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Godel incompletness related to physics?

  1. May 11, 2007 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2007 #2


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    A general comment.
    Whenever one cannot solve a fundamental problem in theoretical physics, one could invoke the Godel theorem to argue that it is fundamentally unsolvable. Such a reasoning is, of course, highly counterproductive.
  4. May 11, 2007 #3
    t, how many threads did you post this in?

    Gotta admit, I agree with Demystifier. Applying Godel's theorem in physics seems a bit defeatist, and it ignores what separates physics from mathematics: the ability to obtain new data experimentally.
  5. May 11, 2007 #4


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    I propose that Godel's theorem is about formal systems and has no relevance to physics.

    I'm not going to read the paper.
  6. May 11, 2007 #5
    i read some part of the paper, they give an analogy of how godel theorem applied to physics by reducing physics to formal systems...
  7. May 11, 2007 #6


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    Hi Tachyons. I read the abstract and it sounds sweet and plausible. But it's maths not physics. We find out about the world by doing experiments and adjusting our models to account for the data. They are suggesting that our lack of success in a certain area can be identified with an inconsistency in the model as formulated. But we already know that. I don't see how this paper adds anything that we don't know, and I'll go so far as to call it a complete waste of time.
  8. May 11, 2007 #7


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    There's no way physics can be reduced to any sort of formal system. The human element will screw up any formal stuff. In fact to capture physics in some formal system, one would need to encapsulate human behavior in a formal system. Lot's 'a luck.

    Humans are very inventive, so that, in my opinion, given a Godel question, someone will define a new, larger system in which the Godel question beomes ordinary, non-Godel one. Think about i**2 = -1, as one example of surmounting "logical barriers," non-Euclidean geometry is another good example, as is the germ theory of disease, and on and on.
    Reilly Atkinson
  9. May 12, 2007 #8


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    I didn't read the paper in details but while I agree reality hardly qualifies as as formal system, I still would be so quick to reject the comparasiion. I'd suspect that the point isn't to suggest we are out for a hopeless quest, I think it rather may help choose a consistent route. Analysing the logic of whatever quasi or semi formal systems we have at the moment, may or may not help us evolve more efficiently.

    Perhaps reality may be something like a sequence of formal systems (or loosely so), where the actual "TOE" is really the evoutionary step, that explain how the optimal extension of the formal system, or "quasi formal" is like?

    If this is true, then the focus should be on the logical extension of the systems as dynamic response to new evidence. This is the focus I'm personally have, but I just started so I don't have much to show off yet, but I hope itwill come.

    One think I do not like about current physics is that the future is considered as a simple unitary evolution in a in principle known, complete state space. It's a guess, but I were not into physics to get lucky are we? I'd like to see some argumentation why it's at least the best guess.

    I accept that I don't know anything for sure, that's life. But I want to know where I should place my bets. If I don't know anything for sure AND not even konw where to place my best, I'd be completely lost. It can not be that bad. If I can answer where to place my bets I will be more than pleased.

  10. May 12, 2007 #9


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    I agree with the 'may or may not' . Von Neuman was a mixed blessing to QM, his 'proof' about HV theories was misleading and shows how pure mathematics cannot alone make physical predictions.

    In physics, the ultimate test is to agree with experiment, and I conjecture that logically inconsistent theories cannot make correct predictions ( I leave the proof to the reader).
  11. May 13, 2007 #10


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    Not true, of course. I think what I mean is that von Neumans HV theory is meta-physics, since it is about physical theories rather than things.
    Godels theorem is a meta-something as well and therefore outside the realm of physical reality.
    Yes, just.
  12. May 13, 2007 #11
    As I understand it, describing physical reality is not the same effort as trying to prove the completeness of math. We are only using math as an acounting tool, right? Nobody is suggesting that we cannot invent a complete mathematical system of accounting to describe every possible human financial transaction, are they. In the same way, math is used in physics only for accounting purposes. Or have I missed something?
  13. May 13, 2007 #12


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    You haven't missed anything, and I concur with what you say.

    I think this thread has run its course so I'm unsubscribing from it now.
  14. May 14, 2007 #13
    i read the full paper, the point i liked very much is the formal inconsistency they show by using the principle of "blach hole complementarity" which in a way they show it to be self referential cause.......so i guess the idea is good, but need to be made more rigorous!!
    any comments guys?
  15. May 14, 2007 #14
    also i feel they string theorists arguement of BH complementarity need to be reviewed again in the light of new physics!!
  16. May 15, 2007 #15
    Y. Ne’eman summarized that in one sentence:

    “God choose to be mathematician”
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