Re: Chicken Soup for the Soul

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 09:28:20 -0500 (EST)

At 05:34 PM 12/2/97 -0600, wrote:
>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.

There is a connection that I have never been able to fathom and that is the
notion of deterministic chaos and an omniscient God. We cannot make long
term predictions in such systems, which are indeed purely deterministic, and
must rely instead on probabilistic notions to make long range predictions.
Is this a possible connection to our viewing events as random while there
are indeed determined and somehow known to God?