On Purpose, Guidance, Randomness
Random can mean unpredictable or without a cause for a mathematician. Random can also mean to a biologist purposeless or directionless. But then you also have to understand the connotations used by each user.
Is anything truly random?
Where do we find randomness?
In physics we find randomness in virtual particles which are said to pop in and out of existence. For some this means for no cause, and for others there could be a cause we simply do not see yet, because we can't even really see the virtual particle itself.
Is it random in terms of unpredictability? It is interesting, because from my readings it seems that the beginning and end states of virtual particles are predictable, but it is the in-between states that are not. The end state could be predicted to be a quark. You could have several virtual particles pop in as a virtual photon and some as a virtual gluon- but in the end the overall number of virtual particles that pop in as a quark will be more and the particle will be defined as a quark. As the end state is "becoming" all kinds of things can happen. We can't predict all the in-between states, but the overall state is predictable.
Another point is that we can see particles having to take path A or path B and they chose one over the other. There is no reason we can see why one is better than the other or preferred, or different. They are the same and yet the particles can chose which path to take and retain all their internal order.
So, this is unpredictable as to which path they will choose and apparently no cause per se. A computer game given the same problem will crash from what I'm told because it cannot compute what to do. Yet, our quantum universe can figure it out.
This is interesting to me, because it doesn't seem to matter that randomness is a factor, everything in the end will be deterministic in a way, predictable. However what paths things take we can not determine. This allows for freedom of choice in a way. For non-living things this would be simply random processes vs natural laws which yield non random processes. BUT in living things, while we start out random (like bacteria until it finds an attractant) we end up non random because of memory and consciousness. Freedom to choose.
So, as an unconscious entity randomness allows for freedom of choice fundamentally and as a conscious entity we also have freedom of choice, but based now on our consciousness.
This does show us that on a fundamental level, on a small level, nature is and can be very random and this is important.
Are variables hidden? We know it is possible we do not see the reasons why virtual particles pop in and out, because we cannot even see the VP themselves and so perhaps there is something underlying in the quantum vacuum beyond what we can see that provides a cause, or perhaps not. Perhaps it just pops and in the right conditions, it will form a certain way and so the conditions are what are important for growth. I tend to think the later.
We also know through HUP that we cannot see the momentum and location of particles at the same time. That through our very interaction and observation, we have changed the nature of what we are observing. So, there certainly are aspects that are unseen or what I call hidden.
So, I'd say true randomness in nature is essential for nature to keep the future sealed, to keep the wool over our eyes.
Energy seems to go from randomness to non-randomness as energies increase and become more complex. (This can also be found in the new theories of dynamic energy).
The true nature of randomness allows the future to be unseen while also allowing for true freedom of choice.
Now, biologist tend to use this randomness to yield words such as purposeless or directionless or without guidance.
There are certain events in biology such as genetic drift and draft that are defined as random. The scientist who first purposed genetic drift did not agree it was random. I tend to agree. Random would be unpredictable and while fire spreading and wiping out an entire population and therefore their genes, could be viewed as random...we still have cause and effect. Certain events caused others and certain effects took place. If we had been vigilant to these variables and causes and effects, I think we could predict these events. They had reasons for taking place.
Some of genetic drift/draft does appear to be mathematically random at first. If given two different alleles in a population -let us say one blue and one red- and depending on the number of that allele in the population that will be its chance for survival (If I understood that correctly). So, if we have 50% red and 50% blue alleles in a population, each has an equal chance to survive. But only one will. This is because at some point one will become greater than the other and populations survive by common traits and that which is common becomes more poplar and chosen and eventually the population conforms. However, there is a chance the less likely will succeed. We can't predict this completely.
We see this in culture as well with apes and humans. If a few people in the group solve a problem one way and yet a few others solve it a different way, eventually the group will conform to one way. Everything tends to become homogeneous.
But, to me, this seems to be a fault on our part. We don't see all the variables. If we had all the variables, it seems it would be predictable. There are also causes, though we may not see all of them. So, I'm not really convinced of the use of randomness in biology.
So, I would have to disagree with biologists when they say purposeless or directionless or without guide or without a goal.
Firstly, the direction and guidance takes place when the natural law take effect. This is the guide, this is the direction.
Secondly, terms such as purpose and goal do not mean anything to an innate thing. If you are investigating a marble, something that is not conscious or aware, how will you find concepts that only reside in conscious things? (Though it could be arguable that nature and the universe is all conscious on some level -but let us just stick to the non-conscious view for now).
Thirdly, Nature has its own way of doing things, whether we understand them or not. Nature does have a direction. Energy persists toward entropy and life persists toward survival. Death and life is a constant circle.
This seems to be fundamental, inside the very core of all things, innate. This is a direction. This is a purpose. This is a goal. It might not be a conscious one or an external one, but it certainly appears to be an internal one. Just something nature does.
Fourthly, A marble in itself doesn't have a purpose or goal -in the broader connoted sense of the word- because it has no consciousness. But this does not mean the marble was not put in place by something with a higher energy of understanding than ourselves.
Even if there is no higher energy "God" which put the marble into place, there certainly is an internal purpose and goal. Be it a very simple one. Life persists TO EXIST. TO BE. While energy heads toward entropy, it still bothered to exist at all. Why does it?
Without proving a "God", nature does have a internal purpose and goal. So, that idea just is not correct naturally or even when we consider the possibility that a "God" or other intelligence is behind it.
So, While I have no problems understanding the mathematical ideas of randomness, biologists seem to cross the line and take it a step further into realms they cannot prove or disprove and resort to analyze things that most people would consider unconscious to begin with a say, See, it has no purpose or goal" and therefore nothing in the broader connotation of the word has any purpose or goal.
I can look at a marble all day long and see no consciousness and therefore no purpose or goal there. But then it is interesting that the marble bothered to exist at all (I'd say that is its purpose, to exist) and that it can exist (I'd say it followed its internal direction/guide and that is how it can exist)... further I'm not looking at spiritual things or higher intelligence things such as aliens or "god". So, why would I find any of those inside a marble?
What about guidance?
I don't think God interferes with the natural world which is what many call guidance. I think God put everything into place exactly as it is and it is self-sufficient without the constant need of intervention.
However, I do think where we see the Spirit or God is in people's lives. The spirit can affect our minds, dreams, emotions and can speak to us and it is in this where we will find guidance.