Monday, October 12, 2020

Superdeterminism forbids human free will

A new paper promotes superdeterminism:
The violation of Bell inequalities seems to establish an important fact about the world: that it is non-local. However, this result relies on the assumption of the statistical independence of the measurement settings with respect to potential past events that might have determined them. Superdeterminism refers to the view that a local, and determinist, account of Bell inequalities violations is possible, by rejecting this assumption of statistical independence. ...

However, most physicists do not seriously consider superdeterministic theories as interpre-tations of Bell inequalities — although, importantly, they often the superdeterminist loophole cannot, as a matter of principle, be closed. ...

But Bell goes further and claims that free will could not exist in a superdetermin-istic world. He suggest that the experimenters’ capacity to freely choose the measurement settings comes under attack when operating in the background of a superdeterministic theory. Superdeterminism is hence characterised as an ‘absolute determinism in the universe’, equated with a ‘complete absence of free will’.

The paper goes on to argue that other determinists have ways of explaining away free will, so superdeterminists should be able to do so similarly.

Superdeterminism really is incompatible with free will. If you believe in superdeterminism, you have to believe that when an experimenter turns the dials on his apparatus, his choices are constrained by a need for an outcome that was predetermined 14 billion years ago.

The error in this paper is right at the beginning, where it says that Bell proved that the world is either super-deterministic or non-local. The more sensible conclusion is that the world is governed by local quantum field theory, and that humans have free will. The world has stochastic aspects whether human choices are involved or not.

I don't know how anyone can believe in super-determinism, and believe in the scientific method at all. It would all hypothesis testing is just an illusion.


  1. I've found it moderately compelling that "local quantum field theory" is *conditionally* deterministic, in a Mott-like sense that if we perform the same measurement twice there is a perfect correlation between the two results if the evolution is unitary, which is also true for random fields. You can find that result (it's close to trivial) in Section 7.1 of "An algebraic approach to Koopman classical mechanics", in Annals of Physics 2020. That's not true if the evolution is not unitary, and I personally find it hard to see how one could be a priori certain that the evolution has to be unitary, but unitary evolution *is* very often assumed.

    Superdeterminism doesn't *necessarily* commit us to no-free-will, insofar as the axiom of choice introduces mathematical niceties that make a difference if someone (someone infinitely capable) has to make an infinite number of choices to establish noisy initial conditions (the axiom of choice being incompatible with measure theory, in particular, whoops!)

  2. Here is that paper. I didn't quite follow the argument, but the non-determinism of quantum theory is usually attributed to the collapse of the wave function. The collapse is non-unitary. So assuming everything is unitary is a big assumption.

    I see now that superdeterminist Dr. Bee made a new video saying that the concept of free will makes no sense. I will post on it later.

  3. Roger,
    I was going to say, out of one side of their mouths they are pushing 'because of quantum (fill in the blank) everything is just probabilities', on the other it is superdeterministic. Both positions seem to waste their time and limited understanding on bashing the concept of volition. It's telling that those who try to diminish the concept of choice are always so eager to assume authority. I guess none of them have ever looked in a mirror and noticed what they themselves even are. They can't solve a three body problem, but hell, they know exactly how the universe works and dance around their holy formulas pretending they have a grasp on initial conditions they tell themselves happened over 14 billion years ago. Excuse my french, but, Bullshit. Just loads and loads of bullshit.

    Both of these positions are baloney, because

    1.)the universe is not made of math, and

    2.) nor is it bound by absurdum ad reductio, or

    3.) our incredibly limited understanding of it (given our VAST experience) by means of physics, philosophy, mathematics or otherwise.

    To poke a few holes in the superdeterminism side of the fake debate:

    You can not know ALL initial conditions to anything, because as scientists themselves acknowledge, observation alters the experiment, you ARE the primary cause and thus a part of any experiment you initiate. For someone to know all initial conditions, to be exact, they would have to include themselves in the goddamn mix, as usual, the fat heads have granted themselves fickle god-like paradoxical powers of absolute omission while still having ring side seats to the event. For there to be an observer at the initial state of the universe, there would have to be a pre-existing frame of reference of the observer at that event...indicating pretty plainly that it was in fact NOT the initial state of the universe since something clearly was there before the party got started. Absolute knowledge of initial conditions is an empty paradox, it goes nowhere, and it is the linchpin the entire premise of superdeterminism as it swirls around the trap in a flushing toilet (notice the subtle imagery?).

    Can anyone have absolute knowledge of something? Initial or otherwise?
    Only if you believe in particular flavors of divinity which revolve around absurd paradoxes: 'Can Zeus make a rock so heavy he can't pick it up?', 'can a HEP physicist punch their way out of paper bag' or in this updated version, 'can a observer know everything about itself (and everything that entails) as well as ALL the initial conditions of 'our universe' as well as how their observation will interact with said universe's initial conditions and what that will lead to with any kind of certainty billions of years into the future, and then be around to say "aha! told you so!".'

    I for one do not even grant such ridiculous assumptions of such omniscience to the concept of divinity. Some people can see farther ahead than others, but no one can see everything. What to us might seem prophetic may be just another walk around the block to the far more experienced..they have limits, its just their limits are greater than ours.

    Superdeterminism is an empty paradox canard for the intellectually pompous to play with at cocktail parties to impress their gullible friends and shallow colleagues...and write stupid papers about to prove they are clever and get funding.

    "Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems."

    Scott Adams