July 03, 2014 at 09:23PM
"Chance is a more fundamental conception than causality." -- Max Born #readingToday

Determinism in human affairs fails to meet the requirements for predictability alluded to by Laplace for several reasons. First, as far as we know, society is not governed by definite and fundamental laws in the way physics is. Instead, people's behavior is not only unpredictable, but as Kahneman and Tversky repeatedly showed, also often irrational (in the sense that we act against our best interests). Second, even if we could uncover the laws of human affairs, as Quételet attempted to do, it is impossible to precisely know or control the circumstances of life. That is, like Lorenz, we cannot obtain the precise data necessary for making predictions. And third, human affairs are so complex that it is doubtful we could carry out the necessary calculations even if we understood the laws and possessed the data. As a result, determinism is a poor model for the human experience. Or as the Nobel laureate Max Born wrote, "Chance is a more fundamental conception than causality."

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives, Leonard Mlodinow