What is the cause of Radioactive Decay

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by RajeshTrivedi, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Geon Registered Member

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    And the same science article has relevance to these discussions... is probability random?

    But can quantum reconstructions also help us understand the “meaning” of quantum mechanics? Hardy doubts that these efforts can resolve arguments about interpretation — whether we need many worlds or just one, for example. After all, precisely because the reconstructionist program is inherently “operational,” meaning that it focuses on the “user experience” — probabilities about what we measure — it may never speak about the “underlying reality” that creates those probabilities.


    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-theory-rebuilt-from-simple-physical-principles-20170830/
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Probability theory assumes randomness. It models situations that behave as if random.

    What's your point?
     
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  5. Geon Registered Member

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    190


    Only you assume probability theory [should itself] assume randomness. Other people working in the field are much more appreciative, the physics is not so clear cut. Especially when you have deterministic mathematical models that work just as well, compared to the other theories that appear to be, not concerned about the underlying fundamental aspects of reality or what causes them.
     
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  7. Geon Registered Member

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    190
    Let me talk about the definition of randomness... it is

    ''Randomness is the lack of pattern or predictability in events. ''

    Which is only true of the wave function and probability up to a point, by the way. Quantum mechanics can be predictable as well. The restrictions of the uncertainty principle today, are well known - the measurement of particles are not as fuzzy at we once thought -

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/uncertainty-not-so-certain-after-all

    This kind of evidence shows, as soon as we understand more aspects of quantum theory, we will get a better understanding of the dynamics actually involved.
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,063
    The axioms of probability theory assume randomness - without it, there is no such thing as a formal "probability distribution", for example. They can be employed to model anything that behaves as if random - regardless of "why".
    The physics has nothing to do with it. Physicists are free to choose whatever mathematics suits their purpose.
    There is no such thing as a non-deterministic mathematical model, in your sense - all mathematical manipulations and arithmetical calculations proceed by rigorous and deterministic logical steps to a fixed and unique conclusion. Meanwhile, there are deterministic interpretations of physical reality that do not involve cause and effect. So you're missing from both sides of the plate.

    We have a difference of opinion regarding the sorts of things that are "underlying fundamental aspects of reality". You think cause/effect is fundamental and underlying, I think it is useful and derivative. I have provided several illustrations of why I think like that, from Darwinian Evolution and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics to homely considerations of why an overfilled balloon pops. None of these directly involved quantum phenomena.

    That was all to make clear why I recommend expansion of one's concept of "cause" to include probability itself before attempting to describe quantum phenomena via cause and effect. Your concept of causation excludes anything that can produce violations of Bell's Inequality, for example, which are observed in measurements of quantum phenomena - this presents you with an impasse. I provided you with a possible approach to extracting yourself from the situation.

    There may be other approaches. But you seem to be ignoring the entire matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  9. Geon Registered Member

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    190

    Are you having a laugh? If anything, I was the one who suggested the ''other approaches'' which you yourself, [seem to be ignoring entirely]. You say randomness is a fundamental part of probability theory - in science, the fundamental hypothesis of the scientific method requires that we look for cause and effect relationships in nature. I can argue this idea of ''random'' probabilities as not even related to science.

    Also, we need to be clear on something... the evolution of a wave function is completely deterministic, its the collapse into a specific state when we consider whether it is random or not. Also, the experiments we have performed has only ruled out one class of hidden variable theory, the local one. There is a non-local version as well.
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Axiomatic, yep.
    Nope. You can look for all kinds of relationships scientifically. I pointed to Darwinian Evolution, the 2nd Law, etc.
    Or as I put it:
    The map is not the territory. Are you talking about physical reality, or mathematical equations?
    Yes. But non-local hidden variables that explain things like observed Bell violation don't look much like "causes" - as I pointed out, you have limited options here, a kind of impasse of the intuitive approach: are you going to discard Relativity Theory? Are you willing to compromise on whether causes always precede effects? Are you perhaps ready to revise the structure of logic itself used to reason about the physical universe, such as by discarding the law of the excluded middle?

    Or will you consider alternatives, other ways of approaching this matter.
     
  11. Geon Registered Member

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    190


    ...What in gods name are you talking about? What is your point bringing up Darwinian evolution or the second law of thermodynamics?

    Darwinian evolution was a causal effect - our ancestors prove this. The second law is another statement about how entropy can never be negative.
     
  12. Geon Registered Member

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    190
    My point of science being based upon cause and effect, is that science is only science when it is falsifiable.

    From parallel universes, to randomly generated theories from the netherworld, it doesn't really matter, they are not testable and is not science.
     
  13. hansda Valued Senior Member

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    Can you toss a coin, without applying any force to it? After application of this force and the coin being tossed, probability comes into picture to predict the outcome of the coin. So, following the Law of Inertia; force still remain a prime cause for any change of motion of a particle.
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,063
    It has been - repeatedly now, explicitly, in plain English - that cause/effect explication is not fundamental to all of science as you keep asserting. Like this:
    That seems to be the source of much of the difficulty surrounding the various attempts to shoehorn causality into quantum phenomena.
    Really? Name the cause.
    And it is more fundamental, more basic, more at the center or outermost frame (depending on viewpoint) of all scientific theory, than the various derivative and useful chains of cause and effect described and employed within its scope.
    And as long as the situation can be described usefully in that cause/effect way - by an approximation such as "force applied"/ "consequent motion", etc - you cannot generate an observed violation of Bell's Inequality. Right?
     
  15. Geon Registered Member

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    190

    Actually it is. It is part of Popper falsifiability and the scientific method. You might want to go read up on it.
     
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I keep handing you examples, you keep ignoring them.
    (Popper was not silly enough to think the only falsifiable claims were those of cause and effect).

    You have claimed that Darwinian Evolution is the effect of a cause. Name the cause.
     
  17. Geon Registered Member

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    190

    Your ''examples'' are like mere statements which seem more like assumptions than actual fact. You will not acknowledge a probability theory doesn't imply randomness (within the context of physics). I don't care about what any fundamental theorem of anything is, if a theory speaks about things without investigating the underlying physical reasons it has done so, is not science.

    And even if your statement about it being a fundamental concept of statistical theory (something I am yet to find a reference to) is right, the methodologies of the scientific method trump every time.
     
  18. Geon Registered Member

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    190
    ''You have claimed that Darwinian Evolution is the effect of a cause. Name the cause.''


    Where do I start? I assume we agree, rational biological processes lead up to the point we live in... I think I exclude time warps and loops, ... causal systems following causal principles, systems ending up in their states, because of causal interactions with its environment.

    Everything that has led up to me, has a causal history.
     
  19. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    I'm stoned right now, but meh...

    Are you wanting to lump quantum mechanics to the theory of evolution?
     
  20. Geon Registered Member

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    No that's not what is being discussed. Another poster has asked, what causal effects has led to evolution. Considering there are rational biological explanations, and considering we are macroscopic objects, its very easy to argue causal effects led up to the human I am today.

    Yes, quantum things are happening. Our best idea in quantum mechanics, a single particle doesn't have a single worldline, it has many histories... but this is not true of the particles we are made up of, which are generally entangled with each other. And other things going on, like decoherence.
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,063
    The map is not the territory.

    Probability theory assumes randomness, axiomatically. It is often used to describe and model physical situations in which that assumption fits the behavior to be modeled or described - when it is useful, provides correct answers to questions about the situation. In this role, it is often - usually - modeling at a more fundamental or central level than the handiest cause/effect description or model. That parallel in role, but at a more rigorous or central or fundamental level, is suggestive - no?
    So you agree that Darwinian evolution is not the effect of any cause you can name.

    That is not surprising. No such simplification as "cause and effect" has proved useful for describing Darwinian evolution, for anyone.

    Cause/effect simplification in general plays a smaller role in biological science than in inherently simpler fields such as physics and chemistry.
    And yet Darwinian theory and the 2nd Law do exactly that.
    Why do you assume cause/effect is fundamental and underlying, when in real situations it is derivative and useful simplification?
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No. Your claim was that Darwinian evolution was itself a "causal effect".
    He's trying to argue that causality is fundamental to science itself, so that unless we assume causality in quantum phenomena we aren't doing science.

    Shorthand: "We think, therefore the world behaves accordingly".
     
  23. Geon Registered Member

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    190

    I'm not trying to argue anything, its a stated fact that scientific theories have to be falsifiable to validate them.

    And yes, the claim is whether evolytion is causal, or a set of causal effects. Is this you going at semantics again, pointless and boring.
     

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