georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 11:23 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

But back to the point. In the case of the decaying atomic nuclei, which measurement of time is used in determining that the exact moment of decay is random?


You will meed to be more precise with your terminology. What do you mean by "measurement of time"? Are you including relativistic effects? or not? Either way quantum uncertainty remains.

What, if any, distinctions do you make between unpredictable systems and the observable potential for randomness of their output?

There are many examples of deterministic but unpredictable systems in both the real, observable world and in the various intellectual constructs we have developed to model them. Real, physical fluids and dynamic mechanical systems can demonstrate unpredictable and random chaotic behavior - just as do approximate solutions to the mathematical equations that model them (approximate because our mathematics does not yield closed-form abstract solutions for them: we use numerical simulations instead). The same goes for neural networks like those in the human brain and nervous system.

Even deterministic abstract mathematical formulations can exhibit random outcomes - as I demonstrated with the convergent series that determine the decimal representations of irrational numbers. That should be a convincing proof of the concept. I am surprised that you don't acknowledge it.

Why discuss this at all if you are just going to retreat behind non specific doubt?
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 01:17 pm
@georgeob1,
I never before noticed this didactic streak in you - admirable. One more explanatory effort from me, not with ka-BOOM this time, just with a pop:
http://serc.carleton.edu/images/introgeo/quantskills/popcorn_150.jpg
"...Popping popcorn.... is an excellent way to illustrate both the spontaneity and irreversible change associated with radioactive decay."

PS beautiful little demo in Mathematica on exponential functions in radioactive decay:
http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/RadioactiveDecayOfFiveElementsTimeDependenceOfRemainingMass/
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 04:14 pm
Does the concieved free will of the observer or "calculator" have any relation to the outcome of calculations?

Here is Thomas' statement about atomic nuclei: "It's impossible to predict when an atomic nucleus will decay, even if you have measured its physical properties as precisely as theoretically possible."

What I mean is that there has to be a temporal aspect to this measurment if it is indeed correct to say "when" an atomic nucleus will decay. What determines the "when" that this decay is relative to?
If the randomness of nuclei decaying is relative to eachother, or relative to it's own internal state, then it seems to me that this randomness is observer related.
I noted that Thomas also mentioned a geiger counter and said that if a particle was detected by the geigercounter..., implying the chance of detection being a cause for the percieved randomness..
And concerning that nice picture of lighting up the sky, I am pretty sure nuclear bombs don't randomly detonate. That means that while we may lack suficient knowledge to predict when an atomic nucleus will decay, we do understand what will cause it to decay and how it will behave when it does.

In the example of the popcorns, the fact that lets us say that the corns will pop randomly is our external point of observation. Our timeline is relevant to us, and so it's relevant to the process only as it relates to us. We are, in a manner of speaking, adding a dimension to the observation that doesn't neccesarily apply to the process itself.

But it's not about acknowledging the concept, george. It's about understanding where it fits in. I am not disputing that there is randomness. But it seems to me you are saying that randomness is an objective fact of the world, while I am saying that it is a fact of the world as it appears to us. The world itself is neither random nor deterministic. Our understanding however, is capable of creating such distinctions to make sense of what we percieve.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 04:26 pm
@Cyracuz,
Your last sentence points to the fact that George is approaching this "problem" as a mathematical rather than a philosophical epistemological issue. You are right, the world is neither random nor deterministic; it simply is what it is. Order and disorder have to do with our reflections on it.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 04:37 pm
@JLNobody,
Yes, that is what I mean. And from the most basic act of having a look with your eyes, to the most complicated mathematical experiments, we cannot get around that these are reflections. That is why I believe that any randomness is only percieved, and that nothing can happen or act randomly relative to anything but an observer.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 04:39 pm
@JLNobody,
At the deepest level, mathematics lies at the heart of philosophy. Over the door of his academy, Plato had a sign where was written:
"Let no-one ignorant of mathematics enter here."
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 04:56 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
What I mean is that there has to be a temporal aspect to this measurment if it is indeed correct to say "when" an atomic nucleus will decay. What determines the "when" that this decay is relative to?

The moment the Geiger counter clicks.

(If you want to be very precise and technical about it, you may subtract the time it takes the particle emitted in the decay to reach the Geiger counter. But that time makes no difference to your philosophical question about randomness.)

Cyracuz wrote:
I noted that Thomas also mentioned a geiger counter and said that if a particle was detected by the geigercounter..., implying the chance of detection being a cause for the percieved randomness..

No, I wasn't implying anything of that kind. And it would have been false if I had implied that: Once an atomic nucleus decays, it will emit a particle. Although it's true that not all emitted particles will necessarily be detected, that's not the source of the randomness. You would observe the same kind of all particles were detected -- if, say, the decaying nuclei were located in the Geiger counter. The randomness of the radioactive decay is sufficient to produce the randomness observed in the experiment.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 05:00 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
That is why I believe that any randomness is only percieved, and that nothing can happen or act randomly relative to anything but an observer.

No, that's not the reason you believe that. The reason is that you've fallen in love with a theory of yours. And now you can't let go of it even though the evidence refuting it is flying right into your face.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 05:40 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

But it's not about acknowledging the concept, george. It's about understanding where it fits in. I am not disputing that there is randomness. But it seems to me you are saying that randomness is an objective fact of the world, while I am saying that it is a fact of the world as it appears to us. The world itself is neither random nor deterministic. Our understanding however, is capable of creating such distinctions to make sense of what we percieve.
You are applying different standards for your ability to accurately perceive randomness and how world really is. If, as you assert, "the world is neither random nor deterministic" then you must have the ability to accurately perceive non determinism and non randomness, and therefore the converse states of deterministic and random.

Alternatively you could mean that determinism and random are concepts without meaning. OK by me, but that is not what you have said.

It is an easy matter however, to demonstrate that both concepts do indeed have meaning.

You don't appear to be serious.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 06:14 pm
@High Seas,
I would say that at the deepest level philosophy lies at the heart of mathematics. I would follow a philosopher who placed over the door of his academy "Let no-one ignorant of the principle that knowing is a function of the knower enter here."
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 08:22 pm
@JLNobody,
What does "knowing is a function of the knower" mean? Normally the phrase "is a function of" means "is determined by". Certainly with this definition your meaning here is not clear. Perhaps you are suggesting there is no objective reality outside the awareness of individuals. Is that the case?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 08:46 pm
@georgeob1,
Very good. "Knowing", as I see it, is, like breathing, central to the knower's existence. It takes a very different form in other species.
I do not mean by "is a function of" that something "is determined/caused by" something else. The opposite: I see functions as effects rather causes. The function of the heart is the effect it has on the total organism: i.e., its survival.
I do "feel," at least, that so-called objective reality, as it concerns humans, is the content of their awareness. My reality is a human reality.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 08:53 pm
@JLNobody,
Clearly you speak a new and unique language.
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 12:40 am
@satt fs,
satt fs wrote:

Randomness means the lack of the knowledge about the results to come.


I disagree.

I used to agree until I read James Gleik's "Chaos".
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:09 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Clearly you speak a new and unique language.

You're evidently not familiar with JLN's postings.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:13 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
But it's not about acknowledging the concept, george. It's about understanding where it fits in. I am not disputing that there is randomness. But it seems to me you are saying that randomness is an objective fact of the world, while I am saying that it is a fact of the world as it appears to us. The world itself is neither random nor deterministic. Our understanding however, is capable of creating such distinctions to make sense of what we percieve.

If that's your problem with randomness, then it's really definitional in nature. You may think that it's profound, but it's largely inconsequential. Maybe that's why the people here who have been attempting to clear up your confusion have been, so far, unsuccessful. It's not that you're tied to a particular theory, it's that you have no theory to begin with.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:16 am
@joefromchicago,
Better said.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 10:36 am
I understand the concept of randomness in mathematics, and I am not trying to disprove randomness as a useful matemathical factor.

What I am saying though, is that we cannot know if this term has any value beyond our science. This is equally true for determinism. They are both functions of our understanding, and there is no way we can assign these attributes to the actual world, no matter how "objective" we get. It may be entirely possible that there may be other ways of explaining the world in which concepts like determinism and randomness are useless. If you believe that is not true, I'd like to know why that is. But no matter how exact our science gets we can never really say anything more than that it appears to be correct.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 10:46 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

What I am saying though, is that we cannot know if this term has any value beyond our science. This is equally true for determinism.
Please explain why we "cannot know" this.
Cyracuz wrote:
They are both functions of our understanding, and there is no way we can assign these attributes to the actual world, no matter how "objective" we get.
Please explain yourself. Most folks regard determinism and random as words that have meaning relative to the observed natural world. Beyond that I cannot interpret your words.
Cyracuz wrote:

It may be entirely possible that there may be other ways of explaining the world in which concepts like determinism and randomness are useless. If you believe that is not true, I'd like to know why that is.
Perhaps you could provide us with an example of such an alternate explanation, or at least a proof that one exists..
Cyracuz wrote:
But no matter how exact our science gets we can never really say anything more than that it appears to be correct.
I'm not aware that science and philosophy have ever claimed more than that.

Most of this is babble, interspersed with a few punches at straw men.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 11:06 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
But no matter how exact our science gets we can never really say anything more than that it appears to be correct.

You're not familiar with David Hume, are you?
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
DOES NOTHING EXIST??? - Question by mark noble
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Randomness
  3. » Page 5
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 09/21/2019 at 11:36:16