The Glory of Determinism

Science is dependent on the universe being objective. When viewed under the assumption of determinism, our universe is analogous to a black box that produces a different output or set of outputs for different inputs. From this, it follows that experimental knowledge is acquired primarily by providing input to the black box and recording the output. The experimenter does this again and again until she has enough data to reverse engineer the process that takes place inside the black box. If determinism is proven to be false, we can no longer be certain that the universe doesn't produce the same outputs for the different inputs. This will render all the knowledge we have acquired from experimentation false. The patterns we see in nature will all have been illusions of order in a random process. If we can't test that a specific input gives a specific output then we can't check if our hypothesis is correct. Determinism is not about the dream of simulating the universe. It is about the hope that our quest for knowledge can bring us closer to the truth.

The idea of determinism has been regarded as an emotional attachment to control and order in the universe. I don't think that is true because determinism is the natural side effect of the way we conduct science. A random universe is much scarier than a deterministic universe. I don't think people realize that. The main reason people fear determinism is that under it people wouldn't be responsible for their actions. It would mean that we are all puppets controlled by the grand calculus of the universe. It would imply that we have no control over our fates. Determinism allows us to see the strings that bound us. In determinism, we can make models of the universe and test their validity, and trust the results of our experiments.

Randomness, while giving us freedom and the burden of responsibility, takes a tremendous sacrifice. We must sacrifice our belief that there is a direct relation between cause and effect. Randomness would mean that what happens before is not in any way able to affect what happens after. Theories produced using the scientific method would be no more truthful than their religious or cultural counterparts. We can't definitively know anything about a random universe. A random universe would mean that, we can't light the torch of knowledge in this cave of delusion.

Read Killing Laplace's Demon for more