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Every week you buy a lottery ticket and choose the same numbers

  1. Jun 3, 2008 #1
    Every week you buy a lottery ticket and choose the same numbers. But one week you forget to do so, and your numbers come up.

    Would you be disappointed?

    (Assume that the number-picking machine is not influenced by whether or not you buy a ticket).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2008 #2


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    Who wouldn't be disappointed in that scenario? What's your point?
  4. Jun 3, 2008 #3
    Others I have asked would share your disappointment. But I wonder whether disappointment is warranted.

    Let’s consider a slightly different scenario. I was planning to place a bet that Manchester United would beat Chelsea. I forget to place the bet. And that result comes to pass. Should I be disappointed?

    Alternatively, suppose I’m watching a TV broadcast of a scientist performing a double-split experiment. The particle selects the left slit.
    Suppose I could have bet on that outcome and forgot to do so, should I be disappointed? In both cases, I’m not sure.

    Because if we say that the particle was destined to pass through the left slit, and if we say that Manchester United were destined to beat Chelsea, aren’t we obliged to say that the universe is determinate?
  5. Jun 3, 2008 #4
    If you had placed the bet, you would have made money. You forgot to place the bet, so you therefore missed out on making money. What's not warranted about being disappointed in a situation such as that?
  6. Jun 4, 2008 #5
    If there is quantum indeterminacy, presumably that causes macro indeterminacy.
    Therefore, just because events turned out one way, doesn't mean they were destined to do so?

    If you say that there was only ever going to be one outcome to a game just completed, then so far as I’m concerned you must say that there is only one possible result to a game forthcoming. And that would be contrary to quantum indeterminacy.
  7. Jun 4, 2008 #6


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    Not necessarily, or else, why is the classical world so different than the quantum world?

    Be very careful when you try to extrapolate rules in one regime into another. Such exercises often resulted in the bastardization of the principles of physics into realms where they weren't meant to be used.

    Please also review our https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5374" that you have agreed to. Pay particular attention to speculative, unverified personal theories. Making unsupported assumptions such as this would fall under such category.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  8. Jun 4, 2008 #7
    Sorry, my last posting was carelessly worded. I’ll try again.

    If there is quantum randomness, then isn’t it fair to say that at the very least it can cause macro randomness?
    For example, a scientist could select lottery numbers on the basis of results from a two-slit experiment.

    There are two questions I’m interested in. Perhaps they are unresolved but I’ll state them anyway:
    a) Is there quantum randomness?
    b) If there is quantum randomness, how readily does it translate into macro randomness?

    If there is quantum randomness, and if it translates readily into macro randomness, then surely one should not be disappointed about failing to pick the winning lottery numbers?
    Because if we say that a particular set of numbers would have come up irrespective of whether or not you bought a ticket, then we are saying that at the time you bought the ticket, only that outcome could have occurred.

    Although, if the answers to a) and b) are unknown, we are in the strange situation of not knowing whether or not to be disappointed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2008
  9. Jun 4, 2008 #8
    Every week I play the same number and every week I win $1 million. So one week I decided to break the monotony and played a different number. But that week my regular number didn't come up and I won another $1 million. Boy was I disappointed.
  10. Jun 4, 2008 #9


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    No, you can't say that. This is because the classical world doesn't exhibit such quantum randomness! Show a valid example to support your argument before you apply it!

    Your starting point here is already wrong. And I also highly suspect you have no idea what "quantum randomness" here really means.

  11. Jun 4, 2008 #10
    a) Yes...sort of. Wave functions evolve in a predictable fashion, but there is a certain indeterminacy to quantum mechanics.

    b) No, quantum indeterminacy does not translate into macroscopic randomness. Quantum effects cause macroscopic phenomena that can't be explained classically. Three examples are double slit interference of electrons, blackbody radiation spectra, and discrete atomic line spectra. But very rarely do we see quantum indeterminacy at a macroscopic level. When we do, it's usually a big deal. One example is graphine, a thin layer of graphite that is about a micrometer in length and width, but with a thinkness of only a couple atomic layers. Physicists (including my quantum professor who told us about his research) can solve the relativistic Dirac equation to obtain the behavior of quantum particles in two dimensions, and then observe that quantum behavior at the macroscopic scale. Apparently this quantum environment has resulted in several recent publications.

    But anyway, that's not the sort of thing you see in the daily world of quantum mechanics.
  12. Jun 4, 2008 #11


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    Thread doesn't meet guielines.

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