Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/ en-gb 30 Fri 29 Aug 2014 17:36:48 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/ cookerid http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=96#comment24 [Dear Moderator: Commenting is currently not possible in Chrome or Firefox. This sent with IE] Sat 05 Feb 2011 11:47:44 GMT+1 cookerid http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=92#comment23 For the first time ever, this IOT programme stumped me. I didn't understand it. I just don't get it (you can imagine my shame). Surely, the throw of a roulette ball into a roulette wheel is not random, unless you define randomness as "too complicated for us to predict". The action is purely mechanical and therefore perfectly defined by the respective forces exerted. The same is of throwing a coin. It is perfectly reasonable, though difficult, to imagine someone practising hard enough to be able to toss a coin so that it turns up heads, just as a juggler manages to catch the non-burning end of his skittle. I appreciate that the difficulty of predicting the toin-coss would be near to infinite, but not technically impossible. I feel this is confirmed by the incredible effort taken to produce apparently random numbers for the lottery, for example.Is not therefore all randonmess "merely" pseudo-randomness? Sat 05 Feb 2011 11:45:48 GMT+1 angrychicken http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=88#comment22 I agree!! May i also inquire as to whom has viewed the pictures motion known to mankind as hot tub time machine?! I liked the bear. Wed 19 Jan 2011 21:21:36 GMT+1 Julia http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=84#comment21 Your programme was as thought provoking as ever. I found myself thinking about randomness and my work in a primary school playground at lunchtimes. As I was leaving the other day, on talking with a colleague, we exclaimed at the lively behaviour of the children and how our busy hour was spent dealing with one incident after another. We have often noted how some days just occur like this with the children being so excitable, as if something is in the air, (perhaps there is a link here with another programme on Chemistry)? Other days will be much calmer. This can sometimes be predicted, for example, something special about that day or it being the end of term. Other times it just seems random. By the way, I tend to warm to the idea of the ordered universe and all being pre-determined :)Many thanks for continuing with such inspirational and entertaining programmes. Predictably good because of you and ideal for listening when doing the ironing! Wed 19 Jan 2011 21:18:13 GMT+1 angrychicken http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=80#comment20 This post has been Removed Wed 19 Jan 2011 21:11:13 GMT+1 Julia http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=76#comment19 lol Wed 19 Jan 2011 20:58:06 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=72#comment18 My random thoughts. The IOT discussion was interesting but man-centred, with an assumed premiss that materialist atheism is true. Some mathematicians and scientists take as premiss a Creator God, as do most cultures. This gives a different and sensible perspective. The whole universe is ordered. The difference is between order that man sees and order man does not see. Firstly what about other animals? When a colony of ants forms a sphere in order to roll across a river, does it collectively understand the mathematics of pi, topology and specific gravity? Is the individual action of the trillions of bacteria random or networked? To keep us living, each human has trillions of bacteria working on equilibria processes. They amount to ten times the number of our internal cells. Is each bacterium acting randomly or reacting to a non-materialist order? Our lives depend on them!Secondly, Man has not been able to reconstruct ‘randomness’. All examples are pseudo-randomness based on fixed laws that we either do not fully understand or are too complex for us to calculate. ‘Randomness’ today, whether derived from quantum physics (that uses averaging or probability to avoid complexity), thermionic emissions, radioactivity etc is based on laws of physics where outcome is determined but not obvious to us. Man finds it impossible to identify any really anarchic system. Thirdly, randomness is a useful concept for practical life but has no philosophical foundation or logic. The Big Bang – a massive explosion – and background noise radiation must by the second law of thermodynamics contain more order than the present universe. The assumption that life arose from random, anarchic processes of chemicals hitting each other and combining is both illogical and impossible. For one, there is not enough time in the history of the universe to produce the first ordered, useful protein of a few thousand components. Conclusion: (pseudo)randomness is a useful, practical tool but an illogical and false concept. The same goes for man’s assumption that he can know everything by himself. Ask an ant about pi … or life. Similarly, we move and have our being by our non-material, spiritual component. That provides us with free will, even though ‘from eternity are known to God all his works’, before any Big Bang. Wed 19 Jan 2011 17:21:16 GMT+1 ICRitchie http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=68#comment17 This post has been Removed Sun 16 Jan 2011 19:54:09 GMT+1 rogercohen8 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=64#comment16 This post has been Removed Sun 16 Jan 2011 07:08:47 GMT+1 Angry Loner http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=60#comment15 Further to the above2. He implies the tosses of a biased coin are not random (I'd say if your coin is biased 2 to 1 in favour of Heads then the outcomes are still random - or are they?)3. A prime number can be divided by itself and 1 (not allowing for 1 not being prime as currently defined)4. The Twin Prime Conjecture comes from the search for pairs of primes 'with an even number between them', er, isn't that all pairs of primes apart from those involving 2? Sat 15 Jan 2011 13:17:45 GMT+1 Angry Loner http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=56#comment14 The odds of roulette are not 37 to 1! Basically they are 36 to 1 in 'European' roulette, with a 0, and they are 37 to 1 in 'American' roulette which has a 0 *and* a 00. I like MdS but he doesn't half put his foot in it at times. Sat 15 Jan 2011 12:17:37 GMT+1 Peter Bolt http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=52#comment13 In the Birmingham Science Museum (which no longer exists) there used to be a peice of apparatus, resembling a bag o tell board (which in fact it probably was) revolving on a spindle.By spinning the board the various ball bearings (nearly) always settled into clusters.Thus demonstrating that any random scatter of numbers will invairably produce clusters. At least it did to me. Sat 15 Jan 2011 11:41:31 GMT+1 pfordB23 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=48#comment12 “With Earth’s first clay, they did the Last Man’s knead – Yea the Morning of Creation wrote What the Day of Reckoning shall read” Thus Edward Fitzgerald, in his presentation of the philosophy of Omar Khayyam, elegantly outlined the principle of Determinism, including psychological determinism.. But our knowledge of Randomness, as shown in today’s talk, has shown this not to be the case.Nevertheless, Determinism and Randomness have put paid to the idea of Free Wiil. Obviously, our actions are decided by previous events, including our state of mind, or by pure chance. Our own volition plays no part. Fri 14 Jan 2011 21:06:46 GMT+1 pfordB23 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=44#comment11 “With Earth’s first clay, they did the Last Man’s knead – Yea the Morning of Creation wrote What the Day of Reckoning shall read” Thus Edward Fitzgerald, in his presentation of the philosophy of Omar Khayyam, elegantly outlined the principle of Determinism, including psychological determinism.. But our knowledge of Randomness, as shown in today’s talk, has shown this not to be the case.Nevertheless, Determinism and Randomness have put paid to the idea of Free Wiil. Obviously, our actions are decided by previous events, including our state of mind, or by pure chance. Our own volition plays no part. Fri 14 Jan 2011 21:04:56 GMT+1 pfordB23 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=40#comment10 This post has been Removed Fri 14 Jan 2011 19:26:11 GMT+1 AB2011 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=36#comment9 mm Fri 14 Jan 2011 18:38:59 GMT+1 Louis Musgrove http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=32#comment8 Why all the mystery about Prime numbers- they are nice and regular and expand like a fractal patern- which gives you , if you think about it , a pointer to the solution of Goldbach's thingy. Fri 14 Jan 2011 18:23:05 GMT+1 Jonathan Hendry http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=28#comment7 In Melvyn's newsletter he mentions that Tom was unable to find any dice. You ought to have tried a roleplaying game shop like Orc's Nest near Covent Garden. Such stores carry dice of a variety of polyhedral shapes: 4-sided, 8-sided, 6-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided, 20-sided, etc. Fri 14 Jan 2011 18:01:03 GMT+1 AB2011 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=24#comment6 This post has been Removed Fri 14 Jan 2011 17:58:06 GMT+1 James Baring http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=20#comment5 I have to support John Treble's remark on the failure to appreciate the function of time in the collective results of a-causal individual events. My apoplexy declined as the programme went on and the frank admission of perplexity amongst the mathematicians was clear. They are also confused between patterns and causality. The easiest way to define a random sequence is, as was said, that there is no formula to decribe it. Ironically, the tests that Ernie is subjected to probably invalidate its output rather than ensuring it integrity. The passage of time is also what allows the interplay of plural elements so that Schrodinger's Cat is a false problem (as he knew of course), and in a self-observing multidimensional universe where the Fibonnacci sequence tends to Phi what actually happens is what survives a mutual natural selection which becomes less random on the whole though the transient local events that contribute may ever surprise!Many excellent points were made, notwithstanding, in this programme. Fri 14 Jan 2011 16:37:35 GMT+1 dllewellynfoster http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=16#comment4 A coherent and instructive programme, thank you to your guests. It occurred to me that an aspect of randomness that is of particular interest is divination. As is well known, Carl Jung worked with the physicist Wolfgang Pauli to further develop his theory of synchronicity. The practice of divination is premised on the paradoxical concept that random events can be interpreted as indicative of deterministic or non-random conditions and outcomes. Perhaps there might be the germinal idea here for a future programme drawing on the expertise, insight and knowledge of (say) a mathematician-scientist, a cognitive psychologist and an academic esotericist. Could we possibly look forward to informed discussion along such multi-disciplinary lines? Thu 13 Jan 2011 13:35:49 GMT+1 boks http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=12#comment3 I am thinking of a digit between 0 and 9. To me it is determined, to you random. Surely randomness is about knowledge not a property of a munber or sequence. How else could cryptography work? Thu 13 Jan 2011 10:49:06 GMT+1 NowHangOnAMinute http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=8#comment2 This post has been Removed Thu 13 Jan 2011 10:25:10 GMT+1 rurwin http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=4#comment1 You and your guests may be interested in this light-hearted guide to choosing random lottery numbers: http://www.zyra.info/lotnums.htm(I am not connected to this website) Thu 13 Jan 2011 09:55:38 GMT+1 John Treble http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/comments/b00x9xjb/?page=0#comment0 The opening definition of 'randomness' in Melvyn Bragg's discussion this morning was so misleading it caused one of those temporary fits of apoplexy to which we emeritus professors are so prone. To limit discussion of randomness to phenomena in which history is unimportant (as the guest appeared to do), is to make the study of randomness almost totally worthless, and to ignore the bulk of the mathematical literature on the subject - especially work on random processes, which only really become interesting when they involve time dependence of some sort. It also eliminates discussion of most empirical economics, sociology, ecology, evoutionary biology and probably almost any other empirical science you care to mention. Thu 13 Jan 2011 09:53:04 GMT+1