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Old 2019-02-08, 17:58   #12
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
Is that like not knowing who the current king of France is?
I was actually thinking along the lines of the position and vector of a single electron....
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Old 2019-02-08, 19:18   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
One of the wonderful things about becoming "enlightened" is understanding that there are some things we simply cannot know for certain. An example is we cannot know what the last digit of pi is.
We can, however, know that the number pi has no "last digit." This reminds me, the old Star Trek episode "Wolf in the Fold" has the following bit of dialogue in a scene in which the evil entity has invaded the Enterprise's computer system, and Spock has devised a way to drive it out:

Quote:
SPOCK: Ready.
KIRK: Implement.
SPOCK: Computer, this is a Class A compulsory directive. Compute to the last digit the value of pi.
VOICE [OC]: No, no, no, no! No, no!
SPOCK: As we know, the value of pi is a transcendental figure without resolution. The computer banks will work on this problem to the exclusion of all else until we order it to stop.
KIRK: Yes, that should keep that thing busy for a while.
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Old 2019-02-08, 19:30   #14
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
...Spock has devised a way to drive it out:
Thank you for that.

Some don't get my logic, nor my humour....
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Old 2019-02-08, 19:58   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
It's kinda circular to rely on the definition of volition when defining free will, no?
I wasn't trying to define free will. I was merely belaboring the obvious fact that dice are inanimate objects. Even the fuzzy ones hanging from rear-view mirrors. Just about any notion of "free will" I know of involves the ability to make choices. Inanimate objects ain't got it.

For an unusual take on quantum uncertainty, and the "cat in the box" thought experiment in particular, I recommend Schrodinger's Cat, which may be found in The Compass Rose by Ursula le Guin.
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Old 2019-02-08, 20:40   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
I was merely belaboring the obvious fact that dice are inanimate objects. Even the fuzzy ones hanging from rear-view mirrors.
https://youtu.be/VHnI_XTQPnE?t=15
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Old 2019-02-08, 20:47   #17
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
It is perhaps a sign of the times when a learned man links off to a YouTube video, rather than writing a few devastating words....
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Old 2019-02-08, 21:12   #18
Uncwilly
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Y'all are rising to the bait.
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Old 2019-02-08, 21:20   #19
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
Y'all are rising to the bait.
There are times when the bait is worth rising to, to eat it cleanly off the bone (or the hook)....
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Old 2019-02-09, 04:33   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
It is perhaps a sign of the times when a learned man links off to a YouTube video, rather than writing a few devastating words....
Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can 'nee'
at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is
sacred.
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Old 2019-05-11, 20:16   #21
kriesel
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
What do you guys think? Obviously, free will is a very complex thing, but do you think it starts with our ability to tell time?
A couple possible answers to your question occur to me.
One is "nothing".
Another is "arrogance".
Reading a clock (or reading anything in the sense of written symbols) is not required. A sense of linkage of cause and effect, and sequence, probably is.

I've seen cats go to great lengths to hide their kittens. And tomcats go to some lengths to find and kill them. Killing the kittens makes them stop nursing, which ends the suppression of menstruation in the mama cat, which later makes her available for breeding again by the tomcat that invaded the territory. Anything that lives by hunting must be capable of planning and executing. It involves some sense of cause and effect, different possible outcomes, and making choices often enough that produce a desirable outcome to avoid starvation.
Dogs are domesticated wolves. Wolves have hierarchy and hunt in packs, employing teamwork and strategy. So do people.

I've seen deer come to the edge of a woods, look about, back and forth, as if recognizing several hunters as threats, repeat, pause (consider), turn, go back into the woods, and take a different path, swimming a river instead of coming closer to the row of hunters. Or watched their ears move, to focus on what seems the direction of sound of most concern at the moment, then return to focus on a previous concern; hide their head behind a single corn plant; and various other shrewd gambits. Including put themselves, rarely, at increased risk to rejoin their young. Jump high in the air with the head turned one way for a better look at the situation, then again head turned the other way. They clearly collect data and make choices based on the data. Hunting big game effectively involves playing more moves deep than the prey does.

Birds remember previous threats and make choices and display nervousness. A raccoon took a dove one midnight off my roof. The next evening at dusk the surviving birds in the area were high up in the trees and noticeably more nervous than usual. (But they don't seem to understand glass windows or spinning windmills very well.)

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2019-05-11 at 20:19
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Old 2019-05-11, 21:59   #22
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My parents had several hummingbird feeders outside the back windows. We saw many interesting bits of behavior. These birds, ruby throat hummingbirds, went to Mexico or further in the winter. One spring, before the feeders were out, a bird showed up and hovered in an inward-facing circle around where a feeder had been the previous years. It knew where food had been months earlier, after a more than a thousand mile round trip. They have great ability to map things, which seems like an indispensable part of keeping track of food supplies. They also get aggressive with each other over feeders, and try to monopolize them.
EDIT: This really belongs in Fine Feathered Friends.

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2019-05-11 at 22:01
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