Is randomness part of what naturally occurs?

  • Thread starter ikos9lives
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  • #1
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It isn't supernatural, is it?
 

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  • #2
HallsofIvy
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No, randomness has nothing to do with the supernatural.

(What, exactly, do you mean by "supernatural"?)
 
  • #3
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No, randomness has nothing to do with the supernatural.

(What, exactly, do you mean by "supernatural"?)
I have never come across a clear definition of "natural", let alone "supernatural". Nature is generally associated with physical reality but even the idea of "physical reality" is elusive. How do we determine its limits? Certainly not by observation with our senses. Even everyday phenomena like magnetism take us into the realm of scientific theories. The boundary between the "natural" and "supernatural" is so obscure that "naturalists" have rejected it as fictitious. They regard miracles as events that will eventually be explained scientifically but that amounts to an act of faith in science.

In spite of all our discoveries and inventions reality remains a mystery. We don't know why there should be something rather than nothing. What we do know is that we know something!If anything is supernatural that is - considering that we seem to be the only ones who are aware of the universe.
 
  • #4
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And what is so supernatural in hazard games?
 
  • #5
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The definition of natural that I’ve always come across in a philosophical context is “an event that is subject to causality and universal natural law”

And what noteworthy naturalist has rejected a distinction between natural and supernatural?
“What we do know is that we know something What we do know is that we know something! If anything is supernatural that is
There are plenty of natural explanations for this, you should read some kant or hume.
No, randomness has nothing to do with the supernatural.

(What, exactly, do you mean by "supernatural"?)
I think his use of "randomness" is more ambiguous. Do you mean that an outcome isn’t predictable? That it isn’t governed by any type or rule or law? That it’s unknowable?
 
  • #6
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Supernatural is simply defined as "beyond natural law" so, yes, you could describe random events as supernatural. However, you could also describe events in a parallel universe as supernatural no matter how deterministic they might be since they can still be described as beyond the natural laws of our universe. In such cases it is the context in which the term is used rather than any demonstrable absolute meaning of the word.
 
  • #7
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Humans create models to predict and interpret the universe. These models do not capture all of the relevant information and interrelationships that the universe contains. The blurry lines are what we call 'randomness'.

Also, I personally feel that to fully encompass the universe in any one model is far outside the realm of possibility. It's sort of like a self-referencing problem; a machine that understands the universe would grow larger and larger until it was the universe itself, but to say that it knew anything, it would be referencing some specific part of itself, which ignores the holistic whole and thus is not a self-contained model of the universe.
 
  • #8
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I think his use of "randomness" is more ambiguous. Do you mean that an outcome isn’t predictable? That it isn’t governed by any type or rule or law? That it’s unknowable?
In physics all events have causes. However, some times a very small, even undetectable, effect can cause a great difference in the results. We call these events random. We cannot predict the outcome of any specific action, but can give statistics on the outcome of a number of similar events.

At the Science museum there is, or was, a display in which a large number of ball bearings were dropped on a rod. Some went left; some right. Slightly lower were rods on each side that the ball going that way hit; it then went right or left; etc. etc. Ultimately they fell into bins at the bottom and form a normal distribution; as would be expected for a series of random events.

However the ultimate destination of each ball was determined by the exact point at which it impacted the first rod. An identical ball hitting that exact same point on the rod would end in the same bin. But even a slight variation in the spot, or the ball, would send the ball elsewhere. The slight difference in the point of impact, the effect of slight imperfections in the curvature of the rod, variations in the surface of the balls, etc make it impossible to predict the trajectory of an individual ball. Hence, a "random" event.
 
  • #9
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Like I said, there are many different meaningss of “random”.

You define it as something that isn’t possible for humans to detect or predict is random. Yet at the same time admit things we can’t predict still “have causes”. With this definition and stipulation, your previous claims:

“What we do know is that we know something !If anything is supernatural that is - considering that we seem to be the only ones who are aware of the universe.”
“It [randomness] isn't supernatural, is it?”

Don’t really hold up.
 
  • #10
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It [randomness] isn't supernatural, is it?
Agreed. There has to be a certain sense of order dictated beyond what man has control over. In a way, it's not supernatural, but natural in the sense that God oversees everything.
 
  • #11
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I don’t think they want overtly religious discussion on this forum, I’m not sure though.

But you can’t claim that something is “natural” because God dictates. God by definition isn’t bound by constraints, so you can’t say he provides natural law in the sense the word “natural” means.
 
  • #12
Pythagorean
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It depends on what you mean by random. I you mean that all outcomes are equally likely, then it's not necissarily supernatural. I you mean tha things happen with no natural cause, then you're at least getting close to supernatural.
 
  • #13
loseyourname
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Most historical conceptions of supernaturalism involve events occurring contrary to natural law due to the intervention of some deity or animating spirit or witch or what not. Personal intervention isn't random unless you believe in divine capriciousness, something akin to the goddess Fortuna.
 

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