Re: "Free Will Theorem"

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 10:17:13 +1000

On Mon, Apr 18, 2005 at 05:14:42PM -0700, Pete Carlton wrote:
> On Apr 11, 2005, at 11:11 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
> > I'm dealing with these questions in an artificial life system -
> > Tierra
> > to be precise. I have compared the original Tierra code, with one
> > in
> > which the random no. generator is replaced with a true random
> > no. generator called HAVEGE, and another simulation in which the
> > RNG
> > is replaced with a cryptographically secure RNG called ISAAC. The
> > results to date (and this _is_ work in progress) is that there is a
> > distinct difference between the original Tierra PRNG, and the other
> > two generators, but that there is little difference between HAVEGE
> > and
> > ISAAC. This seems to indicate that algorithmic randomness can be
> > good
> > enough to fool learning algorithms.
> >
> That's a very interesting experiment -- you might be interested to know
> that Dennett (again, in Elbow Room) predicted something similar; that
> for all the cases where randomness impacts an organism's choices,
> "true" randomness would be practically indistinguishable from
> sufficiently unpredictable pseudorandomness. I'm glad you're doing
> these experiments. How does your true random number generator work?
> Do you have preliminary results posted somewhere?

Have a look at

Standish, R.K. (2004) ``The Influence of Parsimony and Randomness on
Complexity Growth in Tierra'', in ALife IX Workshop and Tutorial
Proceedings, Bedau et al. (eds).

which is posted on my website.

> You said
> > The whole debate you quote from Dennett seems quaint and out of
> > date...
> >


> Well, it looks like there are as many definitions of free will as there
> are people taking part in the debate -- which is precisely why we need
> to talk about it, and why it's a good idea be familiar with at least
> the high points of the past 2500 years of philosophical literature on
> the subject, in order to avoid making the same mistakes that other
> brilliant minds have made.

I agree with you on this. I am aware of most of these arguments, as
they tend to be repeated over and over whenever this topic comes
up. However, most of these arguments I find particularly unconvincing
when seen in the light of a quantum Multiverse. I think it is time to
move on, or to shut up.


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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
Mathematics                         	       0425 253119 (")
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Received on Tue Apr 19 2005 - 19:39:45 PDT

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