Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cosmology: If the universe has free will, where do I go to file a claim for damages?

In "The Strong Free Will Theorem," John H. Conway and Simon Kochen (Notices of the AMS, Volume 56, Number 2, February 2009) argue that elementary particles have free will:
Some readers may object to our use of the term “free will” to describe the indeterminism of particle responses. Our provocative ascription of free will to elementary particles is deliberate, since our theorem asserts that if experimenters have a certain freedom, then particles have exactly the same kind of freedom. Indeed, it is natural to suppose that this latter freedom is the ultimate explanation of our own.

[ ... ]

We introduced the term "semi-free" in [1] to indicate that it is really the pair of particles that jointly makes a free decision.
This explanation seems to overlook the specific role of the human mind in making what we think of as free decisions. Or is that the point?

Must electrons have free will because humans cannot have it unless electrons do?

Mathematicians must read and evaluate this paper. I can't.