Is there such a thing as randomness?

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by scilosopher, Dec 14, 2001.

  1. Mr. G reality.sys Valued Senior Member

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    <<...randomness can be manifest only where there exists no definiton of cause or effect...>>

    The more I think back over this, my own, statement the more I'm coming to decide that it is too simplistic, largely meaningless and plain wrong.

    Imagine a perfect vacuum where nothing happens because there's nothing there to act or be acted upon -- no photons, not electrons, no vacuum energies, no virtual particles, nothing. Where is randomness in such a situation?

    Interjet into the thought experiment vacuum one photon and one electron. Depending on the volume of the vacuum it is very problematic that the two particles will find one another. They may find one another quickly, they may never find one another at all or they may find one another eventually.

    Is that the simplest form of randomness -- equally likely possibility or impossibility?
     
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  3. SeekerOfTruth Unemployed, but Looking Registered Senior Member

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    If this is true, then what ties our common view of time and our common view of how the universe functions?

    Unless of course we are all just different aspects/personas of God...
     
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  5. Alpha «Visitor» Registered Senior Member

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    Chance is: "The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause."
    There will always be things we can't know, so there will always be chance. There are limits to how much info we can gather. There is a minimum distance we can probe to, and a minimum time. There's also the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
    There'll always be things we don't know, so there'll always be chance.
     
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  7. scilosopher Registered Senior Member

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    Seeker,
    I was just posing an analogy and working through the implications based on someone elses supposition. I guess though that i'd have to go with we all see certain parts of the same book. No two people get the same copy, but there is overlap (of course there would be perceptual warps ... say 4 people are standing in a line ABCD. You're B, and A yells something at about the same time as C, depending on how far apart everyone is ABC and D may think people yelled in a different order). I'm not sure if the supposition is true or not, but it certainly sounds feasible and thinking through the implications is interesting.

    Alpha,
    I guess what I was wondering is whether there are processes in the universe which are random. My dictionary defines random as "1. Having no specific pattern or purpose. 2.Statistics. Of or relating to equal probability of selection or occurence for each member of a group." My main reasaon for asking is that people who hear about randomness in science often seem to think the world is unordered. The scientists however are often speaking more from the statistical position or in keeping with your comments. They are very different meanings with different implications. I agree that randomness will always exist in the way you mean, but I don't believe there are any processes which are inherently random or unpatterned.

    Actually I would never want to know the future, even if the world was totally deterministic and we could get all the necessary information. The thrills of life all come from not knowing what will come next.
     
  8. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member

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    The uncertainty principle has alot of points, sure, but we're forgeting all that can be discovered has not yet been discovered. Besides, an atoms position has few implications, in general something will happen.

    For example, its like for every atom that moves that way, another moves this way, and so on an I bet theres some sortof a pattern. Thats basically all the universe runs on. Patterns.Thats why its deterministic. Just the philosophy involved, like saying you bend to far back you might break your spine. That can be applied to almost anything else. And theres that margin of uncertainty, but once you get into that purely contemplative, and god like position, there is none, which brings me back to the box.

    There is technically nothing outside of the box, but if you think about it, then you basically say the only thing that there is, is the box, and a position from the outside, in this Godlike form existing everywhere around the box in and whatever. I really like this new theory that's coming out saying how the universe is like the surface of water. Thats sortof what I'm trying to say by 'inverse' the box and what do you get. This entirely different state thats pure, deterministic in some terms basically an entity that will one day fall just as it came in.

    Fitting this into randomness, if the universe is actually 1 dimensional as I think, then a situation has only one path that it can take, like a circuit board. All these other events on the surface of this inversed circle create something like a circuit path and its all connected so events happen to appear randomly although they do not. And empty space as we see it is not actually empty, its only extremly low energy, until we go far enough to get to absolutely absolute zero, which is so far away thats its in what we percieve to be the future, probably the distance of the speed of light squared which would have to be based on some other sort of unit than miles a second.

    now if what we call God is outside of the inversed box or whatever, then he would be situated at all ends of the time spectrum, right since frames of reality have already happened based on the circuit thing I was talkin bout. Everywhere all the time, only 1 being. Randomness appears to exist but it doesnt. Things happen for a reason. Only because different events have made sortof a circuit board, or as someone else was earlier calling, a linear thing based on what can happen and what future events are brewing, to sortof surround the randomness.

    Now I know I'm getting wordy, but this whole random thing is too down to earth, it only exists to most people cause we know virtually cant keep tabs on everything at a one dimensional level. So lets call it semi deterministic for now.
     
  9. Alpha «Visitor» Registered Senior Member

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    I don't believe in determinism though. Everything seems to happen for a reason, but the ultimate outcome has to be unknown. You can't predict with absolute certainty what a person will do. Without conscious life I would expect the universe to be deterministic, but with it, there can't be a predetermined future.

    What about pi? Apparently it's been proven that the digits in pi never repeat, and has no predictable pattern. The sequence has to be that way for a reason (seemingly deterministic), but it is unpredictable (therefore random). You never know what the digits will be until you actually calculate them. This analogy can only be taken so far when it comes to determinism though, because pi is not conscious.
     
  10. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member

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    pi and the square root of any prime number have infinite numbers in them. This has nothing to do with determinism. Why? because the world we live in doesnt run on those things. Pi is just the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, basically 22/7, and it actually complements my deterministic theory with that little inversed box (circlular prism) I was talking about, with all of that stuff about Gods existence everywhere around the box.
     

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