True Randomness

What is the definition of randomness “Randomness means lack of pattern or predictability in events. Randomness suggests a non-order or non-coherence in a sequence of symbols or steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination”

In this context it’s very hard to conceive of events if any that can truly be random. In a world where scientist have declared reality deterministic, the word random can only apply to those things that are unknown or uncertain to us. The caveat is at the quantum level, where there does seem to be an inherent uncertainty relating to the position of particle when not observed. That is however a totally unusual and counter intuitive case. I have written about this in my “Quantum Weirdness” article. It has baffled scientists and thinkers alike to the extent that even Einstein did not believe it.

So other than the very weird and unusual case of Quantum Physics can there be such a thing as true randomness. My guess would be yes, but only if we submit to the idea that random and ignorance are interchangeable, and ignorance is absolute when it comes to us mortals.

6 responses to “True Randomness

  1. Pingback: Quantum Physics Meets Kabbalah | inagape·

  2. Good points. I suspect that Quantum effects are merely unpredictable, such that one has to deal with the probability of the subatomic particle being here or there, AS IF it is in both places. The AS IF probably gets assumed and dropped along the way, leading to the odd statements we hear and take literally.

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  3. Thanks for you comment Marvin. I really don’t know. It may be that we will never actually know whether there are hidden variables, but does that make it non-existent. Is there a realm where such knowledge is available? May be there is a dimension where every point in space-time is the same. That may explain the non-locality and the zero-time effect. Randomness is a little like free-will. Rationally it can be explained as not to exist but the impossibility of knowing makes it imperative that we do.


  4. One brief point:

    The is such thing as stochastic event in biology. This are non-deterministic events in which the probability of certain event can be analyzed through statistic but it cannot be predicted. A quick example from the top of my bet will be the distribution of transcriptional factors during cell division…depending on a number of variables cells will get a non-deterministic distribution of number of a particular transcriptional factor (protein) after cell division. This in turn may have some effects in gene expression.

    Sorry for needing it out! 🙂

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  5. Thanks for your comments intrepidmuses. I love science, but would say, I’m far from being an expert. DNA Transcription, which I think is what you mean is as fascinating and humbling as it gets. The uncertainty part of it is probably the least interesting.

    However, I would totally agree with you, and may be I should add it to the list of non-deterministic events. At this scale it my also be emergent from the quantum uncertainty principle which I’ve written about. Also, I may have used some erroneous terminology when equating non-determinism with randomness since they are not exactly the same.

    The point of view I was trying to convey is scientists have a tendency to explain an event that lacks a predictable outcome with randomness not necessarily because it is truly random, but because they don’t understand them and may never do. I remember when there was Chaos Theory, which has now been replaced by the Study of Complex Systems and emergent properties. Your example is a case in point.

    Through historic precedent, I think scientists nowadays should be a little more humble in admitting their ignorance. Great ones like Einstein certainly worked this way.


  6. I got thinking about randomness after watching a few scientific videos on YouTube explaining some interesting facts about information. They argue that for something to be compressed, anything repetitive or predictable can be extracted from it, so that the resulting object is complete disorder or randomness, ie, nothing can be predicted about any of its parts by observation of some of its parts. Thus, it is pure information, and pure information is pure randomness. What is amazing about the whole thing is that humans neither find pure randomness nor pure order beautiful, there is a space in between these extremes where we find meaning and beauty.

    The videos were really interesting, you could see them here:

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