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Poster: Billy the Kid
Subject: RE: Wisconsin father found guilty in prayer death case
Body:

Anne Engineer wrote:

[quote]Billy the Kid wrote:

The logical conclusion from this statement is that the firing of neurons in our brains is 100% determined by the position and velocity of each of the particles in our brains prior to that instant in time.

No, that is not the logical conclusion. In fact, your error is called "The error of composition". In essence, you are stating that the universe is entirely deterministic while he is saying that at a quantum level it isn't. If you can't simultaneously know the precise position and velocity of every particle, then talking about absolute determinism is meaningless.

A parallel example: You can determine the electrical current in a wire with great precision. Current is defined as the flow of electrical charge per unit time and a finite charge is associated with each electron. You can imagine counting electrons as they pass a point in the wire in order to determine the current. BUT, it is not true that they all line up and march down the wire in succession. In fact, if you could see them with your eye, you'd note that some of the electrons are actually moving against the flow at some times, but in general, they all tend to flow in that one direction. There is some randomness in their motion, but there is also an overall tendency. That randomness, though, throws a monkey wrench in the idea that you can determine the current with infinite precision.[/quote]

Actually no. Read his post again. He is very clearly stating that the quantum level uncertainties are irrelevant. If one is to take this as a given (note that in the post you cited I simply took his statement at face value for argument's sake) then indeed the conclusion that I draw is the logical one.

If, on the other hand, there is fundamental uncertainty/randomness... then we are back to my previous post.

In either case, the point that free will/free choice are 100 illusory given the assumption that there is nothing beyond the material/physical reality stands. As does the extension that this puts many of us in the awkward position of thinking that we believe/claiming that we believe something (nothing beyond physical randomness + physical laws) which implies something that we are incapable of believing (we do not have any choice in anything - including every keystroke that either you or I type here).
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