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Does Randomness exist?
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moonmonkey
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Oct 1, 2004, 05:27 AM
 
I remember computer science at University and talking about how computers generate seemingly random numbers using some clever chronological algorithm. They are not random at all, they are just seem random.

Am I wrong? (university was a long time ago)

Can anyone give an example of something that is truly random.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 1, 2004, 05:41 AM
 
Nope, it doesn't. There are some devices that produce `true' random numbers, but these are really physical cards. The rest is generated by an algorithm. While good algorithms have a huge length of period, you are inevitably limited by the finite number of decimals.

Mathematically, there isn't even a definition of randomness, just a characterization under the assumption that something is `random'.
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Diggory Laycock
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Oct 1, 2004, 06:10 AM
 
You "seed" the random function with the date and that helps randomise it even more.
     
xenu
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Oct 1, 2004, 06:48 AM
 
Random is just another way of saying you don't know the initial conditions of the system under consideration. Because of this, you cannot make exact predictions of future events, just expectations, and so on.

Nothing is truely random.

It really is an outdated way of thinking - statisticians need to understand this, but few do.
Those who do, are called Bayesians.
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demograph68
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Oct 1, 2004, 06:59 AM
 
I am a statistic.
     
xenu
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Oct 1, 2004, 07:01 AM
 
Originally posted by demograph68:
I am a statistic.
Sufficient?
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CD Hanks
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Oct 1, 2004, 07:15 AM
 
Starting random number generator...
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OreoCookie
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:05 PM
 
Originally posted by xenu:
Random is just another way of saying you don't know the initial conditions of the system under consideration. Because of this, you cannot make exact predictions of future events, just expectations, and so on.

Nothing is truely random.

It really is an outdated way of thinking - statisticians need to understand this, but few do.
Those who do, are called Bayesians.
Depends on the underlying mechanics. Quantum mechanics is equipped with trajectories if you introduce a velocity field (Bohmian mechanics), but to my knowledge, there is no extension of QFT that would equip it with trajectories without random jumps.
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turtle777
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:08 PM
 
Originally posted by moonmonkey:
Can anyone give an example of something that is truly random.
szdfkjhwif tgmtuil5467uje 6jetyj 648iguilk,45ej iuwehriuy 90w5798wkjojw24u59etyjmr5h48e5y42hn 46e5y65j65u7 jryjtr5yu8 k467ertkjryuk 46ku578o5467idty4j683547684yi46843jy365 3586y 43656u47e69+u87yj4876u68 e4t6j5r4y6+u8me7t98+7h84356776ert4h 9et87j39+58h6+wr 439+58h7w6e5thge+ 6t87i7u8943765yw65r4th98et77w8r4e5y 23956y7245988it5yfi4,h5iop4;5rtyh4q+439867ye65 4u39+6877o 49864tyh6+ wtr7ykj8476987u37w5465 b4e65ryil6898i54q5yer



If you find a pattern, let me know !

-t
     
cszar2001
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:09 PM
 
Brownian motion perhaps?
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wataru
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:19 PM
 
Originally posted by xenu:
Random is just another way of saying you don't know the initial conditions of the system under consideration. Because of this, you cannot make exact predictions of future events, just expectations, and so on.

Nothing is truely random.
No. Quantum mechanics, which has yet to be disproven, tells us that on a small enough scale, everything is random. To the degree that our world is influenced by the happenings at that scale, our world is random. We can never know the initial conditions, and in fact the initial conditions aren't set at all.
     
iREZ
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:44 PM
 
[Conan O'Brien voice]mmmmmmm.............numbers[/Conan O'Brien voice]
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wolfen
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:52 PM
 
People use words like "random" and "spontaneous" to describe things that seem unpredictable. However, our lack of predictive tools does not mean the events are truly random or spontaneous.

As long as there are things unknown, these concepts are a necessary evil. Odds are, that means forever
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djohnson
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Oct 1, 2004, 12:56 PM
 
How come no one has mentioned how humans randomly appeared? Oh wait, what about the universe? Did it randomly appear out of... what would the universe randomly appear out of?
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 1, 2004, 01:51 PM
 
Originally posted by wataru:
No. Quantum mechanics, which has yet to be disproven, tells us that on a small enough scale, everything is random. To the degree that our world is influenced by the happenings at that scale, our world is random. We can never know the initial conditions, and in fact the initial conditions aren't set at all.
Not necessarily so. Bohmian mechanics adds another equation to the Schrdinger equation and makes quantum mechanics completely deterministic. (The reason to introduce this extra equation is not to make the theory deterministic, but rather to give it coherence, keyword: problem of measurement. If you want to understand Bohmian mechanics, understand Schrdinger's cat.)

On the other hand, the creation and annihilation of particles cannot yet be put into such a framework, in between the creation and annihilation, an extension of Bohmian mechanics does the trick.
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the_glassman
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Oct 1, 2004, 01:54 PM
 
Being an iPod user, I can tell you that real randomness doesn't exist! Why must I listen to the Bee Gee's again!
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 1, 2004, 01:56 PM
 
Originally posted by djohnson:
How come no one has mentioned how humans randomly appeared? Oh wait, what about the universe? Did it randomly appear out of... what would the universe randomly appear out of?
It is fairly understood how life created itself in the primordial soup.

About the universe, well, there are some rough ideas about that, too, but if you are looking for an answer to the question `why do we exist', turn to philosophers or your closest religious institution.
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djohnson
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Oct 1, 2004, 02:00 PM
 
Originally posted by OreoCookie:
It is fairly understood how life created itself in the primordial soup.

About the universe, well, there are some rough ideas about that, too, but if you are looking for an answer to the question `why do we exist', turn to philosophers or your closest religious institution.

LOL!!!
     
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Oct 1, 2004, 03:12 PM
 
Chicken Pie.
Random? maybe
     
xenu
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Oct 1, 2004, 04:49 PM
 
The Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics requires randomness.

It's been more years than I want to admit, but my memory tells me this interpretation is not universally accepted.
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wataru
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:11 AM
 
Originally posted by OreoCookie:
Not necessarily so. Bohmian mechanics adds another equation to the Schrdinger equation and makes quantum mechanics completely deterministic. (The reason to introduce this extra equation is not to make the theory deterministic, but rather to give it coherence, keyword: problem of measurement. If you want to understand Bohmian mechanics, understand Schrdinger's cat.)

On the other hand, the creation and annihilation of particles cannot yet be put into such a framework, in between the creation and annihilation, an extension of Bohmian mechanics does the trick.
What do you mean "makes quantum mechanics completely deterministic?" If you mean it makes the wave function, which is what you are solving the Schrodinger equation for, completely deterministic, then yes, you are correct. But the wave function only describes the probability distribution of finding a particle at a certain location, so no, that does not make QM deterministic in any useful sense.

Edit: Ok, I did a google search, and Bohmian mechanics does determine locations. But why does it appear to have been discarded by just about everyone? It looks like the answer hinges on the assumption of hidden variables, which everyone but Bohmians claim has been disproven. So this interpretation of QM is controversial at best, and I'm going to stick with my "no, the universe is random" assertion.
( Last edited by wataru; Oct 2, 2004 at 12:21 AM. )
     
ambush
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:24 AM
 
This is a great philosophy question - no joke.

Listen to this kids.

If randomness does NOT exist then individuality does not exist! Because anything cannot be random, it's a series of movement of particules and nothing more than just that.


Basically, this is the debate of whether the mind exists. the soul. something that defines the exact movement of particles that intelligence is. but movements are movements and individuality is nothing but preprogrammed particule movement.

because everything is a movement, if a there is NOT ONE particule that moves RANDOMLY (no matter HOW small it is), there is no randomness.

if there is randomness, there are many PATHS (parallel universes) BECAUSE, physically, it would ENTIAL that a particule can be at TWO places at a time.


Now that's certainly food for thought. (far from being a complete theory).
( Last edited by ambush; Oct 2, 2004 at 12:31 AM. )
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:28 AM
 
I remember a pbs thing about randomness...they said within randomness, there is a pattern...very zen
     
ManOfSteal
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:40 AM
 
Is there order among randomness?
     
ambush
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:43 AM
 
Originally posted by manofsteal:
Is there order among randomness?
that's an unlogical question.

sorry you can answer it yourself.

hint: ( randomness ^-1 ) == ( order )
     
Dex13
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:44 AM
 
There will never be an object in which is random presently or in the future since they will all be human based.
     
ambush
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:52 AM
 
Originally posted by Dex13:
There will never be an object in which is random presently or in the future since they will all be human based.
you ARE implying humans make random choices.

I were like you before but something seeded doubt in my mind:

think about this: a toaster has no thoughts and a toaster is a huge gathering of particules. humans have thoughts but they are a ALSO only gatherings of particules.

the question is are gathering of particules RANDOM? then humans and toasters would cause randomness. I'm trying to tell you that at the biggest level of the hierarchy of the life, matter is the highest state. therefore toasters and humans are alike.

you might also think, NO the highest thing in the hierachy IS the mind - it IS randomness. the question therefore is, does randomness exist. is there something that differenciates humans from toasters???

wait... in fact I'm turning around the question. YES. it ALL CONNECTS.

Randomness is life and Order is death. Life prevails until... unity of matter. no movement, NO randomness because randomness IS CAUSED by movement.

just an hypothesis.

theist and atheist: theists believe SOMEONE started movement (randomness) and atheists think it never began.
( Last edited by ambush; Oct 2, 2004 at 12:57 AM. )
     
ManOfSteal
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Oct 2, 2004, 12:55 AM
 
     
ambush
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Oct 2, 2004, 01:23 AM
 
way to define matrixism with my theory: belief that randomness exists and robot can't emulate it (only life can't) and that we are not aware that whar's around us is fake. because robots can't invent it theyfake it. but then there must be someone that programmed the robots and it's US.

therefore randomness exists.. right???
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 01:36 AM
 
That was completely unintelligible.
     
Truepop
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Oct 2, 2004, 01:50 AM
 
Originally posted by turtle777:
szdfkjhwif tgmtuil5467uje 6jetyj 648iguilk,45ej iuwehriuy 90w5798wkjojw24u59etyjmr5h48e5y42hn 46e5y65j65u7 jryjtr5yu8 k467ertkjryuk 46ku578o5467idty4j683547684yi46843jy365 3586y 43656u47e69+u87yj4876u68 e4t6j5r4y6+u8me7t98+7h84356776ert4h 9et87j39+58h6+wr 439+58h7w6e5thge+ 6t87i7u8943765yw65r4th98et77w8r4e5y 23956y7245988it5yfi4,h5iop4;5rtyh4q+439867ye65 4u39+6877o 49864tyh6+ wtr7ykj8476987u37w5465 b4e65ryil6898i54q5yer



If you find a pattern, let me know !

-t
42.
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 01:52 AM
 
Originally posted by wataru:
That was completely unintelligible.
give him a break, he's drunk
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Stradlater
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Oct 2, 2004, 01:54 AM
 
Originally posted by Truepop:
42.
doug?
"You rise," he said, "like Aurora."
     
ASIMO
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Oct 2, 2004, 02:07 AM
 
This thread was almost completely random.
I, ASIMO.
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 03:06 AM
 
the word randomness exists in most dictionaries i've seen.

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Peter
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Oct 2, 2004, 04:54 AM
 
Originally posted by ambush:
you ARE implying humans make random choices.

I were like you before but something seeded doubt in my mind:

think about this: a toaster has no thoughts and a toaster is a huge gathering of particules. humans have thoughts but they are a ALSO only gatherings of particules.

the question is are gathering of particules RANDOM? then humans and toasters would cause randomness. I'm trying to tell you that at the biggest level of the hierarchy of the life, matter is the highest state. therefore toasters and humans are alike.

you might also think, NO the highest thing in the hierachy IS the mind - it IS randomness. the question therefore is, does randomness exist. is there something that differenciates humans from toasters???

wait... in fact I'm turning around the question. YES. it ALL CONNECTS.

Randomness is life and Order is death. Life prevails until... unity of matter. no movement, NO randomness because randomness IS CAUSED by movement.

just an hypothesis.

theist and atheist: theists believe SOMEONE started movement (randomness) and atheists think it never began.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 2, 2004, 05:20 AM
 
Originally posted by wataru:
What do you mean "makes quantum mechanics completely deterministic?" If you mean it makes the wave function, which is what you are solving the Schrodinger equation for, completely deterministic, then yes, you are correct. But the wave function only describes the probability distribution of finding a particle at a certain location, so no, that does not make QM deterministic in any useful sense.

Edit: Ok, I did a google search, and Bohmian mechanics does determine locations. But why does it appear to have been discarded by just about everyone? It looks like the answer hinges on the assumption of hidden variables, which everyone but Bohmians claim has been disproven. So this interpretation of QM is controversial at best, and I'm going to stick with my "no, the universe is random" assertion.
No, in Bohmian mechanics, you are dealing with particles again which have -- at all times -- a definite trajectory. It is an extension of ordinary quantum theory and you can show that the predictions coincide, so from an experimentalist's point of view, both theories are equivalent.

You did a search on it, so I won't go into any more detail (I can provide links if you want, though). Bohmian mechanics has been rejected basically for ideological reasons as it solves the `measurement problem' elegantly and is a minimalist extension. The no-hidden-variables theorem does not allow local hidden variables, but those quantum trajectories are global (because the wave function is global). Obviously the detailed arguments are more sophisticated than this.

In Bohmian mechanics, the precision of impulse and position measurements is limited in the same way as in quantum mechanics.

BTW, there are other alternative quantum theories and some do rely on some sort of `inherent' randomness. Do a search on spontaneous localization and decoherence.
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Oct 2, 2004, 07:16 AM
 
     
Peter
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Oct 2, 2004, 08:29 AM
 
Originally posted by Angus_D:
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/RandomNumber.html
my head hurts.
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 09:26 AM
 
Not all of the equasions must be complex. i mean, my cd player does "random." it would have been so hard to figure out how to generate a "random" number with mathematics. i have no clue... in more ways than one.
     
Dex13
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Oct 2, 2004, 09:22 PM
 
Originally posted by ambush:
you ARE implying humans make random choices.

I were like you before but something seeded doubt in my mind:

think about this: a toaster has no thoughts and a toaster is a huge gathering of particules. humans have thoughts but they are a ALSO only gatherings of particules.

the question is are gathering of particules RANDOM? then humans and toasters would cause randomness. I'm trying to tell you that at the biggest level of the hierarchy of the life, matter is the highest state. therefore toasters and humans are alike.

you might also think, NO the highest thing in the hierachy IS the mind - it IS randomness. the question therefore is, does randomness exist. is there something that differenciates humans from toasters???

wait... in fact I'm turning around the question. YES. it ALL CONNECTS.

Randomness is life and Order is death. Life prevails until... unity of matter. no movement, NO randomness because randomness IS CAUSED by movement.

just an hypothesis.

theist and atheist: theists believe SOMEONE started movement (randomness) and atheists think it never began.
Case in Point, the enigma. Nothing man made or humans for that matter can ever achieve the true definition random
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 09:48 PM
 
Originally posted by ambush:
way to define matrixism with my theory: belief that randomness exists and robot can't emulate it (only life can't) and that we are not aware that whar's around us is fake. because robots can't invent it theyfake it. but then there must be someone that programmed the robots and it's US.

therefore randomness exists.. right???
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Oct 2, 2004, 09:54 PM
 
The thing that's the most random in the world (if not the only thing) should be the position on an electron in its cloud at a given time.... recalibrate it with the probability curve of the electron.
( Last edited by ambush; Oct 2, 2004 at 10:13 PM. )
     
bradoesch
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Oct 2, 2004, 10:07 PM
 
Originally posted by turtle777:
szdfkjhwif tgmtuil5467uje 6jetyj 648iguilk,45ej iuwehriuy 90w5798wkjojw24u59etyjmr5h48e5y42hn 46e5y65j65u7 jryjtr5yu8 k467ertkjryuk 46ku578o5467idty4j683547684yi46843jy365 3586y 43656u47e69+u87yj4876u68 e4t6j5r4y6+u8me7t98+7h84356776ert4h 9et87j39+58h6+wr 439+58h7w6e5thge+ 6t87i7u8943765yw65r4th98et77w8r4e5y 23956y7245988it5yfi4,h5iop4;5rtyh4q+439867ye65 4u39+6877o 49864tyh6+ wtr7ykj8476987u37w5465 b4e65ryil6898i54q5yer



If you find a pattern, let me know !

-t
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itistoday
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Oct 2, 2004, 10:14 PM
 
To see if there is randomness one must travel as far back in time as possible. Modern theories, which may or may not be true, suggest that everything was once concentrated in a miniscule-super-dense point. Some other theories say that this universe is the creation between the collision of two planes/dimensions? Well, no matter what, if we travel back to that point in time, when time didn't exist, and start time, we'll see the universe being created. We then ask the question: "What if this process was repeated anew, would the resulting universe be identical to this one?" The answer is probably "yes" if, if the big bang did exist. And if the answer is yes, then the answer to your question is "no," randomness does not exist.
     
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Oct 2, 2004, 10:31 PM
 
In a three second span anywhere between 9 am and 9 pm, the total number of toilets being flushed around the world would seem pretty random...

Originally posted by moonmonkey:
Can anyone give an example of something that is truly random.
     
tie
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Oct 2, 2004, 10:51 PM
 
All randomness comes from quantum mechanics. It is quite simple to generate truly random bits, using for example various optical components. There are also many other ways.

Here is one example. Shoot a polarized photon through a polarizing filter at an angle of 45 degrees to its polarization. With probability 1/2 it will pass through the filter (after which it can be detected), and with probability 1/2 it will be absorbed. This is a truly random event.

If as itistoday suggests, you restarted the universe with the exact same conditions and repeated the experiment (I know this doesn't make any sense), the output would still be truly random. You would sometimes see the photon and sometimes not, even with identical initial conditions.
     
itistoday
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Oct 3, 2004, 12:18 AM
 
Originally posted by tie:
All randomness comes from quantum mechanics. It is quite simple to generate truly random bits, using for example various optical components. There are also many other ways.

Here is one example. Shoot a polarized photon through a polarizing filter at an angle of 45 degrees to its polarization. With probability 1/2 it will pass through the filter (after which it can be detected), and with probability 1/2 it will be absorbed. This is a truly random event.

If as itistoday suggests, you restarted the universe with the exact same conditions and repeated the experiment (I know this doesn't make any sense), the output would still be truly random. You would sometimes see the photon and sometimes not, even with identical initial conditions.
I don't know. Quantum mechanics is purely theoritical though, so this may or may not be the case. Statistically your logic is correct. If I was to shoot 50 billion photons through that filter about half of them would come out. However, don't you think that it's possible, that if the universe was restarted those photons would cross the filter in the same exact order?

This brings some very interesting and thought provoking questions to mind, mainly the possibility of fate. Before this thread actually, I had always thought that fate was bs, and that nothing is written in stone. However, it seems to me now, that perhaps randomness does not exist, and if it doesn't, then fate inherently does...
( Last edited by itistoday; Oct 3, 2004 at 12:40 AM. )
     
jessejlt
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Oct 3, 2004, 01:01 AM
 
Great question. I've pondered this for some time, and I've concluded that thought can be truly random. I know of nothing else that can.
     
moonmonkey  (op)
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Location: Australia, the greatest country in the world, (Australians keep telling me).
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Oct 3, 2004, 01:22 AM
 
Originally posted by storer:
Not all of the equasions must be complex. i mean, my cd player does "random." it would have been so hard to figure out how to generate a "random" number with mathematics. i have no clue... in more ways than one.

As far as I know, computers do it by playing with the current time and date, its a crap shortcut but the best we can do at the moment.

A device which is so inherently based on logic is going to have big problems breaking out of that box.
( Last edited by moonmonkey; Oct 3, 2004 at 01:29 AM. )
     
 
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