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God doesn't play dice.....meaning


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#1 Kizzi

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 10:39 AM

From what I understand Einstein was refering to the probabilities of Quantum Mechanics when he said "God doesn't play dice".
Actually I'm not sure I understand at all.
What was he refering to when he said "God doesn't play dice".
Was he an Atheist?

KiZzI :lol:

#2 infamous

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 10:53 AM

From what I understand Einstein was refering to the probabilities of Quantum Mechanics when he said "God doesn't play dice".
Actually I'm not sure I understand at all.
What was he refering to when he said "God doesn't play dice".
Was he an Atheist?

KiZzI :lol:

He was questioning the notion of randomness as opposed to determinism. Determinism is defined as understanding every event in nature as having a particular cause. Randomness defines an aspect in nature that has only a probability such as in quantum uncertainty. In plain English, the difference between free will and no free will.

#3 Kizzi

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 11:43 AM

So randomness equates to free will, Determinism equates to no free will?

But surely if God doesn't play dice we have no free will ........ because unless God plays dice he would have thrown the outcome! Surely he want's us to determine our outcome - so he plays dice.

So when Einstein said "God does not play dice" he meant ~people have no free will~.... it was determined by God!

So Einstein believed God determines the outcome of everything leaving nothing to chance!

Also, am I correct in saying Einstein believed in God?

(I've always had a problem understanding things, ...... need clarification)

KiZzI :lol:

#4 CraigD

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 11:55 AM

What was he refering to when he said "God doesn't play dice".

He was referring to one of the consequences of the interpretation of Quantum Physics commonly called the Copenhagen Interpretation (see http://en.wikipedia...._interpretation #Criticisms'>“criticisms” for a reference to the Einstein quote). Under this interpretation, the universe – precisely, the quantum wave function (conventionally represented by the Greek letter Psi) describing every particle in the universe – has one value/state before a specific measurement is made, then, following the measurement, “renormalizes” to a value where the measurement made has a 100% chance of having occurred.

For example, if a single photon is emitted toward a pair of closely-spaced slits in a diffraction grating, the wave function predicts a 50% chance that it will pass through one slit, a 50% chance that it will pass thought another, and no chance that anything else will happen to it. A measurement can be made to determine which slit the photon actually passes throught – blocking one slit, for instance, and detecting if it arrives at a photographic plate or electronic photomultiplier. The act of making this measurement is the equivalent of rolling a die, or flipping a coin, yet, according to the Copenhagen Interpretation, its outcome has a real and measurable impact on the future of the universe. This bothered Einstein, and continues to bother people to this day, in a way he was unable to express more clearly than with his famous quote.

Was he an Atheist?

No. Although raised Jewish, Einstein did not believe in the tenants of Judaism. He expressly and in writing denied belief in a “personal God”, writing

I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.

Briefly put, belief in “Spinoza’s God” is the belief that “God”, “nature”, “the universe”, and “everything there is” are all words or phrases describing the same thing.

This belief, a common one among scientists and mathematicians, is important to know was shared by Einstein if you wish to understand quotes of his like “"God does not play dice". What he actually meant was “the universe is not random, but deterministic”.

#5 Perspicacious

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:08 PM

From what I understand Einstein was refering to the probabilities of Quantum Mechanics when he said "God doesn't play dice".
Actually I'm not sure I understand at all.
What was he refering to when he said "God doesn't play dice".

Einstein was a pantheist. The following links explain Einstein's religious beliefs:

http://members.aol.c...t1/einstein.htm
http://www.harrison.dircon.co.uk/wpm

#6 Dark Mind

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 03:54 PM

After reading the posts thus far I believe this thread belongs in either the Philosophy and Humanities Forum or the Theology Forum. I am going to move it to the Philosophy and Humanities Forum for now, but if someone believes it is better suited in the Theology Forum please let me know and either I or another Moderator will move it there. I will leave the redirect in the Physics and Mathematics Forum, though.

#7 Dark Mind

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 04:08 PM

Whoops :). After thinking about it, this should be in the Philosophy of Science Forum :lol:.

#8 paultrr

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 07:39 PM

Do not damn yourself for asking a valid question no matter where this question actually belongs. Einstein believed in order. He also subscribed to what we term determinism. To him certain aspects of quantum theory ran counter to determinism which bothered Einstein and seemed to conflect with his world view as one might call it. His God was order and nothing more. We have simular arguments going even today over this same issue. I do not personally subscribe to absolute determinism as several of us do accept the idea of free will within the confines of say natural law. But some do like Einstein see everything as ordered, so to speak.

#9 Pret

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 10:06 AM

After listening to a public lecture by "Stephen Hawking" titled "Does God Play Dice", i came to the conclusion that, Einstein was disappointed by the apparent Randomness in nature. By his statement, that has a historical importance,"God, does not play dice", Einstein meant, "All the indeterminism or uncertainty was only provisional. Everythin is bound by undrlying reality which defined position and speeds of all particles which evolve according to deterministic principles."

But in his public lecture, Hawking says,"Einstein's view was based on, wat is now called, hidden variable theory.(He said something about Bell's experiments, which i don remember exactly, from which he concluded....).....God is bound by the Uncertainty Principle, and can not know both the position, and the speed, of a particle. So God does play dice with the universe. All the evidence points to him being a gambler, who throws the dice on every possible occasion.

Fellas if i'm wrong somewhere, please do correct me, as i still am a newbie in Quantum Physics.

#10 Tormod

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 01:00 PM

Fellas if i'm wrong somewhere, please do correct me, as i still am a newbie in Quantum Physics.


There would be no right or wrong in this issue. It's mostly up to personal interpretation, IMHO.

#11 Dark Mind

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 01:05 PM

Hence why it's now in the Philosophy of Science Forum now :lol:.

#12 HydrogenBond

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 04:11 PM

I believe that Einstein was expressing intelligent design with a scientific twist; the universe happened in a logically orderred way based on simple scientific design, like e=mc2. Random based theory opens the door to all kinds of theoretical speculation because anything can happen using a random perception of the universe. If one assumes a logically orderred universe, then we as humans can narrow out search and reach the truth faster. With an approach too heavily dependant on randon, the path to truth is longer and slower. Just look at the amount of speculation centered around genetic mutations. It appears to say so much without saying anything. Ironically, if one proposes any logical order to mutations one is looked at as though they have three eyes. Randon creates many more jobs, many more experts and many more theories. The drunk takes much longer during his random walk home, while the sober man gets home quicker because he walks straight. If the sober man get there too fast, he much be drunk (irony).

#13 Theophilus

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:45 PM

I can't find a reference, but I thought the actual quote was "He is not playing at dice."
Although this particular statement does not mention God, Einstein spoke frequently of God (whatever he meant by that term) as illustrated in this set of quotes
http://www.quotation...lbert_Einstein/

In his later years, he also wrote extensively about the place of religion - essentially a sociological function.

In regard to belief, I think it is fair to characterize him as a mystic.

#14 CraigD

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 04:39 PM

I can't find a reference, but I thought the actual quote was "He is not playing at dice."
Although this particular statement does not mention God

Most sources, such at this wikipedia one, give the quote as “God doesn’t play dice”. Since, to my knowledge, Einstein never published anything containing the quote, I suspect the precise wording may never be known with certainty. I believe, though, it’s clear that he and his correspondents understood that he was talking about God, specifically “Spinoza’s god. There’s reliable evidence he stated this often and plainly, such as in an 4/24/1921 interview with Herbert Goldstein. It’s clear this is what Bohr tought he meant, from his reply "Einstein, don't tell God what to do".

In regard to belief, I think it is fair to characterize him as a mystic.

I agree. I think this is true of many excelent scientists, though whether it enhances or hurts their science, I can’t hazard a guess.

PS: welcome, Theophilus, to science forums. Please be kind to the atheistic and agnostic scientists among us. I hope you’ll find our discussions of the relationship between science and relegion illuminating, and bring a helpful voice into them.

#15 Turtle

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 04:46 PM

I think Albert meant to express an intuitive insight that probability is wholly inadequate to explain/model quantum effects; just my intuitive two cents.

:hyper:



#16 Theophilus

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 05:13 PM

PS: welcome, Theophilus, to science forums. Please be kind to the atheistic and agnostic scientists among us. I hope you’ll find our discussions of the relationship between science and relegion illuminating, and bring a helpful voice into them.


Thank you.

One of the wonders of creation must certainly be man's ability to investigagte and learn how the world operates. My purpose here is to examine this enterprise and to call attention to the nagging philosophical challenges that a-theistic science ignores. I will try to be nice.

I recently saw Richard Dawkins on the Charlie Rose show (sorry for those who don't get American PBS). His remarks were, I believe, a glaring example of the irrantionality under which secular science is forced to operate.

He said something to the effect that only Natural Selection could provide a naturalistic explanation for the diversity of life forms and, therefore, it must be true. Like all naturalists, he begins with the assumption that there IS a naturalistic explanation; he is not driven to such by the "evidence."

He had a number of negative remarks about religion - the old "faith vs. fact" canard. He did not justify his standard of evidence, i.e., empiricism, he just assumed it.

He did make one correct statement: there is a basic antagonism between a-theistic science and religion (Christianity). This antagonism is based, not on the faith vs. fact issue, but on the mutually exclusive starting points, i.e., man and his environment are either created or uncreated. The scientist who asks for evidence/proof of God has already assumed the position that he is uncreated.

#17 Qfwfq

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 04:18 AM

AFAIK many people were present during the famous debate between the two men and I have seen old strips of film which I believe are of the event. It is usually quoted as "Gott spielt nicht Würfel" which was followed by the less quoted "mit dem Universum", I believe these are the exact words. Grammatically it translates to the English present simple tense, therefore quoted in English as "does not play". One quote I have found, on this page that strikes me as reliable, is:

In der Quantentheorie existiert eine Vorstellung über die "rein" zufällige Ereignisse in der Mikrowelt, gegen die übrigens Einstein widersprochen hat ("Gott spielt nicht Würfel"), obwohl er selbst "unter den Füßen" der Quantentheoretiker die Kausalität weggezogen hat.

I also know there are many quotes of him saying he agrees with Spinoza's theology, a frequent one being: "Mein Gott ist der Gott Spinozas".

I also found the following quote on the web including here: "Spinoza ist einer der tiefsten und reinsten Menschen, welche unser jüdisches Volk hervorgebracht hat." As well as "Ich glaube an Spinozas Gott, der sich in der gesetzlichen Harmonie des Seienden offenbart, nicht an einen Gott, der sich mit Schicksalen und Handlungen der Menschen abgibt." Carl Seelig: Albert Einstein. (Leben und Werk eines Genies unserer Zeit. Zürich 1960, S. 258.) Ther is also a quite well known thing he said, in a talk with Abraham Geller, an important Rabbi in New York. I'm not sure if they were talking in German or in English, all I find on the web that cites both names is: "Wir Spinoza-Anhänger sehen unseren Gott in der wunderbaren Ordnung und Gesetzlichkeit des Seienden und in der Beseeltheit des Seienden, wie es sich für uns bei Menschen und Tieren offenbart." (Brief von Albert Einstein an Abraham Geller, 17. April 1933.) I also find a similar English quote but I wouldn't call it a translation: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." Sehilpp, ed., Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (La Salle: Open Court Publishing Company, 1970), pp. 659-660. It is however quoted in footnote 19 of this page of a quite Jewish site, followed by the remark: The "deistic" connotation of this passage, however, is misleading: in other contexts Einstein made clear that he did not believe in a God "behind' this orderly harmony of what exists; rather, for him (as for Spinoza) God is this orderly harmony.

Not a shadow of doubt that Einstein was a Spinoza-follower.