On Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 11:36 PM, benjayk
<benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com> wrote:

>> The evidence that the universe follows fixed laws is all of science.

> That is plainly wrong. It is like saying what humans do is determined
> through a (quite accurate) description of what humans do.
> It is an confusion of level. The universe can't follow laws, because laws
> are just descriptions of what the universe does.

That the universe "follows laws" means that the universe shows certain
patterns of behaviour that, fortuitously, clever humans have been able
to observe and codify. It's just a linguistic accident that we use the
same term "law" to mean both physical law and the laws that are passed
by parliament. You said you see no evidence that the universe follows
laws but the evidence is, as stated, all of science. There would be no
point to science if we thought that the universe behaves arbitrarily.
Indeed, there is arguably no point to anything if the universe does
not follow uniform laws. I assume that when I take a step that the
ground is solid, which I base on its appearance and my experience of
surfaces with such an appearance being solid. But if the universe did
not follow laws, this assumption would be worthless; the ground may
open up and swallow me, so there would be no point taking a step

> Science does show us that many aspects of the universe can be accurately
> described through laws. But this is not very suprising since the laws and
> the language they evolved out of emerge from the order of the universe and
> so they will reflect it.
> Also, our laws are known to not be accurate (they simply break down at some
> points), so necessarily the universe does not behave as our laws suggest it
> does. And we have no reason to assume it behaves as any other law suggest it
> does. Why would be believe it, other than taking it as a dogma?

The laws are constantly being revised, which is what science is about.
If there were no laws there would be no point to science.

>> Probabilities in quantum mechanics can be calculated with great
>> precision. For example, radioactive decay is a truly random process,
>> but we can calculate to an arbitrary level of certainty how much of an
>> isotope will decay. In fact, it is much easier to calculate this than
>> to make predictions about deterministic but chaotic phenomena such as
>> the weather.
> Sure, but that is not an argument against my point. Precise probabilities
> are just a way of making the unprecise (relatively) precise. They still do
> not allow us to make precise predictions - they say nothing about what will
> happen, just about what could happen.

If you can calculate that something will happen with 99.9999999999999%
probability, I think that is saying what "will happen" for practical

> Also, statistical laws do not tell us anything about the correlation between
> (apparently) seperate things, so they actually inherently leave out some
> information that could very well be there (and most likely is there if we
> look at the data).
> They only describe probabilities of seperate events, not correlation of the
> outcome of seperate events.
> Say you have 1000 dices with 6 sides that behaves statistically totally
> random if analyzed seperately.
> Nevertheless they could be strongly correlated and this correlation is very
> hard to find using scientific methods and to describe - we wouldn't notice
> at all if we just observed the dices seperately or just a few dices (as we
> would usually do using scientific methods).
> Or you have 2 dices with 1000 sides that behaves statistically totally
> random if analyzed seperately, but if one shows 1 the other ALWAYS shows one
> as well. Using 1000 tries you will most likely notice nothing at all, and
> using 10000 tries you will still probably notice nothing because there will
> be most likely other instances as well where the two numbers are the same.
> So it would be very difficult to detect the correlation, even though it is
> quite important (given that you could accurately predict what the other
> 1000-sided dice will be in 1/1000 of the cases).
> And even worse, if you have 10 dices that *together* show no correlation at
> all (which we found out using many many tries), this doesn't mean that the
> combinated  result of the 10 dices is not correlated with another set of 10
> dices. To put it another way: Even if you showed that a given set of
> macrosopic objects is not correlated, they still may not behave random at
> all on a bigger level because they are correlated with another set of
> objects!

I'm not really sure of your point here. Statistical methods would not
only show a correlation between the dice, but also tell you how many
observations you need to make in order to be confident of a
correlation to an arbitrary degree of certainty. That is the whole
business of statistics.

Stathis Papaioannou

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to