A Case for an Indeterministic Universe Definitions quoted from posts by Moving Finger: Determinism is based on cause and effect (IMHO) . Everything that happens in the universe is the effect of a prior cause. This allows us in principle to determine an earlier or later state of the universe given that the present state is knowable. While I agree that most everything that happens in the universe is cause and effect, determinism ignores a significant part of events that are random, spontaneous and chance occurrences . These chance events are unpredictable, undeterminable and ontically and epistemically unknowable. Chance played a large part in the early formation of the universe if we assume that the Big Bang Theory is correct and chance is a significant part of the universe, the earth, life and our lives today. Since random, spontaneous and chance events are unpredictable and indeterminable then the universe and our lives cannot be deterministic. This basically is my position and following are examples of such events actually occurring and verified by experiment and observation. Why is this important to us? Mainly it allows us real freedom of action and choice. Everything that we do and choose to do is not necessarily determined by a prior cause outside of ourselves. We have freedom of action and free will. We can and do act and choose of our own volition, of our own will and desire. We are free agents of free will. Example: Cosmology Assuming the Big Bang Theory is correct and that it started as a singularity the temperature, energy and mass density had to be homogenous, smooth, everywhere the same. As it expanded and then went thru the inflation phase is was no longer homogenous but rippled with areas of higher and less density. This was shown by COBE and was important to explain how the galaxies and clusters first formed. If it remained homogenous then there was no way that gravity could have caused the formations we see today. As there was no cause for this to happen it must have happened by chance. There is some speculation that as the Universe expanded and inflated space became foamy with bubbles of void, non-space. These bubbles expanded along with the universe and created large variations of density in the cooling universe. This could explain the great areas of empty space or voids seen in a map of the galaxy clusters. While this may have caused the variations that allowed the galaxy clusters to start to form as long ago as 11 billion years. The pattern would have been random chance not deterministic. Example: Quantum Physics I know that it is still controversial but Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle is ontical, it really happens and not epistemical, we can’t know what happens. While the quantum particle waves may be actually real and not just probability waves made real when the wave collapses, it is ontically unknowable where the particle wave is and what path it takes, before and after the fact. There is no cause that directs the motion or path. It is purely chance. There are also virtual particles randomly and spontaneously coming into existence in a vacuum as shown and now proven by the Casimir Effect. http This is made very clear in Richard Feynman’s QED, Quantum Electro-Dynamics and supported abundantly by decades of observations and experiences in the field of electronics where the random behavior of a significant percentage of the electrons involved have to be allowed for and compensated for in device and circuit design. Such things as cathode clouds, space charges, leakage current, inter-element capacitance and tunneling are all examples of the random, uncaused behavior of electrons that refuse to do what every electron is supposed to do and most do. The following link is to a site that has articles on Quantum Physics although it no longer shows the article referred to by Fliption in the archived thread, “Clarification on QM” by Tiberius, General Philosophy-Archives-Clarification on QM- page 5- post #67- 6/27/03 http Example: Life For those of you that do not believe that life is “something more” or created your usual response is that it happened by chance and was statistically inevitable. If it happened by chance then it is indeterminable and so then is the universe. Sexual reproductions is all about chance especially among plants and sea and fresh water life. Even with higher animals it is by chance alone which sperm cell fertilizes which egg if at all. The Theory of Evolution would be virtually impossible without the occurrence of random mutations and genetic drift, random as in uncaused and indeterminable.