Re: Do prime numbers have free will?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2006 00:34:24 +1000

Tom Caylor writes:

>1) The reductionist definition that something is determined by the
>sum of atomic parts and rules.

So how about this: EITHER something is determined by the sum of atomic parts
and rules OR it is truly random.

There are two mechanisms which make events seem random in ordinary life. One
is the difficulty of actually making the required measurements, finding the
appropriate rules and then doing the calculations. Classical chaos may make
this practically impossible, but we still understand that the event (such as
a coin toss) is fundamentally deterministic, and the randomness is only

The other mechanism is quantum randomness, for example in the case of
radioctive decay. In a single world interpretation of QM this is, as far as
I am aware, true randomness. In a no-collapse/ many worlds interpretation
there is no true randomness because all outcomes occur deterministically
according to the SWE. However, there is apparent randomness due to what
Bruno calls the first person indeterminacy: the observer does not know which
world he will end up in from a first person viewpoint, even though he knows
that from a third person viewpoint he will end up in all of them.

I find the randomness resulting from first person indeterminacy in the MWI
difficult to get my mind around. In the case of the chaotic coin toss one
can imagine God being able to do the calculations and predict the outcome,
but even God would not be able to tell me which world I will find myself in
when a quantum event induces splitting. And yet, I am stuck thinking of
quantum events in the MWI as fundamentally non-random.

Stathis Papaioannou

New year, new job – there's more than 100,00 jobs at SEEK

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Thu Apr 06 2006 - 10:36:10 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:11 PST