God does not play dice referred to what exactly?

  1. "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    What was Einstein referring to? As I recall Einstein believed some process was non-random, but the general consensus in physics is that it is indeed random.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    He was expressing his doubts about quantum mechanics.
     
  4. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    yup...he was not very fond of the way quantum theory presented the universe...
     
  5. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Specifically about how quantum mechanics revolves around probability distributions and not finite solutions. An odd quote since Einstein was an atheist.
     
  6. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    What does that have to do with it?

    Edit: I just realized that you were probably referring to his use of the word "God", not his discomfort with inherent randomness. I'd say that his use of the term was purely a figure of speech.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008
  7. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    It's just an expression, Topher. It doesn't necessarily imply anything about his faith/lack thereof.
     
  8. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Hmm.. for an atheist he talked about god quite often: "Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not" is another qoute from him.
     
  9. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Back in his time I think atheists were looked down upon by most cultures and to this day that is still true with some people. I think a lot of people played the god card just to maintain their reputation and image. We all know what happened to Galileo.
     
  10. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    What specific randomness in quantum theory did he not like?
     
  11. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    yup...people have only scarcely changed...they are apparently still people
     
  12. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    I think he preferred something like this Hidden Variables stuff: Although the outcome of quantum mechanical experiments might appear random to us, they would be deterministic if only someone (god ?) would at some time know the state of this hidden variables. But as far as I understand it, there has been an experiment some decades ago that showed that this hidden variables cannot exist
     
  13. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    For example: When you measure an observable on a system represented by a superposition of eigenstates of that observable, the probability of getting a particular eigenvalue is given by the square of the corresponding expansion coefficient for the eigenstate. I think that's the kind of inherent randomness that Einstein was referring to.
     
  14. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Those experiments ruled out local hidden variables, not all hidden variables.
     
  15. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    I think it is much closer to the truth to say that Einstein was a non-observant Jew. It is difficult for a Jew to remain in the culture (and, to be a Zionist) while completely ignoring G-d.

    A Christian generally will not be able to disagree with G-d while yet remaining faithful to the religion. A Jew may well be strengthened in his religion by arguing with, and doubting, G-d.
     
  16. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Thanks for the correction Doc Al. I found in the meantime a paper that might be of interest and confirms what you said: "Research on Hidden Variable Theories: a review of recent progresses" http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0701071
    (Section 6 is about Non-Local Realistic theories, i.e. hidden variable theories that have not been ruled out by experiment)

    Obviously, I was quite wrong with my assumption that there was one single experiment and that it closed the case for good.
     
  17. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,609
    Gold Member

    Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Einstein wasn't Jewish (religion-wise), he was a deist, not a theist.
     
  18. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Einstein was a naturalist. So when he mentioned "God" he was referring to the universe.
     
  19. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    Everything, for example space, on the quantom level has no shape, no plane, it isn't a flat pane that gravity acts as a cushion for like in our space, rather it's everything, at once, and nothing at once. The more you study the velocity of an electron the less you will know about it's where-abouts, like wise.
     
  20. Re: "God does not play dice" referred to what exactly?

    When you roll dice, you get random results. However, it was supposed that in principle, if not in practice, you could roll the dice with the same hand motion over and over again and always get the same result. Quantum mechanics says no, the randomness is not just a matter of slight variations in the rolling procedure but is inherent in the system.

    If you prepare many samples in exactly the same state they will evolve into different states according to the probability that they should do so. Because they were all in the same initial state, you can't predict which ones will change to which final state. Einstein was unhappy with this and that's what he meant by his 'dice' quote. He proposed that there may be hidden variables. That is, the systems were not all in the same initial state, you only thought they were because you didn't detect differences in those hidden variables.
     
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