Conversations: In Defence of Randomness

An extract from an email conversation with a friend over the statement "There must be some driving force that makes all that [events of life] happen, otherwise it would indicate that the events happen haphazardly, which doesn’t make any sense..."

Why doesn't haphazard make sense? In fact, if we collect data on a large scale, haphazard makes much more sense than assuming the existence of any rational force behind it. Pick up the newspaper of any day, so many murders, accidents, suicides, fightings, so much injustice. The world is a messed up place. If there is a God, one could be justified in declaring him to be a malevolent and evil God, who allows the existence of so much misery and pain in the very world He created. So, you see, depending on the perspective, randomness doesn't seem that bad an option to consider. There is no logical irrefutable argument to rule out randomness as the underlying reality. Secondly, many people when they think, they think in a polarized fashion. They think events are either determined by God or by blind chance. But these are not the only two options. An event like a break-up of a relationship is a socially complex phenomenon with many psycho-social variables. It is logical to think that the individual forces of individual people act collectively (but nevertheless logically) in a fashion to produce a result that appears to follow no visible logic. Consider an analogy with physics. Take two masses M1 and M2. The gravitational force between two bodies can easily be calculated using Newton's law. Simple mathematics. Now consider three bodies M1, M2 and M3. The law remains the same, but now there are three bodies to account for, the math becomes difficult to solve and we have to resort to approximations. Now consider ten bodies M1 to M10, all exerting Gravitational force on each other, each individual case following the simple gravitational law, but to calculate the collective effect of the forces of these 10 bodies would be a mathematical nightmare, with equations becoming so complex that they would be impossible to solve. That means we would not be able to predict the behaviour of that system because it is too complex, but it would not mean that the system is not following a specific law. Humans are like these masses, each driven by psychological and social forces, but the cumulative effect of these forces is too complex for us to make sense of in their entirety.

The point is, God is not the only consistent explanation for events of life, and these other options are not easy to rule out. And until they are not ruled out, one is not justified in saying "there must be some driving force".


Vasudha said…
I completely agree. :)