Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Causal Mind (part I)

thoughts by Jordan Munroe

The Causal Dilemma

There seems to be a peculiar dichotomy between the causal universe described by science and the biblical concept of free will. Causality says that, within the context of our universe every event, everything that happens, has a cause. The question is whether the human mind is just another fiber in this tapestry. Taken purely from a logical standpoint, the answer would seem to be that it is, and I don't know that I disagree with logic.

Lets use a simple mind experiment. Consider that you are standing on a road that forks in front of you. Each direction appears equal differing only in their direction. Which direction do you choose? More importantly, why do you choose one direction over another? What mental processes, conscious or not, cause you to choose a direction. It is my conjecture that no thought is truly random. It could be as simple as subconsciously favoring your left over your right, but my point is there is always a cause to ones choice.

Consider a difference engine. A difference engine is a construct where by choices are made based upon one or more conditions weighted by significance. A completely causal mind is such a construct; granted a highly complex one. In such a case, if a decision is made and then the system (that is, the set of conditions; the data) is reset to its original state (excluding quantum uncertainty) the same choice will be made by a fully causal entity.

Therefore, if we are completely causal, if our minds are governed completely by cause and effect, then an important questions is raised. How can we be held accountable for our actions? If we are nothing but a causal record being played throughout time then how can our preordained actions be held as reason for damnation? (Please, note that I say this with a questioning mind, not a rebellious one. )

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