Yer news hack (O’Leary for News) has been light posting because of relatives visiting. Back soon. Meanwhile, went to the beach with them yesterday and snapped a picture of the awesome power of pure randomness.
Look how the sea just deposited these pebbles here:
Randomness is not a scientific explanation. Eric Holloway: We can never know if anything is truly random. Three different computer scientists have proven that randomness is unprovable. The only thing we can know is that something is not random.
33 Replies to “Proof of the power of sheer randomness”
Let’s be accurate. We don’t “know” non random. We calculate a high probability for that event.
another example of ‘sheer randomness’
“…he creates something that almost defies belief”
Randomness cannot be calculated or predicted. Waves deposit broken shells on the beach. We know the conditions behind the debris, but cannot predict where they will hit and what color they will be. If we try to replicate something random, there is always some evidence it was man. Man, no matter how careful, can never be random.
As mentioned in the previous thread, “today’s Darwinists talk of ‘chance’, (and/or randomness), as if it were a cause unto itself, and not as if ‘chance’ were merely a placeholder for ignorance, (as it actually is).”
And as also mentioned in the previous thread, “the way Darwinists use the word ‘chance’ , (and/or randomness), turns out to be, in fact, directly synonymous with Darwinists appealing to, (of all things), a ‘miracle’.
And as also mentioned, Darwinists appealing to (the miracle of) randomness’ and/or ‘chance’ is actually much worse than a Christian Theist appealing to a miracle (from God) since when a Christian appeals to a miracle from God he is appealing to “intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities”, and thus when a Christian appeals to a miracle he is , in fact, appealing to “expressions of rational purpose.”
Whereas when a atheist appeals to (the miracle of) ‘chance’, he is, in fact, appealing to “random (undirected) miracles as an explanatory principle”, where “anything can happen for no reason at all.”
And if “anything can happen for no reason at all”, then that makes it “epistemically self defeating” since “it makes scientific rationality impossible.”
That pure randomness and/or chaos, (where everything is held to happen for no reason at all), would destroy our ability to do science is pretty much straightforward, common sense, reasoning, but to go further. It was further pointed out, (by Jerry), in that previous thread that, “there is nothing that is truly random (in this universe).”
And to empirically prove, (or at least strongly suggest), that Jerry’s claim is correct and that “there is nothing that is truly random (in this universe)”, I will appeal to the quantum Zeno Effect and to advances in quantum information theory.
The quantum Zeno effect has been defined as “The quantum Zeno effect is,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.”
And particle decay is defined as being a ‘spontaneous process’, which means that it is held to occur without any apparent cause.
The obvious question, via the quantum Zeno effect, becomes, “if particle decay is truly a spontaneous and uncaused, process, (as it is generally held to be), then why in blue blazes are my conscious observations putting a freeze on the decay of an unstable particle?”
Besides the quantum Zeno effect raising that very interesting question, advances in quantum information theory have gone one provocative step further and have shown that, quote-unquote, “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
The reason why I am, (as an ID advocate), very impressed with the fact that, in quantum information theory, entropy is not a property of the system but is “a property of an observer who describes the system’ is because entropy is, by a VERY wide margin, the most finely tuned of the initial conditions of the universe.
In fact, the second law of thermodynamics, i.e. entropy, is very foundational to any definition of time that we may have.
Entropy also happens to be the primary reason why our own material, temporal, bodies grow old and eventually die in this universe,,,
And yet, to repeat the last sentence from the quantum information paper, “we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”
For anyone involved in the Evolution vs. ID debate, that statement should send chills down your scientific spine.
That statement is just fascinating! Why in blue blazes should the finely tuned entropic actions of the universe, entropic actions which also happen to explain time, (and physical death), itself, even care if I am consciously observing them, and/or describing them, unless ‘conscious observation’ really is more foundational to reality than the finely tuned 1 in 10^10^123 entropy of the universe is?
To state the glaringly obvious, this finding of entropy being “a property of an observer who describes a system.” is very friendly to a Mind First, and/or to a Theistic view of reality in general.
This is also VERY friendly to Judeo-Christian presuppositions in particular. For instance Romans chapter 8: verses 20 and 21 itself states, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
So thus in conclusion, (and as to Jerry’s contention that “there is nothing that is truly random (in this universe)”, Jerry’s claim is strongly supported by both the quantum Zeno Effect and by advances in quantum information theory where it is now shown that entropy is “a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
And these findings, to repeat, are VERY friendly to Intelligent Design presuppositions in general, and to Judeo-Christian presuppositions in particular.
We know non-random when we observe the design process or designer. But yes, in this case with stones in the sand we have to draw an inference based on probability. There’s a certain threshold however, where we know it’s non-random beyond just probability. Mount Rushmore – we know that. Some things are beyond possibility.
Actually I think those stones fit that category also.
BA77, if utterly random why is there a stable definable half life for a RA isotope? KF
Kairosfocus, of course particle decay is not truly ‘spontaneous’, (without a cause), as it is commonly held to be, (that was my entire point),,,, and there is also the little matter of Boltzmann’s constant, which also directly implies that the randomness inherent in entropy is governed and is not ‘uncaused’ as atheists hold.
While we are on the subject, it is also interesting to note than Ludwig Boltzmann, an atheist, did not discover the constant for entropy, but that Max Planck, a Christian Theist, did.
KF, the reason I used the quantum Zeno Effect, and advances in quantum information theory, (instead of using half-lives and Boltzmann’s constant), to demonstrate that there must indeed be a ’cause’ for randomness in this universe is because those two examples, more directly, implicate that the Mind of God, (via the 1 in 10^10^123 initial entropy of the universe), must be behind the ‘randomness’ of the universe.
i.e. I used them to more directly prove Jerry’s point: “there is nothing that is truly random (in this universe)”.
There is no beyond probability, sloppiness aside. You don’t want to give that crazy bunch any ammunition.
Mount Rushmore is as random as it gets to an elephant. And the discussion is about parsing the data, not about any third-party info you may have. Here I assumed you have not seen God create the universe.
Sidebar: as a high functioning computer scientist, I will say that randomness is generally measured by its compressibily. There are pseudo-random number generators that, for all intents and purposes, are as good as quantum-event generated randomness. But it is quite easy to harness quantum-event randomness in the service of encryption and other applications.
:))) . That’s a good one.
PS: Hey people randomness is a term invented by humans to mask their ignorance. To say something is random inside this universe you have to be omniscient. Which is not the case.
LCD, randomness wrt science and engineering is a well defined mathematical concept.
Jack, yes, resistance to compression into a procedure is a useful way to look at chance based randomness. It is also useful to see how for example a die works, per 8 corners and 12 edges, once tumbled. That is, we get sensitive dependence on conditions leading to the unpredictable stochastic pattern by which each face can be seen as effectively equiprobable. Then, we can use the old trick of using a phone book as a poor man’s random number table to see that clashing, uncorrelated deterministic streams can generate random patterns. This is the reason why, plausibly, pi’s digits in decimal values or binary ones exhibit apparent randomness, allowing similar use as random tables. Quantum and statistical thermodynamics effects are a different approach, one that forces us to see that cause can apply to stochastic patterns, i.e. circumstances causally set up a probabilistic distribution of possible outcomes; BA77 is right to note that things like RA decay are not without causal constraints, reflected in things like stability of half life, often due to a quantum tunnelling effect with a barrier potential. Lastly, this can be used with something like a Johnson counter to flatten out distributions giving effective flat randomness. KF
LCD: You have a key insight, probabilities and linked informational surprise are indicia of a degree of ignorance. Information then becomes tied to surprise effected by outcomes, e.g. the actual state of nature after a die is tossed is a surprise, though informed by the 1/6 odds. KF
PS: Notice, how we are here examining objective, observable, independent events in our common world. Pardon, my underscoring of a facet of the independence of the state of nature.
In biology random refers to chance, as in accidental occurrences. Not planned. Spontaneous.
Literature isn’t random and the compressibility is low.
True, but I think we get to a point on some events where it’s “virtually impossible”. Like Behe’s “Edge of Evolution”.
I think we’re taking opposite paths on the same conclusion. Without probability, the other side would say their theories are absolute and certain – that is true. Probability protects us from that.
True. The fact is, I misunderstood your original comment – so apologies for that.
There is nothing accidental or spontaneous that happens in this universe. It’s about humans that have no clue about some events and put an artificial label like chance ,random, spontaneous , accidental.
Would the anti-randomness crowd please explain how choice can occur without objective randomness?
I choose between A and B, I choose A.
I could have chosen B.
Objectively it is randomness that either A or B could have occurred, and A did occur.
🙂 To choose is randomness for you?
LCD- we use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. And asteroid collisions are planned.
There are 3 causes that work together for all things:
1. Physical causes – effects that determine movement, shape, force of all physical things. Gravity, chemical bonds, etc. A rock rolling down a hill, we call it random because we don’t know its shape, weight and geographical factors of the hill. But if we knew all of that precisely, we would know exactly where the rock would go and its speed. It’s not random. It’s cause and effect.
2. God, who created all things and established laws and rules for physical action, and allows humans to have free choice. God directly plans some things and also allows nature to determine things based on gravity and physics, etc. God is all-knowing, so nothing is random in His sight. He knows where every molecule is at every moment. There is no randomness. Everything is traced to a cause – and randomness is not a cause.
3. Human beings are the mysterious factor. Not only can we accidentally shape the physical world by our choices (creating pollution, or planting trees), but our ethical actions have a cosmic effect. We can’t blame God for the effect of our bad actions. These can create unknown (to us) changes in the universe, but they’re not random. They’re balanced. We can repair bad actions with good. But ultimately, God knows the effects of what we do. Prayer and worship to God prevents evil things from happening – it makes up for the injustice that people cause (which otherwise would cause tornadoes).
This is where it’s truly impossible for humans to understand the cause and effect of things, because we cannot see the total view of justice and reparation for good deeds or sin done in the world.
We can see some of the physical effects: For example, the elimination of wolves in the forest creates more elk to live and the elk eat the small trees on the river banks, the small trees held back the banks of the soil but now the elks cause the river to extend more widely, now the fish swim in shallower water so more animals can grab them, thus bears have less fish and die off. So, it’s all cause and effect.
But on the mystical level, our actions also have an effect.
If a young man does a good deed and helps an old lady cross the road – that created a good effect. The old lady is happier now and grateful and generously gives the young man some money. That money helped the young man complete education and he grows up to be an important researcher who discovers a cure for a disease – and spares the life of many people.
Things like that happen continually. Of course, the opposite – where there is a crime committed or even just a secret sin that nobody knows about. It all has a ripple-effect. Plus, evil deeds done a long time ago affect us today. Like slavery or unjust wars.
Only God can know the effect of evil on the physical world, but it’s not random, and it’s also not planned by Him. Human beings have that power to affect nature.
Every mutation can be traced to causes. We call them random because we can’t follow their origin and pathway. We can’t say that mutations are planned because something planned or designed can be recognized as radically different than what undirected physical forces can produce. But the undirected forces are not random – they’re all cause and effect from something.
Mutations can be caused by diets, stress, environment, heredity. If we knew all that, we would know every mutation.
As said above, we use the concept of “random” because we don’t know what the real causes of things are. God made it that way – we will never know such things. We have a built-in ignorance of things. So, saying things are random is necessary. That is how God made it so we could understand the difference between chaos and design. But there really is no chaos. Asteroids are caused by physical factors which create exactly what happens, non-randomly.
My sentiments exactly .
SA: It’s complicated.
Naaaa, it’s not complicated at all. You believe in a Ground of All Being (God) that tortures people forever. For no possible justification. Whip the dog! Forever!
Come on, you really don’t believe that, now do ya.
Stand back and look at yourself and your emotional commitments.
Maybe, just maybe, a guy like you will wake up to Reality.
No, I don’t believe that. God is the fullness of Being, not just the ground of it. God gave every person life – including you. There’s nothing you did to deserve to be alive, it’s entirely a gift from God. All of the resources of earth, all the things you experienced, even your own self and body come from God and are not your own. Anyone who is lost to eternal damnation knows with certainty that it is perfectly justified.
Jesus spoke of eternal hell over 70 times. You’ve done nothing to reconcile that fact with your worldview.
I believe that those who hate God are committed to opposing Him. They know the consequences of sin, but they do it anyway. They won’t repent. God asks something that is easy enough. Pray, respect Him, repent of wrongdoing, be good to other people. It’s not difficult.
Yes, I believe it. All of the canonized saints believed and taught it. They were men and women of the highest spiritual excellence, the closest relationship with God and understanding of God. Some of them experienced Hell so they could affirm that it exists. They worked miracles and did great things through the grace of God. I accept that they knew what they were talking about.
You haven’t shown me any evidence that you have a deeper understanding of reality than the authorities I mentioned. You’re dismissing the idea of Hell and just laughing about it.
Christian, Jewish, Islamic teaching all affirm the punishment of hell. The concept is present in Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as many diverse pagan religions.
In spite of this, based on your own spiritual authority, whatever that may be, you just deny this and laugh about it.
The sins we commit have consequences. Our attitude towards God does also. Why would God who sees these people who hate Him and oppose Him, and who are “lovers of themselves” as the Bible calls them, and who never want to repent of their crimes and sins — why would He force them to live with Him forever in heaven?
God doesn’t do that. He respects our decisions.
Life is serious. It comes with eternal consequences. The whole purpose of life is to learn about God, honor Him, admire his Creation, grow closer to Him in a relationship, and pass the various tests and trials of life to show our commitment.
You’re just smirking at all of that, it seems. There’s no depth in that view.
For myself, yes I look at my emotional commitment. I strive for the Good, but have failed enough times to know — I seek and call upon the kindness and mercy of God, to lift me out of all of the tendencies that would certainly put me in Hell forever.
The greatest of the Prophets feared the same thing and sought mercy. If they had reason to fear, I think I’ve got a much greater reason.
Life goes by quickly. It’s like Pascal’s wager. Prepare for what lies ahead. There’s no room for an attitude of arrogance and independence, but we realize that we did not make the universe and we did not create the moral laws. We have to follow them.
God is perfect Justice itself. He grants mercy, but He’s not going to be insulted and hated and rejected. Obviously, there would be no justice if there was no consequence for opposition and ridicule of God, mockery of the teachings of Jesus, exaltation of one’s self over the commandments that God gave us. Not to mention the cruelty, theft, lying and all forms of corruption that people fall into with no consequence and no remorse.
“If you love me, keep my commandments”. That’s what we have to do.
SA: “here’s nothing you did to deserve to be alive, it’s entirely a gift from God. ”
If I could know in advance that your god would torture me forever, I would have said no to my existence.
Nothing else matters. Your god creates humans, most of whom are idiots and don’t know their asses from a hole in the wall, and expects them to “choose God?” Most will be tortured for ever. Why? For being so stupid (thank you god!) and unable to see the conseqences? Absolutely NOBODY would choose eternal torture if they have a full disclosure of the consequeunces of their actions.
SA, I know you’re not an idiot. Stop pretending to be one. Your “god” is awful. Thankfully it doesn’t exist. And shame on you for thinking it does.
Shame on you.
Yes, a lot of people choose to destroy their own life rather than serve God. That’s Satan’s famous quote: “I will not serve”. Humility is the foundation of true virtue. That’s what builds character and quality in a person. The humble recognition that we are not God. But many people have no gratitude whatsoever. But for those who choose opposition to God and hatred of Him – yes, as you say they would prefer that there was no afterlife. Like Hedonists – they want pleasure but no responsibility. They want to make the rules of life themself. But they’re not the author of life.
I gave you evidence that unrepentant sin is paid with consequences. Hatred of God means choosing to live far from Him. That’s just logical and reasonable. If a person never wants to turn away from evil, and never wants to honor God during this life, why should he want to do it after death? Your view doesn’t make sense. You’re appalled because people choose evil and then face consequences, but I can’t see any reason to be shocked by that. You want a god who has no justice and does not recompense good or evil. That in itself is evil. People in our society today are like that. They don’t want to exert justice on wrongdoers, so victims of crimes suffer. It’s like “defund the police” and “get rid of prisons”. So, crimes go unpunished and more people suffer.
You’d be surprised at how many humans do choose God and do seek to live in virtue and a moral life and do repent of sin. Quite a lot do it in every culture on earth, and always have.
You’re putting a question mark there and asking, so I’ll explain. No. Not because they’re unable to see consequences. Because they do not want to give themselves to the authority of God, their creator. Pride and arrogance are the first of the sins. That’s what Satan did. That’s what the most evil people did – they put all their love and trust in themselves.
They know what Jesus taught. He explained the consequences. But they deny His teaching. They choose to sin and they do not seek forgiveness or to make amends. Even the fear of Hell does not stop them. When they end up in Hell, they do not like it, but it is in this life that we seek the mercy of God and to overcome our sins.
So far, Jack, you’ve been pretty much wrong about everything theologically here and have given no solid support for your views except to express your outrage and opinion.
So, if you expect me to change my mind, I’d think you’d give me much deeper reasons.
Again, I’ve read the writings of the saints and spiritual teachers of the Church and the idea of eternal punishment is something that is taken very seriously and is taught as truly real.
What good would it be for me to just adopt your strongly-worded opinion and risk my soul?
I think all you can do is call me an idiot but are you really more theologically sophisticated than the teachers I have mentioned?
@sandy Objectively all choices are random, subjectively choices are made out of love, fear, and of a divine spirit etc.
Subjectivity is really completely subjective. There is no objective evidence for love, fear, God, whatsoever. Or more specifically, there can be no objective evidence whatsoever of the agency of a choice.
I see plenty of people, also many Christians, who throw out all what is subjective, for the reason that it is not objective.
The natural consequence of this would be, to throw out all emotions, to be bereft of all emotions, because emotions are inherently subjective. To have no love for anyone, nor have any hate for anyone, nor any emotion at all, would supposedly be what it’s like to be in hell.
So then hell is not justice, but a natural consequence.
There is widespread obsession with objectivity and fact, and a total disregard for subjectivity and personal opinion. Also here on uncommon descent, most everyone is absolutely obsessed with objectivity and fact, and disregards subjectivity.
It is very obvious that atheists and materialist are obsessed with objectivity and fact. It is very obvious that subjectivity is the weak point of atheists and materialists.
For people who profess belief in God to then also be obsessed with objectivity, and disregard subjectivity, then obviously these supposed believers in God are playing right into the hand of atheists and materialists. It is so stupid, and evil.
I guess that’s true. I haven’t really thought about it that way.
Although I would then say that most Christians put the emphasis on the subjective. That’s the basis of Protestant Christianity where each person is free to interpret the Bible for themself. Their own subjective opinion is the rule and there is no authority to submit to except their own subjective judgement.
I think the classical Christian view would say that emotions have an important role, but they can go out of control. The old days would call that “passions” and we have to control them. But the stoics of ancient times would say we have to get rid of all emotion. Stoicism is making a big comeback these days especially among young men who want to practice rigorous willpower and resist the more effeminate aspects of emotionalism.
That’s another way to look at it. Like Hinduism or Buddhism – it’s just karma, like a natural law. There’s no Judge. But that also assumes that there is no Lawgiver who maintains justice. Plus, there would be absolutely no mercy and no appeal. That’s Buddhism. If you did the crime, you do the time. No mercy, no exceptions. But Jesus called for repentance, forgiveness and starting over so we’re not burdened with a lifetime of punishments continually building for every little sin (and big sins).
90% of the time this site is about science and philosophy- which require objectivity mostly. So that makes sense for UD to focus on objectivity. We don’t want to say that scientific measurements are just opinions. Some interpretations of the data are more subjective, yes. But if we’re talking about God, that’s a different matter – and we don’t usually talk directly about God here that I have seen (and that’s right as I see it).
True – we probe that by looking at underlying assumptions which are not objective fact.
ID takes this approach because it is looking only at science (and a little philosophy). So, it’s based on scientific fact, or as you say, objectivity.
ID is not the full scope of understanding of life and God. It’s just one argument. So, the focus is narrow. You should expect this blog to focus on objective fact, even though it does not deny that subjective understanding is necessary.
In fact, I think Douglas Axe wrote an entire book on something like Intuition (forgot the title).
@silver That hell is a natural consequence, only says that hell is not a punishment by God. It doesn’t say that there is no justice, it only says hell is not justice.
I basically only do logic of subjectivity and objectivity, and your idea that it is general all going fine with acceptance of subjectivity at uncommon descent, is not true.
Yes, we can say it is not a punishment as such, but it is a consequence because God is just. God created nature – it doesn’t exist by itself. Sins against nature have a consequence because God built justice into reality. That’s how we know that good receives gain and bad receives deprivation. You can’t have hell without justice. It’s for the people who hate God and do evil with no remorse.
Logic itself is against subjectivity. It’s objective. So, you’re basing your whole system on objectivity. Logic is not personal and subjective.
@silver No, hell is just a natural consequence of throwing out all what is subjective. If your idea is to throw out all what is subjective, then the natural consequence is that all your emotions are thrown out. Justice is being awarded and punished with judgements.
Subjective personal opinions also have an underlying logic. A subjective personal opinion is chosen, and expresses what it is that makes a choice.
So basically the logical function of subjective opinion is to express what it was that made a decision turn out the way it did. Or, express what it is, that makes a decison turn out the way it does. Solely subjectivity can do this job.
I’m not going to be able to understand your views unless you define what subjective and objective mean.
Normally, subjective means something like “interior to the person” – or “within one’s own personal experience”. You seem to be saying that subjective means “emotion”.
But emotions have an objective component. That’s how we know what the word emotion means. We all know that – it’s objective. It’s not just something that is a subjective opinion. We know what anger is. We know what laughter is. We know what sadness and weeping is. Those are objective things that we observe.
The second sentence is good, but it contradicts what you just said that supposedly “it’s not punishment”. But the first sentence doesn’t refer to anything. It’s simply impossible to “throw out all emotions”. Nobody can do it, and nobody has ever done it. Stoics may try but they cannot succeed. Emotions are a normal part of life.
Ok, yes that is true. But subjective opinions can be based on objective fact, or even entirely on objective fact. It remains a subjective opinion. An objective view would be something like a mathematical formula.
That doesn’t follow. A subjective opinion can be put in a logical formula. In fact, it can be entirely the result of logic. In fact, it can be entirely based on objective criteria. We can even say, “it is my opinion that Julius Caesar died in 44 BC”. It is my opinion but it is supported by objective historical fact also.
So, I think you have to define what you mean by subjective and objective, and then sort out your ideas. I cannot see that “removal of subjective” is the reason a person suffers in hell. I do not think it is even possible to remove the subjective – it is necessary in human life.