87 thoughts on “Chance

  1. Allan Miller:

    ” It is however not crucial since quantum uncertainty will IMO cause a different result regardless.”

    Do not hide behind quamtum uncertainity. Is this uncertainity determined by unknow variables or it is fully ramdom?
    In other words when you say quamtum uncertainity are using the word as unpredictable because our lack of knowledge or umpredictable because is caused by “chance”?

  2. Blas: The only think I would expect from you is to admit that are wrong when Gould or any other darwinist says humans could not be here.

    Christ. Then he should have said

    “If you were to rewind the tape of life and play it again, so that nothing changed at all down all levels of reality, then everythong would obviously be the same when we get to now. If, however, you rewind the tape of life and kill a butterfly, then hit play, things now are probably going to be different when we get to ‘now’ again”.

    Happy now?

  3. Lizzie:
    Well, chance still wouldn’t be a “cause” Blas, in the scientific science; it would just mean that there would always be error terms in our models.

    Just what I said science do not rule out the possibility of chance. And if you say chance do not exists it is only “error terms in our models” you believe in deterministic universe where chance do not exists. If chance do not exists everything is unavoidable unless you add something that can avoid the physical laws.

  4. Blas: In other words when you say quamtum uncertainity are using the word as unpredictable because our lack of knowledge or umpredictable because is caused by “chance”?

    What’s the difference?

  5. Blas: If chance do not exists everything is unavoidable unless you add something that can avoid the physical laws.

    What, you mean like an immaterial soul transmitting thoughts from a mystical dimension to our physical brains so that causality can be subverted, that sort of thing?

  6. Blas,

    Ok Allan enjoy it. I have no problem if you think that our future is already settled by the physical laws. The only think I would expect from you is to admit that are wrong when Gould or any other darwinist says humans could not be here.

    I find you bloody hard to follow, Blas. And you clearly don’t understand a word I write.

  7. Blas: Just what I said science do not rule out the possibility of chance. And if you say chance do not exists it is only “error terms in our models” you believe in deterministic universe where chance do not exists. If chance do not exists everything is unavoidable unless you add something that can avoid the physical laws.

    I’m not making much sense of this, Blas, I’m sorry. I think the language barrier is proving difficult to get over!

  8. Blas: Well we have got something here.
    1) We do not know if the universe is determined.
    2) We can change the future.

    Given the 1) How do you think we can avoid a determined future? How can a product of a stochastic process “avoid” the “inevitable”?

    By seeing danger coming and taking steps to get out of the way.

  9. Blas: In other words when you say quamtum uncertainity are using the word as unpredictable because our lack of knowledge or umpredictable because is caused by “chance”?

    The best we can tell, the quantum uncertainty is very different from what we encounter with classical objects, e.g., a flipped coin or a thrown dice. With classical objects, small uncertainties in the initial conditions grow exponentially with time, making the outcome unpredictable. (See chaos theory.)

    In quantum mechanics, the situation is altogether different. Even when the state of a system is known with full certainty, the outcome of a measurement can be purely stochastic. Not because there is any initial uncertainty, but for much deeper reasons: in quantum mechanics some things are not knowable in principle.

    There is a nice essay by Cornell physicist David Mermin entitled Is the moon there when nobody looks? He patiently explains the counterintuitive nature of quantum measurements in a language accessible to non-physicists. I highly recommend reading it.

  10. Blas,

    Do not hide behind quamtum uncertainity. Is this uncertainity determined by unknow variables or it is fully ramdom?

    I’m not hiding behind anything, chum. What is, is. I do not know what the ultimate status of causality is in quantum physics, any more than you know what it is in your ‘free will’.

    Nonetheless, if hidden variables have been experimentally disconfirmed, as I understand tis the case, then it appears that certain quantum events can have the status ‘uncaused’, provided they do not overstay their welcome beyond Planck times.

  11. Lizzie: By seeing danger coming and taking steps to get out of the way.

    But all that chain of physical reactions are already determined.

  12. olegt: The best we can tell, the quantum uncertainty is very different from what we encounter with classical objects, e.g., a flipped coin or a thrown dice. With classical objects, small uncertainties in the initial conditions grow exponentially with time, making the outcome unpredictable. (See chaos theory.)

    In quantum mechanics, the situation is altogether different. Even when the state of a system is known with full certainty, the outcome of a measurement can be purely stochastic. Not because there is any initial uncertainty, but for much deeper reasons: in quantum mechanics some things are not knowable in principle.

    There is a nice essay by Cornell physicist David Mermin entitled Is the moon there when nobody looks? He patiently explains the counterintuitive nature of quantum measurements in a language accessible to non-physicists. I highly recommend reading it.

    I do not need to read science you need to read philosophy.
    There are only three options QM is determined and we do not know how, QM is totally alleatory and then due to chance or there something that provoque variability because can interfer physical laws.
    Make your choice.

  13. Blas: I do not need to read science you need to read philosophy.

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Mermin’s piece is a great philosophical essay written by someone who is well versed in the technical aspects of quantum physics and has a penchant for great expository writing. Your loss, Blas.

  14. Lizzie: But the person taking steps to avoid danger doesn’t know that.

    Well if he is a trully determinisc he knows. Form him all the other are illuded that they are avoiding the inevitable.
    Now, if you sticks to your word know that. And will not change nothing more that know.

  15. olegt: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Mermin’s piece is a great philosophical essay written by someone who is well versed in the technical aspects of quantum physics and has a penchant for great expository writing. Your loss, Blas.

    I loss nothing olegt. Be happy in your “quasi deterministic world”

  16. Blas:

    OMagain: What’s the difference?

    Another darwinist claiming chance as a cause.

    Stop that, Blas! That’s not what OMagain said. OMagain asked a question! Xe did not make a statement “claiming chance as a cause”. You just made that up out of thin air, and you’ve got to stop doing that.

  17. olegt: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Mermin’s piece is a great philosophical essay written by someone who is well versed in the technical aspects of quantum physics and has a penchant for great expository writing. Your loss, Blas.

    Blas, WJM, phoodoo, coldcoffee…same story with every ID-Creationist. None of them has to read the scientific literature because they already know all that they need to know. Don’t ask them how, they just know. Anything else would merely be doubt producing and they can’t have that.

  18. Blas: Well if he is a trully determinisc he knows. Form him all the other are illuded that they are avoiding the inevitable.

    No, he can’t know. There is no way that you can know that a universe you are in is “deterministic” from within it – however, even if you did, it wouldn’t help. Let’s say a man somehow knows that the world is deterministic. And he sees a grizzly bear coming towards him looking hungry. Does he run away or not? After all, he doesn’t know what is “determined”. Do you honestly think he would do nothing to avoid becoming the bear’s lunch?

  19. Blas,

    Be happy in your “quasi deterministic world”

    Our worlds are exactly the same. We behave in precisely the same manner within them, however they are ‘really’ unfolding. You think the determinist is just going to stay in bed all day, mumbling “what’s the point?”?

  20. Chance is not a cause. Chance is our lack of ability to predict what will happen next. The more we know, the more we can predict. If some things are a causal, then they can never be predicted. This doesn’t mean that acausal events are “chance” events. It means they are events we can’t predict.

    The difference may be subtle but it is extremely important in scientific methodology, and getting it wrong leads to the kind of error that Barry made in his 500 coin example – or at least, the erroneous inference that Sal made from it.

  21. olegt: You don’t know that, Blas. You haven’t seen the essay.

    I found a pdf and it looks fascinating – thanks for referring us to it.

  22. Blas, consider the Lenski experiment. Would it make any difference to the outcome if the mutations were the product of a sequential change algorithm?

    Before you answer, consider that Lenski says that every possible mutation could have been tried in the available time.

  23. OMagain asked a question!Xe did not make a statement “claiming chance as a cause”.You just made that up out of thin air, and you’ve got to stop doing that.

    Yes, exactly so. Blas, explain the difference!

  24. Lizzie: No, he can’t know.There is no way that you can know that a universe you are in is “deterministic” from within it – however, even if you did, it wouldn’t help.Let’s say a man somehow knows that the world is deterministic.And he sees a grizzly bear coming towards him looking hungry.Does he run away or not?After all, he doesn’t know what is “determined”.Do you honestly think he would do nothing to avoid becoming the bear’s lunch?

    I said:” And will not change nothing more that know.”
    I shoul said “And will not change nothing more that knowledge” sorry.
    So yes he will act in the same way.

    But my question was assumed, as you said that when we see indetermination is due too our model errors, the world is determinstic how we can change the future. Because it is already settles that I will run not enough to avoid be the bear lunch.

  25. But if you don’t know that, then it makes no difference to your decision. You still have to make it. And if you see a starving child, you still have to decide whether to feed it.

    Determinism makes no difference on our ability, or obligation, to make decisions. In fact, it makes no difference to anything.

  26. Lizzie:
    But if you don’t know that, then it makes no difference to your decision.You still have to make it.And if you see a starving child, you still have to decide whether to feed it.

    Determinism makes no difference on our ability, or obligation, to make decisions.In fact, it makes no difference to anything.

    Well it does for at least a couple of things. We are here not by chance, making Gould and many darwinist wrong 🙂 and we are not responsible for our choises, we are not choosing at all.

  27. petrushka:
    Blas, consider the Lenski experiment. Would it make any difference to the outcome if the mutations were the product of a sequential change algorithm?

    Before you answer, consider that Lenski says that every possible mutation could have been tried in the available time.

    And Lenski said why exactly that mutation happened? What caused exactly that mutations? If he start the experiment in the same conditions what do you expect to happen? And if it happens the opposite at your expectations what will be yiur reaction?

  28. Blas: Well it does for at least a couple of things. We are here not by chance, making Gould and many darwinist wrong :)

    Well, without knowing exactly what anyone, or Gould, means by “by chance” it’s impossible to say. It’s certainly not a scientific statement, because it’s far too imprecise. If Gould meant “the world is not deterministic” then he is probably right. If he meant “the world is not designed” he is probably right too. If he meant “chance caused life” than that statement is scientifically meaningless. If he meant “we could have easily not evolved at all”, then again, he is probably right.

    and we are not responsible for our choises, we are not choosing at all.

    I think it is again meaningless to say we aren’t. We parse the world up into objects and agents. I am one of the agents, whether I’m the product of determinism or not. In other words, I’m a decision-maker – I weigh up options, and execute one of them, according to the information I seek, and what I want to achieve. It makes no sense to say that “I” didn’t decide, but that Big Bang or something did. After all I might decide something different from you! Does that mean that “Big Bang” decided opposing two things? No, of course not. Big Bang wasn’t a decision maker – the natural edge between the decision maker I call “Lizzie” and the rest of the world is my skin.

    Animals are deciding-machines, and human animals are very good deciding machines. It’s as silly to say they don’t decide as it would be to say a mountain isn’t a mountain, just because it’s contiguous with the rest of the earth.

  29. Blas: And Lenski said why exactly that mutation happened? What caused exactly that mutations? If he start the experiment in the same conditions what do you expect to happen?

    Lensky actually did exactly that: went back in time and repeated the experiments. Why don’t you find out what happened from his own account? Here is Lenski’s website.

  30. Lizzie: Well, without knowing exactly what anyone, or Gould, means by “by chance” it’s impossible to say.It’s certainly not a scientific statement, because it’s far too imprecise.If Gould meant “the world is not deterministic” then he is probably right.

    Lizzie you go from the world is probably deterministic to the world is probably not deterministic. You have not right to be angry with WJM when he says that you are bad phylosopher. Everything should be said but not Gould was wrong.
    If the world is not deterministic what make it do not follow the physical laws in order to reach different results from the same initial conditions?

    Lizzie:

    I think it is again meaningless to say we aren’t.We parse the world up into objects and agents.I am one of the agents, whether I’m the product of determinism or not.In other words, I’m a decision-maker – I weigh up options, and execute one of them, according to the information I seek, and what I want to achieve.It makes no sense to say that “I” didn’t decide, but that Big Bang or something did.After all I might decide something different from you!Does that mean that “Big Bang” decided opposing two things?No, of course not.Big Bang wasn’t a decision maker – the natural edge between the decision maker I call “Lizzie” and the rest of the world is my skin.

    Animals are deciding-machines, and human animals are very good deciding machines.It’s as silly to say they don’t decide as it would be to say a mountain isn’t a mountain, just because it’s contiguous with the rest of the earth.

    Then what do you think that make us and the animals non deterministics? What make us avoid the physicals laws? Before life the universe was fully deterministic?

  31. olegt: Lensky actually did exactly that: went back in time and repeated the experiments. Why don’t you find out what happened from his own account? Here is Lenski’s website.

    I have no time to dig where is the experiment if you give me a more precise cite I will try to read it. By the way here another darwinist invoking chance:

    Chance and necessity in the evolution of a bacterial pathogen

    Richard E. Lenski

    Nature Genetics
    43,
    1174–1176
    (2011)
    doi:10.1038/ng.1011

    Published online
    28 November 2011

    You see Lizzie, BA was right.

  32. Blas: By the way here another darwinist invoking chance:

    Chance and necessity in the evolution of a bacterial pathogen

    Richard E. Lenski
    Nature Genetics 43,1174–1176 (2011) doi:10.1038/ng.1011
    Published online 28 November 2011

    You see Lizzie, BA was right.

    Nope, BA’s still wrong. And BA is still wrong regardless of what Lenski said or didn’t say. Why are you defending that odious lawyer, anyways? What’s he to you?

    Here’s the link to the article, but it’s not open-source: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v43/n12/full/ng.1011.html#access

    The combination of genomic, epidemiological and evolutionary analyses provides a powerful toolbox for understanding how pathogens adapt to their human hosts. By sequencing 112 Burkholderia dolosa genomes from an outbreak among patients with cystic fibrosis, a new study documents evolution in action and identifies a set of genes that contributed to the pathogen’s adaptation.

    Doesn’t sound to me like the opening of a paper where Lenski is going to say that chance is a “cause” or that evolution happened “because of chance”. Clearly, he is going to say that the pathogen adapted because of reasons (genomic, epidemiological etc).

    Did you pay for full access? Did you read it? Then quote a passage – any passage – where Lenski writes anything that makes you feel like he’s supporging BA’s incoherent view.

    But don’t be foolish enough to just read the title and assume you know what it means

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