Probably more of a math question, but...

Is anything truly random? Could all those Sci Fi like theories used to explain quantum mechanics merely be human created sci fi like theories used to explain quantum mechanics… and not the so called objective truth?

Could it be that B follows A, and that we often mistake causal relationships in subjects with universal applications because we simply lack the ability to truly “sense” the universe?

Fascinating! So if i understand the question correctly you are saying that chaos theory, brownian motion, thermodynamics, weather patterns are all truly non-random events and that we just lack something when we assess them as random?

I have searched for (albeit very briefly) reference to something i read somewhere else a while back.

If I remember correctly, some mathematicians were beginning to believe that nothing is entirely random… and that a big enough sequence of numbers would prove this (but again, alot of that might be in how one interprets the sequence).
This was in response to computers and random number generators… again, if I remember correctly, there can be no orderly way to prove or predict random occurences. (Being the nature of random occurences)

So its a case of possibly

  1. nothing is random
  2. Somethings are random, some things aren’t (Universals exist) ((oh my))
  3. Everything is random and what we mistake as order is due to our perceptions.
  4. Everything is both random and ordered at the same time (just a guess on my part)

I was hoping someone with a good knowledge of the math involved could answer this, or point me in a better direction.

The questions I tacked on had to do with the Philosophical implications

I am not familiar with Chaos Theory… perhaps I will look into that.


When you really think about it maths is just something humans have developed in an attempt to describe and predict what happens in the world. Admittedly it works incredibly well, however, my point is that perhaps what we describe as random has either not had the maths required to describe it developed yet, or else the maths that has developed will never be applicable to it, be it due to the fact that it was never intended to fit to any scale (ie to be random) or that the maths that has developed is in some way fundamentally flawed.

What we must bear in mind, and which is ignored in maths in order for maths to be applicable, is that nothing can be proven but merely disproven with regard to the information which has come to light.

I know that that is worded really badly but hopefully you get me.

Theres a huge difference between random and chaotic. Most physical systems are chaotic in one way or another, meaning that is is extremely complicated to predict their behaviour more than a short span of time out in the future. A perfect pendumlum isn’t chaotic, but as soon as friction and air resistance comes into play, things get so complicated that we can’t really calculate them properly. However, as I see it, that does not mean that the system behaves randomly, just that it is too complicated for us to explain. Same goes for waves on the sea, global wind systems, and so on. Complicated, but not random - that is, before we begin to use quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics allows a certain element of randomness, as it states that we can’t predict things with infinite precision. If we, for instance, measure the position of a particle with greater and greater precision, we will in turn affect its velocity more and more violently - and since both position and velocity are required, we aren’t able to make an excact map of the universe. Quantum mechanics gives us statistics and probabilities. The question here is - does quantum mechanics reveal a fundamental truth about the universe, that it is, at the core, random, or does it simply mean that there is a deeper, deterministic level that we haven’t been able to find yet, where everything is non-random? (Extra-dimensions, various force-fields, superstrings, etc.) I don’t think the scientists have answered this question yet.

I’m not that much into maths, but I can’t really see how it would be possible to create a function that spewed put random numbers. Of course, you could define some function, stating that every value of x would have a totally random partner, but when someone or something should find or draw that number, you would go from randomness to chaos. I think. Not sure, though.

i dont really get your point witht the quantum mechanics. The way i understand what you’re saying (and i dont study qm) is that due to the fact that we cant determine both velocity and position and the same time, we throw in a degree of randomness so we can predict confidence intervals where we can be sure to a certain degree that it lies in that area. However, just because we cant predict it perfectly doesnt mean that it doesnt exist. Are you just saying that its too complicated for us to understand and yet it aint (necessarily) random? Or were you tryin to say something else?

Heh, first off, I’m not confident that I’ve understood it perfectly either.

The randomness in quantum mechanics comes from Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. In short, if we want to measure some property of an object - velocity, position, etc. - we send something towards it. A photon, an electron, or maybe an even tinier bundle of energy. But quantum physics taught us that we can’t have an infinitely small amount of energy, as energy comes in quants (is that the proper English word?).

Let’s say that we want to measure the position of a very tiny particle. The more precise a measurement we want, the higher energy (=lower wavelenght) we need (We cant, e.g, measure the position of a quark with radiowaves, as their wavelenght ins much much larger than the particle). Unfortunately, the more energy our measurer-quant carries, the more does it affect it’s velocity. On the other hand, we can use a low-energy wave to get an precise velocity, at the cost of an sloppy position. In short, our the certainty of our knowledge of the velocity is inversely proportional to the certainty of our knowledge about the position.

That’s the thing I don’t know. That the universe is too complicated for us to understand does not mean that it is holds elements of randomness. That was the view of the world before quantum mechanics - the world might be complicated, but given enough time, we’ll be able to uncover all the laws of a totally deterministic Universe.

Quantum mechanics made it possible that the Universe could be random, due to the uncertainty principle I mentioned before. What we don’t know, however, is if quantum mechanics tells us something about the deepest levels of the universe, and that it is, at the core, random, or if quantum physics is just another layer we can peel away in favor of a deterministic theory.

I don’t know if this made any sense - I’m not that familiar with physics myself. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene would be an excellent place to look for answers.

it’s quanta…otherwise, ditto.