Chicken Soup for the Soul
Tue, 2 Dec 1997 17:34:24 -0600 (CST)

Arthur Chadwick wrote:

What kind of a Designer would create in a confused, random pattern? If God
did so, we probably would not refer to Him as a designer.

Dear Art:

I want to respond at length to many of your comments in the last few days,
but to do so will require more time than I have this evening. I do intend
to give them full consideration in the next days. For now, please consider
my response to just the two sentences above.

To my way of thinking, the decision as to whether something is random or
patterned is purely subjective. It is a decision based upon statistics.
God cannot logically be increased or decreased by virtue of any person's
categorization of a thing or an event as random or patterned. My faith in
God does not increase or decrease based upon whether or not I can figure out
the pattern of an event (say, a comet's path). That's the first thought.

The second thought has to do with whether or not a designer would design
randomly. Of course she would. In fact, I can quickly think of two
examples of random designing, both of which carry great power and one of
which costs lots of money to create.

The people who run the casinos in Las Vegas pay top dollar, major bucks, for
computer programmers who can design random pay-off systems for slot
machines. If any gambler can figure out the pattern by observing for long
periods of time, then the gambler will learn how to "beat the system" and
the casino will lose money. Programmers work hard to build as much
randomness into the payoff system as possible. The result? Tremendous
power - it's called addiction to gambling, exactly what the casino operators
want. Art - in this system - RANDOMNESS IS THE DESIGN.

My second example has to do with the psychology business. My husband and I
are both psychologists. The most powerful behavior modification programs
utilize what's called "intermittent reinforcement schedules." If people are
reinforced for good behavior within a patterned schedule ($1.00 for every
good deed, say), the good behavior soon begins to diminish. Folks simply do
not respond for long periods of time to expected rewards. However, if
people are reinforced sometimes, but not always, and if they can never
figure out when they'll get a reward and when they won't, the good behavior
continues for very long periods of time. Art - in this system - RANDOMNESS

So, yes, I would definitely say that someone who uses randomness is indeed a
designer. In fact, a darn good one.