Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 107 (8805 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 12-12-2017 10:40 AM
356 online now:
Aussie, Coyote, DrJones*, dwise1, jar, PaulK, Phat (AdminPhat), ringo, Stile, Tanypteryx (10 members, 346 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: jaufre
Post Volume:
Total: 824,048 Year: 28,654/21,208 Month: 720/1,847 Week: 95/475 Day: 5/37 Hour: 0/1

Announcements: Reporting debate problems OR discussing moderation actions/inactions


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
RewPrev1
...
151617
18
1920Next
Author Topic:   Big Bang Found
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13366
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 256 of 293 (723766)
04-08-2014 1:33 AM
Reply to: Message 252 by kbertsche
04-07-2014 3:43 PM


Re: Double talk..
quote:

I didn't answer this earlier because I though the answers were so obvious that it didn't need explaining. But perhaps it would be helpful to state the obvious.

It IS obvious, but an admission that your example was irrelevant and misleading would have been worthwhile. However, your "explanation simply does not address my point at all.

quote:

he example of ball and cushion (or pillow) goes back to Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason. Obviously, the example does not consider how the ball came to be there, but only considers the state of the system after the ball is in place. In this static system, the deformed state is caused by the presence of the ball. If someone were to ask, "Why is there a deformation in the cushion?", the answer "Because there is a heavy ball on it" is perfectly accurate and acceptable. The ball can be said to cause the state of deformation, with no reference to time.

However this does not consider how the ball causes the dent to "begin to exist" which is the form of causation that we are interested in.

If we do consider it, it is obvious that the ball exists prior to the dent, and therefore we cannot conclude that the ball need not precede the dent. Even the state of the ball resting on the cushion would - in ordinary expectations at least - precede the dent.

Indeed, I must also point out that this whole line of argument is fruitless. If the alleged cause of our universe does not exist prior to our universe, how can we safely conclude both that our universe begins to exist and the alleged cause does not ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 252 by kbertsche, posted 04-07-2014 3:43 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13366
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 257 of 293 (723767)
04-08-2014 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by kbertsche
04-07-2014 10:21 PM


Re: Double talk..
quote:

Better, but to avoid confusion I recommend completely eliminating the word "uncaused". How about, "The time of decay of any particular nucleus is stochastic"?

Which would mean that there is no causal explanation of why a nucleus decayed at any particular time.

quote:

Here are some questions for those of you who still want to maintain that nuclear decay is "uncaused". How can a large collection of these "uncaused" events have extremely predictable, deterministic behavior? What causes this predictable and deterministic behavior, if the system is nothing more than a collection of "uncaused" events?!?

It's a virtually inevitable consequence of statistics, and the large number of atoms involved.

quote:

If you give me 10^12 radioactive atoms (there are about this many atoms of C-14 in 20 g of modern carbon), I can predict extremely accurately how many will remain in one half-life (about 5730 years)--exactly half of the original amount, with an accuracy of about 1 ppm. If each decay is truly "uncaused", what causes a macroscopic collection to have such predictable, deterministic behavior?

But you cannot predict which will decay, nor, even with perfect information could you work out exactly how many will decay. You cannot even be absolutely certain of your result - if you choose the limits correctly you can get a very high probability, but it will still be less than one.

In short you are still dealing with a random process, but the large numbers involved make it appear to be (almost) deterministic. There is absolutely no reason to suggest that there is anything more at work.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by kbertsche, posted 04-07-2014 10:21 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
Son Goku
Member
Posts: 1082
From: Ireland
Joined: 07-16-2005
Member Rating: 7.0


Message 258 of 293 (723771)
04-08-2014 7:44 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by kbertsche
04-07-2014 10:21 PM


Re: Double talk..
Better, but to avoid confusion I recommend completely eliminating the word "uncaused". How about, "The time of decay of any particular nucleus is stochastic"?

Well the timing is not stochastic. That's the important thing. The probabilities in quantum mechanics obey relations (e.g. Bell's inequalities, Kochen-Specker, e.t.c.) that mean they are fundamentally different from normal probabilities.

Essentially the probabilities you meet in standard probability theory (stochastic processes, probabilities use in betting, e.t.c.) have mathematical properties that imply they result from your lack of knowledge about the system. The probabilities in quantum mechanics break these relations and imply the probabilities are fundamental, that there is no "deeper truth".

All that is caused are the probabilities.

Here are some questions for those of you who still want to maintain that nuclear decay is "uncaused". How can a large collection of these "uncaused" events have extremely predictable, deterministic behavior? What causes this predictable and deterministic behavior, if the system is nothing more than a collection of "uncaused" events?!?

The law of large numbers. If I have a 40% chance of decay and a 60% chance of the atom not decaying, well then if I look at billions of atoms, there is a large chance (you can estimate this chance using the central limit theorem) that about 40% will be decayed and 60% will be undecayed.

If you give me 10^12 radioactive atoms (there are about this many atoms of C-14 in 20 g of modern carbon), I can predict extremely accurately how many will remain in one half-life (about 5730 years)--exactly half of the original amount, with an accuracy of about 1 ppm. If each decay is truly "uncaused", what causes a macroscopic collection to have such predictable, deterministic behavior?

No, you can predict the chance that half will be decayed after one half-life. It's very likely for large samples that 50% will be decayed, however because it is random you could find only 40% had decayed after one half-life. It's not likely, but it can happen.

PaulK has already stated this. Any random process, repeated trillions of times, will begin to display seemingly deterministic behaviour. This has nothing to do with physics. Flip a coin four times, and maybe 75% are heads and 25% are tails. Flip a coin a quadrillion times and ratio of head to tails has an almost 100% probability of being 1:1.
So it begins to be almost "determined" that you will have a 1:1 ratio.

Now the difference between the coin toss and quantum mechanics is that, given enough knowledge, the outcome of each coin toss could be known. So the exact ratio of heads to tails after a trillion flips could be worked out in advance by a super-being. In quantum mechanics, each decay is fundamentally random, so all you have is a high chance of these ratios developing.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by kbertsche, posted 04-07-2014 10:21 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 261 by NoNukes, posted 04-08-2014 10:20 AM Son Goku has not yet responded
 Message 262 by kbertsche, posted 04-09-2014 8:37 PM Son Goku has responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10115
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 259 of 293 (723773)
04-08-2014 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 255 by ProtoTypical
04-08-2014 1:16 AM


Re: Double talk..
Really though, I think that I just have trouble with the idea of events that have no preceding event.

Well to be completely frank, I don't have any ability whatsoever to understand why the world works the way those silly equations say it should. It is not the least bit intuitive, and I cannot rule out the idea that I have completely misunderstood them.

What I can say is that the arguments in this thread do not convince me that not having a cause is an issue; at least for decay and for electrons changing state.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 255 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-08-2014 1:16 AM ProtoTypical has acknowledged this reply

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10115
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 260 of 293 (723775)
04-08-2014 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by kbertsche
04-07-2014 10:21 PM


Re: Double talk..
Here are some questions for those of you who still want to maintain that nuclear decay is "uncaused". How can a large collection of these "uncaused" events have extremely predictable, deterministic behavior?

What you are asking is how the aggregate behavior can be deterministic when we claim that the events themselves are clearly not.

I take that as an indication that you are arguing that decay from a nucleus is deterministic in some way. But I am probably wrong, so let me deal with the question as phrased.

Have you ever done the Graham's law of diffusion chemistry experiment where you introduce two gases at each end of a glass tube, and you measure the rate of diffusion by noting the "ring" that forms when the gases combine to form a visible reactant?

Well despite the fact that we cannot predict the position of any individual molecule of either gas, we find that the position of the ring is determined by Graham's law of diffusion. Is that remarkable?

Is it remarkable that all of the molecules of a gas in a container have different velocities, but that yet the pressure of the gas, which is generate by the molecules striking the wall of the container is a constant value closely predicted by the ideal gas law?

In short, there are plenty of examples where the aggregate behavior is deterministic despite the fact that the individual, microscopic events are not.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by kbertsche, posted 04-07-2014 10:21 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10115
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 261 of 293 (723780)
04-08-2014 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 258 by Son Goku
04-08-2014 7:44 AM


Just some expansion
Any random process, repeated trillions of times, will begin to display seemingly deterministic behaviour.

It's just math, nothing more.

To be specific, if we assume that all of the atoms are exactly identical and that the decay probability is fixed, but the decay time is not deterministic, we would expect the distribution of decay events to be exactly a Poissons distribution, the characteristics of said distribution being mathematically predictable and well understood.

And generally we are not talking about mere trillions of atoms. A 1 micro-gram sample of U238 has on the order of 10^15 nuclei. The probability of the number of decays in one half life lying outside of an undetectable range around the expected value is extremely tiny. Maybe not a relevant result for U238 because nobody is going to count them for 2 billion years. But we might reasonably count a measurable fraction of C-14 decays. We should not be surprised that carbon dating does not involve any problem with the half life not being constant.

On the other hand, if you measure the radioactivity directly by counting the alpha particles emitted from a small sample of U238 each hour, you will find easily detectable variations in the number of particles emitted.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 258 by Son Goku, posted 04-08-2014 7:44 AM Son Goku has not yet responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1424
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 262 of 293 (723839)
04-09-2014 8:37 PM
Reply to: Message 258 by Son Goku
04-08-2014 7:44 AM


Re: Double talk..
Son Goku writes:

kbertsche writes:

Better, but to avoid confusion I recommend completely eliminating the word "uncaused". How about, "The time of decay of any particular nucleus is stochastic"?

Well the timing is not stochastic. That's the important thing. The probabilities in quantum mechanics obey relations (e.g. Bell's inequalities, Kochen-Specker, e.t.c.) that mean they are fundamentally different from normal probabilities.
Essentially the probabilities you meet in standard probability theory (stochastic processes, probabilities use in betting, e.t.c.) have mathematical properties that imply they result from your lack of knowledge about the system. The probabilities in quantum mechanics break these relations and imply the probabilities are fundamental, that there is no "deeper truth".


But the probabilities for radioactive decay are not unique or mysterious at all; they just follow a simple Poisson distribution, like many classical probabilistic processes. Classical problems, such as the frequency of calls into a call center, have probabilities which follow the same relations and are just as fundamental, with no "deeper truth".

Son Guku writes:

All that is caused are the probabilities.


Exactly. The probabilities of decay are caused by the nuclear details and energetics. The radioactivity, the radioactive decay, has a cause. Hence, it is very misleading (if not outright wrong) to say that radioactive decay is uncaused. This claim relies on a different definition of "causation" than is normally used by scientists who work with radioactivity (see post #212).

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 258 by Son Goku, posted 04-08-2014 7:44 AM Son Goku has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 263 by NoNukes, posted 04-10-2014 12:16 AM kbertsche has not yet responded
 Message 264 by PaulK, posted 04-10-2014 1:16 AM kbertsche has not yet responded
 Message 265 by PaulK, posted 04-10-2014 1:59 AM kbertsche has responded
 Message 269 by Son Goku, posted 04-12-2014 6:19 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10115
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 263 of 293 (723848)
04-10-2014 12:16 AM
Reply to: Message 262 by kbertsche
04-09-2014 8:37 PM


Re: Double talk..
Exactly. The probabilities of decay are caused by the nuclear details and energetics. The radioactivity, the radioactive decay, has a cause. Hence, it is very misleading (if not outright wrong) to say that radioactive decay is uncaused. This claim relies on a different definition of "causation" than is normally used by scientists who work with radioactivity

But is such causation different from the "causation" under discussion here? I submit that the causation you are insisting on is not, as Paul has labeled it "begin to exist" type causation.

The wikipedia article on Poisson distributions includes the following:

quote:
A practical application of this distribution was made by Ladislaus Bortkiewicz in 1898 when he was given the task of investigating the number of soldiers in the Prussian army killed accidentally by horse kicks; this experiment introduced the Poisson distribution to the field of reliability engineering

Apparently, the time distribution of horse kicks could be modeled using a random distribution. We could then say that the horse kicking probabilities were determined by whatever physical parameters were involved with the arrangement of horses and men in the Prussian army. Of course one might also point out that the horse kick was itself provided by an actual horse in reaction to provocation of one type or another.

So what constitutes the horse kick for alpha decay. Your story of causation is all about who ordered the army to form up and lacks any detail about the startled horse. The reason for that is that in the case of decay, there is no horse to blame and not because we choose a different form of cause to talk about.

But the probabilities for radioactive decay are not unique or mysterious at all; they just follow a simple Poisson distribution

Do you understand that saying "Poisson distribution" says nothing at all about the underlying structure of the nucleus? Did you look up the KochenSpecker theorem or Bell's inequalities, or did you just assume that those things were double talk.

Classical problems, such as the frequency of calls into a call center, have probabilities which follow the same relations and are just as fundamental, with no "deeper truth".

This statement is at the heart of the disagreement. The deeper truth is that people call a call center because they want help, or to make a reservation, or whatever the particular call center does. They time of their calls are triggered by the problems they want to solve. Yet the call center can ignore all of that when analyzing their queues.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by kbertsche, posted 04-09-2014 8:37 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13366
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 264 of 293 (723851)
04-10-2014 1:16 AM
Reply to: Message 262 by kbertsche
04-09-2014 8:37 PM


Re: Double talk..
quote:

Exactly. The probabilities of decay are caused by the nuclear details and energetics.

You picked a very odd way to making this point. Instead of making it directly you seemed to imply some deeper cause above and beyond the probabilities.

quote:

Hence, it is very misleading (if not outright wrong) to say that radioactive decay is uncaused.

I would disagree. It is certainly true that there is nothing that causes the atom to decay at one time rather than another.

As a side-note I would point out that the latter part of the kalam argument - at least in William Lane Craig's formulation - denies that this form of causation is possible at all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by kbertsche, posted 04-09-2014 8:37 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13366
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


(1)
Message 265 of 293 (723852)
04-10-2014 1:59 AM
Reply to: Message 262 by kbertsche
04-09-2014 8:37 PM


Probabilities and models: A side point
quote:

Classical problems, such as the frequency of calls into a call center, have probabilities which follow the same relations and are just as fundamental, with no "deeper truth".

While this is a side issue, I believe that you have misinterpreted the point. In the case of most classical problems a stochastic model is used for convenience, because it captures the important details without going into a huge amount of work. The underlying causes may be disconnected from the points of interest, or simply be unnecessary details. In the case of spontaneous nuclear decay there is no more detailed level at all.

In the case of the call centre it IS necessary to know that there is another level because there are situations where the calls may deviate from a simple stochastic model (a major outage in service, a new product, changes in contracts...)

Casinos didn't care about the physics of the roulette wheel - the physics affects the outcome of an individual spin, but overall the outcome of the many many spins a month was the same as chance. Until some people came up with a way to get computer assistance in betting, tilting the odds in their favour.

There is a difference between ignoring the underlying details and there being no underlying details TO ignore.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by kbertsche, posted 04-09-2014 8:37 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 266 by kbertsche, posted 04-10-2014 8:27 PM PaulK has responded

    
kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1424
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 266 of 293 (723912)
04-10-2014 8:27 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by PaulK
04-10-2014 1:59 AM


Re: Probabilities and models: A side point
PaulK writes:

kbertsche writes:

Exactly. The probabilities of decay are caused by the nuclear details and energetics.


You picked a very odd way to making this point. Instead of making it directly you seemed to imply some deeper cause above and beyond the probabilities.

Yes, I implied that there is something that causes the probabilities to be what they are.

PaulK writes:

kbertsche writes:


Hence, it is very misleading (if not outright wrong) to say that radioactive decay is uncaused.


I would disagree. It is certainly true that there is nothing that causes the atom to decay at one time rather than another.

I would agree that the timing of any individual nuclear decay is non-deterministic and is stochastic.

PaulK writes:

As a side-note I would point out that the latter part of the kalam argument - at least in William Lane Craig's formulation - denies that this form of causation is possible at all.


I don't quite follow what you are saying; can you please expand on your statement?

PaulK writes:

kbertsche writes:


Classical problems, such as the frequency of calls into a call center, have probabilities which follow the same relations and are just as fundamental, with no "deeper truth".


While this is a side issue, I believe that you have misinterpreted the point. In the case of most classical problems a stochastic model is used for convenience, because it captures the important details without going into a huge amount of work. The underlying causes may be disconnected from the points of interest, or simply be unnecessary details. In the case of spontaneous nuclear decay there is no more detailed level at all.

Perhaps I was not as clear as I could have been.
1) In terms of the statistics, all that we need to know is the independent nature of events, so that that they follow Poisson statistics. For both problems, nothing deeper is needed to predict the bahavior of the system.
2) In both systems, something deeper is fundamentally driving the behavior. For the caller, it is the individual psychology and all external and internal influences on the individual. For the nuclear decay, it is the details and energy levels of the nucleus. Why does tritium decay so much faster than uranium? Why do they decay with different mechanisms? There are deeper causes for these things.
3)In both systems, we cannot predict the behavior of the individual (nucleus or caller). In the nuclear case, I do not believe that this is possible in principle (no "hidden variables"). In the caller case, this would require knowing all of the details of every individual's psychology and all external and internal influences on each individual. Perhaps this is knowable in principle, but I strongly doubt it.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Albert Einstein

I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously. Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 265 by PaulK, posted 04-10-2014 1:59 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 267 by NoNukes, posted 04-10-2014 9:43 PM kbertsche has not yet responded
 Message 268 by PaulK, posted 04-11-2014 1:24 AM kbertsche has responded

    
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10115
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 267 of 293 (723925)
04-10-2014 9:43 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by kbertsche
04-10-2014 8:27 PM


Re: Probabilities and models: A side point
For the nuclear decay, it is the details and energy levels of the nucleus. Why does tritium decay so much faster than uranium?

And the two identical uranium nuclei... What are the details for the difference in decay times?

You seemed bound and determined to talk about anything else but the example before us.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by kbertsche, posted 04-10-2014 8:27 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 13366
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


(1)
Message 268 of 293 (723940)
04-11-2014 1:24 AM
Reply to: Message 266 by kbertsche
04-10-2014 8:27 PM


Re: Double Talk
I note that you replied to the text of one message, but used the reply button on the other, confusing the threading. I have restored the title.

quote:

Yes, I implied that there is something that causes the probabilities to be what they are.

No. As I said it looked very much as if you were implying an additional cause of the regularities. Simply arguing that the probabilities were determined would have better been done directly - and much better when considering a single atom than looking at the aggregate behaviour of large numbers.

quote:

I would agree that the timing of any individual nuclear decay is non-deterministic and is stochastic.

You seem to be trying very hard to avoid the use of "uncaused" even when it is perfectly appropriate. Still, it is good that you agree that I was correct on this point.

quote:

I don't quite follow what you are saying; can you please expand on your statement?

In trying to claim that the cause of our universe was a personal cause, Craig argues that impersonal causes always act immediately when the relevant conditions are present. THis is clearly not the case with spontaneous nuclear decay since we know that it can only be described probabilistically, with no causal element dictating the timing of the decay.

quote:

2) In both systems, something deeper is fundamentally driving the behavior. For the caller, it is the individual psychology and all external and internal influences on the individual. For the nuclear decay, it is the details and energy levels of the nucleus. Why does tritium decay so much faster than uranium? Why do they decay with different mechanisms? There are deeper causes for these things.

You seem to be missing the point, In the case of classical system there is a deeper causal explanation of the events, in the case of spontaneous nuclear decay the deeper model only affects the probabilities. This is a quite important difference.

quote:

3)In both systems, we cannot predict the behavior of the individual (nucleus or caller). In the nuclear case, I do not believe that this is possible in principle (no "hidden variables"). In the caller case, this would require knowing all of the details of every individual's psychology and all external and internal influences on each individual. Perhaps this is knowable in principle, but I strongly doubt it.

Essentially this comes down to practicality and convenience. I would also point out that in many systems modeled stochastically the individual elements are far simpler than people - and that in the call centre case statistical independence is an idealisation, that may not apply.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by kbertsche, posted 04-10-2014 8:27 PM kbertsche has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 275 by kbertsche, posted 04-19-2014 9:47 PM PaulK has responded

    
Son Goku
Member
Posts: 1082
From: Ireland
Joined: 07-16-2005
Member Rating: 7.0


Message 269 of 293 (724067)
04-12-2014 6:19 AM
Reply to: Message 262 by kbertsche
04-09-2014 8:37 PM


Re: Double talk..
But the probabilities for radioactive decay are not unique or mysterious at all; they just follow a simple Poisson distribution, like many classical probabilistic processes. Classical problems, such as the frequency of calls into a call center, have probabilities which follow the same relations and are just as fundamental, with no "deeper truth".

This is not remotely correct. There is a "deeper truth" concerning the call center. Everybody phones the call center for some reason, the reason being some sequence of events that occured prior to their call.

However as PaulK said, usually all these details are superflous and we model calls as a Poisson process.

In most areas of science, when we introduce stochastic models and probabilities we are ignoring some deeper level of what is going on, usually because that deeper level is too complex to model or is irrelevant.

I'll take PaulK's roulette model. I mean the casino could obtain the atomic states of all molecules in the air, the shape of the dealer's hand and determine exactly what result will occur. This is of course impossible so it is model as if it were random.

However all of these models have properties (constraints obeyed by certain expectation values) that imply the come from some underlying deterministic sequence of events.

In contrast, quantum mechanical processes break these inequalities, meaning there is nothing occuring underneath.

You have taken a very simple quantum processes. An atom decaying or not decaying. However introduce an atom with four decay states, let's say it an electron in its shell could drop to one of four orbitals. You will immediately see behaviour that is impossible to explain in terms of some underlying cause.

Even for a single atom, you will begin to see this behaviour if you place two such atoms near each other.

I can prove this for you if you want, since EVC has Latex it would be easy to do.

The radioactivity, the radioactive decay, has a cause. Hence, it is very misleading (if not outright wrong) to say that radioactive decay is uncaused.

The capacity to decay is caused, not the actual event of decay.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by kbertsche, posted 04-09-2014 8:37 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 270 by NoNukes, posted 04-12-2014 11:36 AM Son Goku has not yet responded

  
NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10115
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 270 of 293 (724079)
04-12-2014 11:36 AM
Reply to: Message 269 by Son Goku
04-12-2014 6:19 AM


Re: Double talk..
kbertsche writes:

The radioactivity, the radioactive decay, has a cause. Hence, it is very misleading (if not outright wrong) to say that radioactive decay is uncaused.

Son Goku writes:

The capacity to decay is caused, not the actual event of decay.

I believe that kbertsche has admitted to this and most of what you say in your post. At this point his position seems to be that if he can say that decay is caused in any sense, including saying that the probabilities of decay are caused, that we cannot say decay is uncaused. While he's not the first person to take that position, I'll note though that even William Craig accepts that nuclear decay being uncaused is a legitimate interpretation of QM. Kbertsche seems loathe to concede even that.

In my mind, that means that the distinction is no longer about physics at all. Kbersche's position is more of a semantic argument whose point is merely to establish that there are no exceptions to premise 1 of the Kalam cosmological argument.

ABE:

quote:
You have taken a very simple quantum processes. An atom decaying or not decaying. However introduce an atom with four decay states, let's say it an electron in its shell could drop to one of four orbitals. You will immediately see behaviour that is impossible to explain in terms of some underlying cause.

Excellent point.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn't learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 269 by Son Goku, posted 04-12-2014 6:19 AM Son Goku has not yet responded

    
RewPrev1
...
151617
18
1920Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2015 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2017