Re: Randomness is not the best thing since sliced bread

From: Phil Goetz (
Date: Mon Jan 16 2006 - 12:32:20 MST

> Fudley, you've defined in the past that anything either is random
> or is not. But there is no way for you to determine any method of
> classifying something in your scheme, nothing. As far as I can tell,
> everything reduces to randomness, which really seems to mean to you
> "I don't know". Quantum phenomena are not random. They follow a
> different class of rules than do classical systems. People are using
> these rules to construct a class of computers called Quantum
> Computers that aren't the least bit random. True Randomness is
> unpredictability, unintelligibility. Here we can use Anthropic
> reasoning to conclude the entire universe is not truly random.

Everything that can be called an "event" or an "observation" happens
according to some probability distribution. The distribution may range
from a delta function (only one outcome is possible) to a
maximum-entropy uniform distribution (what in layman's terms is
"completely random").

Anything which has a probability distribution with more than one
possible outcome is random, because you can construct a
uniformly-distributed random sequence from a long-enough series of any
such events.

Quantum phenomena use probability distributions, and hence are random.
Classical mechanics provides only one outcome for a problem (unless it
is unsolvable), and so is not random.

- Phil

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