**Previous message:**Guy Blanchet: "Re: Rationale for scientific methodology"**Next in thread:**mortongr@flash.net: "Randomness-chance-accidents"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

The terms random, chance, and accident come up frequently in our comments

and

trigger complaints or confusion based on unclear meanings. In particular,

the meaning of randomness can be very misleading. Do all of you that have

used

the term, random, have a specific meaning in mind, such as disorder?

It is my understanding that randomness can imply disorder, order, or a

mixture

of the two. Any presence of order asks for an origin or cause. We can

assume

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

its

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

that

would mimic entropy, a macroscopic property of gases. Thus, the

mathematical

relationship was selected to assure correlation of an abstract spatial

randomness

to entropy. That randomness was believed to be a state of low order. The

equality

assumption about chance was essentially dictated by the presence of other

assumptions.

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

represent

a state of complete spatial freedom.

Another example: David Bohm saw randomness as an infinitely high degree of

order.

It would be a fixed order that is unpredictable. Indeed, order out of chaos

suggests

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

has

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

physical

reality. It is only a mental construct. Chaitin says, "A series of numbers

is

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

next

digit of a sequences from all previous ones". Thus randomness can imply

order.

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.

Random

(chance or accident) mutations create the diversity for the initial gene

pool.

Thus the process starts with a disordered state. Then, natural selection

takes

over to create a sequence of events and establishes a randomness of high

order

based on a goal of survival. The sequence is random because it is not

predictable

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

transformation".

Now which kind of randomness is this? Does natural selection create this

sequence? How can evolution be non-random if randomness can be either

disorder

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?

**Next message:**mortongr@flash.net: "What happens when the oil runs out."**Previous message:**Guy Blanchet: "Re: Rationale for scientific methodology"**Next in thread:**mortongr@flash.net: "Randomness-chance-accidents"**Messages sorted by:**[ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

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