Can a random number generator predict the future?

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I read some of this recently, and its fascinating in my opinion.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/t327585305rj823t/
Correlations of continuous random data with major world events

Journal; Foundations of Physics Letters

Abstract The interaction of consciousness and physical systems is most often discussed in theoretical terms, usually with reference to the epistemo-logical and ontological challenges of quantum theory. Less well known is a growing literature reporting experiments that examine the mind-matter relationship empirically. Here we describe data from a global network of physical random number generators that shows unexpected structure apparently associated with major world events. Arbitrary samples from the continuous, four-year data archive meet rigorous criteria for randomness, but pre-specified samples corresponding to events of broad regional or global importance show significant departures of distribution parameters from expectation. These deviations also correlate with a quantitative index of daily news intensity. Focused analyses of data recorded on September 11, 2001, show departures from random expectation in several statistics. Contextual analyses indicate that these cannot be attributed to identifiable physical interactions and may be attributable to some unidentified interaction associated with human consciousness.
And this paper looks in more detail at the statistics;

http://noosphere.global-mind.org/papers/jseNelson.pdf
Coherent Consciousness and Reduced Randomness: Correlations on September 11, 2001

Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 549–570, 2002

In this paper we examine the data from September 11, 2001, for evidence of an anomalous interaction driving the REGs to non-random behavior. Two formal analyses
were made, testing hypotheses based on standardized procedures for making
predictions and performing a statistical evaluation. A number of post hoc and
exploratory studies, including work by five independent analysts, provide
additional perspective and examine the context of several days before and after
the major events. The results show that a substantial increase in structure was
correlated with the most intense and widely shared periods of emotional
reactions to the events.
They are not claiming that they predicted the attacks, just that there were plenty of odd statistical anomalies with the output of the RNG's during the attacks once peoples attention was focussed on the events. I'm no statistician, so i cant really confirm their statistics, but the scientists that have looked at the data seem very convinced.

Why did PEAR stop getting funding? I would have thought that thier observations should be at the forefront of science so we can try to explain them away, and ensure that there has not been mistakes in the data collection. Now they've been shut down that seems unlikely to happen.

What are people opinions on PEAR in general? I tend to see very mixed opinions about them online
 
PEAR was shut down, it was considered an embarrassment to the Universtiy, and Dean Radin is considered a crackpot.

http://www.skepdic.com/pear.html
Dean Radin aside, there are many other scientists there that came to similar conclusions.

I was hoping for an opinion on the actual data collected, and why it is wrong, not the views of a skeptic that is already predisposed to the position that any phenomeon that cant currently be exaplined by science is not occuring. What is the actual fatal flaw in their work? Skeptisism is no doubt important, but I was just hoping for a more detailed overview of why this is considered not correct aside from the witty comments and personal opinions of a skeptic.
 
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Another resurrected old thread.

How do they generate random numbers? Using electromagnetic noise? When big things happen a lot more people use two way radios, cell phones and perhaps other emitting appliances, that may change the electromagnetic spectrum.
 
How do they generate random numbers? Using electromagnetic noise? When big things happen a lot more people use two way radios, cell phones and perhaps other emitting appliances, that may change the electromagnetic spectrum.
That is a very good point! :smile:

I wonder if they took that into consideration. I'll have a look through their material to see what the main reasons given for this effect are, there seems to be quite a lot of material to read through.

I still find the ideas quite hard to comprehend, as they do not actually propose a mechanism by which people effect the output, just that they do somehow. and as usual as for most scientific anomalies they try to associate quantum physics with it, which always makes me cautious, as they rarely show how these quantum effects directly relate to the results.
 
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If it is random does that not mean that it has no conncection to any other things going on?
 

Ivan Seeking

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PEAR was shut down, it was considered an embarrassment to the Universtiy, and Dean Radin is considered a crackpot.

http://www.skepdic.com/pear.html
The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. It has now incorporated its present and future operations into the broader venue of the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL), a 501(c)(3) organization chartered in the State of New Jersey. In this new locus and era, PEAR plans to expand its archiving, outreach, education, and entrepreneurial activities into broader technical and cultural context, maintaining its heritage of commitment to intellectual rigor and integrity, pragmatic and beneficial relevance of its techniques and insights, and sophistication of its spiritual implications. As described more fully on the ICRL website, PEAR also will continue to provide the scholarly pedestal from which all other ICRL activities will radiate. [continued]
http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

IIRC, the truth of the matter is that the funding was cut because of a lack of interest; probably because they have never produced definitive results.
 
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Ivan Seeking

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PlasmaSphere, just a note to point out that the JSE may be used as a reference for claims, but not as a scientific journal. It is not listed in the master list linked in the S&D forum guidleines.
 
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How can something random be dependant on something else? If it it did rely on something esle it would not be random?
 
How can something random be dependant on something else? If it it did rely on something esle it would not be random?
I think this is an important point, if a "random" number generater predicts the future then it is not a random generatoer because it is stating that the future exists (it has to, to be predictable) and therefore the now number generator has to conform to the already set future and cannot be random.

If it is a random generator then it is either as you say, completely independant or it proves the future doesn't exist
 
Just been cooking an omlette and had a thought.

Shouldn't we be able to see some correlations between significant historical events and the numbers kicked up by the worlds lottery balls, if random can be predictive?
 

Hurkyl

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I think this is an important point, if a "random" number generater predicts the future then it is not a random generatoer because it is stating that the future exists (it has to, to be predictable) and therefore the now number generator has to conform to the already set future and cannot be random.
Assuming this... I conclude that there is no such thing as a random number generator.

Proof:
Suppose I have some device that produces numbers. I can attach it to my computer and program my computer so that each time the device is activated, my computer will display the number it produces one second later.

Each time the device is activated, it accurately predicts what my computer will display one second into the future. And so by your claim, the device is not a random number generator.
 
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Assuming this... I conclude that there is no such thing as a random number generator.

Proof:
Suppose I have some device that produces numbers. I can attach it to my computer and program my computer so that each time the device is activated, my computer will display the number it produces one second later.

Each time the device is activated, it accurately predicts what my computer will display one second into the future. And so by your claim, the device is not a random number generator.
BOOM! Headshot. Agreed 100% I guess this links into what I was saying about how something random cannot rely on something that isn't.
 

DaveC426913

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... they do not actually propose a mechanism by which people effect the output, just that they do somehow...
This should set off very loud warning claxons in your head.

What they are doing is saying the statistical equivalent of

"We can't find any Earth-bound explanation for UFO sightings, therefore the only conclusion is that they are aliens."
"But is there any evidence that points towards aliens?"
"No. we've simply rigorously examined and dismissed every other option we could think of."

thus:
"We can't find any statistical or procedural flaw in our interpretation of the data, therefore the only conclusion is that it really is linked to human events."
"But is there any evidence that points towards human events?"
"No. we've simply rigorously examined and dismissed every statistical misinterpretation we could think of."


Note BTW, that data is not the same as information.The data DOES NOT SAY there is a human connection. In fact, data means NOTHING until it's interpreted. And interpretations are open to challenge.
 
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Assuming this... I conclude that there is no such thing as a random number generator.

Proof:
Suppose I have some device that produces numbers. I can attach it to my computer and program my computer so that each time the device is activated, my computer will display the number it produces one second later.

Each time the device is activated, it accurately predicts what my computer will display one second into the future. And so by your claim, the device is not a random number generator.
There is no prediction taking place here because your device is "instructing" the computer. I tell my son to tidy his room after tea. Then I tell my wife that my son will tidy his room after tea. After tea my son tidies his room. Did I make a prediction. The only difference is that your device is going to be more relible than my chances of getting my son to tidy his room.

Random number generators exist so long as they "do not" predict the future. Prediction requires a break in causal connection between the statement of what will happen and the action in the future. Otherwise we simply have an electronic version of the self fullfilling prophecy.

Consider this published by Michael Clark in Paradoxes from a to z
The Prediction Paradox
If all events are governed by causal laws, then every event can in principal be predicted. But if that is so, it will be possible to falsify predictions about our own actions by opting not to do something that was predicted. Then they wouldn't be correct predictions after all.

The Prediction Paradox is circular, and so is the situation of a random number generator whose results are linked in some manner to the future. If we can determine what event the random number generator refers to, we can prevent that event from happening and reinstate the random nature of the number generator.
 

DaveC426913

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How can something random be dependant on something else? If it it did rely on something esle it would not be random?
The source of the numbers is ideally producing random numbers - as a starting point. If something is affecting it - something that can affect it when there is no connection that we know of - then we want to know what that new something is, because it would be really interesting.
 

DaveC426913

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I think this is an important point, if a "random" number generater predicts the future then it is not a random generatoer
Waitaminnit!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but:

The whole point here is that
1] we start with a process known to produce random numbers
2] we discover that there is an influence by an unknown means that is affecting theses numbers that we know would otherwise be random.

It is this unknown source that we are interested in.

Sure, the numbers aren't random. Granted. The point is, that it is not the generator that's making them non-random, it's some external mechanism.
 

Hurkyl

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Waitaminnit!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but:

The whole point here is that
1] we start with a process known to produce random numbers
2] we discover that there is an influence by an unknown means that is affecting theses numbers that we know would otherwise be random.

It is this unknown source that we are interested in.

Sure, the numbers aren't random. Granted. The point is, that it is not the generator that's making them non-random, it's some external mechanism.
You seem to have leapt to the conclusion that random numbers, (which in this case are no longer random), just like the turning of a tarot card, are somehow linked to the future. If that is the case then determinism is our banner! But then we would know the future before it happened, and we would be able to change it and then the prediction was false after all.

There is a strong case in favour of the possibility that if we believe that the numbers predict the future, we become resigned to a particular outcome, (what the numbers predicted), and start subconciously acting in a mnnaer conducive to bringing that outcome about. This is certainly a big feature of para-psychology.

If it is proven that the number generators predict the future, then I would be a lively member of any investigation team but, as yet, I'm not convinced that a proof exists.

How do you tell the difference?
Isn't the difference in the traceable causal links between the number generater and the computer. The wires or blue-tooth and the embedded responce programming in the computer. "When you get an input on this port, remember its value, start a timer, when the timer runs down, output the port value to the screen." The cause and effect chain is traceable.
 

Hurkyl

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Isn't the difference in the traceable causal links between the number generater and the computer.
So, you assert that the difference between "prediction" and "instruction" is merely a description of our state of knowledge... rather than being something that describes "reality"? And if you weren't aware that I programmed the computer, you would consider it a prediction?
 
So, you assert that the difference between "prediction" and "instruction" is merely a description of our state of knowledge... rather than being something that describes "reality"? And if you weren't aware that I programmed the computer, you would consider it a prediction?
I am not asserting this at all.

Whether or not someone believes a prediction has taken place does not alter reality accept perhaps subjectively. What I am asserting is that in the case of your example there would be clearly discoverable causal links. If I knew nothing of computers and programming but was a serious investigator, I would eventually know all there was to know about them, and would have discovered how there systems created a causal chain that "mimicked" a prediction. I would then conclude that no prediction took place.
 

Hurkyl

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I am not asserting this at all.

Whether or not someone believes a prediction has taken place does not alter reality accept perhaps subjectively. What I am asserting is that in the case of your example there would be clearly discoverable causal links. If I knew nothing of computers and programming but was a serious investigator, I would eventually know all there was to know about them, and would have discovered how there systems created a causal chain that "mimicked" a prediction. I would then conclude that no prediction took place.
But the point is that your criterion for distinguishing between "prediction" and "instruction" was not based on qualities intrinsic to the events, but instead based on our ability to deconstruct the correlation into things we've called "causal links".


Incidentally, going back to my original question -- how do you tell the difference between a "causal chain" and a chain where an individual link is just a prediction? Because of this, your explanation seems circular.
 

DaveC426913

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You seem to have leapt to the conclusion that random numbers, (which in this case are no longer random), just like the turning of a tarot card, are somehow linked to the future.
Well, I haven't leapt to any conclusion, I'm interpreting what the researchers' logic is.
 
But the point is that your criterion for distinguishing between "prediction" and "instruction" was not based on qualities intrinsic to the events, but instead based on our ability to deconstruct the correlation into things we've called "causal links".


Incidentally, going back to my original question -- how do you tell the difference between a "causal chain" and a chain where an individual link is just a prediction? Because of this, your explanation seems circular.
I think the difference is "intention." The "sooth sayer" does not intend the future, merely wishes to read it. The systems engineer that put the kit together very definately intended an action to take place later and used tried and tested methods to ensure it took place. He set in motion a chain of cause and effect, in order to achieve the future event. (Granted, he could not 100% garantee it, power cuts etc). There is a link beween the action in the future and the mechanism of prediction that is defineable through intension.
 
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if you are talking about a computer generated number it can't predict the future. in essence, nothing can predict the future. a computer generated random number is filtered first through an equation. an equation is limited. therefore, the computer has an "Agenda" already, therefore not making it random. it is of course random to us because we can't compute that fast.

electrons and protons use the path of least resistance, this not being random but the path is random. but how could we ever record that path? there are always factors therefore not making it possible to "predict".
 

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