Random?

when the cause and effect chain is taken into account, i wonder how/if random exists. under randomness comes luck, chance, and the organic/sporadicness of life i guess.

if everything is caused into being, and exists because something else caused it to be such, how can random exist?

i prepose this; random does exist, however it exists outside of logic, and outside of human intervention. humans are constantly subject to influence, and you may argue all we are, are constructs of society. for example there will always be a reason y somene goes left instead of right. humans are not able to act ‘randomly’ and and input from a human alters the ‘randomness’ of the random thing we are taking into account.

im not sure how a random number generator works in a computer, (any info would be appreciated) however i cannot imagine anything specific taking a random course. random would seem to simply mean out of control of the agent. thus an outcome may be random for one individual but not for another.

it is puzzling so, any thoughts… cheers guys

as ever, I advise reading some introductory stuff to quantum mechanics. The universe is not deterministic, only probably so. It is in fact fundamentally random but the balance of odds ensures that things run fairly smoothly.

Its certainly not outside logic, it can be rationally explained*, it is simply not intuitive since it goes against our everyday experience.

*This rational explanation isnt entirely palatable to some people thus they can describe it as irrational, or simply not ‘explaining things’ since they want the explaination in classical terms. It is in fact, fantastically formal, but its a very different form. Its not as if its a mess or something.

Its like describing the stock market to a medieval green grocer.

Cheers!

i had forgotten about that, i now a little about the random fluctuations or movements, of subatomic particles. please try to explain the logical randomness if you can, im fasinated.

do you know of anything i can read? i know the theory of random is an ongoing discussion, but has anyone made any breakthroughs?

If you want a solution, quantum mechanics won’t provide it. What will provide a solution for you is to take with certainty your random finger out your bloody arse and use capitols. Hope this helps.

JJ

contrary to Mr. Jones rather thoughtful point, yes there are breakthroughs occasionally, but as with most science, they are largely indebted to thousands of hours of tests and pondering.

while i know there are plenty of websites that will help, i havent kept up with it for a while, but physics.about.com was good. Then they discovered pop-ups. I suggest you try there or search for “beginners quantum mechanics” or some such.

you will find solutions, but as i said, they may not satisfy as you came to the problem with the preconceptions of everyday experience.

As for logically explaining the randomness, as A-level physics teaches:
To detect anything, something must be bounced off of it and absorbed by the recording instrument. In the case of sight, it is reflected (well, absorbed and re-emitted) photons, but any particle will do.

Now, all particles have a wavelength, and depending on how short or long that wavelength is determines how precisely one can measure the targets velocity OR position, but its always a trade off betwen the two.

Since you cant have infinite or zero wavelength nothing can ever detect or even respond to the precise position or velocity of any other particle ever. This is utterly fundamental since thats the only way particles can interact.

This means that particles do not exist as definite points in space, instead their position and velocity is actually determined when it is measured. and if something was never measured, ie. a particle does not absorb or emit something, it simply does not exist. Tis called the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle.

Cheers!

im a little confused, i understand everything you say, but i didnt recognise the conclution. are you saying that the placement of particles is random because we cant measure where they are? sorry, could you explain again

No, he is telling you to stop being a lazy twat and try punctuating for chrisake. I would not put it quite as strongly.
JJ

Quite simply, no.

Im saying that there is no definite “placement of particles” at all. Particles exist as a range of probabilities across space based on the readings gained from what was last bounced off of them. This is because, as you put it, we (nor anything conceivable) can measure where they are.

Try and forget the traditional model of the atom with little shiny balls and motion blurs etc, instead, everything is a vague cloud of information with no actual “substance” (as we understand the term) at all. As we subject that cloud to a bombardment of high energy particles we can make the cloud slightly smaller and more sharply defined but we can never force a particle to be observed only in one definite point.

For instance, there have been tests where a single photon has been on BOTH sides of a half mirrored substance stimultaneously, and tests which prove that even single electrons travel every possible path through from A to B because it ‘jostles’ itself (creates an interference pattern), yet when it is absorbed it is still only one electron.

Do you believe that humans are inherently logical creatures or rather that our make up, mental and physical, lies in logical premises; and thus, we strive towards logical actions (although I must admit that this does not seem to be so in many cases (ie. politics))? If this is so, I cannot see how randomness could exist in our human world or more specifically the individual world. But if logic lies within the individual realm instead of the universal human realm then does a universal logic exist? Um…now that I have just typed this, I must regress and say that there is a universal logic because it can be seen in many philosophers’ works, but just because it is widely used does this even make it a set universal principle? Must logic be absolete? I am guessing that there probably have been people who have made logical arguments for randomness, but wouldn’t that be contradicting the very nature of how they are going about proving randomness and thus, randomness would not exist. Umm…
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Logic is simply the use of simple rules of informational procedure to establish what can be known or deduced from a set of givens. It cannot possibly be “absolute.” It’s just messing about with a set of information. It can be very useful in determining how to act on given data, and without it we would have no computers, but whatever “universal logic” philosophers use is derived from the basic rules of the symbol system, which philosophers made up from scratch.

‘logic’ as in the philosophical activity is by no means universal, it is simply an algabreic system which best represents what we intuitively grasp. It is entirely tied up with our perception of thing. Also, there are different types of logic for different purposes, and im not aware that any are more fundamental than any other (though ive just started it if truth be told).

Simply put ‘logic’ is a tool to mathematically (formally) represent argument.

Logical in the sense rationally understandable, is not at odds with randomness IMO. A dice roll is not illogical, merely unknown. Quantum mechanics is not illogical, it is very formulaic and ordered, except not with precise quantities but with complex ranges and probabilities. Kristalyn, i think you are making things sound more complex than they actually are.

Cheers!

I must agree, especially after reading your elaborations on what logic is that I am proabably stretching this concept too far. I now have a slightly clearer idea of what logic is-it seems to be an indefinite and nonprecise way of grasping what we encounter with supposed preconcieved notions of what is supposed to be understood. Um… if logic is not definite and can be argued against what is the point of it?

The whole concept of randomness does not make any sense. If you think about it, theres no more substance to it than to a ghost. It is in my opinion, another great example of the extent to which primitive instinctual superstition still is a part of our lives, despite our thinking ourselves high, mighty and civilized. (I don’t buy into it of course, making me truly civilized).

Kristalyn. logic is as precise (ideally) as the real world, it certainly cannot be argued against (in the sense that something which is logically OK can somehow be proven false*). It is not a failing of the tool if the task is strange.

*if the logical system is sound and complete of course.

Poiesis. Eh? why is randomness ‘substanceless’ and superstitious? Are you claiming that all that is physical is completely determined or some such?

Cheers!

are you saying that the role of a dice is random? surely it isnt, the result can be traced directly back to the speed, angle etc of the throw, (human intervention). something which is random has no reason for its end result.

i like the idea of randomness not having a ‘substance’. i tried poorly to express this in the first posting, that randomness is not the result of anything particular, but the unfamilar cercumstances, which we had no control or knowledge of. but that does not say whether random actually exists. but it shows that random may be just a personal thing.

logic would suggest that a+b=c, however if something is random, c has no reason for existance, it is not the result of anything at all. if an outcome is random, it cannot be traced back to its causes, because if there are causes it demonstrates a logical progression.

are you saying that the role of a dice is random? surely it isnt, the result can be traced directly back to the speed, angle etc of the throw, (human intervention). something which is random has no reason for its end result.

i like the idea of randomness not having a ‘substance’. i tried poorly to express this in the first posting, that randomness is not the result of anything particular, but the unfamilar cercumstances, which we had no control or knowledge of. but that does not say whether random actually exists. but it shows that random may be just a personal thing.

logic would suggest that a+b=c, however if something is random, c has no reason for existance, it is not the result of anything at all. if an outcome is random, it cannot be traced back to its causes, because if there are causes it demonstrates a logical progression.
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are you saying that the role of a dice is random? surely it isnt, the result can be traced directly back to the speed, angle etc of the throw, (human intervention). something which is random has no reason for its end result.

i like the idea of randomness not having a ‘substance’. i tried poorly to express this in the first posting, that randomness is not the result of anything particular, but the unfamilar cercumstances, which we had no control or knowledge of. but that does not say whether random actually exists. but it shows that random may be just a personal thing.

logic would suggest that a+b=c, however if something is random, c has no reason for existance, it is not the result of anything at all. if an outcome is random, it cannot be traced back to its causes, because if there are causes it demonstrates a logical progression.

paul i think you answered your own question, there is no random, only unknown causes that produce outputs that dont follow any pattern that the observer is familiar with.

as for quantum mechanics, forget the crazy two-slot experiment where electrons are both waves and particles, i dont think thats relevant. i think the randomness associated with quantun mechanics is a product of the zero-point field. this is a field containing at least photons and theoretically all messenger particles that permeates all of space. the amount of energy from this field in a cubic meter would boil all of the oceans. nobody knows where the photons came from, only that they blast about in all directions and since photons are small, the effects of omnidirectional movement are cancelled out on large scales.

so if subatomic particles are ‘randomly’ jostled about by this field of photons, isnt finding out where the next jostle will take it merely a matter of finding out where all this zpf came from and where is it going? very difficult, but not random.