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Free Will of Protons and Neutrons

December 5, 2012

>We were discussing free particles, or so I thought. But even so,
>in any *given* environment, particles decay according to fixed
>statistical

I was defending the idea that particles are very much aware of their
surroundings. The nature of the statistics in quantum mechanics does
seem to give individual particles a lot of leeway. In the case of
beta decay in free neutrons the incentives are there — by turning
into a proton and shedding the equivalent of sunglasses, the neutron,
soon to be a proton, can soak up more information about its
surroundings because it will receive more photons. The neutron might
transform in a minute or an hour and that’s fine with quantum
mechanics.

You can find a lot of consistent statistics about the choices humans
make but those statistics won’t mean much if you pretend that the
choices people made had to be and therefore decline to find the
underlying motives.

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