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  #1  
Old 12-14-2005, 05:11 PM
Lestat Lestat is offline
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Default Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

Really bad at math here, but the discussion on determinism seemed to indicate we need quantum mechanics to prove randomness exists. I don't understand...

Why can't we just use the throwing of dice? Or any other method where results are unpredictable, uncalculatable, and seeingly perfectly random? What about random number generators in computers, etc. ?

I'm sure this is a dumb question, so try to go easy on me. It just seems to me there are plenty of things without determined outcomes. Why do we need QM to disprove determinism? One other thing that bothers me...

If everything were in perpetual motion, determinism would make more sense to me. But there are clearly things in this universe that STOP. Unlike the billiard break example that someone gave, my car for instance, stops... And then goes again. This would seem to disrupt the notion that all is pre-determined by some antecedent event. At least to me.
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2005, 05:18 PM
MelchyBeau MelchyBeau is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

throwing of dice is calculatable, if you know the variables, hand speed etc.

Melch
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  #3  
Old 12-14-2005, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

Random numbers in computers aren't actually random (GASP). At least, not according to the strict mathematical definition.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:03 PM
hmkpoker hmkpoker is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

Random number generators usually create an input based on the millisecond that they are activated, and enter it into a formula designed to return another number within the specified parameters. The formula tries to create as even a distribution of returned numbers as possible. No randomness here; a computer can only do what you tell it to do, even if you don't know what you're telling it.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:05 PM
hmkpoker hmkpoker is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

The real question behind any "randomness" in the universe is "is it genuinely random, or is the result just too complicated for me to predict?"
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  #6  
Old 12-14-2005, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

I have a hard time believing anything to be random. What could make something "random".
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  #7  
Old 12-14-2005, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

throwing dice is not random expecially in the context that would prove your case.. it could actually be used to hurt your case. Although we cannot yet easily calculate what a person rolling dice would hit, we know that it would be possible to do because the laws of physics can predict the outcome...but quantum mechanics doesn't have much to do with this.

random number generatiors are also not random

there are not many things without determined outcomes, and quantum mechanics may just be another thing that is not random but we cannot find a deffinite pattern in yet.

it's reeally a shame that one tiny particle winding up in an actually random location could be the only thing keeping the universe from having one definable equation... but I'm sure there is probbly more randomness in the universe if any.
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Old 12-14-2005, 07:11 PM
atrifix atrifix is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
Why can't we just use the throwing of dice? Or any other method where results are unpredictable, uncalculatable, and seeingly perfectly random? What about random number generators in computers, etc. ?

[/ QUOTE ]
Both of those are deterministic in the strict sense. Things like random number generators (where a computer spits out a number based on the time) are exactly the sort of thing determinists are thinking of.

[ QUOTE ]
I'm sure this is a dumb question, so try to go easy on me. It just seems to me there are plenty of things without determined outcomes. Why do we need QM to disprove determinism? One other thing that bothers me...

[/ QUOTE ]
We don't necessarily 'need' QM to disprove determinism, but we need some kind of randomness. Newtonian mechanics indicated that everything in the universe was calculatable by means of force, mass, etc. Quantum mechanics is the first instance of genuinely random events being observed.

[ QUOTE ]
If everything were in perpetual motion, determinism would make more sense to me. But there are clearly things in this universe that STOP. Unlike the billiard break example that someone gave, my car for instance, stops... And then goes again. This would seem to disrupt the notion that all is pre-determined by some antecedent event. At least to me.

[/ QUOTE ]
I am really confused by this example. I'm not sure why motion affects determinism. And, as I'm sure you know, when your car is "stopped", it's still in motion.
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  #9  
Old 12-14-2005, 07:32 PM
hmkpoker hmkpoker is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

[ QUOTE ]
I have a hard time believing anything to be random. What could make something "random".

[/ QUOTE ]

Impossible to predict even on a theoretical level. I guess something could be random, I just don't understand how they would prove the randomness is not the result of poor measuring. I'm not a quantum physicist.

Ask borodog.
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  #10  
Old 12-14-2005, 08:45 PM
Piers Piers is offline
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Default Re: Why is Randomness so Hard to Prove?

Randomness is subjective, absolute randomness is not possible. However due to our limitations the appearance of true randomness can exist.

By projecting the universe onto a view that we can comprehend, we can demonstrate a form of true randomness that is nevertheless subjective when considering the universe in its totality.

Quantum mechanics is a model we use to analyse certain facets of the universe. Randomness is inherent to this model. There is no suggestion here that the universe is actually random, just that for our limited minds to get some sort of grasp of what is going on we need to incorporate assumptions about randomness.

Quantum mechanics does not disprove determinism; it just suggests that completely accurate predictions of the future are currently beyond us.

[ QUOTE ]
If everything were in perpetual motion, determinism would make more sense to me. But there are clearly things in this universe that STOP. Unlike the billiard break example that someone gave, my car for instance, stops... And then goes again. This would seem to disrupt the notion that all is pre-determined by some antecedent event. At least to me.

[/ QUOTE ]

I donít really understand your point, however I suspect your intuitive feel for the subject is misleading you. Youíre thinking on too macroscopic a scale.
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