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science = determinism?

Bill Todd billtodd at foo.mv.com
Thu Nov 25 11:02:07 EST 1999


Am I the only one who believes that 'random' means that the probabilities of
all possible outcomes are equal?  If that is the proper definition, then
'random' is a far stronger characterization than 'non-deterministic', and
some of the foregoing discussion points may have been flying past each other
without contact.

- bill

Tim Bradshaw <tfb at tfeb.org> wrote in message
news:ey3wvr67gax.fsf at lostwithiel.tfeb.org...
> * 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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