John Conway, a brilliant mathematician most famous among the masses for his invention of the finite automata Game of Life, recently began publicizing a proof on the existence of free will. Although he does not claim to prove or disprove free will, he claims to condition it.
If there exist experimenters with (some) free will, then elementary particles also have (some) free will.
John Conway gave a lecture on this in Australia and his talk has been summarized in a very well written web document. Although this document does not explain the justification for a few quantum physics axioms, it does explain them well and how the proof follows from these axioms. From my remedial knowledge of quantum physics, these are not made up and certain theories that are starting to become accepted are built on them, such as Quantum Computing.
My comments on this do not object with any of Conway’s proof; they are actually more of a commentary on his conclusions drawn from his proof. Conway’s proof shows that a property of the result of the measurement of spin-1 particle is also embedded in the experimenter measuring the spin-1 particle. Conway represents this property as “free will.” Apparently at the conclusion of Conway’s talk a member of the audience objected to this and asked Conway to explain why this property is not randomness but free will. Conway conceded that “free will” was a name he used to describe the property, which he felt was appropriate, but it might as well be called “free whim.”
I believe that “free will” has connotations which are possibly inappropriate to claim. Rather these particles have some element which is immeasurable by current technology which is resulting in the apparent willful choice or randomness. These particles could very well have a deterministic underpinning, but our technology may be unable to measure this underlying deterministic process.
On the other hand, I think the inverse of this claim is almost intuitively true, although I haven’t attempted to write a formal proof. That is, if elementary particles have free will, then so do the experimenters that they comprise. I believe comparing Conway’s proof to its inverse sheds more light on its depth; that is, free will or randomness, or immeasurability need not lie at some level between the complete person and his/her synapses, because it also lies among elementary particles and potentially below. Thus, the quest for answering the mysteries of the working of the human consciousness may indeed rely on more fundamental principles than the neural firings of the brain. I am not suggesting that this area stop being studying, but it alone may not be sufficient to completely explain consciousness scientifically.
I predict judgment day will be on April 15, 2029. Why? First of all, 2029 is a prime. In addition, it will be Leonardo da Vinci’s 577th birthday. 577 is also a prime. 2029 is the 41st such confluence of primes between the year and Leonardo’s birthday. 41 is also a prime. 2029 is the 13th occurrence where the count of the confluence of primes is itself a prime. 13 is ALSO a prime. You can’t fight that much math; resistance is futile.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, blame the Priory of Sion…
The Superbowl premier of Napster’s “Napster to go” service raises some interesting technophilosophical questions. The Napster to go service offered at $14.95 is an expanded version of the $9.95 PC only version, if you want to take the songs “to go” on select portable MP3 players. While I think the 50% price increase to allow portability is a bit excessive, the concept of the service is very intriguing to me. Is media ownership an antiquated phenomenon or because I’m a bit more rational than other net minds who decry everything that isn’t bleeding edge as hopelessly outdated, is ownership so ingrained into the American psyche that services such as Napster to go will never dominate the marketplace? Owning a song certainly doesn’t carry the same cultural attachments that owning a car or a house does, but there is still a strong attachment to the philosophy behind ownership of any kind.
There are two ideas people need to accept for a music service like this to work: 1.) Physical ownership isn’t important, use ownership is what matters 2.) Renting, given certain parameters, is better than owning. The second idea is less of a problem than the first. Many people are very content leasing cars one after another and most people rent movies instead of buying everything they want to see. However, renting music is different in some important regards. Music is something that you want to enjoy over and over again, most likely more times than you want to watch a movie (unless it’s Episode V or The Matrix), and any particular song isn’t going to change over time (i.e. if you like it enough to buy now, you’ll probably like it in ten years and it isn’t going to get any different), unlike a car which gets old and doesn’t have the same features as new models. So, while Napster to go is a terrific investment for any given month, its value as a service decreases somewhat when you string many months together.
1. A woman jogging, wearing a baby sling. Except instead of a baby, she was carrying a fully grown dog.
2. A man got into a heated argument with a bus stop, eventually fists were involved. He then had a very soulful discussion with a trash can, apparently relating his life story. Trash cans are good listeners. At the same bus stop, a woman was smoking a cigarette that was broken in half, with the lit end hanging from the filter by a thread.
****Editors Note: Musings is a new category, it contains thoughts on subjects that are not fully formed and posts in this category will by nature be rambling and the grammar will be “untraditional”;. If they ever coalesce into a concrete rational idea they may be reposted in revised form in a different category. Read in their current state at your own risk.****
I chose this post title for a reason. For those who don’t know Dangerous Liaisons is a 1988 film staring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Uma Thurman about seduction, adultery, and deceitful bedfellows. The movie reference is important because I’ve become increasingly agitated (or perhaps curious) over the blurring line between entertainment and all other media, although I am most specifically referring to news media.