science = determinism?

Tim Bradshaw tfb at tfeb.org
Thu Nov 25 10:16:06 EST 1999


* Frank Buckler wrote:
> If we find somthing random: we can say: "it is random" or "it apeers to be
> random, because we dont know enoupg"
> Both is induction reasoning, and both can be equaly true or false.
> But the first is the end of research!

Not at all.  For the results of observations in QM the standard story
is `it is random' -- or rather `all you can know in advance are the
probabilities of the various outcomes'.  And you can investigate this
a whole lot -- for instance you can hypothesise that no, it's not
random, but there is some `hidden variable' which determines the
outcome of the experiment.  And when you look at that hypothesis you
find it doesn't make sense because the hidden variables must be
`non-local' which basically means `causality violating'.  And you can
do experiments & theoretical work which explore this whole area, like
the experiments done by Alain Aspect in the 80s and the theory stuff
by Bell somewhat earlier (60s?).

So it is absolutely not the case that science must be
deterministic. Anyone who thinks that hasn't paid a lot of attention
to the progress in physics over the last 100 years or so.

--tim




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