Is the future predictable?

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Rose phil
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 07:51 pm
@Henrik phil,
 
validity
 
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 03:13 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
I'd still maintain that if it were possible to know enough variables, that one could predict future events. That being said, I also think that the complexity and vastness of such information prohibits us from doing so.


It is not the vastness of such information that prohibts us, even with a single particle eg an electron, the position and the velocity can not be determined simultaneously The Uncertainty Principle (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) . The uncertainty principle means future events are never predictable with 100% accuracy.

How can you determine the future path of a single particle if it is not possible to measure the particles present state ie its position and velocity?
 
Deftil
 
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 05:30 am
@sarek,
I wasn't going to post in this thread, but my brain chemicals made me do it.


Also, as has been mentioned before, quantum mechanics really throws a wrench in determinism. Then again, this is the way things are commonly thought of due to the most widely accepted interpretation of QM at this time. Other interpretations can potentially allow for determinism, but as far as I have been able to tell, most working physicists think of it as being indeterministic in terms of specific events, but basically deterministic as far as a range of events goes. But a range of events isn't exactly determinism as I think of it at all.
 
validity
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 01:48 am
@Deftil,
Deftil wrote:
I wasn't going to post in this thread, but my brain chemicals made me do it.


Also, as has been mentioned before, quantum mechanics really throws a wrench in determinism. Then again, this is the way things are commonly thought of due to the most widely accepted interpretation of QM at this time. Other interpretations can potentially allow for determinism, but as far as I have been able to tell, most working physicists think of it as being indeterministic in terms of specific events, but basically deterministic as far as a range of events goes. But a range of events isn't exactly determinism as I think of it at all.


What are the main hindrances stopping these interpretations that potentially allow for determinism, from becoming the favoured interpretation?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 06:30 am
@validity,
validity wrote:
It is not the vastness of such information that prohibts us, even with a single particle eg an electron, the position and the velocity can not be determined simultaneously


You may be right here Validity; however, at the risk of revealing the breadth of my QM ignorance, I'd have to ask: Because we cannot determine "X", does that necessarily mean it cannot be done? Often times, what humanity has held as undoable has, in later times, been accomplished as its understanding in such principles has increased.

validity wrote:
How can you determine the future path of a single particle if it is not possible to measure the particles present state ie its position and velocity?


I have absolutely no idea. Does my (or anyone else's) inability to describe how mean it is therefore not possible at all, ever?

Thanks, and apologies in advance if I'm way off base here - I'm just positing. If this is the case just let me know and I'll go back to standing in the corner. Smile

Thanks
 
Rose phil
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 11:21 am
@Henrik phil,
 
validity
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 08:01 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
You may be right here Validity; however, at the risk of revealing the breadth of my QM ignorance, I'd have to ask: Because we cannot determine "X", does that necessarily mean it cannot be done? Often times, what humanity has held as undoable has, in later times, been accomplished as its understanding in such principles has increased.
We would need an example of X, because I am unsure of what you are asking. Off the bat, not being able to determine X is not quite right. X can be determined with accuracy <100%, but never 100% accuracy. What did you have in mind when you said X?


Khethil wrote:
I have absolutely no idea. Does my (or anyone else's) inability to describe how mean it is therefore not possible at all, ever?
Let us discuss this with your example of X Smile

Khethil wrote:
Thanks, and apologies in advance if I'm way off base here - I'm just positing. If this is the case just let me know and I'll go back to standing in the corner. Smile

Thanks
I do not want anyone to stand in the corner with such a fascinating topic.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 05:34 am
@Henrik phil,
If science, in its current state, cannot provide clear evidence either way about determinism, then it really doesn't enter into the argument except as a noted question mark.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 05:56 am
@jgweed,
Can prophecy predict the future ? or is it predicted by certain individuals without their consent or knowing how ? I have had many experiences i cant explain but the only one i could only prove with absolute certainty to others was my dreaming of the lottery numbers..now i dont want the future to be written it destroys my belief in free will..it annoys me i dreamed the future..I dont expect you believe my dream but can you understand my problem?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:15 am
@validity,
validity wrote:
We would need an example of X, because I am unsure of what you are asking. Off the bat, not being able to determine X is not quite right. X can be determined with accuracy <100%, but never 100% accuracy. What did you have in mind when you said X?


Welp, you'd mentioned...

validity wrote:
How can you determine the future path of a single particle if it is not possible to measure the particles present state ie its position and velocity?


Which is, as I understand it, due to what appears to us to be non-predictable; as close to 'randomness' as we can know. What I suggest is a generalized question: Because we don't know what a particle's future position might be doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a reason - beyond our current understanding.

I simply think it important that we keep in mind that whenever there appears to be "no reason for" something doesn't mean there is. It's a qualifier of humility that allows us to keep seeking answers and allows emergent theories to change.

Thanks
 
Deftil
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 11:00 am
@validity,
validity;31936 wrote:
What are the main hindrances stopping these interpretations that potentially allow for determinism, from becoming the favoured interpretation?

What a great question. I so, totally don't know. The only thing I can think of is that for some reason most physicists see that interpretation to most likely be accurate. Or maybe it's the interpretation that actually seems to come most directly from the empirical observations and thus be the one that requires the least amount of actual interpretation?

I know some knowledgable people I can ask about this though. I'll see what I can find out and get back to you.

In the meantime, here's a link - Causal Determinism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - for anybody interested in reading more about how the currently most widely accepted interpretation, and others are viewed in terms of determinism.

Khethil, I'm getting the impression that you're thinking that there might be some variables in there that we're missing, and that this is the reason why QM is viewed as non-deterministic. I know that was my first instinct. When I brought this up to those who know WAYYYYY more about physics than I ever will, the existence of these particles that cannot be described deterministically was said to be shown via the Casimir effect and that I needed to look into Bell's theorem and the Aspect experiments before I got into hidden variables. More about those can be found here - Bell test experiments, Wikipedia but when I try to read and understand this stuff without a patient physics-to-english interpreter, 4 or 5 sentences in, I start to bleed from the ears. Basically I guess the idea is that they've done tests to determine that there aren't any hidden variables.
 
sarek
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 04:33 pm
@Henrik phil,
Let me put it this way:

Can you know the future? Answer: Yes and No.

No.
We live in a world subject both to the passage of time and the law of quantum mechanics. Determinism is not possible from within our reference frame. You cannot know the future with 100% certainty.

Yes.
If you where a photon, relativity theory would cause you to travel forward in time at an infinite velocity relative to the material universe. From that perspective time actually becomes illusory. Past, present and future are one.

The big question is whether these two perspective have anything to do with each other.
 
franc
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 04:38 pm
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
Let me put it this way:

Can you know the future? Answer: Yes and No.

No.
We live in a world subject both to the passage of time and the law of quantum mechanics. Determinism is not possible from within our reference frame. You cannot know the future with 100% certainty.

Yes.
If you where a photon, relativity theory would cause you to travel forward in time at an infinite velocity relative to the material universe. From that perspective time actually becomes illusory. Past, present and future are one.

The big question is whether these two perspective have anything to do with each other.


Those perspectives have everything to do with each other, and all other perspectives - because they are just that, perspectives on a whole image. The one capable of producing an accurate image of everything is the one with the most valid idea of reality. For in truth, reality is a single object and distinction is illusory.
 
Rose phil
 
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 03:30 pm
@sarek,
sarek;32286 wrote:
Let me put it this way:

Can you know the future? Answer: Yes and No.

No.
We live in a world subject both to the passage of time and the law of quantum mechanics. Determinism is not possible from within our reference frame. You cannot know the future with 100% certainty.

Yes.
If you where a photon, relativity theory would cause you to travel forward in time at an infinite velocity relative to the material universe. From that perspective time actually becomes illusory. Past, present and future are one.

The big question is whether these two perspective have anything to do with each other.



I agree. Yes and no. But for different reasons.

Yes, if we are particularly aware, intuitive and perceptive. But it's like having a flash of a particular event. Like being pre-warned about something. Most of the time it simply prepares us for the events and there is nothing we can do about it.

And...

No, we can't predict the future with 100% certainty.
 
Henrik phil
 
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:09 pm
@sarek,
sarek;31509 wrote:
I see two, perhaps interrelated problems interfering with absolute predictability.

The first is off course quantummechanics. You cannot tell what has happened to Schrodinger's cat until you open the box.

The second is chaos theory. Large changes can occur because of minor(essentially unmeasurable) differences in initial conditions. You can approach perfection in your predictive capabilities but never fully reach it.

And what would happen if the butterfly of chaos theory happens to be a single electron in the brain?

What exactly is Schrodinger's cat and chaos theory, could you explain? I'm a 16 year old newbie you know!
 
Blazenarrow
 
Reply Fri 14 Nov, 2008 02:09 pm
@Rose phil,
Rose wrote:
So you want to know if it is possible to predict your future?

Try this experiment. Simply think about something you want, make it something small to begin with. Think about it when you get up in the morning and think about it when you go to bed at night. Make sure it is something you want. You know what they say, "Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it."



The Secret??? :detective:
 
Deftil
 
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:51 pm
@validity,
validity;31936 wrote:
What are the main hindrances stopping these interpretations that potentially allow for determinism, from becoming the favoured interpretation?

OK, so I've looked into this a bit now and have something of an answer.

Basically the ideas that make up the Copenhagen interpretation were the first good ones that seemed to follow directly from the empirical evidence. They were formed by the intelligent and well respected minds of Bohr and Heisenberg and despite not completely fitting in with determinism they reveal themselves to pretty effectively describe what's going on to those who work with QM. So then, the Copenhagen interpretation became the standard, generally accepted interpretation. It hasn't been displaced from this position by any other interpretation that would be more consistent with determinism because physicists on the whole haven't found any other interpretation to be a more convincing and accurate explanation of what's going on. There's typically major flaws seen in all other proposed interpretations and they've often been discredited by experiment. I've heard of energy conservation being listed as an issue with the Many Worlds interpretation, for example. Some objections for that interpretation are listed here - Many-worlds interpretation, Objections - Wikipedia And in the Bohm interpretation there are specific experimental results that appear to have contradicted the predictions drawn from that model. Info on that here - Bohm interpretation, Comparison with experimental data - Wikipedia

So it appears all deterministic-consistent interpretations are ruled out by certain physical observations, and therefore haven't gained the necessary footing to become the generally favored interpretation.
 
DRgenius21
 
Reply Thu 1 Jan, 2009 02:20 pm
@Henrik phil,
i believe it depends on what happens, cause for example if a couple has sex(without protection) most likely theres a baby in their future. If someone doesnt study at all, and doesnt pay attention, and doesnt cheat, most ,likely in their future theres failure. But just because something sounds prdictable doesnt mean its going to happen. Just because someone gets shot, that doesnt mean theyre going to die...
 
Ennui phil
 
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 04:58 am
@Henrik phil,
Preliminarily,to prognosticate,one can be the maestro of this by doing what you want to prognosticate.
 
 

 
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