Re: randomness

Dave Rindos (arkeo4@UNIWA.UWA.EDU.AU)
Mon, 23 May 1994 07:45:54 +0800

On Sun, 22 May 1994, Tom Riley wrote:

> Bob Graber thinks that coin flips would not be unpredictable if the
> flipper contolled all the variables. I guess this would be true, but
> it wouldn't be what we were talking about. We know the probabilities
> of a particular flip, however, right now and the wonderful thing is
> that we can predict those probabilities after the fact from an
> increasingly large number of flips that approximate a 50%
> probability of each side turning up. Having everything
> contolled is inherently uninteresting and is not determinism but
> mapping reality one to one. It is not science, it is life!

This all gets down to some pretty fundamental things in good old Method
and Theory (please, do not groan all at once.... I agree it is a pretty
yucky subject . . .)

The Randomly Flipped Coin which comes up 50/50 heads and tails, in fact,
does NOT exist. It is an invention. Make believe. Something WE invent
to make sense out of things. I am *quite* certain (p=.9999999) that ANY
REAL coin flipped by whatever REAL means you might choose would EVENTUALLY
deviate from "chance" and, therefore, could be proven BY MEANS OF THE
CONCEPT OF CHANCE to be "fixed." Even if it DID come up 50/50 it would
be "fixed" to meet the criteria of "randomness."

Why should this be the case?

The reason is that The Random Coin Flip is part of the realm of the
"Ideal," the "Ideational," the "Theoretical." The (hopefully beautiful)
stories we make up in an attempt to figger out Natural Law (the way things
REALLY ARE, whatever that might be, and which, with certainty, we can only
know that we will never fully Know). It just ain't real.

Whether "the coin" or "the means by which it is flipped" is the likely
"cause" of the deviation from the Ideal can, however, be studied and some
understanding could be obtained about whether the object or the process
(or both, which of course WOULD ALWAYS BE CORRECT) was the reason "why" it
deviated from "chance."

This is because it (the coin and the flipper) is part of the "Real," the
"Phenomenal," the "World." That (whatever that might be) whatever-it-is
which we are NOT making up and which IS and is CONTROLLED BY Natural Law
(which really IS, but which we can attempt to approximate by making up our
cute little stories, which as noted above are hopefully beautiful). the
real IS real.

The "meta-myth" of Science is that the Phenomenal IS. "Science" is the
collection of those myths embedded in the larger meta-myth along with the
various methodologies which provide the PROCESS by which we attempt to
"map" (as Tom put it) our Ideal World on the Real One (and vickie-versie).

Some people don't seem to believe that the Pheonomenal "IS." I don't seem
to have much to say to them. Still, I am sure there is a very good
reason which could explain, at least with a certain probability of being
correct, why they happen to believe what they do.


who really should be writing the Method and Theory text instead of
working on writs :{(