Re: Randomness is not the best thing since sliced bread

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Mon Jan 16 2006 - 13:04:54 MST

But even in classical systems there are (rarely occurring) elements of randomness. In any 3 bodies system (pool balls, particles) if there is a 3-way collision, the pool ball's trajectories before the collision cannot be ascertained from analyzing the trajectories after the collision. There are many possible pool ball vectors that could have causes the collision. That's backwards in time. Forwards, there is chaotic phenomena. Not truly random, but it might as well be. There are some classical chaotic systems that our measuring tools will never be able to predict.
  I don't think quantum phenomena are that different from the other two cases I mentioned. It is just that we can't figure out a way even in theory to use tools to measure a quantum system without "breaking" it. Most of the quantum system is tucked away in other universes we can't access. Same as chaos or 3-body collisions in that I think random is being used to mean "I don't know", not "It can't be known". If someone found a clever way to tunnel through universes and synchronize their "planck-tools" for full measurement of a quantum system, we would learn it followed rules just like chaos and 3-body collisions.

Phil Goetz <> wrote:
  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.

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