Ringbearers

Sacrifice. The idea evokes images of parents working long hours, taking extra jobs, living in a small cheap apartment to provide better opportunity for children. Or perhaps a soldier taking the point on patrol – walking out ahead of the others. If he takes a hit, the others have a better chance to find cover. Sacrifices like these we readily recognize as willful. We appreciate and honor them.

Is there such a thing as unchosen sacrifice? Could loss of health, possessions, sanity, or future dreams be called sacrifice, regardless of the intentions of the person affected? What about tragedy that visits people randomly, the effect of chaos in this world? Continue reading “Ringbearers”

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Chaos, Chance, and Will

If the flap of a butterfly’s wing can trigger a tornado months later and thousands of miles away, could a tiny force of will change a person’s life?

In the last blog we looked at the first 2 of 5 answers that attempt to reconcile free will with a firm theory of causation. The 1st answer, to name the problem as a paradox, does not work as an answer at all, but instead abdicates the search for an answer. The 2nd, an appeal to “levels in the hierarchy of matter” (physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology/sociology according to Paul Nunez), describes limits on calculable predictability that bar real-world reduction of human choosing down to the level of particle physics. However, this appeal does not remove human choosing from the realm of scientific explanation, because science still works within each hierarchical level.

Now we continue with a look at two more proposals that emerge from scientific investigation. Potential answer #3 to reconcile will and causation goes by the catchy name of chaos theory. It is a new explanatory paradigm for natural systems. On the surface chaos theory resembles the appeal to levels in the hierarchy of matter, but it’s actually quite different. Continue reading “Chaos, Chance, and Will”