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Thread: Seeing the future in a deterministic universe.

  1. #1 Seeing the future in a deterministic universe. 
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    Assume that mankind could create a computer-like device that would simulate the life and path of every particle in our universe and show us everything that has happened and everything that will happen. You could enter time and coordinates and the device would show you a picture.

    Since we don't have free will, we could do nothing to alter the future that this device would illustrate.

    What would happen?

    Just looking at an image of yourself in the future could have some fairly detrimental consequences and the illusion of free will probably wouldn't last very long?

    Is there some paradox related to this?


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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imawobot View Post
    Assume that mankind could create a computer-like device that would simulate the life and path of every particle in our universe and show us everything that has happened and everything that will happen. You could enter time and coordinates and the device would show you a picture.
    This is not possible for at least two reasons: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Chaos Theory.


    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    This is not possible for at least two reasons: the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Chaos Theory.
    Indeed, which is why I posted this in the philosophy forum.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Ah, I see, counterfactual speculation. OK, carry on.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Forum Senior pineapples's Avatar
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    Well here’s my 2 cents worth...

    Let’s say you’re in this universe and look into your own future and see that you will fall down a man hole at a specific time and place.

    Now, knowing that you will fall down this man hole you make a predetermined effort to avoid the man hole in order to change the future. However, because you’re in a world that has a predefined future(already written) then no matter what you try and do, you will fall down that hole. But it won’t be because of some unexplained mysterious force that takes control of your free will just to avoid a paradox. It would simply always be something natural like you might have forgotten all about the man hole you were so determined to avoid, thus falling down it. Or, even if you do remember to avoid it, you might trip on a loose brick you didn’t notice when you first glimpsed into the future, thus loosing balance and falling down the manhole exactly how you saw it happen! There’ll always be something you overlooked, otherwise you would never have glimpsed yourself falling down the hole in the first place! Well, that’s how I look at it!
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  7. #6  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Or, as we are just making stuff up, you see that you are going to fall down a hole so you take a different route and branch off into a different universe where you don't fall down the hole.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Is that computer and the data it provides in the simulation? Because its now part of the universe you have to consider. Which means it must itself contain a simulated simulation. etc.
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  9. #8  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    You see that you are going to fall down a hole, you know the future is predetermined so you go out of your way to walk near dangerous holes and eventually fall in. Then they find out it was a bug in the program and you were never destined to fall down a hole.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapples View Post
    Well hereís my 2 cents worth...

    Letís say youíre in this universe and look into your own future and see that you will fall down a man hole at a specific time and place.

    Now, knowing that you will fall down this man hole you make a predetermined effort to avoid the man hole in order to change the future. However, because youíre in a world that has a predefined future(already written) then no matter what you try and do, you will fall down that hole. But it wonít be because of some unexplained mysterious force that takes control of your free will just to avoid a paradox. It would simply always be something natural like you might have forgotten all about the man hole you were so determined to avoid, thus falling down it. Or, even if you do remember to avoid it, you might trip on a loose brick you didnít notice when you first glimpsed into the future, thus loosing balance and falling down the manhole exactly how you saw it happen! Thereíll always be something you overlooked, otherwise you would never have glimpsed yourself falling down the hole in the first place! Well, thatís how I look at it!
    Yeah that makes sense, but the way I've thought about it is that the image you see can't really contain anything detrimental that would be easily avoidable. So now that there is a way to see the future, nobody who has access to that information isn't going to die in some tragic way. But I'm sure it would have other consequenses that aren't as obvious and easy to figure out.
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  11. #10  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    As this is science fiction, you could make it so people could never see their own future. And (somehow) can never tell others what their future holds. Maybe you can only see events that happen after you die so that you can't influence them anyway.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Is that computer and the data it provides in the simulation? Because its now part of the universe you have to consider. Which means it must itself contain a simulated simulation. etc.
    Yeah I didn't consider this. Now I see how my idea is completely science-fiction and pointless, but thanks for helping me out.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    As this is science fiction, you could make it so people could never see their own future. And (somehow) can never tell others what their future holds. Maybe you can only see events that happen after you die so that you can't influence them anyway.
    Actually pointless to think about this now that I realize how presenting the information would always change the future. I just feel like there should be some hypothetical situation where the fact that we don't have free will would make a big difference, but I can't think of one.
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