The probabilistic nature of quantum theory has long troubled people because on the face of it, the theory seems to violate physical determinism and causality that had long been a feature of physics. (It’s important to note, however, that there are deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the Many Worlds Interpretation.) If reality turns out to be fundamentally indeterministic, would that trouble you? Or do you think that physics will ultimately uncover an underlying causal formalism in quantum theory?
Well, I think that realtiy might be indeterministic. Consider an example- if you toss a coin, what will happen? Most might say either heads or tails, now we can even tell this using laws of classical mechnics. But, if we are in reality, many other things can happen: like your coin is lost or something. So, this way I think reality can be indeterministic. One can say everything is based on possibilities until we see it.
The experiments relating to Bell’s Inequalities suggest that interactions have a truly random component although to some degree constrained, hence giving “soft determinism”. However, I do have a suspicion that quantum phase might be the “hidden variable” that determines the otherwise unpredictable component, that would result in hard determinism despite requiring knowledge of the phase of every particle in the past light cone of any event to allow its prediction.
The world is what it is so my preference is of no relevance, but I think that hard determinism would bother me more than a small degree of randomness that we can characterize as “free will”.
It would not bother me because I think reality is indeterministic. For example, I am currently 13 and when I get a score report from school, I could guess the score by how much I give efforts to it and how much I try. But there is still some chance that an unexpected could happen like when there is an error in the report.
I think I would just say “that’s how Nature is”. Although it is unusual to think of it as “indetermined” based on our macroscopic experience. Maybe the Many Worlds Interpretation is correct and anything that can happen does happen, otherwise you have to explain how did Nature decide for a thing to happen and not another (for example, a particle in superposition being observed at position A to the detriment of position B, although they both had a 50-50 chance of being observed).
The concept of a soft determinism of probability really appeals to me at a fundamental level – that does not make it real or right.
Given a 50/50 situation nature will make a choice – the logical donkey ponders the problem for some underlying advantage, and eventually starves and dies, and expediency survives to continue the ride 🙂
Given infinite time all possible outcomes are possible – those that ultimately lead to our existence were the useful ones (for us) that nature has since replicated and developed, and from which we currently gain a benefit.