Ramsey theory contributes to philosophy, math and physics. The theory states that even though we live in a very chaotic world, the existence of total ideal randomness is physically and mathematically impossible. Now it is very well-known in the field of computer science that it’s impossible to create a pure randoming algorithm. It is true that random generated numbers that have been made by any computer are somewhat random, but they are not totally random. This is because if you know every single little information about what’s happening in the computer, you can always determine the input number based on the output number that’s been generated by the pseudo-random algorithm.
All randoming algorithms are reversible if enough information is obtained. Luckily, the law of conservation of information states that information can never be created nor destroyed but rather it’s converted from one form to another. This means that with enough accurate equipments and information you can get to know what has happened with an object that has survived billions of years old, just with the right amount of information. Now, when I say “the right amount of information” I mean a very huge amount of information which means more variables to care about and therefore a harder experiment, that is if you ever wanted to know everything about a certain system but sadly, it’s humanly impossible to have control over billions or maybe even more variables that are all connected to each other.
For example, if I want to know every single little thing that has happened and is happening on earth. I’d have to know to know all the initial values of every single variable (mass, position, volume, spin, kinetic energy and so on..) that’s related to every atom that’s on earth. Building on that dataset, I can predict what’s going to happen to every single atom by solving for a new dataset that describes what has happened to the properties of every single atom during a certain amount of time. Of course you’ll have to take in mind that all the properties of all the atoms are connected to each other (a simple example is when two atoms bump into each other affecting each others momentum, kinetic energy, position and other properties). This means that if I know all the properties of all the atoms that existed 4.5 billion years ago, i can determine what is happening right now on earth, what has happened during all history and what’s eventually going to happen.
Another point that should be noticed is that any slight change in the initial properties of only one atom can change the whole path of history. This is due to the butterfly effect is a principle that’s stated in chaos theory. Chaos theory studies systems that consist of huge amount of variables, which is relevant in our case. The butterfly effect says that any small slight change in the initial condition of a system may lead to an extremely different result.
Here is a visual representation of an invisible small change in the initial conditions of a pendulum. You can see how it takes a whole different path:
Since nothing is ideally random, can’t we obtain all the information we need and determine what’s going to happen in the future ? well, sadly no, for two reasons. Firstly, we can’t obtain that huge amount of information, to store such amount of information you’ll need a very big data holder.
Secondly, even if you’re able to store all the information that’s gathered, the information will have uncertainties and that’s no good because remember, any slight change in the initial condition may lead to hugely different scenario and if we are uncertain about a slight change in a some value we are unable to predict what’s aimed. So how does this relate to determinism ? and is there really such a thing as free will ?.
Let’s start with a simpler question, if anything can be determined if the exact values of the system are known, what about human choices?. As humans, we love to think that we are not like machines and that our choices aren’t connected to certain paths of electrons, but sadly that’s not the case.
Our choices are controlled by the ways of knowing (emotions, reason, faith, language, memory, intuition and sense perception) and the ways of knowing are processes that occur in the human brain. We release oxytocin when we’re in love, we store memory in the hippocampus, we process language using the left hemisphere of the brain, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex controls faith and sense perception.Same thing is applied to intuition.
If you go down to the physical layer you’ll see that the human brain consists of neurons and the will to do something is just a macroscopic representation that some ions took a certain neuro-path in a neural network that’s presented somewhere in your brain and since nothing is perfectly random, the path that the ions take isn’t random therefore our choices are never random, concluding that there is no such thing as free will. This proves determinism.
Determinism is a theory in philosophy that states that all events, including moral choices, are completely determined by previously existing causes. It might be insane to think that we cannot do anything that’s 100% random but it is the objective truth.