Fwd: Re: Free Will debate

From: fudley (fuddley@fastmail.fm)
Date: Fri Dec 30 2005 - 23:35:51 MST

On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 "Richard Loosemore" <rpwl@lightlink.com> said:

> Could you say which of the journals that I
> cited in my last message you have consulted?

None. And how many times has an article In Nature or Science or Physical
Review Letters or Cell or New England Journal of Medicine or Lancet
cited ANYTHING in ANY of the ďjournalsĒ you mentioned? None.

> Consider the idea that there may be some
> "causes" that are not local in this universe.

If everything caused something to happen itís almost equivalent to
saying nothing caused it. An electron went through the left slot not the
right because of what an atom in the Andromeda galaxy 2 million light
years away was doing, and it was doing what it did because of an atom in
the Hydra cluster 8 billion light years away. For me to predict what the
electron will do Iíd have to know all there is to know about the
universe; I am comfortable in calling that random

> You set up a quantum-event controlled random
> number generator (the numbers coming out are
> determined by exact timing of the decay events
> of a radioactive substance, for example).
> Now you ask a person to try to influence it to
> make certain numbers come out more often.
> Now suppose that the first time you try the
> experiment, the numbers are indeed grossly
> skewed in the desired direction.
> Was it random? No, it wasn't.

And how do you know it was random or not? I hit a golf ball 300 yards
and it lands on a blade of grass, the possibility the ball will land on
that blade is extremely remote, but there it is. Somebody is going to
win the lottery.

> Did it have a normal-physics cause? No:
> quantum mechanics states that nothing
> can bias the radiocative decays to happen
> according to certain pattern.

If you were to actually do this and most importantly it was repeatable
then you have found a flaw in Quantum Mechanics, you will have found
that the radioactive decay can be influenced by something, in this case
the mental state of the experimenter and so unlike what we had thought
radioactive decay is not random but deterministic. If that happened then
any halfway intelligent person would admit that psi existed and we would
not be having this debate.

But that would not change the fact that everything, absolutely
positively 100% everything happens because of cause and effect OR it
does not, and if it does not then it is random.

> the exact connection between "thought" and
> effect seems to come and go, sometimes
> working and sometimes not, sometimes doing
> the opposite of what you planned, sometimes
> fading away if you get bored and do the
> experiment too many times. This is what
> I meant by capricious.

Itís an odd coincidence that capriciousness is exactly precisely what
you would expect to see if the psi phenomena were one big load of
ridicules stinking crap.


> Could you explain in more detail what you mean by this?

Iím really sorry if you donít understand what I was trying to say, I
thought my meaning was clear, but apparently not. I just donít know how
to express my opinion more directly. I wish I were more eloquent. Sorry.

> Who was the guy who came up with the theory of
> continental drift? Was it Wegener? Is your
> study of the history of science as patchy and
> selective as your grasp of current research?
> Or would you care to put, alongside your
> account of Roentgen, an account of what
> happened to Wegener as well?

OK. Alfred Wegener published his theory of continental drift in 1915 and
it was correct, but it was not well received. Like Roentgen he was
right, like Roentgen he had no theoretical explanation for what he
claimed to see, like Roentgen he made an extraordinary claim, but unlike
Roentgen he did not have extraordinary evidence, he did not have the
equivalent of a photograph of the bones in his wifeís hand. And Iíve got
to tell you, the fact that Wegener was not a geologist but a
meteorologist would not add to his credibility if I were a professional
geologist. It took 45 years to come up with good enough evidence to
convince people that he was right, and that is a dismal record I think.
I wish the scientific community had done better.

One the other hand people have believed in the paranormal for many many
thousands of years, about as long as humans have been human; but in all
that time they have never been able to produce, ironclad, excellent,
good, pretty good, or even mediocre evidence that the phenomenon
actually exists.

People have investigated it with the Scientific Method, or claimed they
have done so, for well over a century. The net result of all that
intense effort is, drum roll please, is, is, is,ÖÖ precisely nothing.
After more than a century of vigorous research parapsychology
ďscientistsĒ have contributed exactly precisely nothing to the sum total
of human knowledge. ZERO.

Just between you and me, I think itís time to move on to something else.

John K Clark

http://www.fastmail.fm - Send your email first class

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