Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
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11-11-2013, 11:03 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
Dice are random! You can't explain that!

Checkmate, atheists!


Eeesh. How compelling.

Not.

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11-11-2013, 11:05 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 10:50 AM)Slowminded Wrote:  
(11-11-2013 08:39 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  I haven't gone through all 6 pages
6 pages? 6 pages?

User CP > Edit options > Thread View Options > Show 50 post per page

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no thank you. I swithed from default to 50 2 months ago and last week i put it on 30. You guys post too much photos,wich makes loading a page slooow

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11-11-2013, 11:06 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
Er, but to clear up something else, randomness absolutely exists, insofar as knowing everything it is possible to know about a physical system still limits one's knowledge to (however thoroughly) knowledge of the relative odds of all possible outcomes.

Randomness has physical causes, and in the idealized sense refers to the fact that while outcomes and their probabilities can be exactly known there remains the contrary fact that on one interaction the specific outcome cannot be known in advance - other than in terms of the probabilities, of course!
(in real life we're lucky to ever get close to knowing that much, mind...)

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11-11-2013, 11:08 AM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2013 11:19 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 02:34 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  This is a thread about randomness and I think Dr Polis does a good job in this video about explaining what randomness is.

Dr Polis talks about randomness

The randomness that we observe in nature, where does it come from? What is generating it? As a theist, I can say God is throwing the dice, but what can atheists point too?

TECHNICALLY, an experiment in which there is only one possible outcome, which will deterministically play out the same way every single time, is still random. (Probability distribution function essentially being a single point at with a probability of 100% and everything else at 0%.) But that's a mathematical definition. We're clearly talking about softer, lay notions of randomness, which implies a degree of unpredictability.

That caveat aside, the video's actually a good description of probability, but relies a bit too heavily on determinism. I would be moderately surprised at Heywood's loaded questions about probability coming in exactly the post in which he linked the video, if it wasn't Heywood. There's exactly four possible explanations for randomness in the universe (plus various mixtures of the four). All of them are essential "we don't completely comprehend what's going on".

1) Randomness arises from our poor understanding of starting conditions. We might know exactly where all the particles are but not their starting velocities. We might know exactly their starting velocities. We might know both of these to ten decimal places (in whatever units we're using) but not have an exact measurement down to the twentieth decimal places. Our instruments and measurements are insufficient to the task. Error in input results in error in output, and sometimes this error in output is large enough that our instruments can detect it, even when the error in input is not. This is especially telling in chaotic systems, which are defined (in lay terms) as those where a tiny error in input can have a huge error in output. We cannot produce an exact answer from such a system due to our practical limitations and the principle of "garbage in, garbage out", so instead we are limited to describing it in probabilistic terms. (For a mindblowing view of probability, study sigma algebras. Of course, they're a bit like cherry bombs. For them to blow your mind, first you must wrap your mind around them.) In this event, note that randomness comes from our own ignorance and limited senses, and describes our own uncertainty rather than some universal property or event. It is not generated by some higher power, but from our personal lack of power. While we might dismay in this ignorance, the mathematics of probability exists (and is so damn useful) because it often generates usable results in the face of it.

(In contrast, there are systems where a huge error in input will only ever result in a very tiny (or non-existent) error in output. And systems -- such as evolution -- which are a wonderfully fascinating mix of the two.)

2) Randomness arises from our inability to comprehend the nature of a process. As an example, consider the following experiment of a 19th century biologist reacting to the work of Mendel. (I can't recall his name.) Mendel described how traits in peas were passed on in certain proportions, with 3/4 specimens displaying one trait (dominant) and 1/4 the other trait (recessive). (It should be noted that with modern genetics, we can predict this inheritance perfectly by sequencing the genome, an example of case 1, above, being overcome.) This biologist thought that Mendel's work was curious and made note of a particular trait (sex) being divided 50/50 rather than in Mendelian proportions. He then went about studying the effect of chromosomes on sex-determination. His methodology revolved around the breeding of fruit flies (chosen for their quick reproduction cycle and ease of care), very carefully choosing breeding partners and otherwise keeping the sexes segregated. However, none of his experiments worked right and every hypothesis he generated about how breeding fruit flies under these carefully-controlled, sex-segregated conditions would translate into the sex chromosomes of their offspring came to naught. It was almost as if chromosomes were being inherited totally at random, in a matter not at all determined by the chromosomes of the selected parents. Finally, after what must have been some extremely frustrating years, he made his first discovery: Fruit flies can change sex, and the carefully segregated male and female populations had been breeding among themselves. The apparent randomness in his experiments' results wasn't the result of poorly-understood starting conditions, but rather a poor understanding of how the subjects would behave during the test, even given their starting position. If you want a purely physical example instead, consider that the universal constant of gravitation is known only to so many significant digits, and so there is a minute (but possibly significant) error in the law we employ, as well as the data we employ it upon, and this small error can have large effects in chaotic systems. We will continue to reduce this error through observation, but we can never eliminate it entirely. In both of the examples, the origin of the randomness is, again, our own ignorance, and the randomness exists, not in the universe itself, but our limited understanding of it.

3) Even if we have perfect knowledge both of initial states and of process, and total confidence in these, we may lack the computational ability to calculate the results precisely. This may be because we lack the appropriate mathematical tools to go from problem to solution. We still don't have an exact mathematical solution for the three-body problem, for example, and that's probably the 2nd-simplest problem in mechanical physics. Alternately, such calculations might be possible in principle, but the pragmatics of exact calculation are impossible. For example, even if we somehow "knew" (or could mathematically generate) an irrational number needed for some scientific calculation (let's say pi) to an infinite number of decimal places, it would still be a practical impossibility to perform the operation of, say, multiplication with it. (Well, we can multiply it by 0 or 1 or -1, but otherwise...) There wouldn't be enough time or scratch paper in the universe to actually work through the arithmetic. In both cases, an exact calculation is not possible, and so we can only compute a result that has a margin of error, and that margin of error may be significant, especially in chaotic systems. This again arises of our own inabilities in examining and analyzing the universe, rather than being a property of the universe itself.

4) Finally (and in the only scenario not discussed in the video), it is not an entirely dismissible possibility that some element of randomness is, indeed, inherent in the universe itself. That the laws of nature are to some degree deterministic, and to some degree merely probabilistic. That some events really do happen at random, possibly conforming to some probability curve, but without precise effect for precise cause. In such event, God could not be identified as the determiner of these random outcomes, because by definition they are not determined. If they were determined, they would fall into one of the other three categories above. (Even if some concept of God was determining them, we could still relate our failure to predict them as, for example, a failure to understand the process by which this god determined the outcome.) It should also be noted that an innately random process, as described here, would from a human perspective be indistinguishable from the three scenarios above. If this scenario were in effect, it would look exactly like a scenario in which our limitations were to blame for the randomness. It might be possible to distinguish another scenario from this one (rather than distinguishing this scenario from another) by working to discover an underlying deterministic process. Once such a process is discovered, there would cease to be much of a question of innate randomness. But innate randomness, itself, could never be proven, because we'd always think that maybe there was some deterministic process that we hadn't discovered yet.

In summary, the video was good. (Well, accurate. Its production value was meh.) Heywood's choice to post these questions side-by-side with the video shows that he did not understand what he was sharing.

(I posted this without reading other responses, and I'm sure others have already said most of what I've said.)
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11-11-2013, 11:08 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 02:34 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  This is a thread about randomness and I think Dr Polis does a good job in this video about explaining what randomness is.

Dr Polis talks about randomness

The randomness that we observe in nature, where does it come from? What is generating it? As a theist, I can say God is throwing the dice, but what can atheists point too?

People may have different ideas about what "randomness" is. If randomness
means unpredictability, then it is clear that we cannot predict everything.
Since human behavior is unpredictable, we generate randomness ourselves.
According to this definition, randomness does not really need a source though.
It just needs a lack of ability to predict.

Dr Polis cites the viewpoint of Laplace that the universe is deterministic
and the future (and past) can be computed if only we had enough computational power. This is a metaphysical view that I do not share. Certainly we cannot
predict the future know, and the believe that we can in the future is Science
FICTION.
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11-11-2013, 11:10 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 11:05 AM)Lightvader Wrote:  
(11-11-2013 10:50 AM)Slowminded Wrote:  6 pages? 6 pages?

User CP > Edit options > Thread View Options > Show 50 post per page

Trust me. You'll thank me later

no thank you. I swithed from default to 50 2 months ago and last week i put it on 30. You guys post too much photos,wich makes loading a page slooow

Much faster the loading every page individually.

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11-11-2013, 11:17 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 03:02 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(11-11-2013 02:50 AM)Dark Light Wrote:  True randomness does not exist. It is a concept. It's something we say when we cannot or are not willing to sort out all the variables.

Bells theorem says you are wrong.





The implication of Bell's theorem is that there is something unphysical generating the randomness our world depends upon.

No, quantum mechanics does not say that something UNPHYSICAL generates
randomness. That is just your way of trying to sneak in God.
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11-11-2013, 11:27 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 03:14 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(11-11-2013 03:06 AM)sporehux Wrote:  At quantum level we have string theory and a whole load of
We don't know so lets build a big ass colider and try and figure it out
Or we could just throw our hand in the air and say well lets
Retire and say the God of the gaps did it. Why learn anything new if a fairytale says. I know all therefore all that is to know I know.

"God of the Gaps" is atheist speak for an unreasonable assumption that nothing in nature could be used as evidence of God or the Supernatural. You can always hide behind this God of the Gaps scripture in any argument. Randomness exists in nature...where does it come from? Not hidden physical variables because Bell's theorem allows us to test for such things.

The "God of the Gaps" argument that atheists use does not say
that nature cannot be used as evidence for God. No it say that you CAN
use nature to prove that God exist. But….. your definition of God is stupid.
Your definition of God is DEFINED as the cause of everything that cannot
be explained. Since there is obviously stuff that we cannot explain or predict,
this PROVES that God exists. But God only matters if there is a way for
us to influence his decisions and our fate. If you give us some proof of that,
then you might be able to convert some people here.
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11-11-2013, 11:34 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 03:22 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(11-11-2013 03:10 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  An assertion made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. The honest answer is, that once we come to the edge of our knowledge, we simply admit 'we don't know'.

We don't know what causes the seeming randomness at the quantum level, and an honest observer acknowledges this. Unfortunately Heywood is not, instead he decides to insert his god, then tries to turn it around on non-believers while pretending like he has an adequate answer. Once again all Heywood as done is relabel his ignorance 'god'.

We do know that the randomness on the quantum level is not caused by hidden variables. Bell's theorem. I provided a video which explains what Bell's theorem implies. My assertion....that randomness exists and is not caused by hidden physical variables is not without supporting evidence. Your counter claim is the one that lacks support.

You are not contradicting EvolutionKills.
He is saying that that we do not have an explanation for randomness on the quantum level. You are saying that hidden variables do not explain randomness
on the quantum level. So far, your views agree with his.
But you seem to imply that there MUST be an explanation, that
this explanation MUST be SUPERNATURAL (GOD).
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11-11-2013, 11:37 AM
RE: Who or what throws the dice for atheists?
(11-11-2013 11:06 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Er, but to clear up something else, randomness absolutely exists, insofar as knowing everything it is possible to know about a physical system still limits one's knowledge to (however thoroughly) knowledge of the relative odds of all possible outcomes.

Randomness has physical causes, and in the idealized sense refers to the fact that while outcomes and their probabilities can be exactly known there remains the contrary fact that on one interaction the specific outcome cannot be known in advance - other than in terms of the probabilities, of course!
(in real life we're lucky to ever get close to knowing that much, mind...)

I respectfully disagree. Outcomes happen for precise reasons that determine them. And if those exact precise reasons all happened in exactly the same way again, we would get exactly the same outcome every time. Not being able to accurately predict them in advance (at least currently), doesn't make them random. It may perhaps cause us to perceive them as random.

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