Re: Chicken Soup for the Soul

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Fri, 05 Dec 1997 17:07:06 -0500 (EST)

At 04:25 PM 12/3/97 -0600, George Andrews wrote:
>Moorad Alexanian wrote:
>> I was mainly thinking of systems which are very sensitive to initial
>> conditions. Therefore, the inability to make long-range predictions is true
>> even if one were to know the initial conditions exactly.
>I am sorry if I am missing your point, but I am not able to agree with the
>To know the initial conditions exactly WOULD allow you to make long range
>predictions since there would be no uncertainty that would diverge
>The sensitivity to initial conditions negates long term predictions solely
>there is always some uncertainty dx in the initial condition xo ; i.e. xo
= xo +
>dx. at t = 0, thus the dx term will "grow" exponentially in chaotic systems..

Dear George,

I am referring to classical systems where the initial conditions can be
known exactly, in principle. The sensitivity to initial conditions means
what you are saying, viz., a positive Lyapunov exponent.

>> I use deterministic chaos as an example where to us things appear to be
>> governed by randomness whereas they are really not chance events at all.
>This is true for classical dynamics of few particles but as you agree,
untrue for
>quantum. Yet, even in complex classical systems, genuine randomness - and hence
>indeterminism - may occur due to the shear complexity of interactions, but the
>quantum argument is more robust.
>> I do realize that quantum mechanics does introduce probabilistic concepts as
>> an inherent feature of nature. But can't we understand the origin of
>> Planck's constant as resulting from God's hands partially shaking when
>> creating the universe. [The former is partly on a humorous context but not
>> quite so either.]
>How much of the former is serious? I am not being flippant, for by it you
seam to
>be saying that God HAS created the universe with some inherent randomness
>of the hand = initial condition uncertainty?) which agrees with our present
>understanding of nature and the way I reconcile these notions.

Serious to the extent that what appears to us understandable in
probabilistic terms is known to God in a purely deterministic fashion. This
is a mystery which cannot be humanly fathomed.

>> Quantum theory is not the final theory and so the
>> underlying laws of Nature must somehow be consistent with the omniscience of
>> God.
>While quantum theory MAY not be the finial theory, it is practically so -
>one's definition of scientific knowledge is limited to what can be measured.

Even Dirac indicated that quantum mechanics was not final--his gut feeling,
I suppose.

>I do not view chance as being inconsistent with God's omniscience since even if
>there is an infinite dimension to nature's fluctuations and hence
>God's knowledge and control are not threatened since even our mathematics
>different levels of infinity! Furthermore, God's sovereignty in not
impinged upon
>since to role a 7 on a six sided die numbered 1 - 6 is impossible; this is
one way
>of interpreting what the verse "...God determines the outcome" means.

I think there may be chance at our level, but certainly not at God's level.
Surely God is not burdened by the throw of dice.

Take care,