cognitive development - identical twins - closed systems

cognitive development - identical twins - closed systems
AnObserver
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Posted Mar 2, 2013 - 11:27 PM:
Subject: cognitive development - identical twins - closed systems
Someone at work started talking about the similarities and differences in a set of identical twins she was familiar with. This got me thinking about cognitive development with respect to genetics. Is it possible to prevent the bifurcation of thought, with respect to identical twins, with hypothetically identical and separate closed environments?

I'm thinking this isn't even remotely possible. Without even touching on the theories of the dynamics of systems, closed or otherwise, it seems bifurcation is still unavoidable.

Suppose twin A and B are both presented with the same phenomena at the same time in their development. Let's say that they have to make a conscious decision as to a course of action regarding the phenomena, let's keep it simple, option 1 or option 2. If both options are weighed 50/50 with respect to the desired outcome then bifurcation is still unavoidable.

Seems to be consistent with respect to physics, bifurcation is inevitable. Or is there a possibility that I'm wrong?
On Mar 6, 2013 - 12:24 AM, hypericin responded: You are assuming decision making is probabilistic.
On Mar 6, 2013 - 4:55 PM, AnObserver responded: Thanks. I did assume, didn't I? smiling face
gronnelg
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Posted Mar 6, 2013 - 3:28 AM:

Hmmm... Say you separate them at birth, no at conception(pre-natal environment isn't necessarly the same...).
And then place then in two 100% identical environments (this is obviously hypthetical). Would they still bifurcate?
Flannel Jesus
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Posted Mar 6, 2013 - 5:56 AM:

Well, first I think we need to specify whether this is a 'theoretical thought experiment' or if you're asking if it's actually possible.

Because if it's the latter, then immediately at birth, and even in the uterus, the two babies are already experiencing slightly different things, different enough to make them come out with already slightly different neural pathways that could account for different behavior.

But if it's the former, and we've made sure that (a) they have the exact same genetics and (b) they have had all the exact same experiences and every single atom in themselves and in their environment is placed exactly the same as each other [impossible with actual twins, but this just just a theoretical thought experiment], well then...

I guess the question hinges on determinism at that point, doesn't it? It depends on if QM is deterministic or not. Despite what some zelously-anti-deterministic thinkers on this forum and elsewhere would have you believe, QM is in fact not decidedly non-determinisic. It may be non-deterministic, and it may be deterministic. As far as my research has gone, there's not even a statiscally significant sway one way or the other among professional physicists on the matter -- it is pretty much neck-and-neck. We don't have an answer as of yet, and you should be highly suspicious of anyone who tries to claim otherwise.
gronnelg
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Posted Mar 6, 2013 - 7:53 AM:

Yeah, I was thikning as a thought experiment.
And you're right. It does boil down to determinism vs non-determinism. Glad we sorted that out ^^
AnObserver
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Posted Mar 6, 2013 - 4:53 PM:

Flannel Jesus wrote:
Well, first I think we need to specify whether this is a 'theoretical thought experiment' or if you're asking if it's actually possible.

Because if it's the latter, then immediately at birth, and even in the uterus, the two babies are already experiencing slightly different things, different enough to make them come out with already slightly different neural pathways that could account for different behavior.

But if it's the former, and we've made sure that (a) they have the exact same genetics and (b) they have had all the exact same experiences and every single atom in themselves and in their environment is placed exactly the same as each other [impossible with actual twins, but this just just a theoretical thought experiment], well then...

I guess the question hinges on determinism at that point, doesn't it? It depends on if QM is deterministic or not. Despite what some zelously-anti-deterministic thinkers on this forum and elsewhere would have you believe, QM is in fact not decidedly non-determinisic. It may be non-deterministic, and it may be deterministic. As far as my research has gone, there's not even a statiscally significant sway one way or the other among professional physicists on the matter -- it is pretty much neck-and-neck. We don't have an answer as of yet, and you should be highly suspicious of anyone who tries to claim otherwise.


Thanks. I'm only beginning to study the perturbedness of physics. It was a thought experiment and I'm glad you folks could help me through it.

Edited by AnObserver on Mar 6, 2013 - 5:06 PM. Reason: thought experiment
andrewk
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Posted Mar 6, 2013 - 5:48 PM:

It's an interesting suggestion, but it suffers the problem that the meaning of 'bifurcation' in this context is not currently defined, and I suspect that it will be fiendishly difficult - probably impossible - to develop a definition that isn't either hopelessly vague or renders the experiment trivial.
gronnelg
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Posted Mar 7, 2013 - 8:15 AM:

andrewk wrote:
It's an interesting suggestion, but it suffers the problem that the meaning of 'bifurcation' in this context is not currently defined, and I suspect that it will be fiendishly difficult - probably impossible - to develop a definition that isn't either hopelessly vague or renders the experiment trivial.

I'm not sure I follow you here. If we define bifurcation as doing or thinking something differently, isn't that enough?
andrewk
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Posted Mar 7, 2013 - 5:01 PM:

gronnelg wrote:

I'm not sure I follow you here. If we define bifurcation as doing or thinking something differently, isn't that enough?
I apologise. You were being much more pragmatic than I had assumed. I thought you were kicking off one of those mystical musings like the one about swamp man or teleportation, that ask meaningless questions such as 'which one is the real you?' My assumption was unjustified and wrong.

Now that I understand you, I agree with the above observations that the answer is in quantum mechanics.

And the answer is yes, they will bifurcate with probability 1 (which is not the same as absolute certainty, but it's similar in many ways).

Once we define the question as just whether the two people will eventually differ in an action - and thoughts include actions - it is just the classic QM question of two 'identically prepared systems'. When a system is observed, it adopts a state chosen from a probability distribution of possible states. As we perform repeated simultaneous measurements on the two systems (ie the two people), the probability that in every pair so far the two observations match tends to zero.

This is not a question of interpretations of QM and whether the interpretation is deterministic or stochastic, it is just a question of what the equations of QM predict for repeated observations on identically prepared systems.

AnObserver
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Posted Mar 8, 2013 - 9:09 AM:

andrewk wrote:
I apologise. You were being much more pragmatic than I had assumed. I thought you were kicking off one of those mystical musings like the one about swamp man or teleportation, that ask meaningless questions such as 'which one is the real you?' My assumption was unjustified and wrong.

Now that I understand you, I agree with the above observations that the answer is in quantum mechanics.

And the answer is yes, they will bifurcate with probability 1 (which is not the same as absolute certainty, but it's similar in many ways).

Once we define the question as just whether the two people will eventually differ in an action - and thoughts include actions - it is just the classic QM question of two 'identically prepared systems'. When a system is observed, it adopts a state chosen from a probability distribution of possible states. As we perform repeated simultaneous measurements on the two systems (ie the two people), the probability that in every pair so far the two observations match tends to zero.

This is not a question of interpretations of QM and whether the interpretation is deterministic or stochastic, it is just a question of what the equations of QM predict for repeated observations on identically prepared systems.


Yes it, fundamentally, was a question of the dynamics of two identical systems. Those two systems being "people." I think this was the question: "Will they necessarily diverge?" I think I was trying to shift meaning on the word "soul" (as defined by my former contemporaries) to myself by creating this thought experiment. What happens when people are made in ovens?

So we set everything up just right, atom for atom, quark for quark, yada for yada. The very fact that we have set this up is the initial observation? Therefore, any observation is an interaction with the system? Concurrent causation? Even using a computer program/robotics etcetera it seems is still begging for failure to perfection. The experiment, in reality, would never be the same exactly but it sure would be real close and we could partially recreate people but not exactly. Not with utter perfection. Maybe, just not yet?

gronnelg
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Posted Mar 11, 2013 - 3:36 AM:

Ah, if you're talking about the actual world, then I don't think we will ever be able to come close.
You can have people with the same genetic make-up, and have very similar experiences, but they still don't have the exact same make-up of particles, and won't have the exact same experiences. So in that case I'd say they're bound to diverge at some point, and pretty quickly most likely.
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