fourth dimension being real and (A) below applies fully. So back to (A)… before I explain why, are you aware that this denotes an eternal block conception of time where the past, present, and future are all equally ontologically real? If not we will go over why, but let me know if you are aware of this aspect, because if so it would save a ton of time.]

Hi Trick,

It does not require that, and that is a possible explanatory framework.

Continue as to why you think it is the only possible one.

[followed by Trick Wrote:
IF the relativity of simultaneity addresses ontic events (btw – that is not my position, but that is not relevant since it is yours), then what makes two events simultaneous for one frame, and in different orders (unsimultaneous) for other frames, is the fact that you can slice space-time into different “now slices” from past to future.
Watch this first and we will get into this deeper if you are still unclear:]

Everything hinges on the definition of Ontic.

I was explicit – that time is relative to each entity.
Simultaneity is not a concept that has a lot of meaning in that context.

In that context, ontic is relative. Time itself, as a measure, is relative.

Not only does it seem to be relative, it seems to be fundamentally uncertain at the level of quanta.

And I get that is not a concept that seems to sit happily with you.

[followed by]

Watched the video – and fine with it up to about 23 minutes in, when both Brian and Max seem to drop back to a Newtonian conception, of slicing a loaf, rather than a relativistic conception where time is local to particles, and ontology only makes sense in respect of interaction.

So to me, they really haven’t accepted relativity, they are treating it as something universal, which does lead to that weird conception.

To me, it is what happens when one accepts invalid assumptions.

[followed by Trick wrote:
From my perspective you don’t seem to understand what “relative” means in the context of special and general relativity. Saying “time is local to particles” is meaningless in the context of relativity – it is about wordlines and “relative slicing” (frames). What you are not getting is the incompatibility between the (assumes ontic) relativity of Einstein and your conception of quantum mechanics. This is why there are so many problems trying to fuse the two. Are you familiar with Minkowski space-time diagrams? If so we can address actual special relativity and ontic relativity of simultaneity of source events (and why the block follows).]

Hi Trick,

I am clear about Minkowski diagrams, and Lorentz transformations, and that those equations are useful approximations to reality, at least to the limits of our experimental methods to date.

I understand that “world lines” and “relative slicing” tend to give the impression that they do, and your using that framework explains why you have come to the conclusion that free will is illusion.

To me, coming to such a conclusion ignores too much data; alternative model required.

[followed by]

Communication is poor.
Many concepts are not being communicated. Only a few are getting through.

Consider a possibility:
Anything traveling at the speed of light, experiences no time. Interacting with such things gives time. The exchange of information about the state of the emitter is what we call time. And it is connected to space.

In this view, all space like entities exchange information via time like entities (eg photons).

The equations are the same, the picture different.

[followed by Trick wrote:
Yet you invoked relativity when when addressing how time has changed, yet your very theory of time seems to have nothing to do with relativity. So let’s address schemas and start at the beginning, do (non-photon) events happen, in your view, at a spatial and temporal location (space and time)?]

Space and time are useful approximations to what seems to be present at our scale of being.

At the scale of the very small, the ideas of space and time seem to be much more related.

The equations of both relativity and quantum mechanics seem to work within the errors of measurement of our existing technologies.

The history of Flat Earth, to Newtonian Mechanics, to Relativity and QM supports a series (perhaps infinite) of successive approximations.

Ontic and epistemic uncertainty.

Uncertainty is present at all levels, whether ontic or epistemic would appear to be eternally debatable.
Order seems similarly to be present, at all levels, to a significant degree.
On balance of probabilities, I am going for ontic – and I acknowledge that as a choice.

[followed by Trick wrote:
For our discussion, I want you to assume one thing AT ALL TIMES during it: Anything we address about external reality is never a discussion about epistemic certainty in some absolute sense, just the evidence we have today and what we infer from it. Neither of us believe in absolute knowledge about much if anything, it is always about what is “beyond any reasonable doubt” given the evidence we have.
So when you say “useful approximations of what seems to be present”, is there an example of science that is not this given we only ever model perceptions about external reality?]

Great – epistemic alignment is close.

Flat earth works at the scale of building houses. It is a useful approximation at that scale.
Similarly Newtonian.
Similarly GPS requires both relativity and QM.

In each case, the domain of utility is defined by the scale of interest.
Each contains uncertainty.

Evolution is heuristic.
You and I appear to embody 18+ levels of complex adaptive heuristic systems; all biased by evolved priors.

Science exists in this milieu.

Evolution biases and selects for least energetic cost and least time and better than random survival utility.
Games theory, recursive, deeply cooperative, deeply competitive, deeply context dependent, across all the contexts of biologocal and cultural and individual time.

A deep tendency to go for the simplest option that seems to work.

We seem to embody levels of complexity that we are just beginning to understand.

That does seem to be what we are.

[followed by Trick wrote:
Flat earth is (beyond any reasonable doubt) proven incorrect, are you also suggesting that space and time for the macro-scale addressed in relativity is similarly proven incorrect (but is still a useful approximation for some things like GPS)?

Let’s also keep in mind that flat-earth ideas have no real utility for building houses, rather it is benign to it. It is not useful.

Perhaps we need to overcome the heuristic level that made you believe in free will. ;)]

I am suggesting that thinking our current best available knowledge is anything more than the best approximation available at present is probably unwarranted.

[followed byTrick Wrote:
Is it the case that your position on “free will” is based on your assessment of your “current best available knowledge”?
If so, then if I show an inconsistency between two positions you hold regarding what you deem as “current best available knowledge”, isn’t it the case that you should re-think your position about one or both of them?]

I reassess my “position” whenever I have evidence of sufficient quality, or imperatives of sufficient strength, to warrant it.

For me, over 50 years of enquiry, evidence, experience and contemplation indicate beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that free will exists.

And the nature of that free will is not at all what most think.

Evolution seems to have selected a much more complex and constrained form, that is still capable of independent, creative, responsible action.

[followed by Trick wrote:
We will eventually get to how indeterminism (in the could have been otherwise sense) does not allow for “independent, creative, responsible action”, but for now let’s keep to the time discussion: Do you agree that true indeterminism in the “could have been otherwise” sense requires an A-series of time for our known universe or those events (that the B-series in the video you watched is incompatible)?
If you are unfamiliar with an A-series, it basically means there is a state of the universe that becomes or evolves to the next state that does not exist prior (which requires an absolute frame that changes or evolves).]

I agree that the “B” series in the video is incompatible.

The requirement for an absolute frame is questionable. It is the simplest way of resolving, but not the only one.

It does seem possible that existence itself is distributed. But that is a very difficult notion to get to terms with, and for the sake of the free will debate is not required, so the “A” series is a sufficiently useful approximation for the purposes of this debate.

[followed by Trick wrote:
Whenever you say “useful approximation” you make me think it is not your actual current position given the evidence you have.
Is an A-series with an absolute frame your current position on time? Y or N
* If it is not (only answer 1 and 2 below if you say “N” to the above):
(1) How can you have an A-series of time or lack a B-series of time without an absolute reference frame ontologically?
(2) What do you mean by “existence itself is distributed”? Do you mean distributed through time?]

I have said all along this is deeply complex.

I have stated repeatedly that it seems very likely that all of our models are at best “useful approximations” at some scale to whatever reality actually is.

Our understanding of anything and everything seems to be deeply conditioned by evolution. Some ideas “come naturally”, and others are much more difficult.

What if the very ideas of time and space are heuristic interpretational biases?

What if existence is actually quite different?

[followed byTrick wrote:
You said:
“For me, over 50 years of enquiry, evidence, experience and contemplation indicate beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that free will exists.”
…and then this:
“I have stated repeatedly that it seems very likely that all of our models are at best “useful approximations” at some scale to whatever reality actually is.”
Your very idea of free will is likely a heuristic interpretational bias. Regardless, you seem to have a framework you are using to make assertions about “beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt” assessments for some things in reality that are not even empirical (and rather illogical), yet when questioned about any part that ties to your positive claim your answer is always “reality is too complex”. Do you not see how convenient this is for you? If you are going to be an epistemological solipsist, you need to consistently do so for all beliefs (including free will).]

No Trick.

As has been so often the case you have misinterpreted what I wrote. Understandably so in a real sense.

Yes, in a sense, of course I have looked at the possibility of bias in my schema, it is only by distinguishing them as such that one gains the opportunity to mitigate those effects.

And I do not deny the logic of your statement that on the surface an A series does seem to imply an absolute frame. Part of my brain brings that up every time I approach this question.

[followed by Trick wrote:
You are very misinterpretable…almost by design it appears.
So you are saying that biases can be mitigated – great, we agree. Right now I’m trying to mitigate some potential biases you have by pointing out that an A-series of time does not align with an ontological relativity of simultaneity (and you should tentatively abandon the idea that both can exist together given the current evidence that they cannot). We should be able to assess this incompatibility “beyond any reasonable doubt”. If A happens before B within frame 1 …and A happens simultaneously with B within frame 2, then for frame 1 the future (B) already exists before it happens. This is incompatible with an A-series of time – beyond any reasonable doubt. Agreed?

No Trick.

I have been explicitly clear on many occasions, and I will repeat, I am using a different interpretive schema.

If you take relativity seriously, then time and space are local to the existence of each particle, and there is no universal frame.

Because we live in a place where everything is essentially in the same place, moving at the same speed (within the errors of measurement available), then we get the illusion of space and time as universals.
The illusion works.

And provided we stay dealing with such ordinary everyday things, that illusion works just fine – just as flat earth works if you always stay within 50 miles of where you were born, and the most complex thing you want to do is build a house with a hammer and nails.

[followed by Trick wrote:
We already went over that we have fairly close epistemological standards, we are just addressing communication issues where you are inconsistent. Regardless, this last response was more clear even though you don’t say if YOU take relativity sufficiently seriously and I need to assume that is what you are saying. I don’t agree with your “if” statement above but since you do:
I’m saying that the interpretation of relativity you have (of no universal frame) is incompatible with your other position that something “could have been otherwise”. Under your ontological position, the relativity of simultaneity kicks in for source events themself, and the future already exists in a block conception of time. This is logically unavoidable.]

No Trick

That is true only if you demand a universal frame of time.

The alternative is really hard to even conceive of, being the total absence of any universal frame. Relativity meets QM.

It is the very ideas of space and time originating as the existence “fields” of the particles present, via the interaction with the existence of other particles, as mediated by the “fundmental” forces.

Think – little bundles of time and space potential – it may help initiate something.

The thing to get it is – block conception of time is a universal frame.

The “block conception” of time is the meta equivalent of flat earth.
Yes it is how it seems, naively, from our default universal frame perspective, but we do not exist in a universal frame, our universe is not “flat” (at least such seems most likely to be the case – on balance of probabilities).

[followed by Trick wrote:
No Ted,
You do not seem to understand A) what a frame is, and B) what a universal frame is. The block universe has no universal/absolute frame. What you are saying makes absolutely no sense in physics, quantum physics, or the philosophy of time. If there is more than one particle, either those particles are in the same frame, or frames can be sliced differently where they are not in the same frame or are in the same frame depending (relativity). If the latter, the frames are relative rather than universal, and a block conception of time follows. The same can be said about “fields”, “interactions”, etc.
But let’s clear up semantics: What do you think a “frame” is in relativity?]

I think a frame in relativity is a mathematical tool that Einstein found that allowed him to hold on to the idea of time as some sort of universal relationship in some construct.

He wasn’t able to let go of that notion completely.

He got close, but didn’t quite make it.

I cannot make this jump for you Neo – you have to make it for yourself.

This may help.

Consider mathematical induction.

Consider flat earth n=1
Consider Newtonian world n=2
Consider Einstein/QM n=3

Having now established a sequence of 3, and you are engaged with a guy saying take a look at n=4, why would anyone consider the sequence has an end?

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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