• Paul S
    146
    You are the observer. Can you tell the difference between tables X andY based on the outcomes of the dice roll?TheMadFool

    Maybe not. There are tests of randomness but I don't think they are that useful, they can spot something that is deterministic if it makes no effort to use randomness from the results. Reasonably random results adhere to a distribution that can be detected using the Chi-square test for example.

    But I don't think its that interesting to consider if you can be tricked or not.
  • TheMadFool
    8.7k
    Maybe not. There are tests of randomness but I don't think they are that useful, they can spot something that is deterministic if it makes no effort to use randomness from the results. Reasonably random results adhere to a distribution that can be detected using the Chi-square test for example.

    But I don't think its that interesting to consider if you can be tricked or not.
    Paul S

    My point is somewhat along the lines Descartes' deus deceptor idea which I believe has modern incarnations mutatis mutandis or so I'm led to believe. I wonder if Albert Einstein ever thought of that. All I can say is it can't be ruled out with any acceptable degree of confidence. The indeterminism we encounter in our lives could be divine mischief/deception.
  • Paul S
    146
    The indeterminism we encounter in our lives could be divine mischief/deception.TheMadFool

    But you really are going deeper into the unknown there. There will always be philosophical questions.
    I keep one quote in my profile that I think applies here.

    “I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science. On the other hand, any assertion of probability is either right or wrong from the standpoint of the theory on which it is based. This loosening of thinking (Lockerung des Denkens) seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world” ― Max Born

    We may be in a universe nested in another universe as a simulation for all we know. Nothing can ever be truly ruled out. We deceive ourselves everyday. Half of life is probably self deception. To a degree, I think we get out what we put in, in terms of mantras. If we dwell on the notion that we are being deceived or toyed with on some level by a higher power, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
  • TheMadFool
    8.7k
    Well, even the great Einstein, possesed of such a powerful intellect, seems to have missed a spot. To be fair his idea of god seems Spinozist which would've effectively hidden the possibility of a mischevious Cartesian deus deceptor bent on keeping us from the truth, one way of doing that by simulating indeterminism. Had he given Cartesian skepticism a few moments of thought, I bet he would've immediately seen this rather unsavory possibility. I daresay his much-publicized atheism stemmed from the evil his people had to face in world war 2 but the irony is a deus deceptor isn't ruled out by evil, in fact even the Spinozist god is susceptible to a deus deceptor interpretation. After all, whence all the evil? Surely if Einstein assumes a god that he believes doesn't play dice, that god must be the cause of all the evil - a deus deceptor seems too plausible to ignore.
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    My question
    Do you believe the universe is inherently deterministic or indeterministic (and why)?
    (Do you believe God/the universe/your chosen deity plays dice?)
    Paul S

    In some quantum experiments, it is possible to both play dice and predict the measured outcome with certainty. For example, suppose I prepare a quantum coin as heads-up. I then flip the coin, i.e., transform it into a superposition of heads-up and heads-down. Without measuring the coin orientation (which, if I did, would be equally likely to be heads-up or tails-up), I then flip the coin a second time. Now I measure the coin orientation and find that it is heads-up. Further, on repeating the experiment I find the coin always oriented heads-up after two flips. I can similarly design an experiment where the outcome of the double-flip is always tails-up (when initially heads-up). In each case, the outcome is completely determined by the coin's initial state and evolution.

    Note that the measured outcome of the second coin flip would be unpredictable for someone who did not have knowledge of the coin's initial state and evolution. In this case, what seems like playing dice from that person's perspective is predictable with certainty from a broader and more informed perspective.
  • 180 Proof
    2.3k
    Q - Is the universe deterministic or indeterministic?
    A - Yes.


    ... Anyway :smirk:
    ... a deus deceptor isn't ruled out by evil, in fact even the Spinozist god is susceptible to a deus deceptor interpretation. After all, whence all the evil?TheMadFool
    I suggest more close reading and study of the Ethics, III & IV (Preface), because your suggestion here is clearly mistaken. "Whence evil" for Spinoza? Human psychology (proximally); not onto(theo)logy (ultimately). Summary.

    Surely if Einstein assumes a god that he believes doesn't play dice, that god must be the cause of all the evil - a deus deceptor seems too plausible to ignore.
    For Spinoza, Descartes' "deus deceptor" (i.e. uncertainty, non-necessity) is merely an inadequate idea – a deity/demon which 'transcends' nature (i.e. cartesian dual / second substance, or substance 'beyond' substance) – among natura naturata (i.e human modes) and not immanent to – is not necessitated by – natura naturans. Einstein reads Spinoza correctly insofar as he does so sub specie aeternitatus; however, he fails to discern, or accept, that the sub specie durationis reading of Deus, sive Natura also could be simultaneously true as Spinoza argues, and thus Einstein misinterprets time as merely "a persistent illusion" (contra Spinoza).

    "God does not play dice" insofar as the "God" he refers to is cartesian & transcendent (e.g. biblical); apparently, Einstein conflates this deity/demon with the spinozist immanent deus when objecting to the implied incompleteness of relativistic (deterministic) physics, misrecognizing nature itself – natura naturans – as the "dice" themselves (i.e. quantum indeterminancy e.g. MWI). David Bohm (re: hidden variables) would make a career of attempting to correct, or extend, 'einsteinian determinism' ... almost in spinozist fashion.
  • Harry Hindu
    4k
    From the moment you receive the dice in your hands to the moment the dice have stopped rolling, what aspects of the event are indeterministic?Paul S

    Are you asking if indeterministic events are determined?

    It is impossible to tell at this stage of science if existence is deterministic because perturbing a system in order to measure it changes the state of the system.Enrique
    Sound deterministic to me.

    Any time you use prior conditions to explain subsequent conditions, you are implying determinism (observing/perturbing a system changes the system).

    As a matter of fact, we can't really help thinking this way. As a matter of fact, reasoning is deterministic. Reasons determine conclusions. If they didn't, then what reason would you have for believing what you believe?
  • Jack Cummins
    1.5k

    'If we dwell on the notion that we are being deceived or toyed with on some level by a higher power, it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.' I think that this is an important issue, because the belief in free will is essential to finding that freedom rather than feeling that we are puppets, unable to create our own destiny. This deterministic perspective can come from the belief in a higher power or from within the determinism of hard materialism.

    One idea which I believe is interesting in relation to understanding of causality is the idea of synchronicity. It is not an actual model of causation, but of meaningful coincidences. It is important for aiding the individual in understanding patterns within our lives, and perhaps through tuning into these patterns we can gain greater understanding of where we are and who we are individually.This may give us the consciousnes with which to find our true pathways in the grander scheme of life. Jung spoke of how these synchronicities often arise in critical moments in life. Personally, I have experienced these, including precognitive dreams, and have found them useful in understanding symbolic patterns in situations where I often felt almost powerless. Understanding symbolic dimensions can provide a way of seeing stories unfolding in life and how we can become the authors creating our own destinies more consciously.
  • Paul S
    146
    I then flip the coin, i.e., transform it into a superposition of heads-up and heads-down.Andrew M
    Then you're not flipping it.
    I daresay his much-publicized atheismTheMadFool
    He was never a atheist. He was considered a form of theist, he would have seen the deception as God like.
    Personally, I have experienced these, including precognitive dreamsJack Cummins
    It came in the form of premonitions for me, when I was in danger.

    As a matter of fact, we can't really help thinking this way. As a matter of fact, reasoning is deterministic. Reasons determine conclusionsHarry Hindu
    You're making the assumption that the human brain and nervous system is deterministic.

    David Bohm (re: hidden variables) would make a career of attempting to correct, or extend, 'einsteinian determinism' ... almost in spinozist fashion.180 Proof
    I might have to read up on that,
  • shawtuse
    1
    Einstein, I recall, was concerned about the ill-effects of denying God and so obfuscated about the matter. And I suspect he was limited in his understanding of non-linear dynamics. Wasn't his wife a better mathematician? Or should I say his first one but I digress. Consider the butterfly-effect: The smallest of effects can lead to the greatest of consequences (covid-19 for example). Lorenz's equations, which model the climate, showed long term prediction is unattainable.
  • Present awareness
    44
    On one hand, it is deterministic in the sense that everything that will ever happen already exists and cannot change. On the other hand, if QM is right, it is indeterministic in the sense that it is not possible to logically derive a single outcome from initial conditions and laws of physics (laws of physics being regularities in the structure of spacetime and distribution of matter in it), which means that a single future state cannot be predicted from past states.litewave

    I agree that “ everything that will ever happen, already exists” but disagree that it “cannot change”. Everything that might exist, exists in potential only, and that which actually does exist, is in a state of constant change.

    The light on the surface of the Sun is a little over 8 minutes in the past from Earths perspective and the light here and now on Earth won’t reach the next closest star for about 4 1/4 years into the future, from Earth’s perspective. Past, present and future, exist in a continuous unbroken stream and it all depends on one’s position in the space/ time continuum, as to what may be observed.

    Future states may be predicted from past states. Take the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun for example. Every 365 days, the Earth is back to the starting point in it’s orbit. The position of Mars may be predicted and a rocket ship may be sent there! However, things like how a woman might react to any given situation, may not be predicted with accuracy!
  • Paul S
    146
    Consider the butterfly-effect: The smallest of effects can lead to the greatest of consequences (covid-19 for example).shawtuse

    Your very first post in TPF and you came to my thread. Good.
    Your first post mentioned ahem-19. Bad
    (Let's leave any talk of that baggage at the door?)

    Kudos for mentioning non linear dynamics.

    For those not familiar with the concept of non linear dynamics just think of a pendulum with hinges, like you would see rocking back and forth in a grandfather clock. But instead of a single straight rod, it has hinges. As it rocks, the hinges move and it turns out that from any one point where you start it in motion, the pattern it traces out is greatly different than even a tiny change. It is all about the butterfly effect and how chaos quickly emerges from something with just a very simple initial input.

    BUT, it's arguably still technically deterministic. Any slight vibration around a hinge, or a tiny difference in force means the path the hinges trace will be radically different, but it's still all based off the assumption that the conditions themselves are ever so slightly different.

    Einstein would argue that, with theoretical knowledge of the electrons at ay one time, in the system, their spin and position, that the start point is exact, that the pendulums are truly identical, that any minor perturbance of air is precisely the same. That the local effects of the Earths magnetic field throughout are the same etc. then they will trace the same pattern

    It's just that its obviously impossible for us to set the conditions for both pendulums to be in the exact state and trace the exact same path. It will never happen. Ever. But we are not comparing two pendulums, or 2 periods of a pendulums, given the seemingly same starting conditions and conditions throughout. What we are considering is whether the pendulum in all is non linearity is indeterministic.

    It is essentially deterministic provided that quantum mechanics is deterministic and we may never know the answer to that. Really the question of whether non linear dynamics is deterministic is just another way of formulating whether God plays dice, but thanks for brining up non linear systems. It's the most fruitful I think to answer this question.

    Some posters mentioned before that "What does it matter if I can fool you into thinking its indeterministic" and that point is particularly interesting in the context of non linear systems.
  • Paul S
    146
    If many-worlds interpretation of QM is right, it is deterministic in the sense that it is possible to predict all future states from past states (since all possible outcomes are realized) but indeterministic in the sense that it is not possible to predict the single future state that we will observe (since all the other possible future states are realized in parallel worlds which cannot interact with each other and we cannot predict in which world we will end up).litewave

    But it can't be both really. If any part of the universe is deterministic, it all is really, as the nonlinearity or chaos rapidly escalates and the system becomes very tangential to what it otherwise might have, even if it is inconsequential things, the state is fundamentally altered, everything is connected through space-time. You use the many worlds interpretation to describe a deterministic system and ironically, you are right in my opinion. The many minds interpretation may be also, I can't recall.
    .
    That's what's so interesting. It's quite possible we are either
    a) At the whim of a supreme gambler
    b)[ b]In one of many parallel realities.[/b]

    And there would seem to be a high probability it's one of those.

    I lean more towards a) Indeterminism for all it's flaws. There's something elegant about Ensemble and Copenhagen interpretations that no matter how much I try to find my own answer they pull me back in and say to me that this is the way. The Copenhagen interpretation is not really formally defined and as I recall I lean more towards Bohr than Heisenberg in terms of what they bring to the theory. Einstein did reluctantly accept Ensemble as his preferred take, and it's a fine choice in my book. It's agnostic about determinism, and minimalist given that it doesn't try to define the unknown or unknowable. Born's statistical interpretation is a thing of beauty. Copenhagen is decidedly indeterministic and why Einstein could never truly get on board with it. There is a paradox for a Physicist accepting indeterminism, because it just deepens the rabbit hole. Arguably, it slaps you in the face and tells you there is no bottom to the rabbit hole, and some things are just unknowable. Kind of like a stop sign, "No complete answer for you at this time."

    Future states may be predicted from past states. Take the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun for example. Every 365 days, the Earth is back to the starting point in its orbit. The position of Mars may be predicted and a rocket ship may be sent there! However, things like how a woman might react to any given situation, may not be predicted with accuracy!Present awareness

    Not exactly, the Sun is moving in orbit around the galaxy, and up and down through the galactic plane like a revolving frill. The Earth is on that journey and really our solar system moves in a vortex. The sun moves and all the planets rotate around it as it does. We never truly go back to the same point, we just perceive it from the Gregorian calendar. It may very well be indeterministic too and certainly non linear.

    Though it's speculative to generalise, women are thought to have, in general, more connectedness between the hemispheres of their brain, so the fuzzy emotional part works more in tandem with the reasoning part.
  • Present awareness
    44
    Not exactly, the Sun is moving in orbit around the galaxy, and up and down through the galactic plane like a revolving frill.Paul S

    Agreed. However, I was not referring to the same point in space, but rather the same starting point (season) in relation to the next orbit of Earth around the Sun. The Sun itself is traveling thru the galaxy and the galaxy is moving away from other galaxies, as you mention. The motion of stars, planets and galaxies follow predictable patterns nevertheless.
  • Paul S
    146
    Yes but the discussion was more about determinism than the motion of the astronomical bodies. We know the bodies move around in a non linear manner overall, especially in a solar systems like ours with many bodies influencing the Earth, but we don't know that it's indeterministic.
  • tim wood
    6.1k
    It seems to me that determinism is more about unavoidable and insurmountable ignorance than about any conjectured mechanism. The Universe at time t1 evolves to time t2. It seems to me that the universe itself could not contain any comprehensive and complete description of that evolution. No way, then, to "determine."

    And even in the everyday world of you and me, complete specification seems impossible. Thus we're left with descriptions, approximations, generalizations, guesses. Though they get a lot of the world's work done, only determinative within a range of error. So it's the definition of determinism that's lacking here. And either I missed it - someone please point me at it. Or it's missing and needs to be provided for the discussion to reach any conclusion other than the lack of the possibility of one.
  • Paul S
    146
    No way, then, to "determine."tim wood

    Sounds like you believe we live in a simulation.

    There is no determination needed necessarily. Information as a concept is entirely abstract, it's just labels on things, we separate something into the object and the meta information that defines it or makes its rules, but it's just as likely if not more so that it does what it does. There is an attractive force, attraction takes place, the definition of how the attractiveness works is abstract and not based in reality necessarily at all. The universe doesn't calculate how to evolve, the moving parts interact with each other do what they do.

    Even from a simulation point of view, it's proven more efficient for computers to mimic reality for physics, to replicate real life collisions as opposed to just computing the information.

    Information alone as a means of solving a problem is never going to be as efficient. If I want to know where billiard ball A will end up if I slam it with billiard ball B at a certain angle, assuming I have the capability to be exact, I know where it will B from experiment with friction, momentum, static forces etc. all built in out of the box. A supercomputer can only approximate that.

    So it's the definition of determinism that's lacking here.tim wood

    You can look it up. Getting back to determinism: If we had an exact copy of the universe with every condition the same in space and time present for when we hit ball A with ball B, same electron spin for every electron etc. etc, every hair of material on the table, the air pressure to the most infinitesimal level and on and on, would the results be the same? If yes, that's a deterministic universe.

    If no, it's indeterministic, there is some element of pure chance involved. Or maybe more precisely, if its indeterministic, we could say that there exists no other universe like ours. There can't be a copy.
    Hope that helps.

    It's not something one can easily go out and prove.
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    I then flip the coin, i.e., transform it into a superposition of heads-up and heads-down.
    — Andrew M
    Then you're not flipping it.
    Paul S

    Why not?
  • tim wood
    6.1k
    So it's the definition of determinism that's lacking here.
    — tim wood
    You can look it up.
    Paul S
    Twice asked, twice evaded.

    de·ter·min·ism
    /dəˈtərməˌnizəm/
    Learn to pronounce
    nounPHILOSOPHY
    the doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will.

    Well, there you have it. Is that you meant?
  • Paul S
    146
    Why not?Andrew M

    The device is flipping it. You can make a deterministic device to flip something, at least deterministic at the macro level, so then it's just a question of the determinism or lack of with the coin, and it's environment. Can you make it land in the same place to the namometer? That would be more of a challenge, regardless of how the flipper is and the smoothness of the surface, the polish of the coin etc? But to just make it land on heads is not too difficult, even more a human, with the right discipline and conditions for the experiment. But it's questionable whether humans are deterministic to do it with the same accuracy as a machine can.
  • Paul S
    146
    Well, there you have it. Is that you meant?tim wood
    I'm using the below definitions.

    Determinism is the philosophical view that all events are determined completely by previously existing causes.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

    UNCOUNTABLE NOUN [oft adjective NOUN]
    Determinism is the belief that all actions and events result from other actions, events, or situations, so people cannot in fact choose what to do.
    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/determinism

    the theory that everything that happens must happen as it does and could not have happened any other way
    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/determinism

    Sorry I wasn't trying to be patronising. I didn't sleep enough.
  • tim wood
    6.1k
    From this site I count thirteen different determinisms. Which is either twelve or thirteen too many. Unless determinism itself is a many and if that's the case, why only thirteen? The question here, as with any abstract idea, is not "what is it?" And that because in itself it is not anything at all. Instead, it is, "what do I say it is, and why, does that work and how useful is it?" And as usually happens, the act of assigning meaning, if it's any good, eliminates problems via clarity.

    And dice is a good illustration. The outcome of throwing two dies is two through twelve inclusive. Nothing less than two or greater then twelve. This absolutely determined - within the limits of a determinant set of understandings. Outside of that, not so much. As to which value exactly, I'm thinking that with fair dice and a fair throw, there is no way to know. And there is no need to wrestle with the entire universe when the problem(s) of a pair of dice remain unsolved.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    92
    I think the universe has some elements of determinism. For instance, it appears finite.

    If were infinite, with infinite matter disbursed within it, the chance of any human experience being a Boltzmann Brain would be equal to the probability that it was the experience of a human who was born on Earth.

    Quantum phenomena are not random, they're stochastic. The universe would then be determined by its finite nature, and would have a finite number of outcomes. Under the "many worlds" hypothesis, where in all possible quantum outcomes occur in an ever dividing set of universes, I suppose we sink back into a more deterministic system, since the output of possible new universes is determined by what comes before.

    In a certain sense, all existence is deterministic. There is an infinite potentiality of what could be, and existence is the reduction of all those possibilities to what is. What isn't, is excluded.

    With that in mind, quibbling over the randomness of particles just doesn't seem that big a deal. Potential outcomes of being have already been bottlenecked on an infinite scale into what is.
  • Paul S
    146
    Quantum phenomena are not random, they're stochastic.Count Timothy von Icarus

    That's not certain but some theories do model the phenomena that way, or stochastically.

    Under the "many worlds" hypothesis, where in all possible quantum outcomes occur in an ever dividing set of universes, I suppose we sink back into a more deterministic system, since the output of possible new universes is determined by what comes before.Count Timothy von Icarus

    With that in mind, quibbling over the randomness of particles just doesn't seem that big a deal.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Spoken like a true proponent of the many worlds interpretation?

    Pity it came just two years after Einstein's death, and I wonder what he would have thought of the theory. I think he may have had concerns about it needing some universal wave function that defines each of the many worlds behind the scenes, that has never been observed. He may have seen it as a bit speculative, given that he could never reconcile himself with the Copenhagen interpretation.

    I can't help but feel that (ironically) all the determinism based interpretations avoid indeterminism by simply "making stuff up". It is a cool theory, but one we really would have a hard time ever verifying!
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    The device is flipping it. You can make a deterministic device to flip something, at least deterministic at the macro level, so then it's just a question of the determinism or lack of with the coin, and it's environment. Can you make it land in the same place to the namometer? That would be more of a challenge, regardless of how the flipper is and the smoothness of the surface, the polish of the coin etc? But to just make it land on heads is not too difficult, even more a human, with the right discipline and conditions for the experiment. But it's questionable whether humans are deterministic to do it with the same accuracy as a machine can.Paul S

    I don't see the question of your OP as merely a practical one (but perhaps you do?) A quantum coin can be represented by a qubit, just as a classical coin can be represented by a bit. Just as we can pseudo-randomize a bit via an algorithm, so we can psuedo-randomize a qubit by an appropriate transformation such that if the qubit were measured it would be equally likely to return a 0 or a 1. But the qubit's state is not truly random, as evidenced by the fact that the same transformation can be applied to the qubit a second time, and the original state of the qubit is restored.
  • Paul S
    146
    I don't see the question of your OP as merely a practical oneAndrew M
    I don't really distinguish between practical and theoretical. But what is proven is then in the realm of experimental physics in that case.

    We have not proven whether the universe is fundamentally deterministic or not. But if any of it is indeterministic then it all is, if you get me, because if you have a chain of events in a system that is deterministic but for one part, then the overall outcome is indeterministic. That's what I'm trying to get at.
  • Harry Hindu
    4k
    You're making the assumption that the human brain and nervous system is deterministic.Paul S
    I wasnt talking about the nervous system and brain. I was talking about reasoning.
    Its not an assumption that reasoning is that act of using reasons to support your conclusions.

    I didn't just pull the assertion out of my ass. I had a reason to make that assertion, just like you have reasons to support your assertions. Those reasons determine your assertions.
  • Harry Hindu
    4k
    It's just that its obviously impossible for us to set the conditions for both pendulums to be in the exact state and trace the exact same path. It will never happen.Paul S
    Here you are providing reasons as to why something is impossible or possible. So it seems that what is possible or not is determined by some prior set of circumstances.

    All you have to do is go back and read all your posts and you will see that thinking deterministically is inescapable. You will always provide reasons and prior conditions as the means of supporting your conclusions and subsequent conditions.

    Everytime you make an argument about how things are for everyone, even if they disagree with you, and provide reasons for those arguements you are supporting the idea of determinism.
  • Andrew M
    1.2k
    We have not proven whether the universe is fundamentally deterministic or not. But if any of it is indeterministic then it all is, if you get me, because if you have a chain of events in a system that is deterministic but for one part, then the overall outcome is indeterministic. That's what I'm trying to get at.Paul S

    Agreed, we don't have proof.

    Regarding Einstein's view as described in your OP:

    Above is an example of Born's statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics. Einstein would have argued that no matter which point is selected, even if its not in the largest (most probable) area, there is still some other underlying deterministic reason why this value would emerge beyond just a throw of the dice, whereas Born would say it was part randomly selected. It's the probability amplitude that made Einstein uncomfortable.Paul S

    Einstein viewed nature as ultimately intelligible. To paraphrase Einstein, the Born rule works, "but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the 'old one.'"
  • Paul S
    146
    Everytime you make an argument about how things are for everyone, even if they disagree with you, and provide reasons for those arguements you are supporting the idea of determinism.Harry Hindu

    That's not what determinism at all, is as I understand it.
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