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To me, there are two definitions of "random" in common usage: effectively random, where predicting the outcome is beyond most reasonable effort (e.g., drawing a card from a deck); and truly random, where predicting the outcome is beyond known science (e.g., radioactive decay/QM).

With this (possibly flawed) perspective, I'm very interested in sources of true randomness. I started thinking about how parents never know exactly what their child is going to look like. Is this because there are aspects of reproduction that are fundamentally unpredictable (true randomness) or because we lack the sophistication/motivation to predict it (effective randomness)?

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  • $\begingroup$ Its unclear what process you are referring to, are you talking about recombination? If so then like all chemistry it is just effectively random and in a way not even be that since position on the chromosome has an effect. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Dec 31 '17 at 20:44
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You true randomness definition is partially wrong! Something does not need to be fundamentally random to be beyond known science.

Also, it is unclear what process you are referring to when talking about a child's trait. I would assume you are thinking about crossover but then, summarizing crossover positions by "child's trait" shows that you misunderstand a number of things!

To my knowledge, outside of quantum physics, in no field of knowledge has it been shown that true randomness has any measurable effect. So, no what chromosome an individual inherits is only random in the sense that it would be necessary to know exactly the position of every molecule in the cell to know where the crossover will happen.

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