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Author Topic:   Random or just incomplete information?
lfen
Member (Idle past 2209 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 1 of 44 (123768)
07-11-2004 4:26 PM


I was talking to someone who thought the universe was determined from the first moment, in other words there is no randomness. If you flip a coin its fall is determined by such a large number of factors that no human can predict the outcome. There is no free will in this as your actions are outcomes of an immensely large number of causes.

Is there randomness? Freewill? If you believe there is then how does it work?

Nelf


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AdminNosy
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Posts: 4753
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 44 (123811)
07-11-2004 7:44 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
jar
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From: Texas!!
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Message 3 of 44 (123813)
07-11-2004 7:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by lfen
07-11-2004 4:26 PM


If there is no way to tell the outcome from a total random event is there any difference? Does it matter?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6393
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.7


(1)
Message 4 of 44 (123818)
07-11-2004 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by lfen
07-11-2004 4:26 PM


According to quantum mechanics, true randomness is indeed a feature of the physical universe in which we live. The randomness described by quantum mechanics really does seem to be truly random, not merely a result of insufficient knowledge.

Google "Bell's theorem" for more information.


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lfen
Member (Idle past 2209 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 5 of 44 (123819)
07-11-2004 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
07-11-2004 7:50 PM


I don't think it's been established that there is no difference.
There are several philosophical questions that may be theoretical but I find of interest, the one about free will vs. determinism being the first that comes to mind.

There is also a philosophical theological argument that is currently being expressed by some advaitist. The Hindu viewpoint that the Universe arises out of primordial consciousness and thus the manifest universe is like a huge play being witnessed by consciousness which by identification thinks it's taking part in in but the truth is it's just witnessing the ongoing unfolding of what was fated from the beginning.

I also was hoping to hear from folks who might have some insights into ways randomness may interupt casuality and thus interupt conditioning and perhaps give some insight into the notion of free will.

Is the history of the universe unfolding in the only way it could unfold? So it's not just could we have predicted it, another way to put it is could the universe and history and each of our lives been any different? Or has it all been unfolding as a chain of causes?

lfen


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ProtoTypical
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Posts: 1753
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 6 of 44 (738495)
10-11-2014 8:20 AM


Does the causal chain continue?
I have never been able to get my head around the idea that the causal chain fizzles out into quantum randomness. A state where things happen for no reason.

I came across this article which, I think, goes contrary to the idea that the causal chain somehow ends at the quantum level. Am I reading this correctly? Does the universe make sense after all?

quote:
The neutron scattering experiments conducted with a mixture of ortho and para hydrogen showed that a number of forbidden transitions from the para-H2 ground state were systematically absent from the resultant spectra. This confirmed the existence of a molecular selection rule, a discovery which runs counter to the widely held view that such molecular compounds are not subject to any selection rules.

Source


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ringo
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Posts: 13639
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


(1)
Message 7 of 44 (738514)
10-11-2014 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by ProtoTypical
10-11-2014 8:20 AM


Re: Does the causal chain continue?
ProtoTypical writes:

Does the universe make sense after all?


I hope not. That would take the fun out of it.
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RAZD
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Posts: 18969
From: the other end of the sidewalk
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Member Rating: 3.8


Message 8 of 44 (738520)
10-11-2014 2:21 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by ProtoTypical
10-11-2014 8:20 AM


Re: Does the causal chain continue?
I have never been able to get my head around the idea that the causal chain fizzles out into quantum randomness. ...

Why would quantum randomness not be an impression from having too little information as well?

From Message 1:

... If you flip a coin its fall is determined by such a large number of factors that no human can predict the outcome. ...

If we consider 'Brane theory and additional dimensions, is it not feasible that quantum randomness is actually a multi-dimensional phenomena that appears random in our sector?

It's turtles all the way down ...

We use probability statistic calculations to predict probable quantum behavior, and I would think that other apparently random behaviors can also be enclosed in probability statistical calculations for making practical assessments of apparent randomness ... such as coin flips.

There is a point where the application of such methods produces a more practical resolution in terms of time and energy than in following the causal chain.

We don't (yet) know all the causal variables for Hurricanes, but we can make practical predictions, updating them continually, in order to take practical preparations.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
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ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1753
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 9 of 44 (738535)
10-11-2014 3:14 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by RAZD
10-11-2014 2:21 PM


Re: Does the causal chain continue?
If we consider 'Brane theory and additional dimensions, is it not feasible that quantum randomness is actually a multi-dimensional phenomena that appears random in our sector?

It's turtles all the way down ...

I always thought that randomness was only a reflection on our ability to predict and not a condition where things happened without a cause. I can't find the posts but I am sure that cavediver and CatSci have told me that there is a randomness to quantum mechanics that has nothing to do with our lack of information. Brownian motion and virtual particles come to mind. Also NoNukes was stating unequivocally that particle decay is random even though the rate is predictable. I forget which thread that was in, maybe the one about absolute truth.

So yes it makes good sense to me that causality goes all the way down but I have been told to ignore my sensibilities in this case.


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NoNukes
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Posts: 9922
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 10 of 44 (738547)
10-11-2014 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by ProtoTypical
10-11-2014 3:14 PM


Re: Does the causal chain continue?
I always thought that randomness was only a reflection on our ability to predict and not a condition where things happened without a cause.

Both of those things can result in random or random appearing results. Coin flips are random because of our inability to control all variables, while particle decay is random for completely different reasons. I seem to recall Son Goku doing most of the talking about randomness and quantum mechanics, but I may have forgotten Cat Sci's input.

So yes it makes good sense to me that causality goes all the way down but I have been told to ignore my sensibilities in this case.

I'd find such a result very surprising. I don't know how we could opine on its feasibility.


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


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15950
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


(3)
Message 11 of 44 (738563)
10-11-2014 11:42 PM


Quantum Randomness?
Some of you may be interested in the Bohm interpretation.
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 12 of 44 (738614)
10-13-2014 8:01 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by ProtoTypical
10-11-2014 3:14 PM


probabilities are fundamental, that there is no "deeper truth"
Message 258

Son Goku writes:

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".

I'm not sure I'm qualified to elaborate further. But that thread linked to does have more related to this topic.


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ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1753
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 13 of 44 (738620)
10-13-2014 9:22 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Dr Adequate
10-11-2014 11:42 PM


Re: Quantum Randomness?
Thanks Dr A. I don't pretend to understand more than a fraction of what they are saying but I get a general feel for it. I really fixed on this statement;

quote:
The de Broglie wave has a macroscopical analogy termed Faraday wave.[2]

This led me to surmise that the theory states that the universe behaves like the water in this video.

Am I even close?


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ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1753
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 14 of 44 (738621)
10-13-2014 9:25 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Straggler
10-13-2014 8:01 AM


Re: probabilities are fundamental, that there is no "deeper truth"
Yes thanks.
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15950
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 15 of 44 (738631)
10-13-2014 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by ProtoTypical
10-13-2014 9:22 AM


Re: Quantum Randomness?
The way I think of the Bohm interpretation --- someone should stop me if I'm wrong --- is that the particles are like balls in an invisible pinball machine. If we could know the exact position of the balls, and the exact state of the machine, we would be able to predict the exact trajectory of the balls, but we can't so we can't.
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