Re: "Free Will Theorem"

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 10:09:27 +1000

On Sun, Apr 17, 2005 at 06:01:19PM -0400, John M wrote:
> Russell, I hate to discuss sci-fi (the daemon), but you wrote:
> "The daemon computes the future - not just predicts or guesses, but
> computes it exactly. "
> So in your opinion the daemon 'knows' (= applies for this exact comp) all
> the unlimited details of a totally interconnected world. IMO she cannot be
> different from "the world itself". And the computer usable for the daemon
> could not be different from - (!!!) "the world itself" again.
> The unlimited database applied by the infinite computing.
> No neglects, no surprizes. Exact computation of the future. - Fine.

Laplace's daemon is a hypothetical creature that knows the exact state
of every particle in the universe. In a deterministic universe, the
daemon could compute the future exactly. Of course the daemon cannot
possibly exist, any more than omniscient beings. In a quantum world,
or a Multiverse, such daemons are laughable fantasies. Nevertheless,
they're often deployed in reductio ad absurdum type arguments to do
with determinism.

> Then again:
> "Tierra is not a model, it is a computational system that can be studied in
> its own right."
> Our definitions of 'model' are different. I call it (and used it that way) a
> limited aspect of the totality, in the first place limited by the (actual?)
> level of our continually increasing knowledge base. Since you hopefully do
> not deal in sci-fi, your Tierra circumstances are limited at least in this
> sense. You do limited computations and draw conclusions which in your word
> do not seem to be appreciated as a limited outcome. Here is the punctum
> saliens I make in reductionistic vs wholistic: to draw universal conclusions
> upon model-studies.

This may not be the place for debating this point, but a model stands
in a "modelling relation" to some other system. There is meant to be
some correspondence between the model and the system that allows one
to draw inferences from the model about the system.

Tierra, on the other hand is not a model, in this sense - it is an
evolutionary system in its own right. It is not particularly
interesting in its own right, except that by studying it, and
comparing it with other evolutionary systems, one might discover what
is common to all evolutionary systems, and what is peculiar to
particular ones - eg the Earth's biosphere.

> Your position about Tierra is appreciable, which does not hit me as a
> surprize. I just consider them "a step".
> Even if you employ 'The Daemon" you could not get the totality: without
> total input no total outcome.
> "On the other hand, if we succeed, we will have a far better understanding
> of creativity, plus probably have a powerful new technology to boot."
> That I agree with and this is the reason for my appreciation of your
> project. Just please, don't 'daemonize' it.
> John Mikes
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Russell Standish" <>
> To: "John M" <>
> Cc: "Stathis Papaioannou" <>;
> <>; <>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 7:58 PM
> Subject: Re: "Free Will Theorem"

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Received on Tue Apr 19 2005 - 19:32:09 PDT

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