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Post 20

Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 11:20amSanction this postReply
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Bill, ok, I'll try then to answer your post bit by bit.

Notice, Cal, that you are invoking "principles" here. A principle is a generalization, which however much it is based on empirical observation, extends beyond the range of what is given in immediate perception, thereby enabling us to predict what will happen in the future. The implicit premise behind such a generalization is that the same things must act the same way under the same conditions. It is the principle of necessity in causation. To say that A causes B is to say that A necessitates B; it is to say that given A, B must happen. This does not imply anything a priori, however.

Did I say anything different? Note that your statement doesn't say anything about the character of B
It is simply the law of identity applied to action. And the law of identity is implicit in perception.
Arguments based on the law of identity are meaningless, you can't prove anything with that law.
o be is to possess identity, and a thing's identity just is its attributes (which include its behavior). Under certain conditions, a certain entity will possess certain attributes. If, under the same conditions, it does not possess those attributes, then it is not the same thing. This is an indispensable principle of all reasoning.
Why? This statement is so vague that it becomes meaningless. Even in the macroscopic world things change, even under the same circumstances, and with them some attributes will change too. A snowflake will melt and an egg will hatch (or start to rot, depending on the circumstances). You may try to circumvent this by extending the "circumstances" to the complete internal state of the entity, but that would imply that the entity after a fraction of a second is no longer the same entity, which seems to me hardly a satisfactory solution. One of the attributes of subatomic particles is their random behavior (the “B” above), which you’ll always observe.
If I own a red Toyota, which is parked in my driveway, and next morning find a black Ferrari parked there, it is not rational for me to infer that it is the same car, albeit with different attributes.
Does that in any way contradict my argument?
To reply that this refers to macroscopic entities is to miss the point, which is that even macroscopic principles are impossible without the underlying presupposition of causal necessity.
This sentence doesn't make sense to me. Of course the point is that your example is a macroscopic example and of course in the macroscopic world the classical causality holds, that was exactly my point. For many centuries this has seemed to be the only possibility while all the evidence always has confirmed this principle, and that is the reason that we've come to see it as an absolute principle. However, when we were able to study subatomic particles, we discovered that in that domain this principle no longer applies; the fact that it has worked so long and so well for us is no reason to extrapolate it to the subatomic realm if the experimental evidence tells us differently, it was time to check our premises.
Even something as simple as the acceleration of a free falling body (10 meters per second each second) relies on this principle, which is a prerequisite of scientific induction, and one that cannot therefore be abandoned at the quantum level.
Again I don't understand what your argument here is. If you mean to imply that classical mechanics is valid in the subatomic realm, you're dead wrong.
What you appear to be defending is a kind of radical empiricism reminiscent of David Hume. If you go that route, you will have to surrender causality not only at the quantum level but at all levels of physical behavior.
Not at all. QM predicts that the behavior of macroscopic systems will follow the classical causality rules, so what's the problem?

Post 21

Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 10:27pmSanction this postReply
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Okay, let me go back to Post 9 in which Cal stated:
This is no a priori "must", it is an observed fact that the behavior of particles follows those statistical probabilities. If a physicist says that a particle "must" do this or that under those circumstances, he means that empirical evidence has shown that particles invariably behave in that manner, and not that there is some philosophical principle that makes such behavior necessary.
If all the physicist means when he says that a particle (or any other physical entity) "must" do this or that under those circumstances is that empirical evidence has shown that particles invariably behave in that manner, then he is not saying precisely what he means, because to say that something "must" act a certain way under certain conditions is not simply to say that it has (in the past) invariably behaved that way; rather, it is to say that it will, under the same conditions, behave that way in the future. That is precisely what a "law" of nature is; it tells us not how a thing has invariably behaved, but how it will or must behave under relevantly similar circumstances. The law that a free falling body accelerates at the rate of 10 meters per second squared is not simply a statement that free falling bodies have invariably behaved that way; it is a statement that they must (qua free falling bodies) behave that way in the future.

Hume has famously arguing that just because something behaved a certain way in the past is no indication that it will behave that way in the future. All we can ascertain from empirical observation, he held, is that things did behave a certain way; we cannot, on the strength of empirical observation alone, say that they will behave that way in the future, even if we assume that all of the relevant circumstances are identical. That, he argued, would be going beyond empirical observation into the realm of rational speculation, for which we have no empirical justification. In fact, said Hume, we can't even say that things will probably behave a certain way, because even probabilities are based on the inference that we have some reason for believing not just that they've behaved that way in the past, but that they will probably do so in the future, which empirical observation cannot by itself provide. If, for example, a meteorologist forecasts a 90% chance of rain, his forecast is based not simply on the empirical observation of a low pressure front moving into the area, but also on the principle that similar causes (low air pressure) will have similar effects (a greater likelihood of rain). But, according to Hume, all that empirical evidence can tell us is that certain events did occur. It cannot tell us that they will occur or are even likely to do so. Whereas we can reason from the general to the particular - from how something behaves in all cases to how it will behave in some cases, we cannot, he argued, reason from the particular to the general - from how something behaves in some cases to how it will behave in all cases. For example, we can infer from the generalization that free falling bodies accelerate at the rate of 10 meters per second squared that this free falling body in particular will accelerate at that rate. But we cannot infer from the fact that this free falling body accelerated at the rate of 10 meters per second squared, that all free falling bodies will do so.

Fortunately, Objectivism provides the perfect counter to Hume in terms of the law of identity. Because a thing's identity just is its attributes (since there is no "substratum" underlying and uniting them), if a thing has the attribute of behaving a certain way under certain conditions, then it will possess that attribute whenever it exists under those conditions, and accordingly, we can infer how it will behave in the future, given a recurrence of those conditions. Not that Rand is the first philosopher to have identified this principle as the basis of induction. Aristotelian logician H.W.B. Joseph did so, in his insightful book, An Introduction to Logic (1906).

So, when you say,
Such philosophical principles are ultimately derived from empirical evidence,
you are only half right, because without a recognition of the relevance of the law of identity and of the fact that the same thing must possess the same attributes under the same conditions, empirical evidence does not enable us to reason from the particular to the general. Similarly, when you say
and it is empirical evidence that has shown that principles that work for macroscopic systems do not work for subatomic systems,
you are ignoring the fact that it is not simply empirical evidence that justifies macroscopic principles, but rather empirical evidence along with the principle of induction, which is itself based on the principle of identity.

In Post 15, I wrote, "To be is to possess identity, and a thing's identity just is its attributes (which include its behavior). Under certain conditions, a certain entity will possess certain attributes. If, under the same conditions, it does not possess those attributes, then it is not the same thing. This is an indispensable principle of all reasoning. Cal replied,
Why? This statement is so vague that it becomes meaningless. Even in the macroscopic world things change, even under the same circumstances, and with them some attributes will change too.
Yes, things change, but their changing is itself an action that takes place under a given set of conditions. The law of identity states that if you reproduce those conditions exactly, including the condition of the entity itself, then you will have the same action. For example, the flowered plant on my desk is gradually changing, the flowers in various stages of growth and decay, so the plant's action today is different from its action yesterday, even though its external environment is essentially the same, but if we were to reproduce the conditions in which it existed yesterday, including its stage of development at that time, then it would take the same action.
A snowflake will melt and an egg will hatch (or start to rot, depending on the circumstances). You may try to circumvent this by extending the "circumstances" to the complete internal state of the entity, but that would imply that the entity after a fraction of a second is no longer the same entity, which seems to me hardly a satisfactory solution.
I'm using "same entity" to mean exactly the same, with exactly the same attributes. So what I am saying is that given exactly the same causes (i.e., exactly the same entity and conditions), the same effects must ensue. That's the underlying premise that makes causal generalization possible and in the absence of which, it is impossible.
One of the attributes of subatomic particles is their random behavior..., which you’ll always observe.
Random behavior is not, strictly speaking, an attribute of the object; it is an attribute of the object's appearance. The object appears to behave randomly, which simply reflects our incomplete knowledge of the entity and its conditions. For example: "Watch the movements of a waterfall, how it breaks into a thousand parts which seem to shift and hang, and pause and hurry, first one, and then another, so that the whole never presents quite the same face twice; yet there is not a particle of water whose path is not absolutely determined by the forces acting on it in accordance with quite simple mechanical laws. No one would suppose that because these mechanical laws are unchanging, the waterfall must wear a monotonous and unchanging face; and so it is, on a larger scale, with the course of nature. Nature is uniform in the sense that under like conditions like events occur..." (Joseph, An Introduction to Logic, p. 402)

I wrote, "If I own a red Toyota, which is parked in my driveway, and next morning find a black Ferrari parked there, it is not rational for me to infer that it is the same car, albeit with different attributes." Cal replied,
Does that in any way contradict my argument?
The only point I was making is that an entity is its attributes. If you agree with this, then we are one step closer to agreement on the broader issue. I wrote, "To reply that this refers to macroscopic entities is to miss the point, which is that even macroscopic principles are impossible without the underlying presupposition of causal necessity." Cal replied,
This sentence doesn't make sense to me. Of course the point is that your example is a macroscopic example and of course in the macroscopic world the classical causality holds, that was exactly my point. For many centuries this has seemed to be the only possibility while all the evidence always has confirmed this principle, and that is the reason that we've come to see it as an absolute principle. However, when we were able to study subatomic particles, we discovered that in that domain this principle no longer applies; the fact that it has worked so long and so well for us is no reason to extrapolate it to the subatomic realm if the experimental evidence tells us differently, it was time to check our premises.
But the "experimental evidence" doesn't tell us differently. Evidence has to be interpreted in accordance with an underlying principle of induction in order to have any meaning at all. But it is that very principle of induction that is incompatible with metaphysical randomness. The action of the ball on a roulette wheel is random to the casual observer, because he is not privy to all of the forces acting on it, but in reality its action is governed by strict causality. It is no different for subatomic particles, however random their behavior appears to the observer. Like probability, randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical.

- Bill


Post 22

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 6:04amSanction this postReply
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Glenn Wrote:

I don't believe that a microscopic particle has no trajectory until the wave function is collapsed by a measurement, whatever that means.
You need reasons for this belief.  Faith in Objectivism doesn't count.  You mention Bohm in your "other interpretations".  Bohm went well beyond the realm of the empirical and had all kinds of unsupported whackiness involving superluminal signaling and other strangeness that seems to me like crackpot nonsense.

Bob


Post 23

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 6:46amSanction this postReply
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Bob said:
You need reasons for this belief.  Faith in Objectivism doesn't count.  You mention Bohm in your "other interpretations".  Bohm went well beyond the realm of the empirical and had all kinds of unsupported whackiness involving superluminal signaling and other strangeness that seems to me like crackpot nonsense.

O-Kay.  I can see that I've met my match here.  I bow to your superior knowledge of the interpretations of QM and withdraw to reconsider my understanding of how the universe works.


Post 24

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 9:36amSanction this postReply
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Well Glenn,

I'm not on the cutting edge of physics myself, and I'm not going to pretend that I know enough (or have enough time) to make an analytical argument against Bohm.  My education in physics, perhaps for the worse, stuck to the mainstream.  I will however, remind you of some of Bohm's positions.

Bohm believes that there is an underlying cosmic intelligence that supplies the information

Bohm also senses a new development. The individual is in total contact with the Implicate Order, the individual is part of the whole of mankind, and he is the "focus for something beyond mankind." Using the analogy of the transformation of the atom ultimately into a power and chain reaction, Bohm believes that the individual who uses inner energy and intelligence can transform mankind. The collectivity of individuals have reached the "principle of the consciousness of mankind," but they have not quite the "energy to reach the whole, to put it all on fire.

Continuing with this theme on the transformation of consciousness, Bohm goes on to suggest that an intense heightening of individuals who have shaken off the "pollution of the ages" (wrong worldviews that propagate ignorance), who come into close and trusting relationship with one another, can begin to generate the immense power needed to ignite the whole consciousness of the world.


So, is that enough of an "OOOO--Kay" there for ya? 


So, you have the nerve to question my intellectual abilities and at the same time you cite and believe this goofball?  Have you ever actually looked into Bohm's work ?

Bob

(Edited by Mr Bob Mac on 4/24, 9:41am)


Post 25

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 9:50amSanction this postReply
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Bob Mac, how about Feynman?  I mentioned this before, but it is an alternate explanation:

The path integral formulation of quantum mechanics was developed in 1948 by Richard Feynman.  It is a description of quantum theory which generalizes the action principle of classical mechanics.
 
I think this qualifies as valid.  The point is, there is, as of yet, no unified field theory.  That means that somewhere, somehow, everyone is missing something.  Problem not yet solved.
 
Bill is simply pointing out that scientifically calling it "magic" is not an explanation.  Essentially, that is what these guys were doing.


Post 26

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 11:55amSanction this postReply
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Bob said:
So, you have the nerve to question my intellectual abilities and at the same time you cite and believe this goofball?  Have you ever actually looked into Bohm's work ?

Bob: It's obvious to me that you have nothing to teach me about this topic and that you have no interest in learning anything about it.  So, give me one good reason why I should continue this dialog.
Glenn


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Post 27

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 1:22pmSanction this postReply
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Listen Glenn, I'm cynical and impatient about this topic and I'll admit that.

I'll also admit that I have neither the time nor the ability (have moved out of the physics world some time ago) to criticise or appreciate Bohm's work in an analytical way.  I stopped, perhaps prematurely, caring about what he had to say when I read his nonsensical (to me at least) ramblings about holiness and collective consciousness and other stuff that seemed liked unfounded speculation to me.

Anyway, I'm also cynical that any Objectivist would have an open mind regarding a branch of science that seemed to contradict Objectivism and this would be reason enough to dismiss it.  Empirical evidence be damned.

I found a quote in a 2003 paper (interestingly from the University where I got my physics degree) that summed it up well. 

"

Although it is not the primary motivation for interest in

Bohmian theories, let us consider the issue of determinism first. If two predictively

equivalent theories are equally well supported by the evidence, then choice between

them—if a choice must be made at all—becomes a matter of personal taste, and those

with a taste for determinism may indeed find non-locality a small price to pay. If,

however, the methodological principle suggested above—that, ceteris paribus, a theory

that does not introduce asymmetries not present in the phenomena is less well

supported by those phenomena—is a reasonable one, then theories that, like the Bohm

theory, introduce a preferred reference frame, are at an evidential disadvantage. We

should ask whether this disadvantage is compensated for by the restoration of determinism.

To ask this is to ask whether the evidence for determinism is sufficient to

compensate for the evidential debit incurred by the introduction of a preferred reference

frame. The answer to this question seems clearly to be negative; there is really nothing

that counts as evidence that the world is deterministic at the fundamental level."

 
So, if it makes you feel better, then have faith in determinism.

Bob


Post 28

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 1:38pmSanction this postReply
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Kurt:

No argument that QM is incomplete. 

Didn't Feynman have some type of vector theory of waves and other ideas that were proven to be wrong?  I don't remember...

I do not know what the implications of path integrals (only roughly remember them) have on determinism.

Bob

(Edited by Mr Bob Mac on 4/24, 1:46pm)


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Post 29

Monday, April 24, 2006 - 5:07pmSanction this postReply
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Bill:
you are ignoring the fact that it is not simply empirical evidence that justifies macroscopic principles, but rather empirical evidence along with the principle of induction, which is itself based on the principle of identity.
No, I'm not ignoring that fact, of course we use induction to form a scientific theory. But despite the success of that method, it doesn't guarantee us that will always give the correct result. It was once the scientific consensus that atoms are stable entities, that transmutation of elements was impossible - one of the properties of atoms was that they never changed into another atom. Until radioactivity was discovered.

Another point is that even if we arrive via induction based on the experimental evidence at general rules for the behavior of Toyota cars, falling stones and the like, this doesn't necessarily imply that the same rules will hold for the completely different realm of subatomic particles. Of course we might at first tentatively suppose that those Toyota rules also apply in this case, but when the experimental evidence shows us that this is incorrect, we have to conclude that our premise that the Toyota rules apply to all entities in the world was false, just as we've discovered that the notion of an absolute time, which seemed universally valid isn't valid at all.

Random behavior is not, strictly speaking, an attribute of the object; it is an attribute of the object's appearance. The object appears to behave randomly, which simply reflects our incomplete knowledge of the entity and its conditions. For example: "Watch the movements of a waterfall, how it breaks into a thousand parts which seem to shift and hang, and pause and hurry, first one, and then another, so that the whole never presents quite the same face twice; yet there is not a particle of water whose path is not absolutely determined by the forces acting on it in accordance with quite simple mechanical laws. No one would suppose that because these mechanical laws are unchanging, the waterfall must wear a monotonous and unchanging face; and so it is, on a larger scale, with the course of nature. Nature is uniform in the sense that under like conditions like events occur..." (Joseph, An Introduction to Logic, p. 402)

Yes, classical systems may seem to be random, while they still are completely deterministic. But there is a big difference with QM, in which the randomness is not the quasi-randomness that is caused by the lack of information, but an real randomness that can't be reduced to a deterministic system. "Hidden variable" theories, like Bohm's theory won't help, as those hidden variables are in principle undetectable. In the experiment with the Mach-Zehnder interferometer, where it is impossible to determine for a superposition state whether the particle follows path A or path B, Bohm suggests that the particle does follow one of these paths, but it is still in principle impossible to determine which path that is, so it is in principle unverifiable and has therefore no physical content. Apart from that does Bohm's theory have its own problems, like instantaneous action at a distance, which would imply the possibility of an effect preceding the cause in time (no doubt Objectivists will love that). Further Bohm's theory can't be applied to quantumelectrodynamics, the most succesful branch of QM with its incredibly accurate predictions, so it's no wonder that his theory is largely ignored by the scientific community. Further, as Bob already indicated, it may be interesting to know that Bohm embraced mysticism, that he thought that his theory implied some New-Age holism, in which the whole universe is one big hologram, which could explain psi "phenomena" like psychokinesis; to quote Bohm: " On this basis, psychokinesis could arise if the mental processes of one or more people were focused on meanings that were in harmony with those guiding the basic processes of the material systems in which this psychokinesis was to be brought about."
But the "experimental evidence" doesn't tell us differently.
Yes, it does.
Evidence has to be interpreted in accordance with an underlying principle of induction in order to have any meaning at all. But it is that very principle of induction that is incompatible with metaphysical randomness.
No it isn't. You can't prove that induction will give deterministic results, that is an extra assumption based on our macroscopic world experience that doesn't work in the subatomic realm. Nevertheless induction works also there, quantum randomness doesn't imply that "anything can happen". On the contrary, the results are highly reproducible (and that's what induction is about), only not at a deterministic level but at a statistical level. The unparalleled success of QM is the proof of the pudding.

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Post 30

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 6:11amSanction this postReply
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Thanks Cal for nice clear explanation of the hidden variable implications.

I admit that I get frustrated a bit too easily these days, but I don't think it's entirely unfounded.  I don't think I'm wrong when I question the motives of those who dismiss these concepts because of a violation of an apparent "self-evident" law of Objectivism.

The truth is, that if ultimately a deterministic model were to prevail it would not be any kind of crisis for me.  The truth is the goal.  If QM is ultimately bunk, so be it. 

I do not believe this is the case for many folks who have a large "intellectual investment" in Objectivism.  If a non-deterministic model were to prevail, this would be a big problem.  I think therefore that in these matters, the discourse if often irrational and emotional because of this.  Defending Objectivism becomes paramount, truth and evidence secondary.  All the while, there exists an undercurrent of "monopoly on reason", while in fact dismissing evidence and reason.  This angers me - maybe it shouldn't.

The bottom line is that the refusal to at least keep an open mind on non-deterministic models in the face of all of the evidence is simply highly irrational.  I cannot see it any other way.  You can have a hunch that a deterministic model will prevail, but to ASSUME that the other interpretations are wrong is not acceptable.  Right now, it is a matter of personal taste and therefore all should have an open mind.

Physics is ultimately the search for real truth.  It's a human endeavour with all its politics and other problems, but it is ultimately a much purer source of truth than Objectivism ever could be.  I wish I was more current in my physics understanding so I could do more analytical discussion.  Oh well, time to dig up some old (and new) books and get down to some reading.  Any suggestions?

Bob


Post 31

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 6:19amSanction this postReply
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William Wrote:

But it is that very principle of induction that is incompatible with metaphysical randomness. The action of the ball on a roulette wheel is random to the casual observer, because he is not privy to all of the forces acting on it, but in reality its action is governed by strict causality. It is no different for subatomic particles, however random their behavior appears to the observer. Like probability, randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical.

This is not a line of reasoning.  This is simply an assertion that is not supported by evidence.

Bob


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Post 32

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 6:34amSanction this postReply
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Cal said:
...Bohm suggests that the particle does follow one of these paths, but it is still in principle impossible to determine which path that is, so it is in principle unverifiable and has therefore no physical content.  [Bold emphasis added.]
Finally, Cal, you show your true colors.  : )  You're a logical positivist!  I didn't know there were any of your species left.

Cal goes on to say:
Apart from that does Bohm's theory have its own problems, like instantaneous action at a distance, which would imply the possibility of an effect preceding the cause in time (no doubt Objectivists will love that). Further Bohm's theory can't be applied to quantumelectrodynamics, the most succesful branch of QM with its incredibly accurate predictions, so it's no wonder that his theory is largely ignored by the scientific community.
I can't tell if you are over-simplifying for your audience (like Bob), or you just don't understand Bohm's theory.  But you got it all wrong.  Read Maudlin's book, Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity, now in its second edition.  Who says that Bohm's theory can't be applied to QED, whatever that means?  And that's not the reason the scientific community largely ignores Bohm's theory.  Read Cushing's book, Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony.

Oh, and Bob: you still haven't said anything that would make me want to continue a dialog with you on this topic.

Glenn


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Post 33

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 7:50amSanction this postReply
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Rather than using an ad hominem in calling Cal a logical positivist, let me address something he said in post #29.  He said:
Yes, classical systems may seem to be random, while they still are completely deterministic. But there is a big difference with QM, in which the randomness is not the quasi-randomness that is caused by the lack of information, but an real randomness that can't be reduced to a deterministic system. "Hidden variable" theories, like Bohm's theory won't help, as those hidden variables are in principle undetectable.  [Italics in the original.]
The key point that I argue is wrong is the statement that "those hidden variables are in principle undetectable".  Bohm's theory assumes that the hidden variables are the positions of the particles.  The particles propagate according to a deterministic equation (as is also assumed in traditional QM; the Schrödinger equation itself is a deterministic equation).  But, in order to predict where the particles will go, one needs the initial conditions; i.e., the initial positions of the particles.  These are in practice undetectable, because the measurement process would disturb the initial positions.  The randomness for microscopic particles in the Bohm theory, is, like in classical systems, due to a "lack of information".  As Bill Dwyer has been saying, the randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical.

Cal seems to think that this difference doesn't matter because "it is in principle unverifiable and has therefore no physical content".  But the philosophical consequences are important.  In fact, that is what these discussions have been about.
Glenn


Post 34

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 8:08amSanction this postReply
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Glenn wrote:

...The randomness for microscopic particles in the Bohm theory, is, like in classical systems, due to a "lack of information".  As Bill Dwyer has been saying, the randomness is epistemological, not metaphysical.


Cal seems to think that this difference doesn't matter because "it is in principle unverifiable and has therefore no physical content".  But the philosophical consequences are important.  In fact, that is what these discussions have been about.
No, he asserted a completely opposite viewpoint.

"But there is a big difference with QM, in which the randomness is not the quasi-randomness that is caused by the lack of information, but an real randomness that can't be reduced to a deterministic system."

Bob



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Post 35

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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Glenn,

You insult Cal because he has a distrust of the unmeasureable or unobservable?

Oh, and Bob: you still haven't said anything that would make me want to continue a dialog with you on this topic.
You assume I care?  All you've done is be an abrasive, condescending jerk - not just to me.  Maybe you know much more about this stuff than I, but you have contributed very little other than insults.  Do you have valid reasons that QM is inferior to Bohm?  Maybe I wouldn't understand intitially, but I'd like to try.

Why am I (we) off base for being highly skeptical about a mystic that went off the deep end after being fired from Princeton?  Why are the theories superior?  More accurate predictions? Superior evidence? What?
 
Don't respond if you don't want to, I really don't care, but at least I've made some assertions (some of which I need to correct as I know now I'm wrong about something) but let's be clear that you have not actually said much of anything yet.

Here's a question I'd love to have answered (by anyone).  Doesn't Bohm's theory also require a large break(s) from the standard Objectivist postion as well?

Bob


Post 36

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 9:49amSanction this postReply
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Bob Mac - Thanks for your post 30. It doesn't seem Oism would fundamentally be at odds with a universe with fixed natural laws but random inputs at the QM level, so I don't consider the philosophy and science incompatible. You did a good job showing the true concern here, of having to choose if you ever reach a point where you see science and philosophy in conflict.


Post 37

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 11:39amSanction this postReply
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Let me ask a basic question of the more learned ones...

The simple double slit experiment has indeed been taken from the thought world into reality so that is accepted fact that a single electron will interfere with itself.  Right?  In high school physics this was used to demonstrate wave-particle duality.

I always took this to mean that indeed something that might be described really wierd or at least counter-intuitive was happening.  It raises some questions...

Is the electron in two places at once?
Is the nature of an electron such that it occupies an arbitrary anount of space in this instance?
Is the electron truly both a particle and a wave and not one or the other?
Space and time are not what we think they are?

Other comments/implications?

Then, a more profound theory - Bell's inequality, calls into question logic, reality observation independence, and/or locality.  Correct so far? 

Damn I'm rusty with this stuff, but I want to try to wrap my head around it again.

Bob


Post 38

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 11:44amSanction this postReply
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Aaron,

I'm not clear with where or if you see the potential conflict.  Only with QM?

Bob


Post 39

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 11:47amSanction this postReply
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Bob,
The only statements I made to Cal that could possibly be misunderstood as insulting are in post #32:
Finally, Cal, you show your true colors.  : )  You're a logical positivist!  I didn't know there were any of your species left
and
I can't tell if you are over-simplifying for your audience (like Bob), or you just don't understand Bohm's theory.
The first is an insult only if you have as little regard for logical positivists as I do.  But, I put the little smiley face in there, so it can't be an insult.  The second is a statement of fact.  I can't tell why he got it wrong, but he did, and I suggested two possible reasons.

You are the only other one on this thread that I have addressed.  Let's see if I was justified in being "an abrasive, condescending jerk " to you.  You have accused me, through innuendo, of not knowing any physics because I don't accept the party line in QM.  You've accused me of willingly ignoring "the search for real truth" in order to rationalize my Objectivist philosophy.  And finally, after I've made an effort to explain my agreement with Bohm's theory, and after repeated admissions on your part that you don't know much about it, you tell me: "let's be clear that you have not actually said much of anything yet".  Yeah, I was justified.


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