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Comment on Free will as nonlinear transformational effectiveness

BenRayfield Mon, Aug 30, 2010
Theres an experiment you can do (many times because its a statistics experiment) to learn about "free will". I've done this and similar things enough to know it works more than you would expect from random coin flips...

Wait until you have 2 things to choose between and you are equally likely to choose 1 or the other. Commit to doing 1 if the coin lands heads and the other if its tails. No changing your mind after it lands, or it won't work. Center your mind, and make sure you're still completely undecided, 50% chance of preferring either future. Flip the coin high in the air. As its falling, look at it and think about the 2 possible futures. Your mind normally fluctuates between preferring 1 thing or the other a little, and this is no different. Whichever thing you start preferring while the coin is landing, will cause the coin to land that way more often. Now go do 1 of 2 things you committed to do depending on how the coin landed. A little more than half the time, you will do the thing you started to prefer while it was being flipped.

Really, it works. I'm not joking. I think its because of the continuous paths in all directions in the multiverse. Creating quantum entanglement isn't hard. If you commit to do something if the coin lands heads, you've quantum entangled that event with heads. Except for rare times when you can't do what you committed to, those events always go together, so they're entangled. Its similar to what makes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching  work, which is also a sequence of logical steps involving coin flips. What I described more directly shows how it works.

How is it related to "free will"? You threw the coin in the air before deciding. When you decide what you prefer (to affect it statistically a little), does that change the past so you throw it differently? Or does the way the coin is falling change what you prefer? Or does past-to-future time have nothing to do with it?

For a more interesting experiment, do these experiments in combinations, depending on the results of other such experiments, and define logical operations (AND, OR, NOT, IF_THEN, etc) referring to far-future experiments that define how you commit to reacting to near-future experiments that define how you commit to very-far-future experiments (knot ends here).... If you do big enough systems of that, theoretically you should be able to tie the causal structure of spacetime in knots, just by committing to a certain system of reacting to coin flips. Can you think of anyone who has ever tried that? If not, how do you know it wouldn't work? Why would it work in small experiments but not systems made of small experiments? If you want to learn about "free will", tie it in knots and build all kinds of strange things with it, and see what it does. Maybe if you tie the causal structure of spacetime in exactly the right kind of knot (maybe one of those knots that tightens but never lets go), you could do something with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes  I haven't been able to do this again, but I was once playing with coins in a similar way, and I guess there was something too improbable about both the heads and tails futures, and the coin landed sideways by hitting a beer cap on a table, bouncing against a magnet, and then the beer cap clamped it straight up against the magnet, something I couldn't do after throwing the coin 100 times at the beer cap while trying to clamp it to the magnet. That coin landed sideways for some reason other than randomness.

I think space and time are just approximations of some emergent patterns at the core of all math/abstractions/etc, so I don't see any paradoxes with any of this. When people start making up words like "free" and "choose", thats when the confusion starts.