Lack of randomness means predestination

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hasanbaig8
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While doing some RS revision, I had this thought.

Considering that everything is the effect of forces and nothing is truly random, including random numbers (google pseudo random numbers). Surely this is evidence that predestination exists as only one result can occur from the combination of causes e.g. thoughts are the result of neural connections which are the result of certain forces/ reactions; the path of a moving object depends on a combination of forces.

Idk I might be wrong but this just came to me.

(I am not religious personally btw)

(When I say forces, I mean like in physics not like in astrology.)
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MoonLordGorblack
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(Original post by hasanbaig8)
While doing some RS revision, I had this thought.

Considering that everything is the effect of forces and nothing is truly random, including random numbers (google pseudo random numbers). Surely this is evidence that predestination exists as only one result can occur from the combination of causes e.g. thoughts are the result of neural connections which are the result of certain forces/ reactions; the path of a moving object depends on a combination of forces.

Idk I might be wrong but this just came to me.

(I am not religious personally btw)

(When I say forces, I mean like in physics not like in astrology.)
In order for something to be random, it must occur without conscious thought. Therefore, for something to be predestined, there must be something to consciously be aware of all causes and all effects. God or other deities are necessary to believe that everything is preordained.
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Axiomasher
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If the physicists are to be believed there is an element of 'embedded' uncertainly in the fabric of physical processes. It follows that although we might generally understand the universe as being filled with cause and effect mechanistic events (and from which even our thinking cannot escape) this uncertainty prevents there being predetermination.
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AngeloR
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Two things:

(1) I'm not an expert in physics, but work in quantum mechanics seem to produce results that go against a purely deterministic view. Probabilistic reasoning seems to reign, at least in very small scales.

(2) In the opposite view, consider compatibilism. This is the thesis that (A) there is determinism and (B) we still have free will (and thus moral responsibility). Actions causally relate to our will. This means we must still take responsibility for our will. Contemporary compatibilists mainly focus on instances where we are unencumbered (unrestrained) to do what we wish.
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Duncan2012
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Doesn't 'entropy' refute the argument?
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hasanbaig8
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(Original post by Axiomasher)
If the physicists are to be believed there is an element of 'embedded' uncertainly in the fabric of physical processes. It follows that although we might generally understand the universe as being filled with cause and effect mechanistic events (and from which even our thinking cannot escape) this uncertainty prevents there being predetermination.
That is rather interesting. It is quite difficult to imagine that something is even partially probabilistic for me personally though perhaps this uncertainty is due to our lack of knowledge and there is a scientific explanation for it.
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Axiomasher
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(Original post by hasanbaig8)
That is rather interesting. It is quite difficult to imagine that something is even partially probabilistic for me personally though perhaps this uncertainty is due to our lack of knowledge and there is a scientific explanation for it.
According to modern physics this uncertainty is not a matter of inaccuracy in observation or of the quality of observation techniques but it is in the nature of the physical world itself. You might want to check out things like 'virtual particles' if you're exploring this area.
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Rawkuss
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(Original post by MoonLordGorblack)
In order for something to be random, it must occur without conscious thought. Therefore, for something to be predestined, there must be something to consciously be aware of all causes and all effects. God or other deities are necessary to believe that everything is preordained.
I take it you that by 'conscious thought' you mean intention? Regardless, that is nonsense. I can spin a roulette wheel and the outcome will be random despite my spinning the wheel. The definition of randomness or chaos has nothing to do with conscious thought. Also, determinism could exist without a creator; however, if you take a deterministic standpoint then, arguably, free will is unlikely to exist.
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AngeloR
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(Original post by Rawkuss)
I take it you that by 'conscious thought' you mean intention? Regardless, that is nonsense. I can spin a roulette wheel and the outcome will be random despite my spinning the wheel. The definition of randomness or chaos has nothing to do with conscious thought. Also, determinism could exist without a creator; however, if you take a deterministic standpoint then, arguably, free will is unlikely to exist.
Determinism does not necessarily entail a lack of free will. There are ways to reconcile the two. Consider free will as being unencumbered agency. Even if we accept determinism, there seems room to argue that free will exists because we could have done otherwise, given a number of differing counterfactual conditions. This is an example of a compatibilist argument. One can, of course, reject it.
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qualewhale
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I'm not quite sure it does (it depends on what we mean by 'randomness' and by 'predestination'.

There are actually (it seems to me) two separate issues here: whether a lack of randomness implies determinism, and whether determinism implies predestination.

Suppose we imagine the world as consisting of an infinite number of states of affairs (call it a tuple H; H = (s1, s2, ...); Hx denotes the tuple of states that x precedes, e.g. Hs2 = (s3, s4, ...)) (Hx the tuple that precede x, e.g. Hs3 = (s1, s2)), following one another (call the relation between a relatively early state and a relatively later one precedence, and write it '<'. What determinism says is this: given any one of the states of a world history (for any x in H), we can in principle know the order of the following states; that is to say that for any x in H, Hx is derivable from x. What this amounts to saying is that given the initial state of the world, the order of subsequent states of affairs is necessarily the way that it is. It cannot be otherwise. Viz., there is some relation (call it P) between x and Hx that characterises x's being derivable from them.

Randomness is quite ambiguous. If by x's being random merely that it is in practice impossible to predict x with certainty given all that precedes it, then it is compatible with determinism — the relation P between x and its predecessors that makes it derivable could still be there. If, however, we mean that it is in principle impossible, then what we are saying is that P — the crux of determinism — does not hold. This is obviously incompatible.

Let's say that predestination is the thesis that an individual's status in the hereafter (call this and the corresponding state O; for an individual i Oi) is determined from the get-go: given the first element of H, we can in principle derive O. This turns on whether the hereafter is part of the (temporal) world or not. If it is, then HO P O; if it isn't, then O is not an element of H. Whether the hereafter is part of the termporal world has two elements:
  1. whether the hereafter is temporal (if it isn't, predestination in the above sense is a category error);
  2. if it is temporal, whether the hereafter is part of the world described by H (also category error)

Many who deny this strong sense of predestination (e.g. those who believe in an atemporal hereafter, e.g. Roman Catholics) may subscribe to predestination in a metaphysically weaker sense: they could e.g. say that O turns on one's behaviours in the world (e.g. confession of faith, beliefs, &c.), in which determinism holds: s1 determines one's behaviour, and one's behaviour corresponds to Oi. This is quite plausible.
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AngeloR
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(Original post by qualewhale)
I'm not quite sure it does (it depends on what we mean by 'randomness' and by 'predestination'.

There are actually (it seems to me) two separate issues here: whether a lack of randomness implies determinism, and whether determinism implies predestination.

Suppose we imagine the world as consisting of an infinite number of states of affairs (call it a tuple H; H = (s1, s2, ...); Hx denotes the tuple of states that x precedes, e.g. Hs2 = (s3, s4, ...)) (Hx the tuple that precede x, e.g. Hs3 = (s1, s2)), following one another (call the relation between a relatively early state and a relatively later one precedence, and write it '<'. What determinism says is this: given any one of the states of a world history (for any x in H), we can in principle know the order of the following states; that is to say that for any x in H, Hx is derivable from x. What this amounts to saying is that given the initial state of the world, the order of subsequent states of affairs is necessarily the way that it is. It cannot be otherwise. Viz., there is some relation (call it P) between x and Hx that characterises x's being derivable from them.

Randomness is quite ambiguous. If by x's being random merely that it is in practice impossible to predict x with certainty given all that precedes it, then it is compatible with determinism — the relation P between x and its predecessors that makes it derivable could still be there. If, however, we mean that it is in principle impossible, then what we are saying is that P — the crux of determinism — does not hold. This is obviously incompatible.

Let's say that predestination is the thesis that an individual's status in the hereafter (call this and the corresponding state O; for an individual i Oi) is determined from the get-go: given the first element of H, we can in principle derive O. This turns on whether the hereafter is part of the (temporal) world or not. If it is, then HO P O; if it isn't, then O is not an element of H. Whether the hereafter is part of the termporal world has two elements:
  1. whether the hereafter is temporal (if it isn't, predestination in the above sense is a category error);
  2. if it is temporal, whether the hereafter is part of the world described by H (also category error)

Many who deny this strong sense of predestination (e.g. those who believe in an atemporal hereafter, e.g. Roman Catholics) may subscribe to predestination in a metaphysically weaker sense: they could e.g. say that O turns on one's behaviours in the world (e.g. confession of faith, beliefs, &c.), in which determinism holds: s1 determines one's behaviour, and one's behaviour corresponds to Oi. This is quite plausible.
Thank you for your thoughtful and well-reasoned response. You point out a weak version of predestination that follows from determinism. I think that those who subscribe to a weaker sense of predestination must, however, distinguish between factors that come internal to oneself from those that come external. You say that it seems plausible that determinism corresponds to a weak form of predestination. Because most religions rely on a notion of responsibility and accountability, they would need be able to subscribe to the weak predestination you describe without also adopting a compatibilist position. I wonder what you think of such a position. But most, I think, would argue that one chooses to believe in a libertarian sense. So I'm not sure about your claim that "many" who believe in an atemporal hereafter would subscribe to this weaker predestination.
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qualewhale
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(Original post by AngeloR)
Thank you for your thoughtful and well-reasoned response. You point out a weak version of predestination that follows from determinism. I think that those who subscribe to a weaker sense of predestination must, however, distinguish between factors that come internal to oneself from those that come external. You say that it seems plausible that determinism corresponds to a weak form of predestination. Because most religions rely on a notion of responsibility and accountability, they would need be able to subscribe to the weak predestination you describe without also adopting a compatibilist position. I wonder what you think of such a position. But most, I think, would argue that one chooses to believe in a libertarian sense. So I'm not sure about your claim that "many" who believe in an atemporal hereafter would subscribe to this weaker predestination.
I think that the internal/external factors issue isn't all that relevant to this discussion (as long as it doesn't cause problems for determinism); I agree that at least those who believe in actions that have effects on O in that weak sense almost always insist on these actions being free, but I don't think these views are remotely less rational, or worse in any way, for failing to adopt libertarianism. Libertarianism is, after all, not the thesis that we are free, but that:
  1. we are free
  2. incompatibilism
  3. (determinism is false)

I think on a compatbilist view one can affirm there are criteria on which O turns that are met freely and are determined, e.g. by God. The hard determinist position you outline is, I imagine, the view taken by a small number of theists (e.g. I think Calvin believed something like it), but it isn't very attractive or tenable (imo) in view of problems of eschatology, the mercy of God, &c.
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MoonLordGorblack
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(Original post by Rawkuss)
I take it you that by 'conscious thought' you mean intention? Regardless, that is nonsense. I can spin a roulette wheel and the outcome will be random despite my spinning the wheel. The definition of randomness or chaos has nothing to do with conscious thought. Also, determinism could exist without a creator; however, if you take a deterministic standpoint then, arguably, free will is unlikely to exist.
Apologies, I think my wording was slightly incorrect here. Rather than "conscious thought", I meant "conscious awareness of the results", I believe.
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