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Freedom or determinism: Thought experiment in producing unlimited randomness

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From “Quantum Physicists Show a Small Amount of Randomness Can Be Amplified Without Limit,” (ScienceDaily, May 16, 2012), we learn,

Classical physics is deterministic: for example, we can determine the position and velocity of a particle at any time in the future. Quantum theory, on the other hand, states that there exist processes which are fundamentally random: for instance, the outcomes of measurements of quantum particles seem to be determined entirely by chance. This is why Einstein argued in a publication in 1935 that the quantum theory is incomplete, and yet another kind of higher theory must exist, but up to the present time there has been no proof either that the world is purely deterministic and all randomness is due solely to a lack of knowledge about certain events, or that everything happens purely by chance. However, ETH Zurich physicists have now succeeded in showing in a thought experiment that randomness can be amplified.

The scientists’ calculations showed that the quantum correlation between the bits can be so strong that they cannot be correlated with anything existing previously. This means that the results are completely random, whereas only weak randomness is needed for the choice of the measurement.

The two scientists stress that they have not thereby proved that the world is non-deterministic. However, they say there is nothing in between. The existence of weak randomness automatically implies that there must be an unlimited amount of strong randomness. However, Colbeck says it is first of all necessary to achieve a particular “randomness threshold”: “Our method allows randomness to be amplified once a certain threshold has been reached. It would now be interesting to know whether this threshold can be made arbitrarily small by using improved methods.” This would then mean that an arbitrarily small amount of indetermisism would be sufficient to generate an unlimited amount of randomness.

At the least, the thought experiment would make for some good science fiction premises.

One Reply to “Freedom or determinism: Thought experiment in producing unlimited randomness

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    This sort of thought experiment annoys me for no other than that it is easy to prove logically that the universe is necessarily probabilistic. Einstein and his followers sowed the seed that has kept us in the dark for so long. Einstein’s physics requires a time dimension. The problem is that a time dimension makes motion impossible. Surprise! This is the reason that nothing can move in spacetime and that Sir Karl Popper compared Einstein to Parmenides (Zeno’s master and teacher) and called spacetime, Einstein’s “block universe in which nothing happens”. Source: Conjectures and Refutations.

    [Please don’t tell the physics community about this unless you want to be laughed at. Einstein is the Darwin of physics. Criticize Einstein at your own risk.]

    The consequence of nontemporality is that nature has no way to calculate the precise duration of interactions. The problem is that, unless precise durations can be calculated, all the principles of conservation will be violated. That’s a big no-no. So what is nature to do? The answer is that nature’s only recourse is probability. Sure, there are always some temporary violations but in the end, conservation laws is obeyed.

    So now you know why particle decay and nature in general are necessarily probabilistic. No need to wait for the physics community to prove it. We can do our own thinking, thank you very much.

    And it gets worse, much worse. I haven’t even said anything above about nonspatiality and the discrete universe.

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