If random is occurring, it has direction

From the article:

“The probability of a random event occurring can be displayed on a line and is assigned a value ranging between 0 and 1 like so 0______1/2______1. At the left side, we have 0 which is to say the random event is impossible and as such, will never take place.”

My thoughts: The tabletop of zero probability


So it is said that zero is not in the random space, meaning it will never occur. But rather consider that it does occur, and occurs all the time. The flat, stable table top represents the surface of zero probability, without which random events do not occur at all. Rolled dice bounce on the surface of zero probability to produce random results.

You know I don’t believe in spontaneous generation, nor do I believe that random mutations push macroevolution along, but just for the sake of discussion, how would a zero probability, non-random subspace affect your paradigm?

In speaking of the spontaneous generation of life, what was it that had to exist first to allow the randomness to begin existing next? What was that subspace of zero probability and zero randomness?

If mutations are random, what are they “bouncing off of” to produce randomness? There must exist a plane, a dimension, a subspace that is inexorably non-random in order for random to occur

It must be an unconditional, nonnegotiable subspace. So in a very real sense, the existence of that zero non-random subspace is actually directing randomness.

If random is occurring, then non-random is pre-occurring. That which is pre-occurring is directing that which is occurring.

If random is occurring, it is being directed by a non-random subspace.

If random is occurring, it has direction.

I am unable to make any sense out of this. It seems incoherent.


Why must there exist such a thing?


But then the probability isn’t 0, it’s some high fraction. By definition.

Your entire post is word salad.


I think you completely misunderstand randomness. There is no requirement for something to be “bouncing off” for randomness to occur.

Radioactive nuclei decay randomly. That does not imply that they ‘bounce off’ something first. Similarly mutations do not require “a plane, a dimension, a subspace that is inexorably non-random in order for random to occur”.

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Maybe that’s how God intervenes. Just a little touch on the tiller with a carefully aimed pseudorandom neutron and…

That’s just gibberish.

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Radioactive decay is a great example to use to think about this, thanks Tim.

Each individual decay event is random: it’s impossible to predict when it will occur. But at the same time, the half-life of the isotope - the amount of time taken for half of all nuclei in a sample to undergo decay - is clear and measurable.

What that means for this discussion is that, although the decay event is random, it does not have a probability of zero.

I think the main confusion in the OP is the notion that a random event has zero probability. That is not the case. The probability of a radioactive decay occuring in a given time span, knowing the size of the sample and the half-life, can be relatively easily calculated.

What makes the event random is not that the probability of it occurring is zero, but that there is not a deterministic cause-and-effect path we can establish between what causes it and the effect occurring.

For radioactive decay, there are causes, related to the weak nuclear force and the W and Z bosons, but they do not lead to a deterministic path we can observe that causes a decay at a specific instant.

If there’s interest I can do a back-of-the-envelope calculation to demonstrate calculating the (non-zero) probability of a radioactive decay event.

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It would naturally involve higher dimensional space, something biologists do not look into or think about often.

No not at all. The table top is not a member of the random space. It is the non-random sub surface upon which randomness occurs.

Quibble: I think that is the first confusion of the OP. :wink:

@r_speir I think you are trying to say the physical collision of the die onto the tabletop results in practically unpredictable result. “Zero probability” doesn’t really enter into this.

Molecules are bouncing off each other all the time, and this introduces unpredictability in chemical interactions. This a bit like throwing dice on a table, but not just a few dice, hundreds of millions of dice (molecules) all bouncing around**. The motion of molecules in a system of measured as heat, or temperature (and I just know a physicist will jump in to correct me, please do!). More heat, more motion, more molecules bouncing off each other, more randomness.

The “sub-surface” you are referring to seems to be other molecules.

** This was going to be a lead-in to the Law of Large Numbers, but I don’t think we are ready for that yet.


No. We do not even understand what zero probability is or what it would look like. What I am simply asserting is that when you see random events, you are seeing the after effects of a subspace that always exists, and one that if it did not exist, then neither would random exist.

That definitely misses the mark. Maybe you trying to make this too complex. What probability says does not exist in the random space - namely, the zeroth probability - is what may in fact give rise to the random space itself. Without the subspace of the zeroth probability, there would be no random at all.

This seems to me to simply be smuggling in a ‘supernatural’ layer when the phenomena do not require one to be fully explained.

If you want to get really semantic, the table top is also experiencing randomness from quantum mechanics. There’s a tiny chance it may exhibit wave properties, and there’s a tiny chance that the dice pass through the table from tunneling.

I’ll add my voice to the ‘this is nonsense’ column.


This is nonsense.

When we observe random events, we do rely on the standards that we follow when making observations. But standards are not a subspace, and do not depend on “zeroth probability”.

Yes, you can throw out the standards. But then you throw out all observations.

Alternatively, you could claim that standards are arbitrary, and that random is an artifact of our choice of standards. That still doesn’t give you the “has a direction” part of your claim. And I’ll note that almost everyone at PS already agrees that observing something as apparently random does not necessarily imply that it is ontologically random.

Briefly: an analogy is only useful if it maps reality.

The analogy used in the OP appears not to… or else it is not yet clear to me how it does.

Is it possible to explain the concept either without using an analogy, or using a different one?

Or to clarify this one?

Certainly the thread title is not helpful, since even the analogy as presented does not in itself require directionality in random events.

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Ok, thank you for at least trying to understand my point and asking for clarification. I am not sure I can be successful, however.

Random space occupies a range of every fraction just above zero to 1. So 0<random space<,=1. Regarding zero, the article states, "At the left side, we have 0 which is to say the random event is impossible and as such, will never take place.” That is enough for us to make the assertion that the “zero probability space” does not exist in - or is not a subset of - the “random space” where the rolled dice are revealing their probabilities. When two dice are rolled, every random result they register will never reside at zero probability . (There may a better way to state that, but I think the point is clear.)

That is when I asked the question, Is there a space where probability of zero is always occurring? The answer is Yes, it would be the flat, blank tabletop onto which the dice are rolled. It is void of randomness and void of probabilities. That is when I began calling it the “non-random, zero-probability subspace” and associating it with 0 (zero) on the left-hand side of the probability range. Further, I reasoned, “What we thought did not exist, in fact does exist”. There really is a subspace where zero probability and non-randomness resides – the tabletop.

Then I reasoned that if the dice represent the random space, and if the random space can only register a probability fraction (above zero) when it comes into contact with the zero-probability, non-random subspace of the tabletop, then there is a subspace to randomness that we may have missed. And it may be that random events can not even exist at all unless a non-random subspace is present first.

Then I just made the logical conclusion that if a physical condition requires the unconditional and non-negotiable presence of a prior physical condition to occur, then direction, or determination, to some extent, must be involved. If a random space requires the presence of a non-random subspace for randomness to occur, then maybe we need to revisit the very definition of randomness and ask if direction might be acting on what is random.

This is only because you defined your “random space” as excluding zero and one. The webpage you cited doesn’t exclude them, so gives no support for your viewpoint. Not that a site called “Casino Reports” is the best source for a well-rounded understanding of Statistics and Probability.

In mathematical probability theory, we say that an event of probability zero will almost never happen. We do not say that it will never happen. Events of probability zero can happen, though not in a finite probability space (such as you get with a roulette wheel)