What's the primary reason people make good choices? Is it environment, education, personality, or just general destiny?

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@2534153

Please elaborate.

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@2534642

Hey...nice pic!

Having been taught the difference between right and wrong, and taking responsibility for ones own actions.

There are no bad choices or good choices. Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically precise physical events.

@VicZinc Only because small minds don't understand it.

Richard Feynman used to say that anyone who says he understands quantum mechanics doesn't understand quantum mechanics. biggrin smilie

@Thinkerbell Richard Feynman used to say that anyone who says he understands quantum mechanics doesn't understand quantum...

And anyone who says quantum mechanics doesn't exist has a small mind. You don't need to understand every minutia of the rules of profession football to know that there are rules and to enjoy watching them playout.

@Thinkerbell You have MUCH to learn, Vic.

I sure do.

Hope you will manage what no one else has been able to do.

Keep in mind the Schrödinger is watching me so I am only in one place until he blinks. But after he opens his eyes again, I had no choice but to where he sees me.

@VicZinc I sure do. Hope you will manage what no one else has been able to do. Keep in mind the Schrödinger is watching...

So how could you have said, "Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically precise physical events." ???

http://www.amirite.com/807353-w...cation/2534192

Mathematical precision is an abstraction that the observed world does not follow.

Even in chaotic large-scale systems, subject to excellent approximation only to classical mechanics, tiny changes in initial conditions can make huge changes in their subsequent behavior; e.g., the "butterfly effect."
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@Thinkerbell So how could you have said, "Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically...

Just because we can't map the butterfly effect doesn't mean it is not a consequence of a math we don't understand.

Have you read James Gleik?

@VicZinc Just because we can't map the butterfly effect doesn't mean it is not a consequence of a math we don't understand...

You're putting the cart before the horse, Vic.

Math is an idealized descriptive consequence of what we observe in the real world, not vice-versa, much as verbal language is descriptive.

Only the Eternal Word speaks things into existence. biggrin smilie

Yes, I think I read Gleik's book on Feynman once.
It's better to read Feynman on Feynman.

@Thinkerbell Nah... setting people straight is a barrel of monkeys.

So whence does the variation in consequences of a series antecedents arise? Would that be with the whim of god, the interpretation of the measurement or the inability of the observer to recognize all of the myriad antecedents?

@VicZinc So whence does the variation in consequences of a series antecedents arise? Would that be with the whim of god...

That's the riddle of quantum mechanics.

If logic (as we understand it) is valid, and physical causes are local (i.e., cannot propagate faster than the speed of light), then Bell's theorem proves that nature itself does not know what state it's in before a measurement is made. wt smilie

https://faraday.physics.utoront...lsTheorem.html

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@Thinkerbell That's the riddle of quantum mechanics. If logic (as we understand it) is valid, and physical causes are local...

Does that mean:
1) Bells theory is fact?
2) Entanglement is false?
3) current state is necessary to predict outcome even if the entire chain of events prior to current state is (somehow) recorded?

@VicZinc Does that mean: 1) Bells theory is fact? 2) Entanglement is false? 3) current state is necessary to predict outcome...

1. Bell's theorem is correct, under the assumptions stated above.

2. Entanglement is real, experimentally verified. That's what confirmed Bell's theorem. No local hidden variables that determine the outcome are possible. That does not exclude "spooky action at a distance" (i.e., non-locality, for which Bohm tried to develop a theory).

3. You can never predict an outcome with certainty if there is an ongoing interaction, say, with multiple scattering of a particle. Knowledge of prior and current states will only affect the probability of a future result.

@Thinkerbell 1. Bell's theorem is correct, under the assumptions stated above. 2. Entanglement is real, experimentally...

Now we are getting somewhere. Please allow me to summarize:

You don't believe: There are no bad choices or good choices. Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically precise physical events.

You do believe: Saying you understand something is evidence that you don't understand it (Richard Feynman used to say something like that)

You believe that: Entanglement is real, experimentally verified and that Bell's theorem is confirmed.

You believe that: Knowledge of prior and current states will only affect the probability of a future result.

So does that imply that no knowledge of of prior and current states will not affect the probability of future results?

@VicZinc Now we are getting somewhere. Please allow me to summarize: You don't believe: //There are no bad choices or good...

Of course the nature of your knowledge of prior states will in general affect the probability of future results.

And of course betting on a low-probability outcome (assuming the rewards are equal) is generally a bad choice. biggrin smilie

@Thinkerbell Of course the nature of your knowledge of prior states will in general affect the probability of future...

Just so I can keep this straight in my mind, you seem to be hoping around a bit and that is not your style:

Are you saying that
a) knowledge of prior and current state is required to predict the (probability?) of outcomes
b) knowledge of prior and current states will change the (probability of) outcomes
c) knowledge of prior and current states change the predicted-probability of the predicted outcomes.
d) that outcomes are not predictable?

I am trying to figure out what prediction -
or for that mater knowledge in general -
or really, what the likelihood that probability plays a role in the outcome of every event -
what does any of that have to do with the initial premise that:

There are no bad choices or good choices. Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically precise physical events.

Or why you haven't returned to defend your initial argument that this premise somehow implies a 'clockwork' universe?

@VicZinc Just so I can keep this straight in my mind, you seem to be hoping around a bit and that is not your style: Are...

Read up on a simple double-slit experiment, Vic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...lit_experiment

If you don't know which slit a photon (or electron, for that matter) went through, you get a certain probability distribution (a double-slit interference pattern), which is still observed even if you can be sure only ONE photon went through at a time, and you repeat the experiment many times.

If you somehow determine which slit the photon went through (with a detector at the slit, or simply by shutting the other slit), the distribution changes, to a single-slit diffraction pattern, so yes, your prior knowledge affects the probability of what happens later, when the photon hits the screen.

So,

a) Yes, obviously prior knowledge affects the probability distribution of what happens later. Prior knowledge includes having zero knowledge of the prior photon state, as per the example above.

b) Yes, see a).

c) Yes, see a).

d) The outcome of a single photon event is NOT "mathematically precise," to use your phrase. One can only calculate the probability of the photon hitting a particular point on the screen. Quantum Mechanics 101.

The clockwork universe model held that if you knew the current position and momentum of every particle in the universe with infinite precision, you could work out everything that happened in the past and everything that would happen in the future with "mathematical precision." Quantum mechanics has shown that this is not true even in principle, unless of course you believe in non-local hidden variables, in which information is transmitted instantaneously, no matter how great the distance.

Hmm... it sounds like you believe in an omniscient, omnipresent God, Vic. Who knew? biggrin smilie

@Thinkerbell Read up on a simple double-slit experiment, Vic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...lit_experiment If you...

Don't get ahead of yourself Missy.

I am familiar with the two slits experiment. I have a decent understanding of Godel's Incompleteness and the inconsistency theory pointed out by Bertrand Russell Principia. I might be an old man but I still keep current with modern theory. So I also understand the implication of quantum, string, and several other new ideas.

However,

Never did I say that The outcome of {anything} is "mathematically precise," , what I said, and repeated several times is:

There are no bad choices or good choices. Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically precise physical events.

I did not imply (even if that is what you thought I implied) that these events are
-Predictable, or
-mathematically precise

I said they were an inevitable consequent and I implied that their antecedents where mathematically precise.

Now do you want to get on with teaching me were I am wrong or do you want to continue being condescending toward me?

I will assume you are willing to continue and prime that with one question:

Regardless if the next electron is spin-up or down-spin what evidence do you, Bell or Feynman have that the spin is not inevitable (not predictable, not probable, not even observable, inevitable) which is what I claimed.

@VicZinc Don't get ahead of yourself Missy. I am familiar with the two slits experiment. I have a decent understanding of...

Sorry, Vic, but your statements contain self-contradictions and factual errors. I hope I’m not being too condescending by pointing that out. wary smilie

First you say, “Everything that happens is the inevitable consequent of a series of mathematically precise physical events.”

Then in the next breath you say, “I did not imply (even if that is what you thought I implied) that these events are
-Predictable, or
-mathematically precise”

You had just finished saying that “these events” (the antecedents) ARE “mathematically precise.”

The expression “mathematically precise physical event,” is false on its face in real life, whether you meant the antecedent physical events or the consequent (which must also be a physical event; in physics, what else do physical events cause besides other physical events?). There is no such thing as a mathematically precise physical event: if a photon strikes a screen, it does not do so at a “mathematically precise” geometrical point of zero radius; it is a smudge whose size must be at least as large as that required by Heisenberg, even disregarding instrumental limitations. Or if you meant the antecedent of going through one of the slits, it makes a difference if one knew (or didn’t know) which slit it went through, or if it was only one slit, it makes a difference if one knew (or didn’t know) whether it went through the top, middle or bottom of the slit, and since the laser beam or whatever light source one uses has to have a finite width (Heisenberg again), one can’t know that exactly. Again, no “mathematical precision,” either in the consequent OR in the antecedents.

“Regardless if the next electron is spin-up or down-spin what evidence do you, Bell or Feynman have that the spin is not inevitable (not predictable, not probable, not even observable, inevitable) which is what I claimed.”

In physics, one ultimately deals only with (directly or indirectly) observable physical phenomena. You might as well have asked me what evidence do Bell, Feynman or I have that it isn’t an omniscient, omnipresent God (‘Creator of all things, visible and invisible’) that makes a spin state to be “inevitable.” I have already given you a good reference to Bell’s theorem that proves the electron CANNOT be in a definite spin state prior to a final measurement, under the assumptions of locality and the correctness of mathematical logic. That does not rule out non-locality, Einstein’s “spooky [faster than light] action at a distance,” which would be one possible requirement of the "inevitability" you seem to favor. It is ok to speculate in physics, or science in general, but until the speculation is proved, it remains mere speculation.

What evidence do you have FOR inevitability?

@Thinkerbell Sorry, Vic, but your statements contain self-contradictions and factual errors. I hope I’m not being too...

Wait a minute. It seems we might be having a difference in the use of the term 'mathematcally precision" so please help me here.

Is it your understanding that a smudge cannot be precise, or that only a geometric point can be? Can you imagine a theoretical laboratory in which time could be looped such that the same electron could be observed as a 'smudge' over-and- over, same electron same instant same smudge. Now, again please help me here. How can we show that through repeated trials (same electron same time ) the results would necessarily vary?

@VicZinc Wait a minute. It seems we might be having a difference in the use of the term 'mathematcally precision" so please...

OK, here is a schematic diagram of a Stern-Gerlach apparatus, in which a beam of silver atoms, each with net spin ½, is passed through a magnetic field gradient, causing either up or down deflections, depending on the spin state. Electrons would behave in the same way.

Image in content

The smudges represent the areas where the silver atoms might hit. We are of course assuming that the instrumental resolution (as close as we can come to a geometrical point) is finer than the size of the smudge, which is assumed to be due only to Heisenberg uncertainty (and not thermal noise or other extraneous factors). These smudges are what you would see experimentally if you conducted the experiment with a very large number of silver atoms hitting per second.

Now let’s do your recycling experiment, over and over again, but with only one silver atom (or electron) at a time. What you would find experimentally is that sometimes the atom would be somewhere in the upper smudge, sometimes in the lower, UNPREDICTABLY, and even if you limit your attention to only one of the smudges, the atom will hit at different points (within detector resolution) randomly inside the smudge as you repeat the experiment. You can’t control this variation, no matter how carefully you try to prepare the atom each time. You don’t even perfectly know the mean and standard deviation of the smudge unless you conduct the experiment an infinite number of times.

I don’t know about you, but I do not call this state of affairs “mathematical precision.” When I use that term, I mean something exactly calculable, given exact initial conditions, in the sense of classical physics; e.g., the clockwork universe.

Now, what is your evidence FOR inevitability?

@Thinkerbell OK, here is a schematic diagram of a Stern-Gerlach apparatus, in which a beam of silver atoms, each with net spin...

Getting there. And I completely understand and agree with what you just wrote, however that is not what I asked.

Assuming we could 'rewind' time and refire the exact same atom (or series of atoms in the case of the silver)

[ and to be clear, I am not suggesting we let the clock keep going and fire the next atom (or series of atoms), I am suggesting - hypothetically - that we could recreate the exact same space-time coordinate as the first trial and redo the first event as if it had not happened yet, multiple times - we do this 3, 4, 50, 1000 times - same exact atom, same exact space-time event.

OK so this is science fiction but if you would please indulge me so I can get to inevitability...

Are you suggesting, or has anyone ever suggested that, if possible to 'redo' an event (go back in history and redo it), that there a probability that the redo would have a different result?

It is a stretch of the imagination but an interesting mind exercise. If we could turn back the clock and pull the trigger again would we get the same result (however smudgy that first result was)?

@VicZinc Getting there. And I completely understand and agree with what you just wrote, however that is not what I...

"Assuming we could 'rewind' time and refire the exact same atom (or series of atoms in the case of the silver)"

But we CAN'T rewind time, Vic, as far as we know, so this is just more speculation, not physics but science fiction, as you admit. And even if we could go back in time, how is that different from repeating the experiment going forward it time? You're assuming everything rewinds like a movie film, but since future results are unpredictable, who is to say that the "rewound" past initial conditions would be the same as they were the first time?

Now, what is your evidence for inevitability in the real world?

@Thinkerbell "Assuming we could 'rewind' time and refire the exact same atom (or series of atoms in the case of the...

Well if you want to make assumptions about logic and spooky actions but are unwilling to make the assumptions about whether results of an experiment would or would not change if it were possible to 'do it over'.

[and if you can't acknowledge the difference between repeatability and hypothetically re-experiencing the same event]

Then I got nothing. So you will need to prove that if I could relive my life it would somehow turn out differently at which point I will change my mind and agree that this conversation wasn't inevitable.

@VicZinc Well if you want to make assumptions about logic and spooky actions but are unwilling to make the assumptions about...

Assuming that logic is valid and assuming that spooky actions at a distance are impossible are what Bell and Einstein assumed, not just me. Furthermore, these assumptions are not based on some hypothetical (and by current knowledge impossible) experiment, but by REAL, do-able experiments.

And still furthermore, no one insisted (as you insist about inevitability) that logic HAD to fail, or that there HAD to be spooky action at a distance, but merely that these were not ruled out by Bell's theorem and its experimental verification.

[And of course I can acknowledge a difference between repeatability and hypothetically re-experiencing the same event... one is possible, the other is speculation (about something presently impossible) in which you have pre-assumed your result, and btw, failed to answer my question about it above.]

Your last paragraph indicates you are something of a fatalist, and a believer in hidden variables, not accessible to quantum mechanics. (Fatalism is an old, old idea; I think Mark Twain more recently had some fun with it about 100 years ago.)

Finally, it's not up to me to prove a negative (I can't prove there are no unicorns either). It's up to YOU to positively prove that which you so adamantly claim is true.

So now, for the 4th(? I've lost count) time:

what is your evidence for inevitability in the real world, or are you going to dodge yet again? biggrin smilie

@Thinkerbell Assuming that logic is valid and assuming that spooky actions at a distance are impossible are what Bell and...

I have no proof.

The point being it might as well be.

If we cannot go back in time and redo the same instant then the question is moot.

I far as I can tell most scientists do make the assumptions you made and I was willing to make.

I don't know of any person who has assumed that if you could go back in time and replay the actual events that occurred up to a certain point that the next thing that happens would somehow be different. But alas we will never know because we can't. We can't turn back time and even if we coulg we can't tell if the preceding events are 'mathematically, precisely' the same.

So there you have it. I wanted a thought experiment and you wanted a physical one. Sorry to disappoint you.

@VicZinc I have no proof. The point being it might as well be. If we cannot go back in time and redo the same instant then...

"I don't know of any person who has assumed that if you could go back in time and replay the actual events that occurred up to a certain point that the next thing that happens would somehow be different."

There are people who have hypothesized far more than that, Vic.
In the many-universe hypothesis, EVERYTHING possible happens, with the universes bifurcating (multifurcating?) at each event, with a particular observer only following one of these universes, but his many alter-egos following the others. If you went back in time to replay the actual events leading up to a certain point, why would you think you would necessarily follow the same universe as the first time around? You evidently believe in some kind of absolute determinism, aka hidden variables.

"So there you have it. I wanted a thought experiment and you wanted a physical one. Sorry to disappoint you."

Thought experiments are fine, but why did you have to insist on a certain outcome? Einstein's thought experiments were experimentally verified within 15 years, but in the meantime, he didn't insist that his hypotheses HAD to be right.

@Thinkerbell "I don't know of any person who has assumed that if you could go back in time and replay the actual events that...

Think
I enjoy debating with you. However I find a few habits of yours make it difficult for me.

One is you sometimes make assumptions about what I am thinking. And sometimes you dismiss my comments without an effort to verify my intent.

I was under the impression that the multiverse theories assumed that the observer was unaware of any result except the one that occurred in the universe inwhich they observed. Typically they would experience only one outcome not the infinity of possible outcomes.

I suppose if we manage to get through this you will still have 15 years.

I am not insisting I have to be right anymore than you are insisting I have to be wrong.

@VicZinc Think I enjoy debating with you. However I find a few habits of yours make it difficult for me. One is you...

"One is you sometimes make assumptions about what I am thinking."

I don't assume a priori what you are thinking. I go by what you say to form an impression of what you are thinking. So, for example, if you say half a dozen times that outcomes are always the inevitable consequences of the initial conditions, I get the impression that you are a fatalist, and that you don't believe in quantum mechanics as it is understood today. (You are in good company in the latter; Einstein did not believe quantum mechanics was a complete theory either.)

"And sometimes you dismiss my comments without an effort to verify my intent."

If I really have done that, I am happy to apologize, but I have on more than one occasion asked you questions to try to discover your intent, which you then proceeded to ignore.

"I was under the impression that the multiverse theories assumed that the observer was unaware of any result except the one that occurred in the universe inwhich they observed. Typically they would experience only one outcome not the infinity of possible outcomes."

Yes, of course an observer is only aware of one universe, and each of his alter egos is aware of another universe. My question to you was, if you replay the initial conditions, what's to prevent you from from taking one of the other possible alternatives? The answer is "nothing," unless you believe in a determinism that is hidden from quantum mechanics as it is presently understood.

"I suppose if we manage to get through this you will still have 15 years."

I will await the invention of time travel to the past with bated breath. biggrin smilie
But in that regard, I will ask a variation of Fermi's question about space aliens. If time travel to the past is possible, where are the time travelers from the future in our time? Do we have bad breath?

"I am not insisting I have to be right anymore than you are insisting I have to be wrong."

I didn't say you HAVE to be wrong. I said (and you agreed) that you have no experimental evidence to prove you are right, and that for you to be right, there would need to be some form of non-local hidden variables, or a modification of our understanding of mathematical logic, or something else that we haven't even thought of yet. Feynman did say NOBODY understands quantum mechanics. biggrin smilie

@Thinkerbell "One is you sometimes make assumptions about what I am thinking." I don't assume a priori what you are thinking. I...

Fair enough and I am not sure if we have danced this dance too long.

Let me try one more time. OP asked "what is the primary reason one makes good choices" to which I replied that there are no good or bad choices,

I went on to justify that statement with an argument to which you disagreed.

Fine. I fully acknowledge that until a consequent is observed it is unknown and cannot be predicted outside a range of probable outcomes. Where I was trying to lead this discussion was to the rwalm of: once the outcome is observed, it is what it is.

Does god roll dice? Maybe. But once the dice are at rest, they are at rest.

I already said we cannot predict the outcome.

So what did I mean by inevitable? That no human thoughts can change the spin of a quark. Whatever it is it is.

What did I mean by mathematical precision? That things happened exactly like they happened. That the photon was a wave when it was a wave and a particle when it was a particle, it was both when it was both, it was neither when it was neither. If you observed it or not it was what it was and it will be what it becomes.

That's all.

Now shoot me down
Please.

@VicZinc Fair enough and I am not sure if we have danced this dance too long. Let me try one more time. OP asked "what is...

OK, remember you asked.

We make our choices BEFORE the die rolls, or BEFORE the photon hits the screen, so I'm not really sure what relevance your discussion about "it is what it is" after the fact has. The roulette croupier doesn't call out "rien de plus" for nothing.

Since we CAN calculate the odds of the outcomes before the fact, it is a wise choice to put our money where the odds favor us as much as possible. And it would be a bad choice, for example, to bet the farm on the photon hitting the screen where it has zero or near-zero probability of hitting. So of course there are good and bad choices.

"What did I mean by mathematical precision? That things happened exactly like they happened."

With all due respect, Vic, that is NOT what you said. You said the ANTECEDENTS were mathematically precise, which obviously they are not (at least not in the real world), as we have been discussing for lo, these many (too many?) comments now.

http://www.amirite.com/807353-w...cation/2535121

@VicZinc Didn't the antecedents happen exactly as they happened?

Image in content

No. They are uncertain (at least to the limits required by Heisenberg). You don't know which slit the photon went through (the antecedent) before it hit the screen (the consequent). Now please go back and read the Bell reference I gave you and come back when you understand it. ono smilie biggrin smilie

@Thinkerbell No. They are uncertain (at least to the limits required by...

I understand it well enough.

Clearly I have over stayed my welcome.

I get your point, you don't get mine.

It doesn't matter if I know which slit it went through. If right left both or neither it made it through however it did, it did it in precisely the way it did.

Until the next post
I leave you in pieces.

@VicZinc I understand it well enough. Clearly I have over stayed my welcome. I get your point, you don't get mine. It...

"It doesn't matter if I know which slit it went through. If right left both or neither it made it through however it did, it did it in precisely the way it did."

That's just the point, Vic. It did NOT do it precisely, not if the wave function was smeared out over two slits. (or even just one slit if you close the other one).
The RESULT was what it was, clearly defined to within instrumental resolution, but NOT the antecedent, which was spread out over an area at least large enough to cover both slits.

Your claim that it did what it did "precisely" the way that it did is a "just so" story, akin to "God did it" in other contexts, when you have no evidence at all that what it did HAD to be that way. You are assuming on faith that some hidden variable(s) forced the antecedent photon wave function to collapse into the observed final state.

But keep the faith, Vic. If you someday manage to prove your hypothesis, you will have shown Einstein to be wrong about non-locality, or you will have proved mathematical logic as used by Bell to be wrong, or perhaps both.

If both, that should be worth a Nobel prize for physics and a Fields medal for mathematics. clap smilie clap smilie clap smilie

We make good choices because of how much we love the people we care about. We don't ever want to hurt anyone we love, but sometimes we do anyway. So after time, we know what that feels like. We can't make bad choices because, if we do, we hurt people we care about. "Good Choices" become the only choices.

I would say that luck plays a great part in making good decisions

Luck and logic

Wow! You ask a simple question, you get a PAGEANT!

Good choices come from experience.

Experience comes from bad choices.

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