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Free Will and the New Scientist

July 8, 2006

The most recent issue of New Scientist details some recent new theories in physics. Unfortunately, this new theory is cast in the context of the question of whether “Free Will” exists. The theory is quite interesting in that it attempts to address some of the difficulties of quantum theory. Gerard t’ Hooft of Utrecht University has approached the problem in a way that avoids dealing with particles or waves and instead deals with “states” that have energy. These states according to his model behave “according to deterministic laws.” In step mathmaticians John Conway and Simon Kochen who declare that if this is true there is no such thing as free will. Since they like free will they say he is wrong. Wow, what nonsense! Clearly they know nothing about free will, don’t seem to understand theoretical physics and methinks ignore some math. One must always be careful when combining discipines to be careful about language. “Deterministic” might well mean something quite different in physics, math, history, or philosophy. Yet more proof that truths are but lies that we agree to recite to each other. I am open to reciting t’ Hooft, but not Conway and Kochen. If you are going to apply math to free will you would be better off using chaos theory. (Originally published 5/10/06, 3:34PM on untimelymeditations.zenosox.com)

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