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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments As much as people are divided between believers and non -, I think this is almost equally contentious issue. Some see a destiny in most eventualities and 'read' omens along the way, while others deny its existence beyond a sheer coincidence.
What do you think/believe: is each of us destined except for the common end?


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments While I could never deny death and taxes, I do not see any destiny. I think we all have choices to make at different times, and had we made slightly different ones, our whole lives might have changed. I can think of several points in my life where I made one choice when others were available, and a lot of mother people might have chosen differently, but I think the choice you make actually reflects your personality, not the intervention of some supernatural whatever. WE may look back and say, event A changed my life, and that is why I am here now, and there is truth to the fact there are consequences to your decisions, but the choices were yours. My opinion, anyway.


message 3: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin I believe that 'destiny' is too often used by people to justify their goals or 'explain' their actions. 'He followed his destiny' is an oximoron for me, because nobody can know for sure what will happen to them in the future. You can't follow something that you can't see or predict...unless you play with loaded dices. How often have you heard 'The destiny of our people is...', told by a politician/dictator/demagogue/religious leader? No, '`Destiny' means nothing to me. It just puts me on alert when I hear others say it.


message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Ian wrote: "WE may look back and say, event A changed my life, and that is why I am here now, and there is truth to the fact there are consequences to your decisions, but the choices were yours...."

I'm under impression destinists connect their beliefs more with accidents than with choices, like this accident was unavoidable and stuff...


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments Nik, an accident might be unavoidable. An example happened in Christchurch when, thanks to a 6 strength earthquake, part of a building sheared off and landed on a bus. Was the earthquake destiny, or was it because the movement in two sides of an unknown fault reached such a strain that it just had to let go. Then was it destiny that because there was a huge lump of basalt (Bank's Peninsula) put there several million years ago just right for wave reflection and interference to give one of the fiercest accelerations ever seen in an earthquake? If so, whatever causes such volcanic eruptions must have really had it in for that bus to do that so far ahead :-) Or just maybe it was an unfortunate sequence of events with obvious causes.


message 6: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments I went to a Presbyterian church for a while when I was a teenager. I couldn't go along with the predestination idea, that some are chosen and some aren't. That you're judged before you've lived your life. Nope.

As far as destiny, I don't think so. You choose your own actions freely, and those choices put you where you are today.


message 7: by Nik (last edited May 27, 2021 12:31AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments So, is there such thing as destiny? Maybe more people would want to weigh in


message 8: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments I am not so sure in the actual, but it the philosophical sense, sure.


message 9: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6151 comments So, free will or predestination?


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments The problem with this question is it is difficult to find a definitive test. Suppose I am captain of a sporting team and I have a preference for how to start. Whether I get to choose depends on whether I win the coin toss. Now those who favour predestination will say the toss result was predestined. How do you dispute that?

If you accept that if anything can be shown to be random, then predestination fails, then you might resort to quantum physics because the Uncertainty Principle says there is always some limit beyond which you cannot go involving two variables, such as energy and time: if you wish to know the energy of something exactly it has infinite time uncertainty. You might now say that means there cannot be predestiny because that would involve exact predetermination of everything. Equally, if everything is predestined, who did it? For the whole Universe, for all 10 to the power of 85 elementary particles that we think we know exist to, and everything they do for every trillionth of a second (and that is generous).

Me, I believe in free will, first because I believe I have it, but also because the contrary position is just so mathematically mind-bogglingly improbable. But I can't actually prove it.


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Scout wrote: "So, free will or predestination?"

I'd say - both. Not sure, I believe in destiny, but there are certainly circumstances (random or not) beyond our control that have a major influence on our lives. Sometimes circumstances favor the will, other times - go against it. Sometimes the will prevails, sometimes - the circumstances.


message 12: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Ian wrote: "For the whole Universe, for all 10 to the power of 85 elementary particles that we think we know exist to, and everything they do for every trillionth of a second (and that is generous)...."

That's an interesting idea to toy with. If we know how all particles inter-react and can "scan" them all to determine their coordinates at one given moment, we (or a super computer) can reverse engineer or forward engineer the universe to any other moment in time, basing on known reactions and maybe even withdraw a bunch of particles, forming a specific individual, and shoot them to the future or to the past - to a correspondent outlay of particles.


message 13: by J. (last edited May 31, 2021 07:29AM) (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Ian wrote: "The problem with this question is it is difficult to find a definitive test. Suppose I am captain of a sporting team and I have a preference for how to start. Whether I get to choose depends on..."

We're getting into nomological determinism.

All current states proceeded from preceding states. Therefore all decisions are predicated upon previous decisions. If we follow the chain of your decisions backwards, we must come to a decision over which you had no control (ie. your birth). This proves that your will is at least constrained.

Compatiblists argue that random events allow free will in a deterministic universe by breaking the chain of causality. I disagree with this position because the random event is itself a causal event over which you have no control.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments Free will does not forbid determinism and causality, because provided there is no cause forbidding it, at any instant free will allows you to create a new cause. Thus if I am playing football, say, and all previous causes permit the game to proceed (i.e. no sudden snowstorm, no terrorist bomb etc) I have the choice to kick the ball wherever I like and the ball will go wherever I decide, compatible with my skill set.

If all current states are determined ONLY by preceding states, everything was determined at the big bang. That means all the information required to determine every event in the Universe over all time was concentrated in a point. That is dense information :-)


message 15: by Jim (last edited May 31, 2021 02:47PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 172 comments I know that Destiny's Child existed because I witnessed one of their live performances. One of the striptease artists in a Gentlemen's Club in Chicago, Ill. was named Destiny. Trust me; she definitely existed.

I have yet to experience anything during my 73 years of life to convince me that destiny, defined as the predetermined course of events, has ever occurred. (Not to be confused with forecasted events or outcomes based upon scientific research, mathematical probability, or coincidence.)


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Jim wrote: "....I have yet to experience anything during my 73 years of life to convince me that destiny, defined as the predetermined course of events, has ever occurred. (Not to be confused with forecasted events or outcomes based upon scientific research, mathematical probability, or coincidence.)..."

Indeed, nothing is more convincing than personal experience


message 17: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1847 comments I don't beleive in destiny. Ian's first post pretty much describes my thoughts, as does those that discuss random events not being destiny.

Like Scout mentioned, the religious teaching of some denominations include the belief that God already knows how we will choose but we have free will. If the outcome is known, how can there be free will? Another part of what we were taught that, even as a child, made no sense to me.

Maybe to so me extent there are those who are born to royalty who are destined to be kings and queens. However, considering the history and numbers of death from nature, diseases, siblings and political parties in the history of those countries, I am more inclined to believe in luck than destiny for those who survived to rule.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments N ot so sure about the luck, Lizzie. Sometimes it was the ability to brutally and preemptively kill brothers before they could get around to you.


message 19: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1847 comments Ian wrote: "N ot so sure about the luck, Lizzie. Sometimes it was the ability to brutally and preemptively kill brothers before they could get around to you."

Which, in part is luck - to get them before they got you? But, also, the luck of the gentic draw, especially with the inbreeding; and the luck of surviving a disease. My point is that in the end I don't think destiny determined which royal child survived to rule.


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments Lizzie, I never meant to suggest that the killing of brothers was destiny, although it might have seemed obvious to the brutal one who was not the oldest. Ability is different from predestined. I am a firm believer in free will


message 21: by Nik (last edited Aug 23, 2021 09:34AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments A horrible accident (WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF5iq... The woman twice escaped cancer to be killed by a falling tree. Somebody really needed her on the other side?


message 22: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments OUCH


message 23: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Could a deterministic universe produce free will as an emergent phenomena?


message 24: by J. (last edited Aug 27, 2021 01:27PM) (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Graeme wrote: "Could a deterministic universe produce free will as an emergent phenomena?"

A deterministic universe could certainly produce a feeling of free will, but I am not so certain about actual free will.

Let's think about it through two possible drivers, random quantum events and compounding complexity.

1. ) Random quantum events are themselves (to the best of my knowledge) not produced by previous states. But they do impact future states. Therefore they can break the chain of causality. Let's say that a particle poofs into existence inside of your brain. Almost instantly it interacts with a carbon atom in a serotonin molecule. This interaction causes a miniscule alteration in your mental state, independent of the chain of causality which has shaped your brain since before your birth. Have you been granted free will? Or has your will been enslaved to completely random events, of which you are unaware?

I don't see a route to self determination in this.

2. ) Can a deterministic universe break itself through compounding complexity?

We start with an expanding universe. As it expands, its energy density decreases, exponentially. Eventually, it cools enough for particles and forces to emerge. The chain of causality has begun. Particles conglomerate to form atoms. Gravity pulls atoms together to form stars. Stars form galaxies, as their hearts create everything heavier than Helium. Generation upon generation of stars die in explosions that spread their new, heavier elements across the galaxies. Planets form. DNA forms. Life rises. A strange bipedal ape picks up a rock...

Every step built new layers of complexity upon the previous steps. Is it possible for a new step to create a paradox in which some part of a new step must violate a causal relationship from a previous step in order to remain self-consistent? Can a clock have too many gears, yet still work?


message 25: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments Yes, if the universe in question was determined to create free will. If it is deterministic, then there must be a determined destination.

Yes, even in a deterministic universe, things may break even by accident.


message 26: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I'm thinking along the lines of cellular automata.

Simple rules interacting and iterating over time to produce complex outcomes.

REF: (Youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK7nB...


message 27: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Papaphilly wrote: "Yes, if the universe in question was determined to create free will. If it is deterministic, then there must be a determined destination.

Yes, even in a deterministic universe, things may break even by accident."


Your first paragraph seems to relate to Creationism. That would bring us to the question of the nature of free will in the face of an omniscient god.

Your second paragraph understates my earlier point about a paradox. It wouldn't be a thing that is breaking. It would be the fundamental forces that create reality.


message 28: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Graeme wrote: "I'm thinking along the lines of cellular automata.

Simple rules interacting and iterating over time to produce complex outcomes.

REF: (Youtube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK7nB..."


I agree that complex interactions can have astounding emergent properties. I put to you that those properties are still bound by the rules and forces which both govern and drive the sets from which those properties emerge. Can a set produce a property which violates the rules and forces of said set?


message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments When one talks about determinism, we need to state clearly what is determined. Thus you will hear that quantum mechanics gives random results, but the Schrödinger equation is completely deterministic - but in ψ. If you know ψ now, you know it indefinitely for that system. Nevertheless, a particle going through the two slits can go in a straight line r end up in any of the fringes to the left or right.

Causality depends on what is conserved. Thus energy, momentum and angular momentum are conserved, and from Noether's theorem, these conserved properties are a consequence of fundamental properties of space. That means that mechanical systems on the macro scale are determined by what came before because what eventuates must follow those conserved properties, and if you do the maths, the outputs of these variables for any action are fully determined.

However, the second law of thermodynamics introduces a further complication. heat is random motion, and all motion eventually decays to heat if it involves collisions, and heat is deterministic only in that it flows from hot to cold, but the internal motion is still random. That means, provided you can select an output direction, e.g. the steam from a pipe comes out where you point the pipe, you can get work out of heat.

Now, when you burn chemicals, the effect is heat, but it can be directed in the intermediate state. Therefore because your brain burns glucose, it can determine something on its own, without requiring a pre-conditioned cause other than the supply of glucose. That permits your free will with one reservation. At this stage, the burning of glucose in the brain should give random output that can be determined, but that requires something to do the determining, such as with the steam, something to point the pipe in a given direction. Note that pointing the pipe does not involve conservation. The work done moving it involves energy, and in the brain, the work done comes from burning glucose. The direction of he work is not conserved, because position is not a conserved property so that is a free choice, but what does the choosing? If you say, "I do," what exactly is "I"?


message 30: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan J. wrote: "Can a set produce a property which violates the rules and forces of said set?..."

Precisely. I would think not. So, emergent phenomena would always be consistent with the available rule set.


message 31: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments Yes, but the set has to be relevant. One can always find sets, like the set of all green things. And if you know the relevant rule, you have the answer to the problem. The use of set theory is more for finding the rule rather than using the rule to find the set.


message 32: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments The set is the Universe.


message 33: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan J. wrote: "The set is the Universe."

That was what I was thinking too.

I.e. Emergent phenomena will be consistent with the operation of physical law.


message 34: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Graeme wrote: "J. wrote: "The set is the Universe."

That was what I was thinking too.

I.e. Emergent phenomena will be consistent with the operation of physical law."


The question becomes whether the set includes itself. In other words, is the set all matter and energy in the Universe? Or is it all matter and energy in the Universe and the Universe? It's a Bertrand Russell thing.


message 35: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments J. wrote: "Papaphilly wrote: "Yes, if the universe in question was determined to create free will. If it is deterministic, then there must be a determined destination.

Yes, even in a deterministic universe, ..."


No it is not a statement about Creationism. My point is if it is a determined outcome, then it will happen. This group has a thread about self-aware AI. All the pieces are in place for this to happen. We all seem agree this will happen at some point in the near future. Whether it is an accidental happening or some really smart programmer develops it, it is not really the issue because it was determined by those that started the process that it would happen.

Now the second part, using my just explained logic, if the universe determined that AI would become self-aware through a given set of circumstances, then it happens totally by accident totally unrelated circumstances, that means it broke the deterministic way even if it was determined to create the thing in the first place.


message 36: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Papaphilly wrote: "J. wrote: "Papaphilly wrote: "Yes, if the universe in question was determined to create free will. If it is deterministic, then there must be a determined destination.

Yes, even in a deterministic..."


Are you assigning agency to an actor, external or otherwise?


message 37: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments J. wrote: "Papaphilly wrote: "J. wrote: "Papaphilly wrote: "Yes, if the universe in question was determined to create free will. If it is deterministic, then there must be a determined destination.

Yes, even..."


No,

I am obviously not doing a good job. This is a mental exercise for me. The "universe" can be anything. It is a "space" within which the experiment happens. I am not labeling the determiner. It does not matter. The only thing that matters is that a determination was arrived for whatever the given outcome was decided. How the answer is arrived at is the experiment. Remember, it was determined that "X" was the outcome.


message 38: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan J. wrote: "Graeme wrote: "J. wrote: "The set is the Universe."

That was what I was thinking too.

I.e. Emergent phenomena will be consistent with the operation of physical law."

The question becomes whether..."


Excuse me ... what on Earth is the distinction b/w those two sets, J?

Is it the information content? I.e. Organisation? or something else?


message 39: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan If I ever get the chance to have a beer with you guys, I'm buying the first round...


message 40: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Graeme wrote: "If I ever get the chance to have a beer with you guys, I'm buying the first round..."

Now we are talking :) That's what I call determination! An excellent reason to come over. Beau can use the sidelines to liberate you


message 41: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Graeme wrote: "J. wrote: "Graeme wrote: "J. wrote: "The set is the Universe."

That was what I was thinking too.

I.e. Emergent phenomena will be consistent with the operation of physical law."

The question beco..."


As a practical matter, it is a question about whether the Universe itself can have agency.

It is also important to define a set with care. Imagine a town where everyone is clean shaven. The only barber is the man who shaves other people. Who shaves the barber? By the rules of the set, everyone is clean shaven and the barber shaves other people. If he shaves himself, then he can't be the barber. If he doesn't shave, then not everyone is clean shaven. Because it's a narrowly defined set, simple solutions like a female barber and another town are excluded.


message 42: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11759 comments "The set is the Universe" offers nothing more than a philosophical rabbit hole. The concept of the set involves two things: the elements that make up the set, and the rule that conveys set membership. If every possible element is in the set, the concept is merely useless, and ther eis no rule that conveys set membership other than, "it is", which is not exactly helpful.

J wrote: "is the set all matter and energy in the Universe? Or is it all matter and energy in the Universe and the Universe? It's a Bertrand Russell thing." I disagree. If the set is the Universe it is everything and nothing can lie outside it. The rule is the set is the sum of all possible elements. But to say it is all matter and energy in the Universe and the Universe your rule is double counting. Each element can only be counted once, and an element cannot be compound by definition of a set. You can have a subset where elements are grouped under a separate rule, but the set still counts them once.


message 43: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments I think we don’t know enough yet to bridge btw quantum mechanics & psychology. At this stage just a belief - we do have free will heavily influenced by eventualities.
If causality stands then we can compute the position of elements at any point of time and supposedly do telekinesis & time travel. If not - not.
Taking into account infinity in greatness and smallness, if our entire universe is just an electron in something bigger, there might be systems with a different set of rules altogether


message 44: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Porting not kinesis


message 45: by Faith (new)

Faith | 15 comments Nik wrote: "As much as people are divided between believers and non -, I think this is almost equally contentious issue. Some see a destiny in most eventualities and 'read' omens along the way, while others deny its existence beyond a sheer coincidence.
What do you think/believe: is each of us destined except for the common end? "


Nik, have you seen the movie 'Serendipity'? That's not to say I believe in destiny (though the film sure makes it appealing as a 'perfect timing/spacing device'), but if I tell you what I really think - you'll have the 'Top Secret' plot to my book.

But thanks for starting this thread - because I finally condensed the entire point of it down to the same question. If it gets published, I'll put you in the acknowledgments.

I'm laughing - but I'm serious. I was writing on this topic all morning in another piece, but didn't put the two efforts together until just now. :o)


message 46: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16027 comments Glad to be of some help 😋 Hope your book gets published, independent of acknowledgment. I’m happy with the one you mention here 🙇
Don’t remember Serendipity. Gotta watch it


message 47: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Ian wrote: ""The set is the Universe" offers nothing more than a philosophical rabbit hole. The concept of the set involves two things: the elements that make up the set, and the rule that conveys set membersh..."

1.) All of philosophy is a rabbit hole.

2.) The limitations of "inside" and "outside" do not preclude the existence of other universes. If a multiverse does exist, then our universe is just a subset of the Cosmos.

3.) If you want to claim that I'm double counting, than we can dump matter and energy in favor of just the universe. For all we know matter and energy are the least important parts of reality.


message 48: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 4554 comments Papaphilly wrote: "No it is not a statement about Creationism. My point is if it is a determined outcome, then it will happen. This group has a thread about self-aware AI. All the pieces are in place for this to happen. We all seem agree this will happen at some point in the near future. Whether it is an accidental happening or some really smart programmer develops it, it is not really the issue because it was determined by those that started the process that it would happen."

Are you using "determined" as also meaning predetermined?


message 49: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments Ian wrote: ""The set is the Universe" offers nothing more than a philosophical rabbit hole. The concept of the set involves two things: the elements that make up the set, and the rule that conveys set membership. If every possible element is in the set, the concept is merely useless, and ther eis no rule that conveys set membership other than, "it is", which is not exactly helpful...."

Wait a moment, where did it say there is only one universe? How about multiple dimensions?


message 50: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3679 comments J. wrote: "Papaphilly wrote: "No it is not a statement about Creationism. My point is if it is a determined outcome, then it will happen. This group has a thread about self-aware AI. All the pieces are in pla..."

That is a great question. In this case I am not so sure there is much of a difference other than the idea that a determination can come a a later start than the predetermination. so let us split the difference. Use both as yes and is there any major difference between the two as you see it?


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