Intelligent Design

At Mind Matters News: Randomness is not a scientific explanation

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Eric Holloway points out:

There is a general idea that everything new has its origins in randomness. This is because within our current philosophy of science, the two fundamental causes in our universe boil down to randomness and necessity. Since necessity never creates anything new, then by process of elimination the source of newness must be randomness. Similar to how the ancient Greeks believed the universe originated from chaos.

Here’s the irony of the view that whatever is unique in our universe is random: We can never know if anything is truly random. This is because randomness is unprovable, which was proven by three different computer scientists: Ray Solomonoff, Andrey Kolmogorov and Gregory Chaitin. The only thing we can know is that something is not random. Hence, we can never know that something originated from randomness.

News, “Randomness is not a scientific explanation” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Three different computer scientists have proven that randomness is unprovable. The only thing we can know is that something is not random.


You may also wish to read: Computers are getting faster, but are they getting smarter? No. Computers are Turing machines, limited to operations that can be completely understood in relation to their programming. The Lovelace Test helps us understand the fundamental limits of computing as a method of thinking: It does not create new ideas. (Eric Holloway)

15 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Randomness is not a scientific explanation

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    At the simple physical level, everything is determined. We call an event random when its causation is too complicated and historically deep to untangle. We call an event determined when we can map out its immediate causation clearly. Both are just convenient formulations, like geocentric vs heliocentric.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Polistra

    At the simple physical level, everything is determined. We call an event random when its causation is too complicated and historically deep to untangle.

    That’s the foundation that Theistic Evolution uses.
    They have a point there. “From God’s perspective, every mutation is planned – they just look random to us”.
    It’s tough to argue against that. Although my view is that God created things to appear random so that we could understand what design is. He made mutations appear random to show that evolution (on the grand scale) is impossible.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Some unknown naturalistic processes did something isn’t a scientific explanation, either. And that is all evos have.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    At best, saying something is random is shorthand for “we don’t know.” So, when scientists state the origin of something in our universe is random, they do not know the origin.

    Randomness, and/or “chance”. and how Darwinists use those words, is actually a very interesting topic, and the answer is bit more nuanced, and surprising, than just “we don’t know”.

    “Random” and/or ‘Chance’, as it is used by Darwinists, is not a known cause for anything but is instead merely a placeholder for ignorance.

    Even Charles Darwin himself was honest enough to admit as much,

    “I have hitherto sometimes spoken as if the variations—so common and multiform in organic beings under domestication, and in a lesser degree in those in a state of nature—had been due to chance. This, of course, is a wholly incorrect expression, but it serves to acknowledge plainly our ignorance of the cause of each particular variation.”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin – Chapter V

    But today’s Darwinists talk of ‘chance’ as if it were a cause unto itself, and not as if ‘chance’ were merely placeholder for ignorance, (as it actually is).

    As Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’”

    What Is Chance? – Nicholas Nurston
    Excerpt: “The vague word ‘chance’ is used as a substitute for a more precise word such as ’cause’. “To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.”
    Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’” Others who reasoned in this fashion, Nobel laureate Jacques Monod, for one, used this chance equals cause line of reasoning. “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, (is) at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution,”…
    https://books.google.com/books?id=bQ5OAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT25&lpg=PT25

    Moreover, the way Darwinists use the word ‘chance’ turns out to be, in fact, directly synonymous with Darwinists appealing to, (of all things), a ‘miracle’.

    (Not even wrong) Wolfgang Pauli explained the situation as such, “While they (evolutionary biologists) pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”

    Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science – Harald Atmanspacher
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28)
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/234f/4989e039089fed5ac47c7d1a19b656c602e2.pdf

    In other words, the word ‘random’ and/or ‘chance’, as it is used by Darwinists, is not an appeal to any known mathematical probability, and/or any known cause, but is, in reality, a placeholder for ignorance, and is, in fact, no better than appealing to a miracle.

    Stephen Talbott, (playing off the infamous “Then a Miracle occurs” cartoon), puts the situation as such, “In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    Moreover, Darwinists appealing to rondomness’ and/or ‘chance’ is actually worse than a Christian Theist appealing to a miracle.

    As Dr. Bruce Gordon explained, When a Christian appeals to a miracle 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 ‘chance’, he is, in fact, appealing to “random 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.”

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.
    – Dr. Bruce Gordon – as stated on the last slide on the following video,,,
    – The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff_sNyGNSko

    Thus in conclusion, the Darwinian atheist’s appeal to ‘chance” is not only NOT an appeal to any known cause in science, but is in fact, a science destroying cause if ‘random chance’ is taken seriously as a (primary) cause in science. i.e. To claim, via ‘chance’, that something happened for no reason at all “makes a mockery of science.”

    As Paul Davies explained, “Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.
    Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality”

    Taking Science on Faith – By PAUL DAVIES – NOV. 24, 2007
    Excerpt: The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.
    The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion — all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do?
    When I was a student, the laws of physics were regarded as completely off limits. The job of the scientist, we were told, is to discover the laws and apply them, not inquire into their provenance. The laws were treated as “given” — imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth — and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You’ve got to believe that these laws won’t fail, that we won’t wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour.
    Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.
    Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality.
    Although scientists have long had an inclination to shrug aside such questions concerning the source of the laws of physics, the mood has now shifted considerably. Part of the reason is the growing acceptance that the emergence of life in the universe, and hence the existence of observers like ourselves, depends rather sensitively on the form of the laws. If the laws of physics were just any old ragbag of rules, life would almost certainly not exist.,,,
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11.....avies.html

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    There is nothing that is truly random as some have said above. For example, flipping a coin

    The weight of the coin given the angle that the coin is pushed by the hand and how hard the push is probably determine the actual position of the coin when it hits the ground or is caught.

    Then if it hits the ground, the hardness of the surface or unevenness will be issues.

    All too difficult to measure.

    But if there were some aspects of the flip that were understandable then the number of heads or tails would be more predictable.

    So to agree, nothing is really random.

    Then there are life forms which do not obey the laws of physics which can then interfere with the outcomes. One would have to know the likelihood of these interventions.

    But, we all know there are random number generators in our computers but are they too really random, depending on when the key is pushed to ask for a random number and the state of the computer to a nano second, the number is actually determined.

    But life goes on as we assume that a large percentage of life’s events are random and we then react as if they were.

  6. 6
    chuckdarwin says:

    Au contraire, necessity is the mother of invention…
    Frank Zappa would be bitterly disappointed in Eric Holloway…

  7. 7
    AaronS1978 says:

    “Nothing is random”

    Guys somethings do have to be random they have to be chance and nonsensical

    A lot of the arguments you put up here is live ammo for hard determinism

    This is why so There’s a push against free will saying it doesn’t make sense

    And it can’t make sense in a world where everything else is determined or at least libertarian free will can’t make sense

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    A lot of the arguments you put up here is live ammo for hard determinism

    Absolutely not. Just the opposite.

    The argument implies an intelligence is necessary for things to happen a certain way. Intelligence interferes with the natural order.

  9. 9
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ jerry
    Yes at first
    But that’s a matter of interpretation.
    Many determinists appeal to this brand of cause and effect to support their view of determinism

    Jerry coyne, Sam Harris, and recently Sabine Hossenfelder appeal to this view to show that not only is there no room for free will in physics but it doesn’t make any logical sense

    Now at the moment I can’t remember who said it, but it has been quoted quite a bit, but with sufficient enough knowledge of the universe you can predict and determine everything that’s going on including every choice you make, which is fueled by the idea that everything has a cause and an effect

    Now when I have brought up that this shows the Necessity of a first cause (god in my view) they will under cut it and say, “well sure, but if that’s true then you have no free will and what god makes you morally responsible for your choices when you never had a choice in the first place, a stupid god that’s what”

    This also stems into the argument of god’s foreknowledge but that’s a topic for another day

    But anyways I guess if we use this as support of a first cause we need to have an immediate rebuttal for willusionist (that are often atheists) that use the same argument that everything is determined

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AaronS1978

    Now when I have brought up that this shows the Necessity of a first cause (god in my view)

    Exactly. A first cause powerful enough to understand and design every molecule in the universe and all the complex symmetry and forms they create.
    But since God therefore exists, then materialism is false and an immaterial spirit is present in the world. Thus, when we say “nothing is random” or “everything physical can be traced to cause” – that’s just the physical universe. We already refuted materialism here. However, what they want to do is …

    they will under cut it and say, “well sure, but if that’s true then you have no free will and what god makes you morally responsible for your choices when you never had a choice in the first place, a stupid god that’s what”

    They see that we destroyed the idea that “there is only matter” but they hang on to it anyway and claim that “since human beings are material” thus, all the non-random particles determine human behavior.
    But since God exists, materialism is false. Thus to claim that humans are entirely determined by matter is illogical since God can create immaterial essences which are not determined by non-random molecules.
    They use a sleight-of-hand. Admitting God exists, but then claiming that materialism is still true.

  11. 11
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ silver asiatic
    “ since God exists, materialism is false. Thus to claim that humans are entirely determined by matter is illogical since God can create immaterial essences which are not determined by non-random molecules.

    They use a sleight-of-hand. Admitting God exists, but then claiming that materialism is still true.“

    Nice catch
    They will very likely back pedal from that but this still puts them on the defensive

  12. 12

    I think this is just hypercriticism of randomness, and if we let the same hypercriticism loose on all the other issues, then all the rest would be destroyed as well. So the only real finding here is that hypercriticsm destroys all knowledge.

    I think variations of the double slit experiment, the experiments which prove that “could have but did not” refers to a real state of physics, proves randomness.

    The definition of this randomness is then, that there are several possible ways it can turn out, and then one of the possibilities is made the present.

    Randomness is the same as choosing, but then ignores the agency of the choice.

    So someone may choose to cross the Rubicon, this may also said to be random, if we ignore the agency of the decision, and only consider did or did not.

  13. 13
    zweston says:

    ChuckDarwin… @6… interesting thought there…

    Inventions have inventors who have minds with specific goals to reach. Neo-Darwinist evolution has no intelligence and no end goal…it is mindless. It just gets to survive if it isn’t snuffed out…but really doesn’t even have a “desire” to live, it’s just what it does at the lower levels. Kind of like when the guy talked about the different years of corvettes and how they showed evolution… but actually showed a common designer… yeah.

    People either ascribe creative power to a superior higher being, or they give it to chance. All bow down to random chance and be in awe of its ability to create unknowingly complex structures and processes!

    We are all worshippers… I really enjoy from time to time going to youtube videos of atp synthase, etc…and reading the comments… people are in awe….but if they are materialists, there is no basis for awe and while being in awe of the complexity and beauty and efficiency of the process they deny the mind behind it…

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools”

  14. 14
    Nonlin.org says:

    Less dumb atheists don’t call themselves materialists any more. They are now phisicalists because they recognize matter as energy. Of course, they continue to overestimate their understanding of physics and the Lawgiver behind those laws.

  15. 15
    doubter says:

    Mohammadnursyamsu@12

    I think this is the wisest response on this issue.

    My view is that there are three categories relative to this topic: In the world there are truly random subatomic quantum mechanical phenomena, deterministic chains of causes and effects, and there are the free will decisions and choices of conscious agents.

    Free will is one of the properties of immaterial subjective consciousness, and as such is ultimately of a higher spiritual realm, not the physical, and isn’t limited to the two physical properties of random and deterministic. The ultimate nature of this immaterial consciousness and its inherent properties of agentness and free will are in principle incomprehensible to man and to science, limited as they are to the physical realm.

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