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Thread: Are things really random

  1. #1 Are things really random 
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    What I was wondering is that if you do something EXACTLY the same, will it always turnout the same way and I mean doing it EXACTLY the same with every factor you can think of the same every time.

    For example let's say there is a room, and in that room a ball drops from the ceiling and bounces around. If you reset the scenario with the ball back at the ceiling and is dropping at exactly the same speed and angle, with every factor being EXACTLY the same (down to the way the atoms of the ball and air and walls are moving around), will the ball bounces in exactly the same way.

    Because with some theories (quantum mechanics and such) there is an element of randomness built in, but I am just wondering whether that is because it is the best prediction model we can come up with because we don't know (or are unable to observe) exactly what is going on, but that in reality things do not happen randomly.


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    You can't do things exactly the same, because you don't know exactly what the factors are. You may know the position of a particle, but you forfeit, then, the right to know its velocity. Likeiwse, by knowing the velocity of the particle, you can never know the position of the particle.

    Also, Feynman''s sum over histories means that a particle can "choose" it's path through space-time. You might do something with exactly the same factors, but even then the particle maty choose to go off on a tangent.


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  4. #3 Re: Are things really random 
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    Quote Originally Posted by godcube
    and I mean doing it EXACTLY
    No, if "it" is infinitely detailed. But if "it" is, say, "a trampoline" then sure we have lots of "exactly trampolines" that always function perfectly as trampolines.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Yes, everything will happen exactly the same. The scenario is dependent upon a causal relationship between all of the matter within the scenario, such that if relationship is modified, the scenario will change; meaning that if the causal relationship is not modified, then the scenario will act as it previously did.

    Nothing can deviate from this logic, not even "material" on the sub-atomic level. If randomness is observed, then the observer has failed to take into account all of the variables required to deduce causality, that is, deduce a conclusion without randomness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    Nothing can deviate from this logic, not even "material" on the sub-atomic level. If randomness is observed, then the observer has failed to take into account all of the variables required to deduce causality, that is, deduce a conclusion without randomness.
    Really? Did you ever see a radiation detector in operation?

    To my knowledge there is no way to distiguish between a radioactive atom that is about to decay and one that will wait another 100 years before it decays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    Nothing can deviate from this logic, not even "material" on the sub-atomic level. If randomness is observed, then the observer has failed to take into account all of the variables required to deduce causality, that is, deduce a conclusion without randomness.
    Really? Did you ever see a radiation detector in operation?

    To my knowledge there is no way to distiguish between a radioactive atom that is about to decay and one that will wait another 100 years before it decays.
    That is interesting.

    The second sentence in that quote applies to that tidbit.

    I can only speculate at the moment on the true reason for this, but I can say with certainty that something else not being taken into account, whether is be due to perspective or lack of fulfilling the context, is determining when a radioactive atom will "decay."
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser

    I can only speculate at the moment on the true reason for this, but I can say with certainty that something else not being taken into account, whether is be due to perspective or lack of fulfilling the context, is determining when a radioactive atom will "decay."
    Why is it "with certainty"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    Nothing can deviate from this logic, not even "material" on the sub-atomic level. .
    So free will is a complete illusion. Should we, therefore, eliminate all legal niceties?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser

    I can only speculate at the moment on the true reason for this, but I can say with certainty that something else not being taken into account, whether is be due to perspective or lack of fulfilling the context, is determining when a radioactive atom will "decay."
    Why is it "with certainty"?
    Well, if it was random it wouldn't make logical sense.

    It would be like saying 2+2=5 and we can't have that. Sorry for lack of answer.
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    I suspect you haven't been poperly introduced to the wacky, illogical world of quantum mechanics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics
    Notable amongst these principles are both a dual wave-like and particle-like behavior of matter and radiation, and prediction of probabilities in situations where classical physics predicts certainties.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    Nothing can deviate from this logic, not even "material" on the sub-atomic level. .
    So free will is a complete illusion. Should we, therefore, eliminate all legal niceties?
    By legal niceties I'm going to assume you are talking about minor nuances and regulations in law, and since you mentioned free will, i'm also going to assume that you are talking about legal niceties in regards to free will? Maybe you could specify your question a bit more?

    I think that as long as we continue down a path that brings about positive cultural and technological growth in regards to morality and technical innovation, than no matter what we do within those boundaries is perfectly acceptable, that is, as long as it positively contributes to the end goal of some hypothetical "perfect society."

    If legal niceties fall within that ideal, then they should not be eliminated.

    Yes, free will is an "illusion," but it gets a little more complicated than that; probably for another forum also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    By legal niceties I'm going to assume you are talking about minor nuances and regulations in law, and since you mentioned free will, i'm also going to assume that you are talking about legal niceties in regards to free will? .
    No. I meant that if everything is predetermined, which I understand to be your contention, then laws and punishment and justice are irrelevant concepts that should be abandoned.

    You are correct that this is more appropriate for the philosophy forum, nevertheless a consequence of a wholly deterministic physics, is the absence of freewill and meaninglessness of morals and laws to constrain those morals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    I suspect you haven't been poperly introduced to the wacky, illogical world of quantum mechanics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics
    Notable amongst these principles are both a dual wave-like and particle-like behavior of matter and radiation, and prediction of probabilities in situations where classical physics predicts certainties.
    I have a pretty good conceptual understanding of quantum mechanics, but sadly to say I know none of the math. If randomness is observed in quantum mechanics, then that means that we are not viewing the randomness from the correct perspective. If we were, then we would observe a much more orderly causality on the sub atomic level. For example, looking at a sphere in 2 dimensions would yield a circle. If you added the capacity to perceive a third dimension than you would observe the actuality of the object.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    By legal niceties I'm going to assume you are talking about minor nuances and regulations in law, and since you mentioned free will, i'm also going to assume that you are talking about legal niceties in regards to free will? .
    No. I meant that if everything is predetermined, which I understand to be your contention, then laws and punishment and justice are irrelevant concepts that should be abandoned.

    You are correct that this is more appropriate for the philosophy forum, nevertheless a consequence of a wholly deterministic physics, is the absence of freewill and meaninglessness of morals and laws to constrain those morals.
    I agree, physics and philosophy are very interdependent.

    To answer your question: They are definitely irrelevant concepts, but that doesn't mean we should abandon them, unless it is reasoned to be the correct course of action (unlikely). If we did abandon them than that would also be wholly dependent upon causality though, so it wouldn't really matter, for we had no choice in the first place.

    The illusion of free-will keeps us from denying morality and law, and subsequently leads us down a positive evolutionary path.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    If randomness is observed in quantum mechanics, then that means that we are not viewing the randomness from the correct perspective.
    Einstein never accepted it either, hence the famous quote "God does not play dice" so I suppose that puts you in good company.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser

    I have a pretty good conceptual understanding of quantum mechanics, but sadly to say I know none of the math. If randomness is observed in quantum mechanics, then that means that we are not viewing the randomness from the correct perspective. If we were, then we would observe a much more orderly causality on the sub atomic level. For example, looking at a sphere in 2 dimensions would yield a circle. If you added the capacity to perceive a third dimension than you would observe the actuality of the object.
    Bell's theorem showed that such "hidden variables" are incapable of reproducing the results predicted by Quantum Mechanics.

    IOW, There are experiments that can be performed that will give different results if there are factors that we cannot detect and are controlling the results, as opposed to the results being purely due to probability(no unseen deterministic factors).

    The results of those experiments show that there are no hidden factors that could result in the outcome we get.

    To use your circle/sphere example, it is as if we looked at a series of two dimensional shapes arranged in a pattern, and showed that that pattern could not be made to represent different "slices" of a real 3 dimensional shape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    The illusion of free-will keeps us from denying morality and law, and subsequently leads us down a positive evolutionary path.
    There is no logical connection between the first part of your statement and the second part.
    However, since free will belongs in philosophy and debunking of the notion of positive evolutionary paths belongs in biology, I shall withdraw from the discussion here - unless you wish to start another thread, or threads, to discuss those two points.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser
    For example, looking at a sphere in 2 dimensions would yield a circle. If you added the capacity to perceive a third dimension than you would observe the actuality of the object.
    This is exactly how the math in QM works. These aspects are not hidden, though. They are just different aspects of the same configuration. QM math is based on fairly simple linear algebra of a projection on a complex function. This function represents the properties (energy, momentum, location, direction, etc.) of a QM entity (particle or ensemble of particles). Different functions called "operators" make a projection on that entity that yield those quantities as observables. In your example, there could be two operators for the two perspectives.
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    Let's not mix up chaos with QM, or random with arbitrary. QM cannot be fully random or arbitrary, because if based on a large enough ensemble of individual processes, the results are well predictable. We cannot predict, when an unstable isotope will decay, but we can predict, how many will decay within a certain time. Sure, it is a philosophical problem that in QM cause and effect seem to be detached. It is still difficult to accept that eventually Nature is not as deterministic as mankind has been believing for centuries. But remember one thing: in QM everything is wave mechanics, i.e. there are no "particles" in the naive meaning. All kinds of effects like interference could lead to strange results (see double slit experiment). We have to take into account interactions of different "particles" (also for isotope decay). Is it not possible that time as such is not the driving factor but rather something like the alignment of wave propagation vectors that are dynamically changing? Then only a statistical distribution of orientations would explain QM interactions.

    Imagine the following thought experiment. Take an ensemble of red and green needles and put them on a table. Select those pairs that are aligned within a certain range of angles (say +/- 1 degrees) and remove them from the ensemble (decay). Then redistribute the remaining needles and continue. The result would be a needle half-life depending on the allowed accuracy of alignments. With only one red/green pair left, it is impossible to predict, when the alignment is reached. Does this make sense?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishmaster
    Let's not mix up chaos with QM
    Okay, let's talk about that. As I understand it, chaos refers to deterministic systems that are just too complex to analyze, and have cascading effects that drastically change the final outcome. An example would be a butterfly that flaps its wings, which causes some minute air current which is amplified and eventually effects whether a tornado strikes a certain place at a certain time. But theoretically if we had enough data and a powerful enough computer, we could tell where the tornado will strike. The randomness of QM is different because there is no theory that will predict when an isotope will decay. But, QM can have macroscopic effects, such as if the butterfly flies past an isotope and is or is not hit with some ionizing radiation causing a mutation or cell damage which affects its flapping ability. So, even if we had an infiinite amount of data and an infinitely powerful computer, we still could not predict the future.
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  22. #21 Re: Are things really random 
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    Quote Originally Posted by godcube
    What I was wondering is that if you do something EXACTLY the same, will it always turnout the same way and I mean doing it EXACTLY the same with every factor you can think of the same every time.

    For example let's say there is a room, and in that room a ball drops from the ceiling and bounces around. If you reset the scenario with the ball back at the ceiling and is dropping at exactly the same speed and angle, with every factor being EXACTLY the same (down to the way the atoms of the ball and air and walls are moving around), will the ball bounces in exactly the same way.

    Because with some theories (quantum mechanics and such) there is an element of randomness built in, but I am just wondering whether that is because it is the best prediction model we can come up with because we don't know (or are unable to observe) exactly what is going on, but that in reality things do not happen randomly.
    Quantum mechanics holds that things are actually random. It is not because of messurement inaccuracy, but because the outcome is truly random. There is a actually a non-zero probability that all of the atoms in your chair will suddenly move three feet to the right.

    However the probability of that chair moving in a finite period of time, like the age of the current universe, is so small that you would not expect to actually observe such an event.

    As a practical matter, at a macroscopic level the quantum uncertainties are so small that they are completely unnoticed and the world appears to be deterministic. So, with macroscopic bodies and within normal capabilities of measurement, it is a perfectly reasonable expectation that if you perform an experiment with the same conditions, you will see the same outcome, to a very hight level of precision.
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    I have no formal education in QM or much else for that matter, which I'm sure will be evident to those have a moderate background in QM. I just try to keep up with pop science books that intrigue me. My understanding is that if we could know exactly every factor involved in a system, we would (hypothetically) be able to predict the outcome consistently. On other words, the outcome would be deterministic. However, as far as we currently know, it's impossible to be able to determine every factor, making reality for all practical purposes indeterministic. Can anyone correct me on this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizen
    .... making reality for all practical purposes indeterministic. Can anyone correct me on this?
    I think Dr. Rocket has done that in the post preceding yours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizen
    ... However, as far as we currently know, it's impossible to be able to determine every factor, making reality for all practical purposes indeterministic. Can anyone correct me on this?
    As has been said before, non-determinism seems to be a property of Nature and not the result of flawed measurements.
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    I think no one can give an example of a truly random event in our day-to-day life (excluding things that happen on a subatomic level, but as i understand it nobody knows if it is random or if it appears to be random due to our poor understanding on how things work).
    I would even argue that our "free will" is not even "free" but could modelled if you take all of the variables into account. thus, things people do are not random but are a consequence of external factors (such as their experience, perception, health etc.). if you knew all of them you could predict what people will do, how these actions affect other people, how they react and so on. this way, the course of the world as we observe it is predetermined. not because there might be some sort of "god", but because every reaction has a some factors that trigger it and the reaction becomes the cause of another reaction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaizen
    However, as far as we currently know, it's impossible to be able to determine every factor, making reality for all practical purposes indeterministic. Can anyone correct me on this?
    In concurrence with the others: yes, reality is (and not just for all practical purposes) indeterministic.

    But...

    1. For most practical purposes we can treat reality as deterministic because we can use statistics to give us very reliable results. Dr Rocket and others make this point quite clearly in their previous posts.

    2. For many (in fact probably for all) practical purposes, determinism can be equated with its epistemological counterpart: predictability. That is, what can we find out about the future?

    3. In this case there are at least two complicating factors - the first, from physics, is Quantum Mechanics where, as already discussed, individual events cannot be predicted. Also as already discussed, the difference this makes is debatable, because the overall behaviour of large numbers of these events put together can be predicted with great accuracy. (The standard analogy used here is that of a fair coin. From one flip to the next you cannot tell whether it will come up heads or tails, yet if it is genuinely a fair coin then you can predict that over a large number of flips, heads and tails will come up with almost the same frequency ie about 50:50.)

    4. The second complicating factor, from physics and mathematics, is mathematical chaos. again, this has been discussed in earlier posts. Mathematical chaos refers to a system or model that is, in principle, fully deterministic (ignoring Quantum Mechanics) but, because of the recursive nature of the system, and its parameters, it is in effect infinitely sensitive to the actual values of the starting conditions, and the slightest change in these conditions causes substantial changes further down the line. Since we can never hope to measure any starting conditions with infinite accuracy, we are left with a model that, mathematically speaking, is impossible to provide accurate, or deterministic, predictions for, no matter how 'deterministic' the set-up.

    5. Epistemologically (or philosophically) speaking, there are other complicating factors too: the Problem ofInduction and so on, but those are best dicussed on the Philosophy Forum, if you're interested.

    Don't know if this helps, but I felt the need to clarify why quantum physics gives us amazingly accurate predictions (to 23 decimal places in some cases, I've heard) and yet each individual event/interaction remains, in principle, unpredictable.
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    There is only one way that I can see randomness being a possibility, and that is if we live in a metaphysical universe rather than a "real" universe with "real" objects, whereby the concept randomness propagates into "reality" merely as a concept, and that - as a result - all observable randomness is merely conceptual phenomena.
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    I don't really have anything to back it up, but I just talked to someone who made some interesting calculations: if you shoot a ball on a perfect pool table, after about 10 bounces, the course of the balls is almost completely random, every time different, and unpredictable.

    Trying to explain free will with quantum randomness is wishful thinking, rationalising away the unacceptability of the absence of free will and points in the direction of pseudoscience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender
    I don't really have anything to back it up, but I just talked to someone who made some interesting calculations: if you shoot a ball on a perfect pool table, after about 10 bounces, the course of the balls is almost completely random, every time different, and unpredictable.

    Trying to explain free will with quantum randomness is wishful thinking, rationalising away the unacceptability of the absence of free will and points in the direction of pseudoscience.
    Rationally speaking, free will is probably a mere illusory condition generated by our brains. Details are hard come by, but it seems rather impossible for free will to exist in a universe where everything is predictable, that is, of a causal nature. Then again, free will is only a paradox in the causal sense of the universe. If you break it down, choice seems entirely dependent upon the objects being chosen. Our spatio-temporal awareness allows us to compare objects as if they were actual objects, that is, we gain awareness of there shape and general figure. Now, hypothetically speaking, based upon the objects spatio-temporal figure, we determine by some causal apparatus in our minds which ones is more sooted for our "choice." It would then see that it is this causal apparatus determining our choices...right or left? Once again, we come to the conclusion that choice is a postiori rather than a priori; meaning completely dependent upon the objective nature of the objects of our spatio-temporal observations. So then it would seem that if randomness were observed, it would be entirely dependent upon how it is being observed, which in turn is dependent upon our conceptual understanding of the observed. The understanding of what it, in fact, means to be an object - a thing. Our concept of a thing is in our reality, but we must remember that reality can be far different than actuality.

    If we truly want to answer questions like this, I believe that it is first necessary to determine what existence is. Or rather: How do we exist? Is it a metaphysical existence or a physical existence, or both? Truly abominable questions, not easily answered. I have my theories though.
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    I would even argue that our "free will" is not even "free" but could modelled if you take all of the variables into account. thus, things people do are not random but are a consequence of external factors (such as their experience, perception, health etc.). if you knew all of them you could predict what people will do, how these actions affect other people, how they react and so on. this way, the course of the world as we observe it is predetermined. not because there might be some sort of "god", but because every reaction has a some factors that trigger it and the reaction becomes the cause of another reaction.
    ttcfraser:
    Rationally speaking, free will is probably a mere illusory condition generated by our brains. Details are hard come by, but it seems rather impossible for free will to exist in a universe where everything is predictable, that is, of a causal nature.
    If the world was predetermined, then free will would be useless.
    Society in general however does not agree with this view. We have legal systems at all levels of government. What's that common lawyer phrase..."it goes to motive". Motivation cannot be reduced to a physical system capable of analysis, only speculation with any supporting evidence. Marketing research spends millions trying to understand human behavior, but ends with statistical methods.

    prediction:
    On the basis that all observation/perception is after the fact or historical, The more complex or larger the system, the more difficult the prediction of its next state. Eg. is a binary star system 1000 ly away, still orbiting now? You could predict yes on the basis of a 100 yr study, but next year observe one member to explode as a supernova!
    macro vs micro:
    Like quantum behavior, actuarial statistics only predict how many from a population will die, but not which individuals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by phyti
    evariste.galois
    I would even argue that our "free will" is not even "free" but could modelled if you take all of the variables into account. thus, things people do are not random but are a consequence of external factors (such as their experience, perception, health etc.). if you knew all of them you could predict what people will do, how these actions affect other people, how they react and so on. this way, the course of the world as we observe it is predetermined. not because there might be some sort of "god", but because every reaction has a some factors that trigger it and the reaction becomes the cause of another reaction.
    ttcfraser:
    Rationally speaking, free will is probably a mere illusory condition generated by our brains. Details are hard come by, but it seems rather impossible for free will to exist in a universe where everything is predictable, that is, of a causal nature.
    If the world was predetermined, then free will would be useless.
    Society in general however does not agree with this view. We have legal systems at all levels of government. What's that common lawyer phrase..."it goes to motive". Motivation cannot be reduced to a physical system capable of analysis, only speculation with any supporting evidence. Marketing research spends millions trying to understand human behavior, but ends with statistical methods.

    prediction:
    On the basis that all observation/perception is after the fact or historical, The more complex or larger the system, the more difficult the prediction of its next state. Eg. is a binary star system 1000 ly away, still orbiting now? You could predict yes on the basis of a 100 yr study, but next year observe one member to explode as a supernova!
    macro vs micro:
    Like quantum behavior, actuarial statistics only predict how many from a population will die, but not which individuals.
    Once again, an impossible rationale. Its akin to saying 2+2=5. In the end, though, it all comes down to the predictability of the sub atomic world. The thing about empirical analysis is that is can only speculate based upon instruments that don't think for themselves. In turn, we are left to fill in the blanks about what is real and what isn't, and this, in turn, effects our perspectives. For a long time, individuals believed that the world was flat - this is, in all likelihood, incorrect. What does this tell you? This tells you that if one does not understand, or have knowledge of all the variables present in a situation, then one will probably have an inaccurate perspective of the situation and its origins. This is ESPECIALLY true for macro bodies (like larger socioeconomic dynamics, or the flatness of a planet) and micro bodies (sub atomic reality). Therefore, we must put all of our certainty into the hands of philosophy and metaphysics and mereology, in order to discern what is in fact true. The empirical sciences can follow suit.
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    If i remember the uncertainty principle, one of the variables in the equation is mass. Because we are dropping a ball which has a huge mass compared to the planks constant , the effect of not knowing it's location and its velocity is rather negligible, perhaps we can say that it is not exactly the same, but the difference will be hard to measure.
    everything is mathematical.
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    You can never do things exactly the same, but what you can say, is that if you DID then the outcome would be the same for something like rolling the dice.
    If you had the same face up, on two dice in your hand, and moved your hand inn the exact same way as before (which would be impossible) and the air temperatures were the same, and all of teh other stuff, then you would get the same outcome... but that's impossible, so you might as well forget it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrior

    3. In this case there are at least two complicating factors - the first, from physics, is Quantum Mechanics where, as already discussed, individual events cannot be predicted. Also as already discussed, the difference this makes is debatable, because the overall behaviour of large numbers of these events put together can be predicted with great accuracy. (The standard analogy used here is that of a fair coin. From one flip to the next you cannot tell whether it will come up heads or tails, yet if it is genuinely a fair coin then you can predict that over a large number of flips, heads and tails will come up with almost the same frequency ie about 50:50.)
    I like how you describe the "Law of Large Numbers" as understood by actuaries and other statistics people.

    Quote Originally Posted by phyti
    evariste.galois
    I would even argue that our "free will" is not even "free" but could modelled if you take all of the variables into account. thus, things people do are not random but are a consequence of external factors (such as their experience, perception, health etc.). if you knew all of them you could predict what people will do, how these actions affect other people, how they react and so on. this way, the course of the world as we observe it is predetermined. not because there might be some sort of "god", but because every reaction has a some factors that trigger it and the reaction becomes the cause of another reaction.
    ttcfraser:
    Rationally speaking, free will is probably a mere illusory condition generated by our brains. Details are hard come by, but it seems rather impossible for free will to exist in a universe where everything is predictable, that is, of a causal nature.
    If the world was predetermined, then free will would be useless.
    Society in general however does not agree with this view. We have legal systems at all levels of government. What's that common lawyer phrase..."it goes to motive". Motivation cannot be reduced to a physical system capable of analysis, only speculation with any supporting evidence. Marketing research spends millions trying to understand human behavior, but ends with statistical methods.

    prediction:
    On the basis that all observation/perception is after the fact or historical, The more complex or larger the system, the more difficult the prediction of its next state. Eg. is a binary star system 1000 ly away, still orbiting now? You could predict yes on the basis of a 100 yr study, but next year observe one member to explode as a supernova!
    macro vs micro:
    Like quantum behavior, actuarial statistics only predict how many from a population will die, but not which individuals.
    I also like this description.

    Whether the behavior of the individuals being analyzed by an insurance adjuster is truly random or not, it approximates to randomness, and an approximation is good enough.

    It could be that the causal factors in the quantum mechanical world are an infinite regress of smaller and smaller levels of interaction far below what we can observe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janus
    Quote Originally Posted by ttcfraser

    I have a pretty good conceptual understanding of quantum mechanics, but sadly to say I know none of the math. If randomness is observed in quantum mechanics, then that means that we are not viewing the randomness from the correct perspective. If we were, then we would observe a much more orderly causality on the sub atomic level. For example, looking at a sphere in 2 dimensions would yield a circle. If you added the capacity to perceive a third dimension than you would observe the actuality of the object.
    Bell's theorem showed that such "hidden variables" are incapable of reproducing the results predicted by Quantum Mechanics.

    IOW, There are experiments that can be performed that will give different results if there are factors that we cannot detect and are controlling the results, as opposed to the results being purely due to probability(no unseen deterministic factors).

    The results of those experiments show that there are no hidden factors that could result in the outcome we get.

    To use your circle/sphere example, it is as if we looked at a series of two dimensional shapes arranged in a pattern, and showed that that pattern could not be made to represent different "slices" of a real 3 dimensional shape.
    This is true if there are a few unseen factors.

    On the other hand, if there are enough unseen factors to approximate to true randomness, then we're not going to be able to test for that. Just like how the behavior of the group of people being analyzed by the insurance adjuster probably has (unseen) determining factors behind it, but the final result appears to be a totally random system.


    The thing about quantum mechanics is that it's all happening at the limit of small. If there's a smaller layer than we're seeing, it must be a vast system that yields statistically consistent results. Nobody wants to think this, because it means there's something science will never reach.
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    No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.
    Sorry but, few or many, no hidden variables can account for the randomness in QM. It looks like it really is random in the proper sense of the word.

    (This may be a bit off topic, but since I thought it up, I should write it down somewhere.) For those that can't imagine how randomness can lead to apparent determinism, thry this. Imagine a truly random coin. (Not a physical one, which would be more accurately described as chaotic.) Imagine a particle that would move left on heads or right on tails. From one moment to the next, you wouldn't be able to predict where that particle would be next. Now imagine a ball composed of 100,000 of these particles. Connections between them mean that they pull each other around when one moves. Now after 100,000 coin flips, very nearly 50,000 went left, and the rest went right. That means that the ball, as a whole, barely moved, if at all. So even if you can't predict how each particle in the ball will move, you can say that, overall, the ball won't move. Of course, it's still possible for all 100,000 coins to come up heads causing the ball to suddenly jump to the left, but it's not likely.
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    Just some thoughts:
    The history of science has been to create abstract concepts to model
    the behavior of the universe, in part or in whole. The concepts are
    usually simple to minimize the analysis of the observations, and to
    explain the most phenomena with the fewest variables.
    1.
    Regarding the uncertainty principle, the very concepts postion and
    momentum seem to be inadequate. Because perception is after the fact,
    we can only know where the particle was. Because momentum requires
    velocity which requires a 2nd position, we can only know what the
    velocity was. In principle, we cannot know the current position or
    momentum, without a margin of error.
    If you consider the position of a sphere, in reality its everywhere
    within the sphere, not just at the center, which is an abstract
    representative point that facilitates calculations.
    2.
    Because light propagation is not instantaneous, and it's the messenger
    of events, simultaneous knowledge of all elements of a dynamic universe
    is not possible. This fact prevents exact prediction of the state of
    any part of it, but only an approximation, which is sufficient for
    large scale phenomena. The particle uncertainty for large objects would
    be insignificant.
    Ideal repeatability of an experiment, requiring the exact state of the
    previous experiment, would not be possible.
    Someone mentioned spontaneous motion of a composite object due to all
    its elements moving in the same direction. If the particles at the
    quantum level are making high frequency transitions, the group motion
    would be of short duration, only detectable by a hi-tech device.
    As theories are revised on the basis of new knowledge, the prediction
    becomes more accurate, but still restricted by the speed of light.
    3.
    If you toss a coin into the air with spin, it oscillates between head
    and tail. You can't predict the outcome, and only know its state when
    you observe it, (when it lands or with a high speed camera).
    This is my analogy to a quantum particle in a superposition of two
    states. As for the coin toss sequence, all sequences have the same
    probability because the tosses are time independent. There is no memory
    in the system. Each toss is like the 1st toss. If the quantum particle
    has no memory, then its state is also time independent, and
    unpredictable. As a possible explanation for the random transitions, we
    could consider the random radiation from all parts of the universe
    interacting with a particle.
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    One possibility, of course, is that the randomness of subatomic particles is generated by a near infinity of deterministic events happening inside of it, which collectively create outcomes that seem very random.


    But, if so, then to call it truly random is a valid approximation, and the most accurate conclusion we're likely to arrive at.

    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.
    Sorry but, few or many, no hidden variables can account for the randomness in QM. It looks like it really is random in the proper sense of the word.

    (This may be a bit off topic, but since I thought it up, I should write it down somewhere.) For those that can't imagine how randomness can lead to apparent determinism, thry this. Imagine a truly random coin. (Not a physical one, which would be more accurately described as chaotic.) Imagine a particle that would move left on heads or right on tails. From one moment to the next, you wouldn't be able to predict where that particle would be next. Now imagine a ball composed of 100,000 of these particles. Connections between them mean that they pull each other around when one moves. Now after 100,000 coin flips, very nearly 50,000 went left, and the rest went right. That means that the ball, as a whole, barely moved, if at all. So even if you can't predict how each particle in the ball will move, you can say that, overall, the ball won't move. Of course, it's still possible for all 100,000 coins to come up heads causing the ball to suddenly jump to the left, but it's not likely.
    Yes. This is exactly my intuition. The odds, of course, of getting 100,000 flips to be the same on a truly random coin are 2 to the 100,000th power.

    That would explain why, the macro scale, we observe determinism from the random behavior of subatomic particles. It also goes a long way toward explaining the theory of evolution in a way that makes evolution seem like the outcome that should most be expected (instead of some crazy anomaly).
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Yes. This is exactly my intuition. The odds, of course, of getting 100,000 flips to be the same on a truly random coin are 2 to the 100,000th power.

    Any sequence of 100,000 flips is 2^100,000.
    The probability of this particular sequence for all possible, is 1/(2^100,000).
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    True, but the probability of having 50000 heads out of 100000 flips should be times higher than any one particular sequence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    One possibility, of course, is that the randomness of subatomic particles is generated by a near infinity of deterministic events happening inside of it, which collectively create outcomes that seem very random.
    Are you proposing more levels of structure?
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    I'm not proposing that we're ever going to know what those levels of structure are, but otherwise, yeah. I think there are probably infinity levels of structure going down, just as there are likely infinity levels of structure going up.

    It's just my view, though.


    We can't see below the level of an electron, so anything we say about levels below that is pure speculation. It's even speculation if we say no such levels exist.

    One might suggest that the speculation that nothing exists below that level of structure deserves a different burden of evidence than the speculation that something does exist below that level of structure. If disagree, though. I think both are equally speculative assertions, and both deserve the same burden of evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I'm not proposing that we're ever going to know what those levels of structure are, but otherwise, yeah. I think there are probably infinity levels of structure going down, just as there are likely infinity levels of structure going up.

    It's just my view, though.


    We can't see below the level of an electron, so anything we say about levels below that is pure speculation. It's even speculation if we say no such levels exist.

    One might suggest that the speculation that nothing exists below that level of structure deserves a different burden of evidence than the speculation that something does exist below that level of structure. If disagree, though. I think both are equally speculative assertions, and both deserve the same burden of evidence.
    About 60 years ago, the atom was composed of 3 particles. Look how the family has grown with just one more level of complexity. At this point in time, anything's possible.
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    If it was possible to create that scenario:

    It depends on who you beleive. During Einstein's time, phyciscists were starting to think that things could be completely random. However, Einstein and other older scientists did not want to beleive this theory and Einstein himself stated:

    "I am sure that He (God) does not roll dice."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schemmy888
    If it was possible to create that scenario:

    It depends on who you beleive. During Einstein's time, phyciscists were starting to think that things could be completely random. However, Einstein and other older scientists did not want to beleive this theory and Einstein himself stated:

    "I am sure that He (God) does not roll dice."
    And Bohr said "Einstein, don't tell God what to do."
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    And god replied 'Hey, hey, leave me out of this'?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    That would explain why, the macro scale, we observe determinism from the random behavior of subatomic particles. It also goes a long way toward explaining the theory of evolution in a way that makes evolution seem like the outcome that should most be expected (instead of some crazy anomaly).
    One thing to point out that people who haven't taken qm don't seem to know: while observables like position and momentum are random, their averages obey Newton's laws (for low speeds & masses of course).
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    chaos is order, for which the observation frame is to small to see the order
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    If you're talking about the randomness in QM, then no, it's not. QM is actually, really, in the proper meaning of the word, random. There's no chaos there. We're not overlooking some piece of information. It's really, properly random. I know there are a lot of people who refuse to accept that, who are afraid of that, but every experiment has shown it to be real, so get used to it.
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    I suppose QM stands for quantum mechancs and not for Queen Mary?
    No, I mean in the RW (meaning reel world, not read/write)
    If the observer point is defined as X, going one way lets you in the world of 1X,2X,3X,...
    going the other way lets you in the world of 1/X,1/2X,1/3X,...

    one way,increasing mass and decreasing speed
    the other way,increasing speed and decreasing mass

    one way aiming for 0, the other way aiming for indefinite
    both goals cannot be reached in any kind of time frame

    an observer frame can be conclusive but only within its frame
    outside the frame, it's chaos
    inside the frame, it's order
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    Were you referring to the randomness in quantum mechanics? If so, then my point above still stands. If not, I didn't say anything about anything else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    If you're talking about the randomness in QM, then no, it's not. QM is actually, really, in the proper meaning of the word, random. There's no chaos there. We're not overlooking some piece of information. It's really, properly random. I know there are a lot of people who refuse to accept that, who are afraid of that, but every experiment has shown it to be real, so get used to it.
    Like some previous posters pointed out perhaps there is some "sub-quantum process" that we cannot observe, but which deterministically predicts quantum "randomness".

    Of course this is just speculation and the burden of proof lies on me to show the existence of this "sub-quantum process" and since I have none I accept that QM is truly random.

    Does anybody have any knowledge at to how much quantum randomness affects macroscopic determinism? I suspect that chaos probably dwarfs QM as the cause of perceived randomness.
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    I think that it's actually been proven that existing observations would disprove any theory of such sub-quantum determinism (though I don't know where to find that proof), but your point is also valid. The burden of proof would be on anyone trying to prove otherwise (or at least they'd have to show why the other proof was wrong).

    And yes, macroscopic chaos is much more visible, and really has nothing to do with quantum randomness. In fact, few, if any, macroscopic events have much to do with quantum randomness. As soon as you start looking at the average of a few billion quantum-scale events, all the randomness disappears. Chaos is something else altogether, and would continue to occur even if everything were perfectly deterministic.
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    Quantum randomness can easily affect the outcome of a chaotic system. It offers very small variations, but that's all a chaotic system needs to produce different macroscopic events.
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    In the end QM is merely a thesis however, and any thesis that is conceived at this moment in time is going to be based on an incredibly limited amount of knowledge, understanding and information because we base it upon limited frame references. Even ones that are proven are still only proven based upon the knowledge we have at that current time.

    The evolution of physical science is mostly down to the discovery of new knowledge that revolutionises existing concepts and often smashes them to the ground. Consider Newton's physical laws when you place them on a galactic scale, for example.

    We can't reference QM in an argument as if it were the bible. The best we can do is say that it is a good foundation or basis but acknowledge that not all the results from it will reflect the truth.

    That's also probably why my personal belief is that metaphysics will usually be one step ahead - it's like thinking up the story before writing it down. In fact most models are created by essentially converting a metaphysical concept into mathematical language. Since metaphysics is often one step ahead, disapproving a metaphysical idea with existing empirical physics is usually impossible unless that line of physics has stood the test of time for a considerable amount of time.

    Thus, just because QM points to true randomness existing doesn't necessarily mean it does; rather it means that for the model to work with the finite amount of information and knowledge we have, that randomness must exist within the model.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aqueous
    We can't reference QM in an argument as if it were the bible. The best we can do is say that it is a good foundation or basis but acknowledge that not all the results from it will reflect the truth.
    Quoting QM is usually more relevant than quoting the bible, especially in a physics forum. In contrast to the bible, it does have some relevant results which match experiments closely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aqueous
    That's also probably why my personal belief is that metaphysics will usually be one step ahead - it's like thinking up the story before writing it down. In fact most models are created by essentially converting a metaphysical concept into mathematical language. Since metaphysics is often one step ahead, disapproving a metaphysical idea with existing empirical physics is usually impossible unless that line of physics has stood the test of time for a considerable amount of time.

    Thus, just because QM points to true randomness existing doesn't necessarily mean it does; rather it means that for the model to work with the finite amount of information and knowledge we have, that randomness must exist within the model.
    The essence here is right: a more complex model might not include randomness.
    But I hope you're not confusing newagers that want to prove all kind of nonsense with scientists. A new scientific model should be built on experimental observations or logical deduction based on existing models.
    A metaphysical idea is usually based solely on wishful thinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender
    Quantum randomness can easily affect the outcome of a chaotic system. It offers very small variations, but that's all a chaotic system needs to produce different macroscopic events.
    That's a good point, but I wonder how big of an effect it has compared to the macroscopic sources of small variations? It'd be interesting to find out, if it's actually possible to do so.
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