Bell's superdeterminism compared to determinism

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It's being discussed in another thread but I really think clarification is in place.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdeterminism

I've known about Bells quote for years but I never got what his point was.

Why the need for a "super" inclusion to postulate that human beings are subject to determinism just like everything else? I would presume that this was the prevailing scientific wisdom among physicists ever since Newtonian Mechanics. Why did Bell feel the need to invent a new term that seems superflous. He's just describing determinism.

I'm fairly well-read in philosophy of science and I can't recall the term superdeterminism ever being used, since it merely describes determinism applying to everything, and the conventional view of determinism is that it does apply to everything, and certainly human behavior.

If I somehow misunderstood Bells use of it, feel free to expand on what he meant and how it differs from regular determinism
 
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  • #2
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It appears that both Bell and Zellinger struggle with the notion that human beings can't arrive at scientific truth if they are part of the deterministic chain themselves. But there is no problem of you view the entire universe as a mathematical construct. It isn't any different from learning an equation. Healthy brains are deterministicly rational and can correspondingly arrive at scientific truth through different means, and can discern when they haven't done so, and are determined to react when they haven't
 
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PeroK
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As I understand it, one difference is the difference between pre-determined and correlated. Consider that two scientists conduct experiments at remote locations. Each throws a coin to decide what to do. And their results are correlated.

With determinism, someone might be able to predict exactly the coin tosses in every case. But, they would still be an equally frequent collection of HH, HT, TH, TT. And there would be no correlation between a H in the first lab and a H in the second lab. In other words, you deterministically predict all the results, but there are no correlations in the results at the two remote labs.

With superdeterminism, there may also be a correlation. In other words, something might conspire in order that it's always HH or TT, say. And never HT or TH. Determinism alone can't achieve that.

If you did always get HH or TT, then determinism cannot explain that. You need an addition assumption that correlates what happens at two remote locations. Not only an assumption that the coin tosses are predetermined.
 
  • #4
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There is no freedom of choice in superdeterminism. I take it to mean every concievable action performed by a human was predetermined and couldn't have been any other way. This has implications for what Alice's and Bob's choice of measurement were.
 
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PeroK
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There is no freedom of choice in superdeterminism. I take it to mean every concievable action performed by a human was predetermined and couldn't have been any other way. This has implications for what Alice's and Bob's choice of measurement were.
... not just predetermined, but they also have to be correlated to make it look like QM is correct!
 
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If you did always get HH or TT, then determinism cannot explain that.
Is this strictly with respect to quantum mechanics and spooky action at a distance? I have never heard of determinism having any issue with correlations.

There is no freedom of choice in superdeterminism. I take it to mean every concievable action performed by a human was predetermined and couldn't have been any other way. This has implications for what Alice's and Bob's choice of measurement were.
That is the default position of regular determinism.

the theory that everything that happens must happen as it does and could not have happened any other way

https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/determinism
 
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The operational definition for determinism is:

if you know the state ket at one point in time then you can predict the state ket at all future times
 
  • #8
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But determinism can be in principle unpredictable and hence not wholy predictable(while still being predetermined or maybe not). Hence, it can look random to us because we can't probe events as they arise at the smallest possible scales. Superdeterminism on the other hand posits that no small scale event(even those unobservable events) can change the route of how events unfold. Like weather seems predetermined but is it?!
With billions factors involvled, it's hard to say. Or maybe it's even impossible.
Superdeterminism is a dead-end for science.
 
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PeroK
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Is this strictly with respect to quantum mechanics and spooky action at a distance? I have never heard of determinism having any issue with correlations.
Here's an example. Suppose a syndicate was able to fix all soccer matches, so that the results were decided in advance. But, the results are fixed to look like the normal soccer results. Everything is predetermined, but there are no unexpected correlations. To anyone who is not in on the deceit, the results will look normally random.

Alternatively, if the results are fixed so that the home team always wins, then that is no more or less predetermined that the previous case. But, now there is a perfect correlation between playing at home and winning. This is what superdeterminism requires: predetermined with strong or perfect correlations, where required.

QM predicts correlations between outcomes that cannot be predicted classically. So, either QM is correct, or some other influence is predetermining the results with the appropriate correlations.
 
  • #10
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But determinism can be in principle unpredictable and hence not wholy predictable
Hence Bell's theorem, which of course nobody knew of before Quantum Mechanics
 
  • #11
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Like weather seems predetermined but is it?!
With billions factors involvled, it's hard to say. Or maybe it's even impossible.
Based on the data, I would say the odds are that it is:

"A seven-day forecast can accurately predict the weather about 80 percent of the time and a five-day forecast can accurately predict the weather approximately 90 percent of the time. ... A seven-day forecast is fairly accurate, but forecasts beyond that range are less reliable."

https://scijinks.gov/forecast-reliability/
 
  • #12
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(while still being predetermined or maybe not).
It should be noted that predetermination (fatalism) and determinism is not the same thing. Predetermination entails that this conversation you and I are having had to take place. Determinism entails that it had to take place once the parameters of the universe was set. This is why many philosophers refrain from using the word predetermination when speaking of determinism.

One could imagine a random generator giving rise to a deterministic universe. Determinism only concerns the system within, not anything outside of it.
 
  • #13
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The operational definition for determinism is:
if you know the state ket at one point in time then you can predict the state ket at all future times
Yes, and superdeterminism adds additional claims: not only that the forward evolution of the single ket that represents the entire state of the universe can be predicted at all future times, but also that that evolution will produce the correlations predicted by quantum mechanics, and that this explains the apparent non-locality observed in Bell-type experiments.

These claims is not falsifiable, but it is possible to construct thought experiments (examples available upon request) that suggest that it is quite extraordinary.
 
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  • #14
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Yes, and superdeterminism adds additional claims: not only that the forward evolution of the single ket that represents the entire state of the universe can be predicted at all future times, but also that that evolution will produce the correlations predicted by quantum mechanics, and that this explains the apparent non-locality observed in Bell-type experiments.

These claims is not falsifiable, but it is possible to construct thought experiments (examples available upon request) that suggest that it is quite extraordinary.
Does Bells theorem cast doubt on the nature of classical mechanics given that measurements/interaction between macroscopic and microscopic objects cause decoherence (which it logically predicts would happen) but still leaves us with non locality? So in other worlds, only half of what you would expect classical mechanics "overtaking" would achieve?
 
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PeroK
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Does Bells theorem cast doubt on the nature of classical mechanics given that measurements/interaction between macroscopic and microscopic objects cause decoherence (which it logically predicts would happen) but still leaves us with non locality? So in other worlds, only half of what you would expect classical mechanics "overtaking" would achieve?
Classical mechanics was long gone. The theory of the atom; the photoelectric effect; Compton scattering. Bell's theorem was a test for QM against alternative "local hidden variable" theories.
 
  • #16
martinbn
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The way I understand it superdeterminism is determinism plus special initial conditions. Such that lead to all the results that we observe and baffle us.
 
  • #17
PeroK
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The way I understand it superdeterminism is determinism plus special initial conditions. Such that lead to all the results that we observe and baffle us.
It's much more than this. It has to correlate things according to QM rules, which no amount of determinism can possibly achieve.
 
  • #18
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Classical mechanics was long gone.
But classical mechanics principles have to be in effect in some way during measurement or else we wouldn't have decoherence.
 
  • #19
PeroK
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But classical mechanics principles have to be in effect in some way during measurement or else we wouldn't have decoherence.
But it doesn't pertain to the physics being investigated, whether that is photon polarisation or electron spin. The whole concept of quantised measurements is non-classical.
 
  • #20
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The whole concept of quantised measurements is non-classical.
Statistical distribution is part of classical/deterministic mechanics as well.
 
  • #21
PeroK
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Statistical distribution is part of classical/deterministic mechanics as well.
Look, you've posted in the QM subforum. We're talking QM here.
 
  • #22
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Look, you've posted in the QM subforum. We're talking QM here.
Yes and I was referencing your usage of the word "hole" concept. What I mean is that the entire feature of quantum measurement is not non-classical. There are however fundamental aspects of it that make it non classical, yes, regardless of QM interpretation.
 
  • #23
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Does Bells theorem cast doubt on the nature of classical mechanics given that....
No, more than sufficient doubt had already been cast in the preceding half-century.

Bell’s theorem closed off the avenue of investigation suggested by EPR’s use of the word “incomplete”: the possibility that quantum mechanics is itself an emergent theory derivable from some as-yet-undiscovered local and realistic theory in the same way that the classical theory of ideal gases can be derived through statistical mechanics and Newtonian physics.
 
  • #24
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No, more than sufficient doubt had already been cast in the preceding half-century.

Bell’s theorem closed off the avenue of investigation suggested by EPR’s use of the word “incomplete”: the possibility that quantum mechanics is itself an emergent theory derivable from some as-yet-undiscovered local and realistic theory in the same way that the classical theory of ideal gases can be derived through statistical mechanics and Newtonian physics.
But it was declared "locked and shut" in advance, which is in violation of the scientific enterprise.

Up to 2015, the outcome of all experiments that violate a Bell inequality could still theoretically be explained by exploiting the detection loophole and/or the locality loophole.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_test_experiments
 
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But it was declared "locked and shut" in advance, which is in violation of the scientific enterprise.

Up to 2015, the outcome of all experiments that violate a Bell inequality could still theoretically be explained by exploiting the detection loophole and/or the locality loophole.
“Theoretically”, yes... but the assumptions required to exploit these loopholes were becoming increasingly contrived and implausible. There’s no way of closing the “gravity might change tonight” loophole but that doesn’t mean that I’m violating the spirit of the scientific enterprise by asserting that the law of gravity means that a dropped object will fall tomorrow just as it does today.

And it is simply factually untrue that it was declared “locked and shut” - if it were there would have been no reason to do the 2015 experiment. What is true is that the loophole arguments were looking less and less plausible as more evidence came in over several decades of experiments. Do remember that several of the very early experiments showed no violation of Bell’s inequality, so in the beginning the question was very much open. Only after these experiments couldn’t be replicated or were found to be flawed in some way while other experiments increasingly confirmed violations did we get to where no one was surprised by the 2015 result.
 
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