Tag Archives: chaos

One for the philosophers

Offered without comment, from New Scientist:

“Fruit flies have free will. Even when deprived of any sensory input to react to, the zigs and zags of their flight reveal an intrinsic, non-random – yet still unpredictable – decision-making capacity.

If evolution has furnished humans with a similar capacity, this could help resolve one of the long-standing puzzles of philosophy.

Science assumes that effects have causes, and that if we understand the causes well enough we can predict the effects. But if so, our experience of being free to make choices is an illusion, since we are in effect just sophisticated robots responding to stimuli. If our behaviour is unpredictable, this is only because random events prevent us from responding perfectly to our environment.”

And from the chaos came order

As a teenager protesting to my mother that there was no need to tidy my room, I would often fall back on utterly fictional theories (made up on the fly by myself) that mess created its own unique form of filing system. Eventually she gave up asking, and told me that in exchange I’d be responsible for sorting out my own laundry. Seemed a good deal at the time. But what I didn’t know then is that the arguments I was using may actually have had some basis in science.

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