From: James W Stark (stark2301@voyager.net)
Date: Sat Sep 23 2000 - 15:06:06 EDT

  • Next message: mortongr@flash.net: "What happens when the oil runs out."

    The terms random, chance, and accident come up frequently in our comments
    trigger complaints or confusion based on unclear meanings. In particular,
    the meaning of randomness can be very misleading. Do all of you that have
    the term, random, have a specific meaning in mind, such as disorder?

    It is my understanding that randomness can imply disorder, order, or a
    of the two. Any presence of order asks for an origin or cause. We can
    emergence or design in an evolutionary process. Do you see any flaws in the
    following "understanding" for randomness? Where do you stand with your
    intended meaning for randomness?

    I like David Layzer's position that the meaning of randomness is defined by
    theoretical content. For example, Ludwig Boltzmann locked the definition of
    randomness for the microworld to an assumed equality for chance events so
    that he could create a statistical property of a collection of molecules
    would mimic entropy, a macroscopic property of gases. Thus, the
    relationship was selected to assure correlation of an abstract spatial
    to entropy. That randomness was believed to be a state of low order. The
    assumption about chance was essentially dictated by the presence of other
    This correlation of randomness to entropy has created an assumed equivalence
    between randomness and disorder. This randomness is perceived as equally
    undecided events. From this theoretical content, pure randomness would
    a state of complete spatial freedom.

    Another example: David Bohm saw randomness as an infinitely high degree of
    It would be a fixed order that is unpredictable. Indeed, order out of chaos
    a hidden order in what is perceived as random.

    Another example: Rudy Rucker tells us that "a sequence of digits is random
    if there is no finite way of describing it." A real number is random "if it
    an irreducibly infinite amount of information." Computer generated "random"
    numbers represent a very high order rather than no order. They are
    pseudo-random rather than pure random because pure randomness would require
    an infinite generator for the series. Pure randomness does not exist in a
    reality. It is only a mental construct. Chaitin says, "A series of numbers
    random if the smallest algorithm capable of specifying it to a computer has
    about the
    same number of bits of information as the series itself". Rueppel says,
    "The idea of randomness clearly reflects the difficulty of predicting the
    digit of a sequences from all previous ones". Thus randomness can imply

    To me, it appears that evolution is a mixture of both order and disorder in
    its use of
    randomness. A coding for a series of events would involve an equal chance
    for each
    event and each participant in a gene pool is assumed to be independent.
    (chance or accident) mutations create the diversity for the initial gene
    Thus the process starts with a disordered state. Then, natural selection
    over to create a sequence of events and establishes a randomness of high
    based on a goal of survival. The sequence is random because it is not
    and not computable. There is no detectable pattern. Thus, this chemical
    randomness would be a mixture of order and disorder.

    When David (bivalve) said "Probably much more important is that natural
    selection makes evolution highly non-random", it appears that he was
    referring to a state of order rather than disorder.

    When we do a random search it can imply no order or a high order.
    Brian Harper says,
    "I think everyone recognizes that a random search alone will
    not do the trick. I think the problem with the quotes is failing
    to recognize the power of selection. I mean, if evolution really
    were a random search then they would be correct. Thus,
    the way to correct the error of those quotes is by emphasizing
    that selection is not random."
    I think he is implying that natural selection adds order.

    Lawrence Johnston" <johnston@uidaho.edu> made a reference to a K-S test
    for randomness. I am not familiar with this test. Can anyone describe it or
    give a reference for it?

    Glenn talks of "a pool of random sequences catalyze a chemical
    Now which kind of randomness is this? Does natural selection create this
    sequence? How can evolution be non-random if randomness can be either
    or a higher order depending on the hidden design? The more complex the
    design the
    more order would be involved.

    Can somebody paint a clearer picture of how chance, randomness, and accident
    fit together in a consistent story that separates order events from disorder
    events for Darwinian evolution?

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Sep 23 2000 - 15:06:48 EDT