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Thread: To what extent is determinism and/or eternalism true?

  1. #1 To what extent is determinism and/or eternalism true? 
    Forum Freshman Eldritch's Avatar
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    Eternalism is kind of hard to prove as true one way or the other, especially since we don't have a very good definition of time in the first place, but is there a consensus as to whether or not is true?

    Determinism seems to be true in the form of behavior, consciousness, and macroscopic objects, but, though my knowledge of quantum mechanics is incomplete at best, it seems that a lot of things beneath the molecular level are most decidedly nondeterministic. Obviously, though, everything still follows at least some deterministic natural laws beneath the molecular level, yes?
    I've heard people guess that, even though things at the quantum level move around randomly, their randomness does not amount to enough to cause randomness in macroscopic objects. Is this true or just idle conjecture? Also, I've heard, recently, of computer programs that can design and carry out scientific experiments, and also programs that can, with great accuracy and speed, examine data to find equations—one of these purportedly "discovered" the laws of motion in minutes. Are any of these past the testing phases, and have any of them been turned to quantum mechanics yet?


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    It is an interesting philosophical question at the start. I know roughly what my position would look like if I had to state it in terms of determinism and nondeterminsm or eternalism and presentism.

    And yet if I did that it would not represent my real views at all.
    I think there is a greater reality underneath the universe we see. A universe we can only try to interpret with our rather flawed senses and minds.
    We build tools to help us understand. Physical tools to aid our senses and expand our experience of the greater reality. Mental tools like logic to formulate explanations with.
    We use maths to express relationships between observed events, expecting the universe to follow them, and be orderly.
    In spite of all of that we will never have direct access to the greater reality, the ultimate objective truth will always be out of reach to us.
    None of our theories will ever be complete descriptions, the universe will continue to ignore our mathematical laws, and we will continue to get it wrong.

    But while we are here we can try to get it a bit less wrong. We can try to make useful predictions and profitable bets.

    So far science, and I mean the method of sceptical inquiry not just the toys, is our best and most profitable tool so far in the attempt to get our understanding of how things really work less wrong than we had it before.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    This is more of a philosophy question than a physics question, but I will point out the all tests to see if there is some underlying determinism to quantum mechanics have failed, implying that the universe really isn't deterministic.
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    Just because a post includes a word from physics doesn't make it a topic suitable for the Physics forum.

    Moving to Philosophy.
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    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Cause and effect is fact.

    But then just because cause and effect is inherent to the universe, doesn't mean everything was caused by a supreme entity, or is directed consciously or purposefully.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarnamluvu View Post
    Cause and effect is fact.
    That does not necessarily mean it is deterministic.
    Probabilistic causation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    This is true, I misread the OP.

    However, it is deterministic in a sense. Via cause and effect, I know if I drop a Cadbury's bar in a grassy area, ants and other insects may eat it. This is a simple cause and effect, and determined since ants will consume any potential food source in their range.

    It perhaps doesn't mean that a God determines all, but then this could be possible even though we can't prove it. I personally don't trust the Bible, since it's been doctored by the late Roman Empire's Catholic Church, so we can't know who God is or what he truly wants of humanity.
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