SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Feb, 2004 04:07 pm
Cyracuz, I understand the point, but still I disagree. Smile It seems to me that an all-knowing being could observe US and thereby LEARN ignorance, even if he hadn't experience it himself.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2004 05:58 am
Maybe you're right SCoates. But then again you might not be. Smile I'm not equipped to be the judge of that. But I still believe that the term random is something that will vanish in time with growing understanding. However, evolution does not stand still, so it is not impossible that when we do figure it out something infinitely more complex will arise. Like the theory in hitchhikers guide to the galaxy: Once a being understands the whole of the universe it will instantly change into something infinitely more complex. Some have reason to believe this has already happened...
0 Replies
 
SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2004 03:52 pm
I'll write down on paper as best as I can describe what randomness is, so that people will remember. It would be a shame if he were simply forgotten.
0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2004 11:58 pm
It would seem that randomness is probably a matter of degree.

To Laplace's Demon* existing in a deterministic universe there is no such thing as randomness.

However, in our specific universe as we know (or, more properly, don't know) it, satt_focusable's definition employing our ignorance of events leading up to an event is valid.

But I sense a implicit longing for fairness or impartiality in the definition of a "random" outcome. After all, which coin flip is more random, that conducted by the opposing team captain or that effected by the perceived impartial actions of a referee? The latter, simply adds more variables to the equation that must be resolved for the correct "prediction" of the outcome. Increased predictive difficulty equals increased "fairness".

If one has the infinite and all knowing intelligence of Laplace's Demon and lives in a strictly deterministic universe, there is no such thing as randomness. It follows that fairness also dies.

So, given a deterministic world with its coin flips, rolling dice, or even fluctuations in light from deep space, this merely affords us only degrees of pseudo-randomness.

satt_focusable again comes to our rescue (somewhat...as long as we are comfortable with head-in-the-sand reliance upon our own ignorance as to causal factors) and hints at the degrees of randomness when he points to probability and statistics involved in such random events. But how much faith do we have in such "randomness" of such games of chance? Given you would receive a million tax free dollars upon the one time correct call of such random events, would you choose the 1 in 2 (50% chance of a win) coin flip or that 1 in 6 (about 17%) chance of success involved with the toss of a die? Obviously the coin flip allows less "randomness" (it also is more humane--loosing an all or nothing contest involves less suffering than missing the die toss by "one": Oooohh I missed by "just" one!

What about the last depository of true "randomness", quantum mechanics? Well, God's participation in games of craps aside, satt_focusable gives us a hint as to QM attributes towards randomness:

Quote:
"In a sense "randomness" is a circumstance where events before they arise can be described only through the probability distribution. This may be certainly caused by the fact that the events are "too complex to be accurately predictable." In other words, humans are too ignorant about the mechanism in which events are caused to predict those with certainty."


*Laplace's Demon
http://www.hypography.com/topics/Laplaces_Demon_112215.cfm

JM

P.S.
Schroedinger's cat has less to do with true randomness than with the observer's effect due to his actual "observation" of an event. Indeed, it is the observer's method of observation and even the fact that there is observation at all that not only affects the outcome of an event but actually precipitates said outcome. As a matter of fact, the Schroedinger's cat situation posits that no event takes place until there is an actual attempt towards observation. Schroedinger's cat's suspension between life and death and said resolution until observation speaks more towards satt_focusable's claim of human inadequenacies towards such knowledge of QM than promotion of randomness. Randomness, whether a basis for games of chance or "Free Will" seems wanting.
0 Replies
 
satt fs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2004 12:24 am
JM..
As to my statement quoted in your post a few words would be appropriate here:
Quote:

In a sense "randomness" is a circumstance where events before they arise can be described only through the probability distribution. This may be certainly caused by the fact that the events are "too complex to be accurately predictable." In other words, humans are too ignorant about the mechanism in which events are caused to predict those with certainty.

Actually, the last half of this statement (the portion which begins with "This may be certainly caused ..") does not seem to apply to the situation of quantum mechanics in the usual account by physicists. It is already proven for physicists that there are no "hidden variables" remained in quantum physics. By "variables", however, they mean physical variables observable through experiments in principle. That is good for physicists, but for humans in general, factors which affect their life is not simply factors that can be treated in physics. Who can deny there could be factors which cannot be observable through physics experiments? Hence if you take the term "mechanism" in a broader sense beyond the framework of physics, my statement is still valid.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 01:04 am
The cited definition: "Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective."

The answer to the question posed is heavily influence by one's belief in God.

In the absence of God, there can very easily be true randomness. Extend the patterns we can easily recognize beyond their immediate context and eventually they will join a system that is not repeatable, and therefore no pattern will exist.

Humans cannot generate true randomness, but the universe can, and so can an omnipotent God.
0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 09:15 am
Finn d'Abuzz stated:

Quote:
"Humans cannot generate true randomness, but the universe can, and so can an omnipotent God."


Can such a god generate a random number such that even he has had no involvement in its creation and therefore no idea of its final value?

Also, given the request of an entity to "Pick a number from one to ten.", would such a god's answer be any more random than that of say, Joseph Stalin?

Respectfully,

JM
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2004 08:48 pm
JM

An omnipotent God, by definition, can do anything...even that which seems paradoxical to us.

The issue at hand though is not the nature of God, but whether or not theire can be true randomness. With or without God, the answer is yes.
0 Replies
 
SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 04:35 pm
I disagree with your definition of omnipotent. For example, and a very common one, could god create matter so dense that he himself could not destroy it. By your definition he could, but that would limit his power far more than if he could not. Also it is illogical, if you base your logic on his being allpowerful.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 07:31 pm
SCoates

Because we humans cannot makes sense of the power of God, doesn't mean he doesn't have the power.

If you insist on applying human limitations to God, then you will always find a knot that can't be untied.

God does not engender a paradox, unless it is in our minds.
0 Replies
 
SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 07:57 pm
I believe in god and his being allpowerful, I merely respectfully disagree with your definition. I have a question for you, check out my new thread, entitled "Allpowerful?"
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 08:34 pm
Some very interesting comments here, and most of the applicable ground has been covered. However, there have been only fleeting references to nonlinear dynamic systems (the three body problem is an example). Many such systems have chaotic regions in their domains of independent variables and scale parameters. In these regions the processes are chaotic - deterministic but unpredictable. This is a combination of profound meaning that goes to the heart of the question at hand.

The cause is of course sensitive dependence on initial conditions - the so-called butterfly effect. Unattainable levels of precision are required to accurately predict the outcome even though the dynamical laws are accurately known. The existence of quantum uncertainty is the core basis for the futility of achieving the required precision. Joe from Chicago has touched on this in his description of even a simple coin toss experiment.

Chaotic systems are ubiquitous - the weather and the stock market are but two prominent examples.
0 Replies
 
g day
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 07:31 pm
I don't think an omnipotent God can make 1 = 2 or an odd number even, not even for very large values of 1 Smile

Its a definitional issue - infinite power and knowledge can't change a definitional term to be what its not.

* * *

But to the question at hand. My thinking is to generate finite integers within a set range you may be able to make a true random generator. Infinite numbers and real numbers (including irrationals like pi) would be mucher hard - observing them would take infinite time.

So lets only consider a finite range of integers. You would need to sample some perfectly pure noise function that exists in the reality of our universe. Well the only perfectly non deterministic law in our Universe arises from Heinsberg's uncertainity principle and quantum physics.

Heinsberg's uncertainity principle is arguably the most invotaile of all scientific laws, you can't escape it for more that fleeting moments of time. Many theoretical physicists believe that our vaccuum of spacetime is a seething mass of quantum foam - measure this foaming and you have a beautiful random number generator.

This begs two questions 1) can we measure it and 2) is it truly random?

Well in response to 1) we are getting closer - see minaturising the Cassimar effect to 0.1mm in gravitational studies / quantum physics.

In response to 2) we know of no situation or law - even theoretically to my limited knowledge - where Heinsberg's principle doesn't hold true. Uncertainity (paradoxically) is far more set in stone then saying the speed of light is a constant!
0 Replies
 
SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 08:03 pm
I don't believe in the word "incalculable" without provisions. You may say "incalculable given my limited rescources/knowledge." Or "Incalculable by early man," or "By an ant." But the term incalculable must be qualified. I realize I may be wrong on that, but to me everything must have a cause, and there for may not be totally unpredictable, or totally random.
0 Replies
 
g day
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:24 am
Okay a bit more on the fundamental non determinism of spacetime in our Universe (from a post I did on another forum):

Althought Newton said the world is deterministic and Laplace took this further to show with enough precise measurement you could know and predict all existence forward and backwards in time with enough calculations. But over 70 years ago Schrodinger eliminated half the knowable knowledge with the wave equation, then Heisnberg added uncertainity and problems compounded thru Schrodingers equations because as Einstein pointed out 15 years earlier in general relativity time in Schrodinger's is relative to each and every observer - not a universal absolute. So in reality we lost more than half the information and could only know a relative wave function, but the state of the Universe was still onto - even if it wasn't one-to-one. But Hawking's diluted even that by showing near a black hole anything can be absorbed and the same type of radition issues out - whether it swallowed a tennis racquet, a diamond ring or your worst enemy - you get the same gamma radiation out - so the Universe between past, present and future states is no longer even onto - many future or present states can come from radically different past states. Finally quantium physics shows not only virtual particles and anti particles come into existence everywhere - but so to do mini black holes a billionith the size of an atom lasting for fractions of a second before they boil away again. On a real world scale probablistically these interactions are rarely seen - but they are they and are happening - adding much further across all of existence to the non-determinism God build into this model of the universe.

The "We can't know precise measurement but God can" arguement was showed to have fatal flaws about 70 years ago by Bell and Hawking's amongst others and best described in the Universe in a Nutshell. You create several contradictions because you start by saying God can't deploy normal "in this Universe" physics to solve this limitation of reality, so he must use "out of this Universe God powers", but these powers must react with reality and in doing so contradict they are outside of this reality. If you then concede these powers don't have to react with reality to make a measurement you invalidate other laws of existence as show by John Bell's though experiements in 1946. To quote Hawkings (pg 107 of above book "We cannot even suppose that the particle has a position and velocity that are known to God but are hidden from us. Such 'hidden-variable' theories predict results that are not in agreement with observation. Even God is bound by the uncertainity principle and cannot know the position and velocity, He can only know the wave function") or more information here http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures/dice.html and http://www.qtc.ecs.soton.ac.uk/lecture1/lecture1e.html
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2004 10:49 pm
Re: Randomness
SCoates wrote:
Is there such thing? For example, flipping a coin does not generate a random result, because it is possible to calculate the outcome based on the force applied to it's shape and weight... taking account for wind resistence and so on. Everything that affects the outcome can be expressed mathematically. So is randomness merely the lack of that knowledge, or is there no such thing as something truly being random?


right off the top without reading the 'meat' herein; when a coin is flipped 'without' paying attention to its shape, its weight, the wind resistance, etc. then it will randomly fall either heads, or tails; a simple example but compelling.

if i push a little button on my c.d. player, assigning the 'random' function, it will play through the tracks in 'random' order.

you probably have one too; try it, and keep track ( i would think a week or two would be sufficient for a thorough, 'scientific' result). Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2004 10:54 pm
So you equate random with ignorant. Meaning a random event is one we don't understand. You'll find a lot of that opinion in here. Personally, I think it boils down to semantics. But the question changed throughout the thread to redefine the term random. Basically, of course it's random if your definition of the word simply means you don't know why something happened. But true randomness means that there is in fact no order. Sort of a causeless effect. Which is how most dictionaries define it. Anyway, even then G_Day brought up some ideas on how that may be possible, but it was in a different thread, and beyond me. Still this thread is interesting for opinions.
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2004 10:58 pm
and G-daze? (spelling intentional) 's explanation above demonstrates the uncertainty principle both in its content, and in its undeceiferable nature.

so i will precis it by saying everything in this universe is random;
relatively random, that is! Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
michalos
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 06:47 am
You are correct! Theoritically there is no randomness. Everything is a chained reaction and comes from something. But maths are constructed in the idea of assuming. So they assume it's random and then you do logical steps. For example in nature everything has size but in geometry you assume a point has no size. Or in nature a straight line doesn't exist but you assume there is.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 09:04 am
@michalos,
michalos wrote:
Theoritically there is no randomness.

According to what theory?
0 Replies
 
 

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