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    • For those of you who are not familiar with it, Quanta Magazine has a reputation for being a rigorous science magazine.

      It's audience is definitely not the subscriber to "Popular Science" or any of the "Wow, look at this" type of Science outlets.

      So, an article in Quanta Magazine suggesting that the General Theory of Relativity is founded on mathematical theory that is incorrect is flabbergasting to say the least.

      Nevertheless, such an article has been published.

      The mathemetician at the center of this discussion is arguing that Quantum level physics contradicts Einstein's deterministic model. He is appealing to a different set of mathematical theories which he claims are consistent both with quantum level physics and with physics above the quantum level.

      Apparently some other quantum physicists think that his theory is plausible.

    • Exactly. Gisen seems to think that we do and that the universe isn't as predictable as Einstein's General Theory of Relativity suggests. That's at least my takeaway from it.

      While I'm not a physicist, I do believe in freedom of the will and thus am open to theories that suggest the universe, while governed by laws and not totally chaotic, isn't entirely deterministic, either. In other words, there's a certain element of chance at play.

    • I think of space-time as being like taking a photograph of the universe at its beginning, then taking another photograph every second thereafter. If placed in a pile, in sequence, that block of photos is space-time.

      This tends me to think in terms of determinism.

      And yet, I like the idea of freewill.

      Maybe we only perceive that we have freewill, and the future is as pre-ordained as a stack of photos. The question is: does it matter? As long as we continue to act and make choices as if they make a difference, then is that enough?

      Would everything fall apart in a wave of apathy if we didn't?

      At the limits physics approaches philosophy.

    • @Chris

      As I've said to you before, the idea that science is "settled" is false. Science is always in a state of flux. Many theories which were previously considered "proven" have later been replaced.

    • The word science is such a sweeping term I don’t know a scientist in the world who would claim all science is settled, least of all complicated theories about relativity, gravity, quantum mechanics, deep space, disease.

      That’s what all scientists love about it: we are constantly learning and exploring and if you can prove a theory inadequate and come up with a new one, you get a medal, although sometimes after you are fired, excommunicated, censored or imprisoned.

      But if the word is used in reference to specific science, it’s absolutely settled. The earth really is round. Coronavirus really is dangerous.

      I feel very sorry for the scientists who claim vaccines are generally safe and effective.

    • Wouldn't you have said ten years ago that Einstein's General Theory was "proven?"

      I am not a flat earther and I believe that vaccination produces antibodies which produce immunities. Some are more effective than others and some such as live polio vaccines (which are prohibited in the USA) are dangerous but I am not an anti-vaxxer.

      Nevertheless, I suspect that if Jesus does not return before 2320 that in 300 years medical science will view our form of immuno-therapy as outdated and undesirable.

    • Wouldn't you have said ten years ago that Einstein's General Theory was "proven?"

      I never have and I can't recall good scientists who did, but probably there were some. But I did claim it was a huge advance in thinking. I've been fascinated in it and quantum theory since college, cheering on every challenge to whether gravity waves bend, yada. That's how science advances. But the earth is still round and I don't see many scientists spending their time challenging that theory.

      I suspect that if Jesus does not return before 2320 that in 300 years medical science will view our form of immuno-therapy as outdated and undesirable.

      Let's hope so!! Let's hope we don't have to wait 300 years. Our view of transmission of airborne viruses has changed in 3 months and masks are looking a lot more credible to westerners than they were 90 days ago.

      The question is, do you think the advances in immunology over the next 300 years will come more from scientists & doctors, politicians and business execs, or pastors and scripture?

    • If you think that I'm the kind of person who thinks that religion is about improving society, you are projecting.

      I talk to people about all the people whom Jesus did not heal. For example, in John 5, he goes to the pool of Bethesda and only healed ONE MAN. The place is filled with sick people and Jesus heals one person.

      In John 6, beginning in verse 22, a group of people, many of whom Jesus had fed the day before come looking for Him and he refuses to feed them and near the end of the chapter, the text says: "Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

      Jesus had cast out an unclean spirit in the synagogue on the Sabbath, that evening when the sun had set (because the new day starts at sunset in the Old Testament law, many people came to the door of the house where he was staying to be healed. Jesus healed many but the next day when those of the village were looking for him, Jesus said to His disciples "Let us go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for to this end came I forth."

      I do not believe that God intends churches to be focused on the physical or on wholesale change of society. He gave a message regarding which Jesus said "few there be that find it."

      Paul stated that very few of those who are impressed by those things which the world considers significant or glorious come to Jesus because God chose those things which the world does not admire and those things which are viewed as being unworthy and those things which are viewed as insignificant so that no flesh could glory in God's presence.

      Any religion that devotes itself to a medical agenda has abandoned the agenda and focus which God gave to His people. It is true that those who are God's people are to manifest His love to others in physical ways. But just as Jesus refused to heal in His hometown of Nazareth because they were focused on the physical and not on the spiritual so it is with His people.

      If one gains the whole world and loses his soul, how has he benefited by those things which do not outlast this life?

    • Philosophy was my major, so I've had a lot of discussions about this very topic. The question you raised is a good one: "If we think we have free will, does that mean we have it?" 

      While I believe we have free will, one could easily argue that feeling you have free will doesn't necessarily mean we have it. 

      Of course, where things get tricky is when you factor in genetics and predispositions. Are you familiar with the philosophical story of "Chanelle, Sabrina, and the Oboe" by Bruce Waller? 

      In the story, two people Chanelle and Sabrina have a discussion about free will. Chanelle argues that even though she has a gene that causes her to like playing the oboe, Sabrina is still freely choosing to play the oboe. Sabrina argues in order to have freedom, she can't be influenced by any natural/biological causes or factors. 

      I think when it comes to free will, the soft-deterministic view is what's best and most logical. In order to have free will in the way that Sabrina describes, one must not be influenced at all by external forces. Of course, the problem is that under this definition of free will, one cannot be considered free because their “choices” are actually random and not influenced by anything. Therein lies the paradox. Being truly free means being your actions are random and unattached from anything. That’s not acting free, that’s acting crazy. 

      In the soft-deterministic view however, we do freely make choices based upon our own dispositions, likings, and interests, which are largely shaped by nature and forces outside of our control. When Sabrina chooses to play the oboe, she freely does so because she has a gene that makes her like to play the oboe and nobody is making her do it. She could do something else, but she she’s choosing to play it because she likes it. Why does she like it? She has the “oboe gene” as it were.  

      I think this middle ground view is the right way to view the issue of free will. We all have our own predispositions and biases that are caused by forces outside of our control. We however have the freedom to act on these predispositions or not. These predispositions somewhat bind us, but they also allow us to experience free will at the same time. I hope that all made sense! 

    • That makes sense to me. The soft-deterministic view is all we are left with, really, since any other outlook would induce despair!

      These thoughts are all rooted in our own experiences of freewill, or lack thereof. My overall point is based on the existential question of whether we are living in a pre-ordained photo stack, or not. Whilst we may perceive soft-determinism is one thing; whether it actually exists in an absolute sense is another.

      My view is that these things only matter within the boundaries of our own frame of reference. That is, if we perceive freewill, then we have it.

      It is a bit like the simulation hypothesis. In an absolute sense we may be in one, but for as long as we believe we are not, then the latter applies.

      Einstein said that he did not believe God played dice. But does he play cards?