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Memories of the 28th Century

Determinism and Time Travel

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Another part of the discussion of Equal Rights and freedom is whether people are capable of making free choices. Do we have free will?

If our actions, thoughts, feelings, etc. are determined does it make any difference whether we have equal legal rights; our rights would be restricted to what had been determined.

One of the paradoxes of time travel is the possibility of reversing the sequence of cause and effect, and the cause and effect relationship is fundamental to logical reasoning and to everything that happens; thus it also breaks determinism.

When I was young and untrained, I believed that people had free will, but I learned that determinism reflects the results of cause and effect. For some time I had the belief that determinism was absolute, but during my training in time travel I realized that the bifurcation that Everett and Devlin described made it possible for there to be free will, because any free will action that damaged the determined universe would cause the universe to split into two versions, one for either side of the free will action, as indicated by Everett’s Theory of the Universal Wave Function, and each version of the universe would have an unbroken chain of cause and effect going back to the first cause. Within this concept of the multiverse free will could exist but only within a given space-time. The multiverse as a whole would be determined.
Some people have trouble with determinism. I think that they just prefer to think that they make their own decisions. That may just be a pleasant delusion that keeps them form being depressed.
But it is also possible that the totality of the multiverse is open, so that any possibility can and will happen and can fit into at least one of the individual space-times. That would mean that there is free will, but, as with our present situation, we can't tell.

The disagreements over determinism versus free will has been going on for thousands of years, and it doesn't appear that a clear victory will happen in the foreseeable future. Based on logic, determinism is the clear winner, and even without any logic or evidence most people believe in free will.

Experimenters have found that most decisions are made subconsciously even before people are consciously aware that a decision has been made.

I suspect that the subconscious mind finds it desirable to have the conscious mind be happy. That raises the question of why the subconscious wants to keep the conscious happy.
I imagine that the Cosmos might be a huge computer designed to determine whether the cosmos is determined. For such an experiment to work, it would have to be run multiple times. I recently saw an article that asserted that astronomers had seen signs of remnants of black holes from an earlier universe. If these traces were correctly interpreted, then we are led to some strange possibilities.

I have also come to believe that there is a wide range of probabilities that end up coming into existence. That range of possibilities is also what makes it possible for the kind of time machine that I use to operate. Rather than travelling in the traditional sense they alter the probability for the machine being in a given location, and when the probability rises to near 100%, the machine is there. Similarly, when the probability drops to approximately 50% the machine is in half phase, and it becomes invisible. Also when probability drops it becomes less likely that a given event was determined. The matter of probability was central to Hugh Everett's Theory of the Universal Wave Function.

The “Theory of the Universal Wave Function," the complete thesis was published in 1973 (be aware that this has additional material added to Hugh Everett's original 1957 thesis)

Brendan Devlin's revision of Hugh Everett's theory simplified (some say over-simplified) the Universal Wave Theory so that events or matter of a probability less than twenty-five percent were so improbable that they probably never occur, and events of between twenty-five and sixty-five percent probably do occur, but they may be unrecognizable, if they are encountered. Devlin also pointed out that matter with electrical negative mass or with no electrical charges are improbable. The standard way to alter probability is to suppress the electrical charge of electrons and/or protons.

The overall result of time travel through variable probability is that we have access to parallel worlds where events that were too improbable for this universe were probable in other worlds. Which events would be determined in a parallel world can't be predetermined from outside the parallel world. This makes for interesting results, and there might be a world where Hitler was shot and killed in 1923, but that wasn't this world. And time travel destroys determinism. While there may be determinism within this space-time, there are other possibilities in other space-times (parallel universes). It is almost disappointing, but it leads to other things.

It is wonderful that people can think that they have free will, but it can't truly be free, unless one has access to a parallel worlds. What does that do to personal responsibility?