The problem is that you have not established what causes an alpha particle to leave when it leaves and what causes it to stay when it stays. Yes, quantum mechanics does predict exactly that behavior, but QM does not explain or point to an impetus for the alpha particle to escape. As best we know, there is no such impetus.
"as best we know" - good words
Nuclear emission of an alpha particle is such a macroscopic event - the complexity of the state of all the underlying interacting particles (fields) involved here is staggering. The nuclear decay probability is not some simple random distribution, but the aggregate of an unfathomable number of interactions. The state space of a nucleus is enormous and it is continuously moving through that space. Some areas of that state space may lead to some decay mode. Our inability to probe that state space leads us to say "random" and "stochastic" but it does not give us the right to declare "uncaused" in some ontological sense.
in that I could take a hydrogen atom in an excited state, which at some point transitions to the ground state. In standard Quantum Mechanics this transition is uncaused.
Of course, if you *model* the situation in the usual way with QM. But you are setting up an oversimplification of the what is actually occurring. I'm not claiming that QM is deterministic, but we are looking at higher level processes.
similarly with the tunneling of an alpha particle out of a nucleus, reagrdless of how complicated the interactions are, they are still only a complicated development of a wavefunction which only gives a probability.
Yes, but this *single* wavefunction is a coarse-graining of what is going on within the nucleus. To simply describe the emission of the alpha particle as uncaused suggests some random-number-generator associated with a solid-ball nucleus, rather than the nucleus as a complex composite quantum entity, and the alpha emission as a complex quantum process. As you well know, the half-life isn't some god-inspired parameter casually associated with a particular nucleus.
In the current scientific theory of the strong interactions (QCD), I think Nonukes' statement is correct. Alpha emission is uncaused.
As far as I am aware we only have an excessively idealised and over-simplified QCD description of alpha emission, so this is not exactly surprising.
My concern with this kind of language, attributing the acausal behaviour to high-level QM phenomena (H-atom transition, alpha-emission), is it suggests that there is no further underlying mechanism to investigate (E-W and QCD)
But more to the point, while the probabilistic nature of QM may very well have something to do with the "trivial" idea of our Universe coming into being from some pre-existing state, it has nothing to do with the theists' (and KB's) ideas of "creation" of existence itself - "something from nothing" - and talking about uncaused quantum events within our Universe is decidedly unhelpful, not to mention a great example of the fallacy of composition.
I cannot rule that out, of course, but what you are saying does not appear to be kbertsche's argument.
It's not - I was merely getting a bit upset at what I was seeing as a "trivialising" of the incredible process of nuclear decay
And more importantly, the utter irrelevance of quantum processes to the question of what "caused" the Big Bang if there was no "before". KB made the cardinal sin of talking about existence "beginning" to exist, and he wanted a cause for this. Rather than talking about uncaused events, he should have just been dissuaded of this notion as it is only there to provide a "gap" for a theistic intervention.
Do you believe that probing the state would turn up a mechanism?...
...Perhaps the Creator watches individually over atomic nuclei and triggers their fate on a schedule that produces the half lives we observe.
As I tried to explain in my reply to SG, yes there is a more fundamental mechanism (nuclear QCD) and that is where the half-life is determined, but I'm not trying to discount the uncaused nature per-se, just that it occurs at a deeper level.