Interpretations and Consensus

Discussions on classical and modern physics, quantum mechanics, particle physics, thermodynamics, general and special relativity, etc.

Interpretations and Consensus

Postby hyksos on May 17th, 2017, 10:52 pm 

In several parts of this forum, people may have seen me talking about quantum mechanics. On several occasions, I have made the claim that the interpretations of quantum mechanics show no consensus among the academics. I often use the phrase "run the board" to describe how vast and differentiated the views are, even among those who may be assumed to be in agreement.

I would like to now add more grist to that claim with the following graph.

Image

Sean Carroll went public with this graph on his blog, and described it as (and I quote) "the most embarrassing graph in modern physics".

On this forum, and elsewhere, I have repeatedly contended that physicists have no such thing. Indeed I have quoted Roger Penrose speaking to this fact. What is most interesting, sociologically speaking, is that any given single physics professor will always act and pretend as if his personal view on things is exhaustively correct and unassailable. One need only walk across the hall to another professor's office, to gain a totally different perspective.

The above poll was created during a symposium held at the International Academy in Traunkirchen, Austria. Although the 2011 conference was attended by hundreds of post-docs, only 33 responded to the poll.

https://quantumfrontiers.com/2013/01/10/a-poll-on-the-foundations-of-quantum-theory/
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: 28 Nov 2014
NoShips liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby someguy1 on May 18th, 2017, 12:07 am 

hyksos » May 17th, 2017, 8:52 pm wrote:A couple forum regulars, who I will name out loud (yes, out loud) appear to speak and post on physics and mathematics from a position of authority. In particular, mitchellmckain and someguy1. These posters have created a false impression that physicists are walking around with a concrete, mechanical picture of how the world works ...


I categorically deny ever expressing such an opinion.

I categorically deny ever expressing ANY OPINION WHATSOEVER about the interpretation of quantum mechanics or any other theory of physics whatsoever. Flat out never happened.

I categorically deny even knowing enough QM and its interpretations to even have a personal, private opinion.

I state that the ONLY thing I know about QM is that when I studied functional analysis in math, I learned about Hilbert space and that it's used in QM. I learned that from the definition of an orthonormal basis one can derive the theory of Fourier series. I discovered that the mysterious bra-ket notation is nothing more than a linear functional acting on a vector in Hilbert space. That was a great discovery for me, since it totally demystified what I thought was an arcane notation I would never understand.

I mention all that to make it clear that this is everything in the world I know about QM. Which is to say: NOTHING. That supports my claim that I have no opinions at all about the subject, let alone opinions that I might have expressed here. I've heard the buzzword Copenhagen and could not tell you what that is since I simply don't know what it is. I've never had much interest in the subject.

hyskos I would appreciate it if you would either supply specific references in support of your claim, or else retract it. No hurry on this, I am asking you to go back and read my posts on this forum and either support or retract your claim that I've ever expressed an opinion on the interpretation of QM.

When I discuss math I typically do it from a formalist position, meaning that I regard it as a formal game with no implied relation to anything at all in the world. I have expressed that viewpoint vigorously in various threads. That doesn't mean I'm philosophically a formalist. I go back and forth. I only believe that when one is doing math, it's helpful to think like a formalist. Meaning that I don't regard math as necessarily having ontological weight in the world, any more than a game like chess does.

I have noticed that sometimes when I criticize someone's argument they sometimes think I'm criticizing their position. This happens even though I generally go to great lengths to make that distinction clear, often to no avail. Perhaps this is why you think I have opinions about QM. I have no opinions about QM for the simple reason that I haven't got enough knowledge or interest to have an opinion.

Since I know a little math, I'm often in a position to clarify or correct mathematical errors in peoples's impassioned defenses of their own personal metaphysics. Then they get upset with me for attacking their metaphysics. Is that where you're coming from? I don't recall ever understanding anything you wrote well enough to even disagree with it, except for that Turing thing. And that had nothing to do with physics. I thought your presentation was a little off and I probably went a little overboard in correcting your history. If I had it to do over again I'd probably do the exact same thing. But physics? I don't recall ever engaging you on the subject.

I restrain myself from further comment and simply give you the opportunity to explain your statement.

For the record, **IF** I had to have a metaphysics, I'd be just as inclined to say that physicists are making up stories about a random world, in a similar way from how we used to make up stories about the constellations being hunters and animals in the sky. Maybe that's a little extreme. But I certainly regard it as possible.

Surely you can see that I don't hold the view that you ascribe to me and that I could never hold such a view.
someguy1
Member
 
Posts: 520
Joined: 08 Nov 2013


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby mitchellmckain on May 18th, 2017, 3:34 am 

someguy1 » May 17th, 2017, 11:07 pm wrote:I categorically deny ever expressing such an opinion.

I categorically deny ever expressing ANY OPINION WHATSOEVER about the interpretation of quantum mechanics or any other theory of physics whatsoever. Flat out never happened.

When someone is banging the drum of an ideological agenda they rarely pay attention to such facts. Their black and white way of looking at the world forces people into the categories which they prepare their canned rhetoric for. It is quite typical of them also to use statistics like this to create false impressions because poll like this usually don't ask the questions which are relevant to the agenda they are pushing. Consider the question the poll has asked, "what is your favorite interpretation?" It does NOT ask which out of all the interpretations is the correct one. That is likely to get very different results, because physicists do not confuse these interpretations with the actual science and have no reason to choose one over another. Like myself they are quite likely to see merits in several interpretations.

The reason the Copenhagen interpretation is the favorite of nearly twice as many scientists as any other is because it is the most straightforward and useful of them without introducing fanciful things like multiple universes just to support a dubious philosophical inclination. Nevertheless what you will find is that vast majority go with interpretations which nevertheless agree on crucial questions like determinism because experiments show that determinism as far as the measurable universe goes is just wrong.

Frankly it does not surprise me that someone like Sean Carroll is the one who said this nonsense about embarrassment because he is also one who pushes a philosophical agenda and likes to believe that the science is "on his side." LOL That could be another question for a poll and I believe that a very few physicist would agree with Carroll on this point. It is NOT embarrassing that scientist do not agree when there is no objective evidence to support a point of view. It is certainly not embarrassing that the majority of scientists will not support Sean Carroll's confusion of science with a new religion of "poetic naturalism."
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 565
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 4:21 am 

mitchellmckain » May 18th, 2017, 4:34 pm wrote:The reason the Copenhagen interpretation is the favorite of nearly twice as many scientists as any other is because it is the most straightforward and useful of them without introducing fanciful things like multiple universes just to support a dubious philosophical inclination.


Two writers who have researched the issue in some depth do not share your opinion, Mitch. To whet your appetite, I quote the following from Amazon's page on the works concerned:

(Also, I don't see how one theory/interpretation can be more "useful" than another given, as I believe is the case, that they are all empirically equivalent, and thus amenable to precisely the same applications. Perhaps you mean "easier to use"?)

Why does one theory "succeed" while another, possibly clearer interpretation, fails? By exploring two observationally equivalent yet conceptually incompatible views of quantum mechanics, James T. Cushing shows how historical contingency can be crucial to determining a theory's construction and its position among competing views.

Since the late 1920s, the theory formulated by Niels Bohr and his colleagues at Copenhagen has been the dominant interpretation of quantum mechanics. Yet an alternative interpretation, rooted in the work of Louis de Broglie in the early 1920s and reformulated and extended by David Bohm in the 1950s, equally well explains the observational data. Through a detailed historical and sociological study of the physicists who developed different theories of quantum mechanics, the debates within and between opposing camps, and the receptions given to each theory, Cushing shows that despite the preeminence of the Copenhagen view, the Bohm interpretation cannot be ignored. Cushing contends that the Copenhagen interpretation became widely accepted not because it is a better explanation of subatomic phenomena than is Bohm's, but because it happened to appear first.

Focusing on the philosophical, social, and cultural forces that shaped one of the most important developments in modern physics, this provocative book examines the role that timing can play in the establishment of theory and explanation.


Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) 1st Edition
by James T. Cushing


"Science is rooted in conversations," wrote Werner Heisenberg, one of the twentieth century's great physicists. In Quantum Dialogue, Mara Beller shows that science is rooted not just in conversation but in disagreement, doubt, and uncertainty. She argues that it is precisely this culture of dialogue and controversy within the scientific community that fuels creativity.

Beller draws her argument from her radical new reading of the history of the quantum revolution, especially the development of the Copenhagen interpretation. One of several competing approaches, this version succeeded largely due to the rhetorical skills of Niels Bohr and his colleagues. Using extensive archival research, Beller shows how Bohr and others marketed their views, misrepresenting and dismissing their opponents as "unreasonable" and championing their own not always coherent or well-supported position as "inevitable."

Quantum Dialogue, winner of the 1999 Morris D. Forkosch Prize of the Journal of the History of Ideas, will fascinate everyone interested in how stories of "scientific revolutions" are constructed and "scientific consensus" achieved.


Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) 1st Edition
by Mara Beller






mitchellmckain » May 18th, 2017, 4:34 pm wrote:Nevertheless what you will find is that vast majority go with interpretations which nevertheless agree on crucial questions like determinism because experiments show that determinism as far as the measurable universe goes is just wrong.


This seems to me to simply beg the question against alternative interpretations/theories. Determinism is false only if the truth of Copenhagen is already presupposed. I'm no physicist, but from all I can gather from those more adept than myself, the Bohm theory/interpretation offers a causal-deterministic account of exactly the same data set that Copenhagen rules as ineliminably indeterministic.
Last edited by NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 4:43 am 

mitchellmckain » May 18th, 2017, 4:34 pm wrote:
Consider the question the poll has asked, "what is your favorite interpretation?" It does NOT ask which out of all the interpretations is the correct one. That is likely to get very different results, because physicists do not confuse these interpretations with the actual science and have no reason to choose one over another. Like myself they are quite likely to see merits in several interpretations.


Once again, this strikes me as simply begging the question in favor of an antirealist (e.g. Copenhagen) stance and against certain rival interpretations (e.g. Bohm). If I'm reading you correctly, you're telling us that the task of science is merely to "save the phenomena"; to provide a systematic account of observable reality and stop right there.

Antirealist/instrumentalist doctrine of this kind will be unpersuasive to those of a more realist bent (Einstein, Bohm, Schrodinger, etc) who see the task of science as not merely saving appearances, but to provide a causal-explanatory account for the appearances. The realist, in other words, does have a reason to choose one theory/interpretation over another.

The various theories/interpretations all tell different stories about unobservable reality -- at least for those who believe in such a thing. Therefore, from the realist's point of view, they might all be empirically adequate, yet they cannot all be true, at least as that term is standardly understood.


mitchellmckain » May 18th, 2017, 4:34 pm wrote:Frankly it does not surprise me that someone like Sean Carroll is the one who said this nonsense about embarrassment because he is also one who pushes a philosophical agenda and likes to believe that the science is "on his side." LOL That could be another question for a poll and I believe that a very few physicist would agree with Carroll on this point. It is NOT embarrassing that scientist do not agree when there is no objective evidence to support a point of view. It is certainly not embarrassing that the majority of scientists will not support Sean Carroll's confusion of science with a new religion of "poetic naturalism."



What we can say, at the very least, I think, is that the plurality of interpretations/theories which, as far as I understand, are all empirically equivalent (i.e. all entail precisely the same set of observational consequences), and each with their own proponents, puts paid to the myth that the only factors germane to theory choice in science are (empirical) evidence and logic. Clearly, other factors are coming into play: candidates might include pragmatic and aesthetic considerations (ease of use, elegance, explanatory power, etc), metaphysical predilections (determinism vs indeterminism), social, political, and even just simple historical contingency.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan
Braininvat liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby mitchellmckain on May 18th, 2017, 12:13 pm 

NoShips » May 18th, 2017, 3:21 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » May 18th, 2017, 4:34 pm wrote:Nevertheless what you will find is that vast majority go with interpretations which nevertheless agree on crucial questions like determinism because experiments show that determinism as far as the measurable universe goes is just wrong.

Determinism is false only if the truth of Copenhagen is already presupposed.

Incorrect! I do not presuppose the Copenhagen interpretation. I see merit in all the interpretations favored by scientists in the chart above.

But ALL of the interpretations which a large number of physicists support agree on the issue of physical determinism because that is what the objective evidence shows. This is NOT just the Copenhagen interpretation but also the Objective Collapse and Stochastic interpretations. The Bayesiann and Everett interpretations are NOT deterministic as far as the measurable universe is concerned. Determinism in an imagined multiverse or un-measurable reality has no relevance to actual science. People are free to imagine whatever god, un-measurable realities, fairies, worlds and unicorns they like, but this has nothing to do with real science.

"Information based theories" are only vague ideas on the subject without any real answers to any questions and so these scientists might as well be in the undecided group. The same goes for Ensemble and relational interpretations. Scientists can favor these ideas precisely because they do NOT disagree with the objective evidence against physical determinism.


NoShips » May 18th, 2017, 3:21 am wrote: I'm no physicist, but from all I can gather from those more adept than myself, the Bohm theory/interpretation offers a causal-deterministic account of exactly the same data set that Copenhagen rules as ineliminably indeterministic.

The Bohm interpretation is NOT one of those in the chart presented above because it does NOT agree with the evidence and leaves the basic premises of modern scientific inquiry. That makes it just as much a fantasy as Star Trek.

I NEVER claimed that science disproves determinism in general. It is quite possible to imagine some larger reality beyond the premises of local realism in which determinism holds. But the objective evidence shows that if you ARE going to stick to the premises of the scientific world view then determinism is out the window because as far as what we can objectively measure there are no hidden variables to determine the outcome of quantum decoherence. Thus physical (defined by measurable physics) causality is an open system at the very least, and to close it you have to appeal to something outside the measurable scientific world view as does Everett, Bayesian, and Bohm interpretations. You may be surprised I lump these together, but it is because of the exact wording. The difference is that Everett and Baysean interpretations at least keep to the basic premise of local causality and that is why physicists favor these while dismissing the Bohm interpretation completely.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 565
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby hyksos on May 18th, 2017, 6:39 pm 

hyskos I would appreciate it if you would either supply specific references in support of your claim, or else retract it. No hurry on this, I am asking you to go back and read my posts on this forum and either support or retract your claim that I've ever expressed an opinion on the interpretation of QM.

When I discuss math I typically do it from a formalist position, meaning that I regard it as a formal game with no implied relation to anything at all in the world. I have expressed that viewpoint vigorously in various threads. That doesn't mean I'm philosophically a formalist. I go back and forth. I only believe that when one is doing math, it's helpful to think like a formalist. Meaning that I don't regard math as necessarily having ontological weight in the world, any more than a game like chess does.

I have noticed that sometimes when I criticize someone's argument they sometimes think I'm criticizing their position. This happens even though I generally go to great lengths to make that distinction clear, often to no avail. Perhaps this is why you think I have opinions about QM. I have no opinions about QM for the simple reason that I haven't got enough knowledge or interest to have an opinion.

I restrain myself from further comment and simply give you the opportunity to explain your statement.

For the record, **IF** I had to have a metaphysics, I'd be just as inclined to say that physicists are making up stories about a random world, in a similar way from how we used to make up stories about the constellations being hunters and animals in the sky. Maybe that's a little extreme. But I certainly regard it as possible.

Surely you can see that I don't hold the view that you ascribe to me and that I could never hold such a view.

I agree with the validity of this interpretation of QM which you present :: The randomness of quantum measurement requires no more explanation than does the random configurations of the stars in the sky require an "explanation". Perhaps you should go public with this interpretation. Give it a name. It's seems equally plausible as the rest of the popular interpretations , if not moreso.

Since I know a little math, I'm often in a position to clarify or correct mathematical errors in peoples's impassioned defenses of their own personal metaphysics. Then they get upset with me for attacking their metaphysics. Is that where you're coming from? I don't recall ever understanding anything you wrote well enough to even disagree with it, except for that Turing thing. And that had nothing to do with physics. I thought your presentation was a little off and I probably went a little overboard in correcting your history. If I had it to do over again I'd probably do the exact same thing. But physics? I don't recall ever engaging you on the subject.

It is true that eπix is used in physics calculations to represent rotations. This is true in electromagnetism as well as in quantum mechanics textbooks. If you are froggy, you could even use it in mechanical rotations. When Paul Dirac stumbled upon a complex conjugate solution, he tossed it out as mathematical detritus -- fully believing that it was "un-physical". He turned out to be wrong about this.

You never really addressed this point head on (regarding Dirac thinking the equation is not physical).

I would go further here. You created the impression on the forum with your post that "well that's just simple rotation by 90 degrees", as if to imply it is perfectly physical and visualizable. I'm confident Paul Dirac would not have tossed out a simple rotation by 90 degrees. (or in his case a "simple reflection" about the real axis). But he did.

Clearly your deeper point was "hyksos is just an idiot who doesn't understand that a multiplication times i is a rotation by 90 degrees on the complex plane". But even a nobel-prize winning physicist was caught off-guard by Nature. By a Mother Nature who obeys complex conjugate vectors. Nobody expected this, not even him.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 6:59 pm 

@ Mitchell

Your response above leaves me with an uneasy sense of deja vu. I quote again from above:

Beller draws her argument from her radical new reading of the history of the quantum revolution, especially the development of the Copenhagen interpretation. One of several competing approaches, this version succeeded largely due to the rhetorical skills of Niels Bohr and his colleagues. Using extensive archival research, Beller shows how Bohr and others marketed their views, misrepresenting and dismissing their opponents as "unreasonable" and championing their own not always coherent or well-supported position as "inevitable."


Your most recent post takes great pain to emphasize the importance of sticking to "real science", "actual science", and the "measurable scientific world view" (whatever that is), as well as respect for agreement with evidence -- a word certain people seem unable to deploy without augmenting it with rhetorically persuasive but quite vacuous adjectives such as "objective" (your current choice), "concrete", "solid", etc.

Why not just say "evidence"?

(Also, you've insisted (in capitals) that Bohm's theory does NOT agree with the evidence. You haven't explained how, though, as far as I can see.)

If I didn't know better I might think someone was trying to hawk me a used car. ("Yeah, buddy, this is the real thing"). All the same, not being a physicist myself compels me to caution. Just a word or two from a more philosophical perspective then:

As far as I can see, you continue to simply beg the question against Bohm, and possibly other interpretations I'm less familiar with. If "real/actual" science (your words) is construed merely as the the kind of science being carried out by the majority today, then of course (!) the late Bohm and his current supporters are not conducting "real/actual science" inasmuch as their position is a minority one. This is to state nothing more than a vacuous truism, and if historical contingencies had turned out otherwise, who knows, you might be hurling accusations of pseudoscience at Bohr, Heisenberg et al here and now as we speak.

To add any substance to your claim, you'd have to provide us with independent criteria for determining what is, and what is not, "real science", instead of implicitly and vacuously defining real science as current orthodoxy.

You do realize that Newton's mechanics were once considered unscientific by many? So were theories of evolution. One paradigm shift later and, hey presto, the last shall be first. By the way, biologists frequently resort to the same subterfuge as yourself, viz., dismissing their opponents (these noisome ID chaps) ideas as non-scientific or pseudoscientific.

Personally I care little for who or what falls neatly into other turf-defenders' contrived categories; I do care about who has something to say worth listening to, though.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 7:40 pm 

I quote the following from the entry on Bohmian Mechanics in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

There was, however, one physicist who wrote on this subject with even greater clarity and insight than Wigner himself: the very J. S. Bell whom Wigner praises for demonstrating the impossibility of a deterministic completion of quantum theory such as Bohmian mechanics. Here’s how Bell himself reacted to Bohm’s discovery:

But in 1952 I saw the impossible done. It was in papers by David Bohm. Bohm showed explicitly how parameters could indeed be introduced, into nonrelativistic wave mechanics, with the help of which the indeterministic description could be transformed into a deterministic one. More importantly, in my opinion, the subjectivity of the orthodox version, the necessary reference to the “observer”, could be eliminated. …

But why then had Born not told me of this “pilot wave”? If only to point out what was wrong with it? Why did von Neumann not consider it? More extraordinarily, why did people go on producing “impossibility” proofs, after 1952, and as recently as 1978? … Why is the pilot wave picture ignored in text books? Should it not be taught, not as the only way, but as an antidote to the prevailing complacency? To show us that vagueness, subjectivity, and indeterminism, are not forced on us by experimental facts, but by deliberate theoretical choice?
(Bell 1982, reprinted in 1987c: 160)

Wigner to the contrary notwithstanding, Bell did not establish the impossibility of a deterministic reformulation of quantum theory, nor did he ever claim to have done so. On the contrary, until his untimely death in 1990, Bell was the prime proponent, and for much of this period almost the sole proponent, of the very theory, Bohmian mechanics, that he supposedly demolished.



Mitchell, you've told us that Bohm's theory/interpretation "does not agree with the evidence", and also that "[...] the objective evidence shows that if you ARE going to stick to the premises of the scientific world view then determinism is out the window [...]".

John Bell's remarks seem quite at odds with your claims. How do you explain this? Has new evidence come to light since Bell's death? Or was he just confused or what?
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan
Braininvat liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby Braininvat on May 18th, 2017, 8:06 pm 

Have to say, I've never heard de Broglie-Bohm shot down in a convincing way. Some physicists didn't much care for the way Bohr et al seemed to sprinkle black magic into QM, and want a more classical rendering of waves and particles as concrete physical objects. I feel that longing meself. As with old Albert, I think you find aesthetics at the core of many a theoretical physicist.

Haven't read this fellow, but this abstract looks interesting...

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/442/1/012060/meta
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5599
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby mitchellmckain on May 18th, 2017, 8:58 pm 

NoShips » May 18th, 2017, 6:40 pm wrote:
John Bell's remarks seem quite at odds with your claims. How do you explain this? Has new evidence come to light since Bell's death? Or was he just confused or what?


It was Bell's hope to find evidence FOR hidden variables, the idea was to show that the inequality was not violated. However the results of the experimental tests disagreed. Thus it hardly surprises me that he would like what David Bohm did. It is not the first time a great contributor to science (like Einstein) wasn't very happy with what the objective evidence shows.


Going with what the evidence shows is what separates science from pseudoscience like creationism. If you are absolutely determined to find proof for what you want to believe then you invariably find some reason or evidence for believing what you want to believe.
Last edited by mitchellmckain on May 18th, 2017, 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 565
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby someguy1 on May 18th, 2017, 9:03 pm 

hyksos » May 18th, 2017, 4:39 pm wrote:
Clearly your deeper point was "hyksos is just an idiot who doesn't understand that a multiplication times i is a rotation by 90 degrees on the complex plane".


This is what you got from my post?

I think you misunderstood me. When I said you should rotate, I didn't mean in the complex plane.
someguy1
Member
 
Posts: 520
Joined: 08 Nov 2013


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 9:28 pm 

mitchellmckain » May 19th, 2017, 9:58 am wrote:
It was Bell's hope to find evidence FOR hidden variables, the idea was to show that the inequality was not violated. However the results of the experimental tests disagreed. Thus it hardly surprises me that he would like what David Bohm did. It is not the first time a great contributor to science (like Einstein) wasn't very happy with what the objective evidence shows.


You continue to simply beg the question (i.e. "I'm right; the other guys are wrong", "I follow the evidence; they don't")

Apparently Einstein, Bohm, Bell and others have examined the very same evidence you have (until death got in the way) and do not feel it shows what you feel it does. You simply conclude that they're wrong or behaving in a manner inimical to good science -- as far as I can see for the sole reason that they didn't jump on the same bandwagon you did.



mitchellmckain » May 19th, 2017, 9:58 am wrote:Going with what the evidence shows is what separates science from pseudoscience like creationism. If you are absolutely determined to find proof for what you want to believe then you invariably find some reason or evidence for believing what you want to believe.


More of the same: Einstein, Bohm, Bell et al reach a different conclusion from yourself, thus they were "not going with what the evidence shows". Says who again? Oh that's right - you!

To which we can now add that, insofar as "going with what the evidence shows is what separates science from pseudoscience like creationism", and Einstein, Bohm, Bell et al did not (on your account) go with what the evidence shows, we must conclude that Einstein, Bohm, and Bell were engaging in pseudoscience.

Can the day get worse?
Last edited by NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 18th, 2017, 9:43 pm 

mitchellmckain » May 19th, 2017, 9:58 am wrote:

Going with what the evidence shows is what separates science from pseudoscience like creationism. If you are absolutely determined to find proof for what you want to believe then you invariably find some reason or evidence for believing what you want to believe.


Lucky for you, then, that you possess the strength of character that renders you immune to those biases to which lesser mortals like Einstein, Bohm, and Bell succumbed.

They reached the conclusions they did through weakness and cognitive bias; you reached yours by dint of an incorruptible and disinterested appraisal of the evidence.

*cough*
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby hyksos on May 19th, 2017, 1:50 am 

Word on the street:

There is nothing wrong with deBroglie/Bohm Pilot Wave theory. Rather it is just the case that it has not been integrated with Special Relativity. Before someone blows a gasket and responds to this claim, understand that PWT is inherently non-local. (i.e. it is not a local hidden variable theory)
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby dandelion on May 19th, 2017, 5:57 am 

mitchellmckain » May 18th, 2017, 5:13 pm wrote:[quote="[url=http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php? You may be surprised I lump these together, but it is because of the exact wording.


Just clarifying if the use of "Everett" here also includes relational interpretations as it may?
dandelion
Member
 
Posts: 293
Joined: 02 May 2014


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby hyksos on May 19th, 2017, 10:27 am 

NoShips,

We have reached and impasse on this forum. We will not breach this impasse with the current contingency of forum regulars.

To break this down into bass tacks. We basically have a guy on this forum who is fully adopting the position that goes : "Bell's Inequalities prove that the world is in-deterministic, through raw sheer force of empirical evidence. Period."

To flesh out his exact position, I should mention what he is not claiming. What mitchellmckain is NOT claiming : "Bell's Inequalities show that local realism is wrong and does not describe our universe." We cannot make progress past this loggerheads we have reached with each other. The only way out of this stuck position is to bring another physicist onto this forum to weigh in on the subject.

(I'm not a adopting this position by any means), but this is what the "Word on the street" tells me. I sit you down at a desk and place three cards in front of you. These cards are labelled with greek letters. Alpha, beta, and gamma.

  • α - Locality.
  • β - Determinism.
  • γ - Only one universe.

What I say next is, you can only choose 2 of these cards. You cannot have all three. This is what Bell's Inequalities tells us. YOu can only have a choice of 2 of these cards. HAving all three does not match the physical evidence from labs.


All three cards is exactly the definition of "Local Realism". Local realism = there is only one universe, all physics operates locally within it, and those laws are deterministic.

You can have local determinism in quantum mechanics IF you pay a huge huge price for it. And how large is this price? The price you pay is that you must commit to the idea that the universe splits into different realities, and these realities then further split again, forming an exploding tree of many "worlds". Yes. The word on the street tells me that Everett Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is both LOCAL and DETERMINISTIC.

(again not adopting this position, just putting it out there. Sewing the seeds of discussion...)

In any case. The Word on the Street is not lining up with what mitchellmckain posts on this forum. And again, we will not overcome this impasse until another physicist (such as Lincoln) chimes in on this subject.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: 28 Nov 2014
NoShips liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 19th, 2017, 7:55 pm 

Thanks for the clarification, Hyksos. Not being a physicist, I have to rely on what others more knowledgeable than myself have written on these matters.

As far as I'm able to put the pieces together, the puzzle looks something like this (corrections welcome if/when I butcher this):

1. Bohm's theory (BT) is empirically equivalent to the orthodox Copenhagen theory (CT). By empirically equivalent, I mean that both theories, in conjunction with the same set of auxiliary hypotheses, yield precisely the same set of observational consequences. If this is correct, and we limit "evidence" to empirical evidence (i.e. observations), then Mitchell's claim that BT is in disagreement with the evidence cannot be sustained, unless he also holds that CT suffers the same malady.

This might be a good time to remind everyone that although scientists, and all the rest of us, may talk a lot about observations/data/(observational) evidence contradicting (or disagreeing with) a theory, Imre Lakatos famously showed that such talk is misplaced. Theories, on the whole, by themselves entail no observational consequences whatsoever; contradictions can only be generated when theories are combined with auxiliary assumptions and background knowledge. Newtonian mechanics, for example, is perfectly consistent with any planetary orbit (squares, circles, ellipses, figures-of-eight, etc.) you might observe or imagine; no contradiction is generated. We can only say that a certain planet, say, is behaving in a non-Newtonian manner -- i.e., disagrees with the empirical evidence -- when Newton's theory is augmented with the aforementioned baggage.

In sum, we learn from Lakatos that a simple observation statement (=evidence? - see below) cannot contradict a theory; though another theory can. The statement/theory/hypothesis F≠ma, for instance, clearly contradicts F=ma.

Back to the word on the street now. The problem with BT, or one of its problems, as far as I've been able to ascertain, is that it entails a violation of special relativity. If all I've said so far is correct, then the issue is not disagreement with the evidence per se, with a qualification below, but rather, disagreement with another theory.

I must hasten to add, however, that a universally agreed upon definition of the term "evidence" remains something of a chimera. For some people (the strict empiricist, for example) all evidence is observational; in this case, contra Mitchell, there is no disagreement or contradiction between BT and the evidence (in conjunction with all that luggage I mentioned, hereafter taken for granted).

On the other hand, those of a less parochial and more promiscuous outlook -- evidentiary cheap sluts :-) -- may expand the purview of "evidence" out from the empiricist's strictures on observation, appealing to non-observational factors such as simplicity, coherence, elegance, beauty, explanatory goodness, and so forth, as evidence for the truth of a theory. Given this more permissive definition, it would be quite legitimate to claim that BT is in disagreement with the evidence, insofar as BT fails to cohere with our already established background network of theories which includes special relativity.

Mitchell wasn't entirely clear what he meant by BT "disagreeing with the evidence". Is this what you had in mind?


One final remark: It's something of a platitude among historians of science that the histories written by scientists themselves bear scant resemblance to reality. (Even Richard Feynman acknowledges this somewhere). I can't help but wonder if the hostility (or plain neglect!) towards Bohm, and the somewhat zealous adherence to QM orthodoxy with its concomitant antirealist modes of thinking can be, at least partly, imputed to some rather tendentious renderings of 20th century scientific events.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby someguy1 on May 20th, 2017, 12:38 am 

Hyskos if I understand your point about the rotations, are you thinking I'm saying complex rotations are explanatory or causative of reality? Nothing of the sort. I believe I was only noting the peculiar descriptive power of abstract math to model aspects of the world. Like Newton dealing with the same issue, "I frame no hypotheses."

Is that more clear?
someguy1
Member
 
Posts: 520
Joined: 08 Nov 2013


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby Braininvat on May 20th, 2017, 9:42 am 

DeBBT also has what Einstein called ghost fields ("gespensterfelder"), which are pilot waves zinging about without a point particle of any kind. AKA "empty wavefunction". Am curious if that would adversely affect claims that it is more a realist theory than others. While these waves do satisfy realism in the sense of "exist independently of the observer," I wonder if that is sufficient a criterion for realism. And of course there's that whole nonlocality business, too.

Mod note:

1. When I clean up offtopic material, I will miss stuff. PM me, if you see something.

2. We have a whole forum for feedback and complaints. Feel always free to use it.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5599
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby hyksos on May 20th, 2017, 4:25 pm 

someguy1 » May 20th, 2017, 8:38 am wrote:Hyskos if I understand your point about the rotations, are you thinking I'm saying complex rotations are explanatory or causative of reality? Nothing of the sort. I believe I was only noting the peculiar descriptive power of abstract math to model aspects of the world. Like Newton dealing with the same issue, "I frame no hypotheses."

Is that more clear?

I watched a video that is an interview with Stephen Weinberg. The interview is long and goes really deep into physics as a science. In the interview, Weinberg he talks about Dirac. It turns out Dirac was some sort of mathematical mystic, on par with Plato. (news to me. I didn't know this even a few days ago.)

More importantly is what he says about physics in general. There seems to be some sort of aesthetic aspect to theoretical physics. Something to do with beauty. Weinberg used the examples of the distance from the earth to the sun. Could you, using only mathematics -- derive an expected value of the distance from the earth to the sun starting from First Principles? Of course not. That distance is an environmental accident. There are billions of other planets, around billions of other stars. They will have some distribution of distances from their host star. But why that value and not another? We don't expect some Ultimate Explanation for such things.

(1)
When a theoritician uncovers a theory, and the theory is "ugly", and has lots of arbitrary aspects fitted together in a strange and inelegant way ... he reacts to this by doubting the theory. Even more, he says there must exist some deeper explanation for this ugliness.

(2)
When the same physicist finds a principle in the universe which is "beautiful" and "simple" he says to himself : "oh well that is very pretty. That must be the explanation!"

It appears that in science, the distinction between a mere theory (which works and is ugly) and a theory which acts as an explanation, is a knife edge. The key distinction is literally ... beauty, simplicity, harmony. The distinction is completely psychological, even (:gulp:) emotional.

I found this whole idea to dovetail with your earlier viewpoint. That the universe is random and indetermined de novo. Physicists are trying to pick out shapes of constellations in it.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: 28 Nov 2014
BraininvatBadgerJelly liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 20th, 2017, 6:35 pm 

hyksos » May 21st, 2017, 5:25 am wrote:I watched a video that is an interview with Stephen Weinberg. The interview is long and goes really deep into physics as a science. In the interview, Weinberg he talks about Dirac. It turns out Dirac was some sort of mathematical mystic, on par with Plato. (news to me. I didn't know this even a few days ago.)

More importantly is what he says about physics in general. There seems to be some sort of aesthetic aspect to theoretical physics. Something to do with beauty. Weinberg used the examples of the distance from the earth to the sun. Could you, using only mathematics -- derive an expected value of the distance from the earth to the sun starting from First Principles? Of course not. That distance is an environmental accident. There are billions of other planets, around billions of other stars. They will have some distribution of distances from their host star. But why that value and not another? We don't expect some Ultimate Explanation for such things.

(1)
When a theoritician uncovers a theory, and the theory is "ugly", and has lots of arbitrary aspects fitted together in a strange and inelegant way ... he reacts to this by doubting the theory. Even more, he says there must exist some deeper explanation for this ugliness.

(2)
When the same physicist finds a principle in the universe which is "beautiful" and "simple" he says to himself : "oh well that is very pretty. That must be the explanation!"

It appears that in science, the distinction between a mere theory (which works and is ugly) and a theory which acts as an explanation, is a knife edge. The key distinction is literally ... beauty, simplicity, harmony. The distinction is completely psychological, even (:gulp:) emotional.

I found this whole idea to dovetail with your earlier viewpoint. That the universe is random and indetermined de novo. Physicists are trying to pick out shapes of constellations in it.




You're certainly right, Hyksos, that some physicists -- Weinberg and Einstein come to my mind -- regard the beauty of a theory as more than just an aesthetic bonus. The connection they draw, though, is not, in my opinion, between simplicity/beauty and explanation, as you suggest, but between simplicity/beauty and truth.

All else being equal, every one of us, except the sadist perhaps, will select the simpler of two rival theories on purely pragmatic grounds. After all, the simpler the theory, the easier it is to use (who would choose a slide rule over a pocket calculator?), hence the earlier we can knock off work and head down to the Newton and Apple for a few ciders. Scientists like Weinberg and Einstein, though, take matters a step further: pragmatic perks aside, simple beauty betokens truth.

A student who was working for Einstein in 1919 gave the following account: "Once when I was with Einstein in order to read with him a work that contained many objections against his theory... he suddenly interrupted the discussion of the book, reached for a telegram that was lying on the windowsill, and handed it to me with the words, 'Here, this will perhaps interest you.' It was Eddington's cable with the results of measurement of the eclipse expedition [1919]. When I was giving expression to my joy that the results coincided with his calculations, he said quite unmoved, 'But I knew that the theory was correct', and when I asked, what if there had been no confirmation of his prediction, he countered, 'Then I would have been sorry for the dear Lord -- the theory is correct.' "

-- quoted in "Philosophical Concepts in Physics", James T. Cushing

When you've created something as pretty as General Relativity, testing and confirmation are, apparently, quite redundant.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby Braininvat on May 20th, 2017, 9:03 pm 

I suspect Albert was joking.

That's not to say I don't agree that aesthetics is a powerful force in physics.

But it's possible that "simple beauty betokens truth" has it backwards, and rather that it was Einstein's perception of internal consistency and true relationships between values that conferred beauty. A Brandenburg concerto has tones, rests, intervals, sequences that are deeply logical - it's truth (if you will, and maybe you won't) generates its beauty.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5599
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby NoShips on May 20th, 2017, 9:28 pm 

Braininvat » May 21st, 2017, 10:03 am wrote:I suspect Albert was joking.

That's not to say I don't agree that aesthetics is a powerful force in physics.


Hmm, I'm not so sure, BiV. Newton said very similar things. I paraphrase (on the grounds I can't be bothered hunting down the sources)...

Dude: Hey, Mr Newton. My figures on the movements of the Moon seem at odds with your theory.

Sir Isaac : Then go check your figures. They're wrong.

Braininvat » May 21st, 2017, 10:03 am wrote:But it's possible that "simple beauty betokens truth" has it backwards, and rather that it was Einstein's perception of internal consistency and true relationships between values that conferred beauty. A Brandenburg concerto has tones, rests, intervals, sequences that are deeply logical - it's truth (if you will, and maybe you won't) generates its beauty.



It seems eminently plausible to me that Einstein's aesthetic delight derived from, as you say, factors such as internal consistency, and in particular, the tightness of that consistency (a quality beyond my own ability to appraise but often remarked on by experts). We agree then that consistency confers beauty. But I'd still argue that it is beauty that betokens truth (for people like Einstein) and not vice versa.

Which one sounds more natural to you, BiV:

(i) It's beautiful therefore it's true, or
(ii) It's true therefore it's beautiful

Speaking personally, consistency alone seems insufficient to infer truth. After all, a good novel, a Brandenburg concerto, or the ravings of a paranoid maniac might be perfectly internally consistent, yet entirely divorced from truth and reality.

Unless, of course, you were to renounce the traditional idea of truth as correspondence to reality and define it in terms of maximal consistency.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby Braininvat on May 20th, 2017, 10:58 pm 

No, I have no desire to retreat back to a Cartesian a priori and all that purity. But I think we should be careful in defining what we mean by "beauty" in the context of scientific theories. When an Einstein or other theoretician talks about "elegance" (the term I encounter more than "beauty"), they mean something more like "logically consistent with the larger body of theory AND making accurate predictions of future observations while making the least number of assumptions AND accounting for the regular patterns of nature in a way that satisfies our hunger for a deeper intuition about how it all works." A theoretician might say that all that sort of elegance inclines towards the truth, but can never fully claim it, given that nature can sometimes be quirky and/or perverse and/or (as Hyksos pointed to) more random and indetermined than we planned for it to be. So, it seems to me that science's "elegance" is more than just another pretty face. At least, I hope so. :-)

DeBroglie/Bohm's pilot wave theory is, to me, an example of something that satisfies empirical adequacy but has rough and inelegant patches, e.g. the gespensterfelder I mentioned previously, the empty ghost waves that are presumed to be zipping all around us and yet completely indetectable since they are attached to no actual particle. Per John S Bell, if we have one universe and it is entirely causal, then we have to bring in the black magic of nonlocality. A giant pudding that instantly disseminates the rules for where each tapioca may be stationed. The tapiocas can only communicate at the speed of light, but the giant pudding knows all in an instant. Elegance is hard to find.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5599
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby dandelion on May 21st, 2017, 3:05 pm 

Regading a question I asked, Mitchell hasn’t returned so will add that I think some different interpretations may be grouped as Everett-like, (e.g., the table of contents here, http://www.iep.utm.edu/everett/), yet may differ a lot including regarding determinacy, e.g., (a paper linked at the forum previously) - https://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.04711.pdf .
dandelion
Member
 
Posts: 293
Joined: 02 May 2014


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby Braininvat on May 21st, 2017, 3:40 pm 

That seems very likely, since not all forms of Everett QM call for MW. Observation could be a random selection of an eigenstate, an epistemic pull on a slot machine. The way we see this false collapse of the wavefunction could be a pseudoevent that is acausal. What we call the universe could be a series of randomly selected eigenstates in an eternal superposition that "contains" them all. (Personally, I don't like Everett or the MWH that arose from his paper)
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5599
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby mitchellmckain on May 24th, 2017, 6:47 pm 

Braininvat » May 18th, 2017, 7:06 pm wrote:Have to say, I've never heard de Broglie-Bohm shot down in a convincing way.

I certainly have.

The idea of a pilot wave idea was originally suggested by deBroglie, who abandoned it when it failed to answer critical challenges by other physicists, and made him look foolish. The challenges came from inelastic scattering, relativistic quantum mechanics and Quantum field theory. Bohm resurrected the idea as a means to concoct a classical theory that would reproduce the non-relativistic aspects of quantum mechanics, but since the original objections remained unanswered it couldn't be taken seriously by the scientific community. Furthermore, it made the wave functions of the Schrodinger formulation a physical reality which doesn't quite ring true in the face of the alternate formulation by Heisenberg using matrix mechanics. Thus it looks like a cobbled together hack facade which fails exactly where you would expect such a thing to fail which is when you try to make it relativistic and applicable to fields. Thus it has become the cheesy (as in full of holes like Swiss cheese) refuge of those wanting to stubbornly cling to physical determinism.

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.10 ... 12060/meta

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-b ... iHInevNonl

http://motls.blogspot.com/2013/07/bohmi ... ature.html

http://settheory.net/Bohm

The last of these is a little heavy on the rhetoric and philosophy and does not have my full endorsement, but it does make some illustrative comparisons which might appeal so some people.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 565
Joined: 27 Oct 2016
Braininvat liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby Dave_Oblad on May 25th, 2017, 12:53 am 

Hi all,

Quick question:

In all these theories of superposition, it always seems that the only choice is that a particle must exist in both states (Spin-Up and Spin-Down) simultaneously.

Why have I never read a theory that such may rapidly alternate between two possible states? That the act of measuring such breaks the mechanics of alternation.. leaving such in a continuous determined state thereafter?

Regards,
Dave :^)
User avatar
Dave_Oblad
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3208
Joined: 08 Sep 2010
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Blog: View Blog (2)
Braininvat liked this post


Re: Interpretations and Consensus

Postby mitchellmckain on May 25th, 2017, 12:01 pm 

Dave_Oblad » May 24th, 2017, 11:53 pm wrote:Hi all,

Quick question:

In all these theories of superposition, it always seems that the only choice is that a particle must exist in both states (Spin-Up and Spin-Down) simultaneously.

Why have I never read a theory that such may rapidly alternate between two possible states? That the act of measuring such breaks the mechanics of alternation.. leaving such in a continuous determined state thereafter?

I don't see how such a rapid alternation makes anything better. It sounds about the same as the idea it exists in the two states simultaneously. It certainly doesn't change the issue of determinism but shifts the question to what is causing these alternations? Furthermore if this is an alternation with some measurable period then it runs afoul of the findings with regards to Bell's inequality for that would count as a hidden variable. Remember this isn't just about spin up and down for you can have a superposition of a particle in two different places. This is how quantum tunneling works. In that case, this idea of rapid alternation sounds even more far fetched than the idea of the particle being in both places at the same time.


This does work to some degree in Chaos theory, however -- in fact there are specific examples of this, where the process of bifurcation consists of alternation.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 565
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Next

Return to Physics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

cron