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Molyneux's Uncertainty Principle


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9 replies to this topic

#1
Nelson

Nelson
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As I was listening to FDR2659 and Stef mentioned again how the concept of a deity can be exploded by pointing out that such a thing could not simultaneously be both omniscient and omnipotent, I was struck by the parallel to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which states that we cannot know both the position and the momentum of a subatomic particle simultaneously. Voilà! I christen (pun intended) thee, Molyneux's Uncertainty Principle! :)
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#2
Mike Fleming

Mike Fleming

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Not sure how whimsical you are being but one states that something is impossible and the other states that two things cannot simultaneously be known, not that they can't both have position and momentum, because they obviously do have both. 


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#3
Pepin

Pepin
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I believe that is actually something that comes from Socrates/Plato. It is the result of Aristotle's law of non-contradiction, where something cannot contain contradictory properties.


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#4
dsayers

dsayers

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As I was listening to FDR2659 and Stef mentioned again how the concept of a deity can be exploded by pointing out that such a thing could not simultaneously be both omniscient and omnipotent, I was struck by the parallel to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which states that we cannot know both the position and the momentum of a subatomic particle simultaneously. Voilà! I christen (pun intended) thee, Molyneux's Uncertainty Principle! :)

 

I dig it. I remember when I first watched his An Introduction to Philosophy series. He covered that and a bunch of other stuff I never noticed despite being raised Christian. Just goes to show a willingness for them to oversell in an attempt to preempt skepticism.


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Providing value doesn't justify providing anti-value. I won't pay to be censored.


#5
Wuzzums

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Not sure how whimsical you are being but one states that something is impossible and the other states that two things cannot simultaneously be known, not that they can't both have position and momentum, because they obviously do have both. 

 

I think the two have more in common. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle states that the more you know about the momentum of a particle the less you know about its position. Same thing with Molyneux's Uncertainty Principle, the more you know about what's going to happen the less power you have over what's going to happen. In both instances the two variables cannot be simultaneously at 100%.


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"My common sense is tingling."


#6
Culain

Culain
  • 209 posts

Just a rant I'm going to have here, and probably completely nonsensical.

 

Suppose I am an "all-powerful" being and wanted to be "all-knowing", I want to know what will occur tomorrow and with my "all-powerfulness I granted myself the ability to be "all-knowing". I now knew what was going to happen tomorrow and forever-after. Thus, the moment I became "all-knowing" I branched into the path of determinism, all the actions I would take over the course of my existence were decided/known in that instant because the actions I would take were part of my "all-knowingness", thus from this point I lacked the ability to change my future and I lost the ability to be "all-powerful".


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#7
Anjin-san

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Just a rant I'm going to have here, and probably completely nonsensical.

 

Suppose I am an "all-powerful" being and wanted to be "all-knowing", I want to know what will occur tomorrow and with my "all-powerfulness I granted myself the ability to be "all-knowing". I now knew what was going to happen tomorrow and forever-after. Thus, the moment I became "all-knowing" I branched into the path of determinism, all the actions I would take over the course of my existence were decided/known in that instant because the actions I would take were part of my "all-knowingness", thus from this point I lacked the ability to change my future and I lost the ability to be "all-powerful".

 

It's been a while since I read it, but I think Frank Herbert dealt with the boredom and helplessness of prescience quite nicely in his Dune series.


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"We aim to make the present a foreign place to the future." - Stefan Molyneux


#8
Culain

Culain
  • 209 posts

It's been a while since I read it, but I think Frank Herbert dealt with the boredom and helplessness of prescience quite nicely in his Dune series.

 

Can you give me a simple breakdown of how he handles it and the logic used.


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#9
Anjin-san

Anjin-san
  • 31 posts

Can you give me a simple breakdown of how he handles it and the logic used.

 

You're asking more than i'm capable of, especially since it's been so long since I read it, but here's the gist:

 

*Spoiler alert*

 

The main character, the result of a centuries-long secret breeding program, has his latent future-seeing abilities greatly enhanced by an overdose of a drug already known to bring out prescience in others, to differing and lesser degrees.  He uses these abilities to win a war which frees an oppressed planet's population, giving him an army of what become fanatics of a religion that grows up around him, due to his seemingly godlike powers.  These fanatics, which he is powerless to control, then wage a jihad against the rest of the populated galaxy, spreading this religion, and thus rule by the priests of this religion, over the galaxy.

 

His vision of the future also show the extinction of humanity if its current course remains unaltered.  Feeling helpless to change it, or unwilling to embark upon the self-imprisoning and violent course to do so, he chooses to walk away from what he has begun.

 

His son, however, has no such moral compunctions, and takes steps not only to acquire this godlike prescience, but near-immortality, at the cost of his own humanity and any real self-determination, locking himself and mankind on a course to prevent their extinction.  He does what so many rulers throughout history have done: use his power to rule as a tyrant "for the greater good."  We are led to view this as a true sacrifice on his part, however, having committed himself to millenia of boredom, knowing what's to come and powerless to change it except through the forced-stagnation that he inflicts on mankind.

 

It's multiple volumes, which can hardly be condensed into a few paragraphs, but never did Herbert portray these characters as gods in the mythical sense, so we can't really deal with the issue of omnipotence.  Well worth reading, in my opinion.


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"We aim to make the present a foreign place to the future." - Stefan Molyneux


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