Steven D'Aprano wrote:

> Quantum phenomena are said to be random, but there is no

> justification for assuming that they are non-determinant.

> Tossing a coin is random, but deterministic, and we have no

> way of telling whether quantum randomness is like coin-tossing.

> For instance, the randomness of radioactive decay is almost

> certainly due to the perfectly deterministic behaviour of the

> nucleus, and even the decay of isolated baryons like the neutron

> is probably determined by its quarks. On the other hand, the

> decay of an excited atom into a lower energy state appears to be

> non-deterministic, but that shouldn't be considered proven by any

> means.

"almost certainly": you are wrong. The randomness of radioactive

decay is exactly the same as the randomness of atomic decay. Both

are instances of a transition from a higher energy state into a

lower energy state, mediated by thermal interaction with an external

field.

If you'd like to see the math, I found a nice description on

the web at

www.physics.ucla.edu/class/02S/ 115C_Abers/notes/TDPT01.pdf

www.physics.ucla.edu/class/02S/ 115C_Abers/notes/TDPT02.pdf

--- if this doesn't suit you, just do a web search for "Fermi's

golden rule".

I can't wait to hear your explanation of why you felt comfortable

labelling as "almost certain" something which anyone who knows the

subject would reject as trivially false.

"shouldn't be considered proven": and what would constitute a

proof?

I can't see how, in principle, one could ever conclusively "prove"

that some phenomenon was truly random. What one can do is show

that if quantum mechanics is valid then any deterministic

substructure must have undesirable features such as non-locality.

(This is what Bell's theorem shows.) One can also give physicists

a century to try to find a plausible underlying deterministic

mechanism and see if anyone comes up with one --- that experiment

has also failed.

I sympathize with your desire to preserve determinacy, but barring

a massive change in our understanding of modern physics, this is

just wishful thinking.

Nik Weaver

Math Dept.

Washington University

St. Louis, MO 63130 USA

nweaver@...