# Randomness versus Probability

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Votorx, Jun 23, 2007.

1. ### VotorxStill egotistic...Valued Senior Member

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1,126
This thread is made to formulate a straight and clear difference between the two terms. They're both used interchangeably but I propose there's a profound difference them. Probability can be considered the chance of different, usually overly generalized, unique events occuring due to factors in its environment. Because everything is in a seemingly infinite environment there are an infinitely many variables making the chances of any one event occuring to be virtually impossible.

A case to be considered is flipping a coin. When only one variable is present (in this case the coin) we see a clear precise 50/50 chance of it landing on either heads or tails. When you add the person flipping the coin, you can contemplate the chances changing due to how hard he flips the coin. Adding in wind factor, thermal shifts from the amount of people in the room so on and so forth towards a universe of infinite proportions, the ability to make a clear precise probability of the coin flipping becomes impossible.

Taking this into a much larger picture its clear that its impossible to make any prediction of any event occuring making the next closest possible moment truly random and spontaneous especially when dealing with an environment infinitely large like the universe. This leads to the definition of randomness being an event occurring independent of the environment.

When dealing with this idea of randomness, something that can occur outside what we consider reality is hard. Because of this I believe we have no real concept of what true randomness is. Taking it on a more literal level it can explain why such a simple task can't be simulated on the computer, meanwhile we have simulations of molecular cell work.

That's not to say human's can't be random. Quite the opposite I believe our ability to be random is what sets us apart from any other being, we just don't have our concept of what it is, only what probability is. Meanwhile, it can be argued that probability is goverened by randomness, and can only be contemplated on a much smaller and specific level. Such as flipping a coin.

Your thoughts? I know it doesn't seem too relevant now but it will in my next couple of posts. Please use standard definitions for things...this isn't a thread about WHAT the universe is, because I'm using typical common meaning.

3. ### SarathasRegistered Member

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9
My concept: If something happens randomly, it happens unplanned. Take a leave which is falling from a tree. Nobody plans where it will hit the ground, therefore it is random. Even if somebody causes the leave to fall by shaking the tree, the leave will still arrive at an unplanned location.
Probability is just a number which expresses the chance of the leave landing at a certain position.

5. ### PossumkingI think, I am?Registered Senior Member

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385
Probability and chance are synonymous -to me, what you said is like saying "Probability is just a number which expresses the probability of the leaf landing at a certain position"