Thursday, March 19, 2020

We cannot calculate human decisions

Sabine Hossenfelder writes:
This means that large objects - basket balls, cucumbers, you - behave according to the same laws as elementary particles. Even though no one in their right mind would use the Standard Model of particle physics to predict the growth of a cucumber, there is nothing, in principle, standing on the way of doing so. Given a sufficiently large and powerful computer, even human decisions could be calculated in finite time3. The consequence is that, according to our best current knowledge, the future is already determined, up to the occasional random interference from quantum events,4. And really all of science is just a sloppy version of physics.

[footnote] 4 What you think this implies for the existence of free will depends on your definition of free will. Personally, I would argue this means free will does not exist in any sensible definition of the term, though, of course, no one is forced to use a sensible definition. But regardless of what you think free will means, the statement that the future is determined up to quantum fluctuations remains correct.
I don't know how anyone can believe this.

She says that the quantum-mechanical Standard Model is the fundamental theory that explains everything, so why does she refer to quantum events as "occasional random interference"? All we are is a bunch of quantum events.

This is a very strange view. It sounds as if she believes the true laws of physics as non-quantum, and quantum mechanics is just making it sloppy. Her footnote says that this refutes any sensible notion of free will. So do she think humans are governed by physical laws that do not include quantum mechanics?

I know from her blog that she doesn't even believe in quantum randomness, because she subscribe to superdeterminism. So why even bring it up? Why not stick to your superdeterminism beliefs?

I get the impression that there is a good and holy God who brings order to the universe, in the form of deterministic laws, and there is an evil Devil who keeps corrupting it by injecting quantum uncertainties.

Maybe I shouldn't pick on her, because a lot of other physicists probably have similar views. Very few subscribe to superdeterminism, but a lot probably view quantum events as some sort of devil's work. Weird.

No comments:

Post a Comment