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The Way to a Happy Life
Is Life Predetermined?
The importance of Randomness
Like other people Humanists see order and pattern in the universe, but they also see an additional important element not recognised in other traditions, that is chance or randomness.
Order and pattern may be seen by religious believers as coming from God and as being evidence for the existence of God. The future can then be prophesied because the future, as well as the past, conforms to this pattern. If there is any element of randomness in nature, however, all future events which are not inevitable, like death, cannot conform to a pattern.
Because of the element of randomness Humanists believe specific future events cannot be prophesied but can only be forecast.
The belief that atoms not only exist but that they move of their own accord without being caused to move, is important. Humanists see this as evidence that some things can happen without any cause — such as the universe coming into being without the need for a creator as first cause. What is meant here by ‘atoms’ are the primary particles that the ancient Greeks called ‘atomoi’ (uncutables), and the latin poet Lucretius called ‘primoria’ (first-beginnings), not the strict scientific term ‘atoms’. Perhaps such things do not exist. The nearest may be what Albert Einstein called ‘bundles of energy.’ The atomic swerve has also been taken as evidence of randomness.
The existence of ‘atoms’ could be illustrated by looking at particles of dust in a sunbeam, or in a beam of light, but atoms are much, much smaller. Examples of natural randomness are random weather phenomena: cyclones, hurricanes, climatic changes, and such things as earthquakes, etc.
The existence of ‘void’ may be explained in the way Epicurus did in his letter to Herodotus, “And if there did not exist that which we call void and space and intangible nature, bodies would not have any place to be in or move through, as they obviously do move”.
So, if there are supernatural beings what are they made of if they are not made of atoms?