What is your favored interpretation of quantum mechanics?

What is your favored interpretation of quantum mechanics?

  • Spontaneous collapse (e.g. GRW)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Consistent histories

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    81

Demystifier

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Something is horribly wrong with the universe because quantum physics works. Is there any interpretation that goes, "God is f*cking with our minds just to see if we get the joke", or "It's a trick question I.Q. test", or "Nyah, nyah, Einstein, I'll play dice with the universe if I want to!!" ?
There is a conspiracy interpretation, which is perhaps the closest to your interesting interpretations above.
 
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nabuco

Something is horribly wrong with the universe because quantum physics works.
I don't think so. If you look at the history of how the theory got developed, it's a long string of ad-hoc assumptions to force calculations to agree with experiment. Which is fine, except people should refrain from talking nonsense about the universe when they really don't understand what they are saying.

Consider the blackbody radiation problem: surely the model that predicted infinite energy had something fishy about it, but while postulating "quanta" solves the mathematical problem, the original problem remains unaddressed. From then on, it's confusion upon confusion.

Now I don't know how the original problem that quantum mechanics set out to solve could be solved in a different way. People much brighter than I have tried and failed so I won't even bother. But we have to understand that being able to come up with a mathematical model for the atom is an astounding achievement in itself; to expect it to make sense is akin to demanding that a blind man perfectly describe the world as we see it.

Is there any interpretation that goes, "God is f*cking with our minds just to see if we get the joke", or "It's a trick question I.Q. test", or "Nyah, nyah, Einstein, I'll play dice with the universe if I want to!!" ?
There is my interpretation: "sometimes people get into so big a mess that not only they can't see a way out of it, they start to believe there isn't one"
 

Demystifier

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There is my interpretation: "sometimes people get into so big a mess that not only they can't see a way out of it, they start to believe there isn't one"
I have a similar interpretation:
Some people are too clever to see the obvious.
(In my opinion, this refers to most interpreters of QM.)
 
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Now I don't know how the original problem that quantum mechanics set out to solve could be solved in a different way. People much brighter than I have tried and failed so I won't even bother. But we have to understand that being able to come up with a mathematical model for the atom is an astounding achievement in itself; to expect it to make sense is akin to demanding that a blind man perfectly describe the world as we see it.
....
Agreed, QM isn't responsible for the dismaying state of the Universe, it's just that it represents a catalog of observable nonsense: contradictory duality, causality violation, action at a distance, etc.

The fact that QM works so well, however, is troubling. One would expect that an ad-hoc solution, as you say, would fall down sooner. QM only seems to fail describing things like gravity and grand unified theory, which nobody has been able to crack anyway. It seems to suggest that the substructure of the universe is probabilistic and mathematical in a way which resembles a child's game of "let's pretend". On one hand, I think that's pretty cool, but on the other hand the arbitrary nature of it all leaves little hope that life might somehow be fair :-)
 
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nabuco

Agreed, QM isn't responsible for the dismaying state of the Universe, it's just that it represents a catalog of observable nonsense: contradictory duality, causality violation, action at a distance, etc.
I honestly don't find much wrong with that catalog of observables. The only thing that looks really strange to me is the double-slit experiment, but even then I notice there are so many unjustified assumptions behind the experiment that I'm inclined to think the interference patterns are due to something simple that hasn't yet occurred to anyone.

Remember how people were dumbfounded when the Michelson-Morley experiment revealed that the earth was not moving relative to the aether? Surely if you don't question the assumption that there is an aether, it really looks very strange, but when you drop the assumption, it actually sounds silly to expect anything else.

The fact that QM works so well, however, is troubling.
Chinese medicine often works very well, and while that does indicate there's something slightly wrong with Western medical knowledge, it doesn't make commonsense about the human body completely invalid.

One would expect that an ad-hoc solution, as you say, would fall down sooner.
And hasn't that happened already? If the theory implies the reality of several paradoxes, it has already fallen down. It is still around for lack of sometihng better, and when somebody finds a model that predicts the same observables and makes a lot more sense, QM will cease to be science and will become history. It happened to quite a lot of scientific theories already, we have no reason to believe it won't happen again.

Speaking of ad-hoc, Newton was never happy with the law of gravity since the action-at-a-distance concept was completely foreign to him. He accepted it for lack of something better, but to this day gravity remains a problem for theoretical physics.

QM only seems to fail describing things like gravity and grand unified theory, which nobody has been able to crack anyway.
Speaking of the devil... see above about gravity.

It seems to suggest that the substructure of the universe is probabilistic and mathematical in a way which resembles a child's game of "let's pretend". On one hand, I think that's pretty cool, but on the other hand the arbitrary nature of it all leaves little hope that life might somehow be fair :-)
The belief that the universe is deterministic was never justified and there was never any evidence for it. Enough said.

As to life being fair, well, QM at least leaves open the possibility of a God who plays dice with the universe. If it's a fair God, there's nothing to worry about. If not, there's nothing we can do. Whichever way, all we have to do is sit back and relax :cool:
 
I honestly don't find much wrong with that catalog of observables. The only thing that looks really strange to me is the double-slit experiment, but even then I notice there are so many unjustified assumptions behind the experiment

Hmm. It seems too straightforward to leave any wiggle-room in my mind, especially with the Mandel version. You spit out one photon, and it interfers with *itself* creating a clear probability pattern on the wall/detector. Yuck #1. You then block one of the *four* split branches the photon wave is traversing, and BAM, all branches collapse, and you get a single blotch on the wall where the "particle" hits. Yuck #2. Blocking the aformentioned photon creates an effect (the collapse) that propogates backwards in time/space through two split/branch points. Yuck #3-->spew.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the photon (and everything else) is, in actuality, a mathematical construct, and not a "thing" at all. Things we can understand in our reality just don't behave that way. Yes, I know this could be a failure of imagination, but the alternative is that our reality bears no resemblence to our current understanding, which is no comfort either.

What are the assumptions you speak of?

that I'm inclined to think the interference patterns are due to something simple that hasn't yet occurred to anyone.
....
I held this assertion for a long time. I finally gave up and decided I was grasping at straws. The experiment seems too clear-cut. There's no funky special detector required, just stick your thumb in the way of one of the beams, and presto digitalis! (for your heart-attack).

...
The belief that the universe is deterministic was never justified and there was never any evidence for it. Enough said.
I don't know about deterministic, but the belief that the universe is rational and therefore ultimately understandable is what science is all about, for me anyway. (The belief that the universe can be reliably reverse engineered might be an alternate view, but it does make us all engineers instead of scientists, though that's not a bad thing...)
As to life being fair, well, QM at least leaves open the possibility of a God who plays dice with the universe. If it's a fair God, there's nothing to worry about. If not, there's nothing we can do. Whichever way, all we have to do is sit back and relax :cool:
You know, I want to do that, and I try, but as I look at the world through rose and sh*t colored glasses alternatively, it's not something I have a lot of control over. But that's just a personal problem. :devil:
 
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Actually, I think it can be proven that quantum mechanics can be derived from logic itself. Starting from the premise that all possible states must be consistent with each other, the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics can be derived. It does not require any physical assumption or observations in the proof. Quantum mechanics is a simple consequence of consistency. Check it out:

http://www.sirus.com/users/mjake/Physlogic.htm [Broken]

I would appreciate your comments. Thank you.
 
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I would appreciate your comments. Thank you.
I read the whole thing over, and I thought it was good. For me the only stumbling point is taking the interpretation beyond the path integral.
 
Actually, I think it can be proven that quantum mechanics can be derived from logic itself. Starting from the premise that all possible states must be consistent with each other, the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics can be derived. It does not require any physical assumption or observations in the proof. Quantum mechanics is a simple consequence of consistency. Check it out:

http://www.sirus.com/users/mjake/Physlogic.htm [Broken]

I would appreciate your comments. Thank you.
From the web page:

Historically, students of physicists are completely mystified by how quantum mechanics is possible. Where does the wave-function come from? How can the imaginary square-root of a probability have anything to do with reality? Some complain that it is completely counter-intuitive and even illogical. But I'd like to suggest that quantum mechanics is derived from classical logic only, without imposing any physical considerations.
Which is basically the same statement.

What I saw was an interesting demonstration of how "Richard Feynman's path integral formulation of quantum mechanics" can be " derived from classical logic only, without imposing any physical considerations".

I think it's cool that it can be done, but I think it proves nothing new about the validity of QM with respect to the real world. We're still stuck with all the same problems with respect to the counter-intuitive nature of QM. It doesn't matter whether reality at the subatomic level is modeled either by usual QM process or a logical process doesn't change that it ends up modeling a set of phenomona that seem self-contradictory according to any human experience.

I have to admit that I don't fully undestand the implications, and if I did, and I understood the math better, I might have a better appreciation for QM. Sadly, I suspect that's not to happen soon.

The author sets out to deal with,
Historically, students of physicists are completely mystified by how quantum mechanics is possible. Where does the wave-function come from? How can the imaginary square-root of a probability have anything to do with reality? Some complain that it is completely counter-intuitive and even illogical.
and I don't think it succeeds. As I see it, the problem is *not* with math of QM, but the physical phenomona that QM is modeling. Nutso things are happening, and it's no surprise at all to me that the resulting QM functions also seem a bit nuts. That two different disciplines of math can converge doesn't help me with duality, indeterminism, etc.

It might help people who are actually just complaining because the QM functions have bits that they personally object to, i.e. "imaginary square-root of a probability". If so, these people are just quibbling, IMHO.

We're back to the original axiom, QM works, ergo, deal with it.
 
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nabuco

It seems too straightforward to leave any wiggle-room in my mind, especially with the Mandel version. You spit out one photon, and it interfers with *itself* creating a clear probability pattern on the wall/detector. Yuck #1. You then block one of the *four* split branches the photon wave is traversing, and BAM, all branches collapse, and you get a single blotch on the wall where the "particle" hits. Yuck #2. Blocking the aformentioned photon creates an effect (the collapse) that propogates backwards in time/space through two split/branch points. Yuck #3-->spew.
Well, I don't claim I understand what is going on, I just think it makes sense to think QM is not telling us there's something fundamentally strange about the universe that we couldn't have known otherwise. In fact, I suspect what QM may be doing is provide a formal proof of our complete inability to understand the world without making unjustified assumptions.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the photon (and everything else) is, in actuality, a mathematical construct, and not a "thing" at all.
As far as I understand it, the whole of physics is a mathematical construct. I never believed those physical entities called laws, forces, fields, and so on, had any reality to them, I always thought of them as abstractions.

I still remember, in grade school, when our teacher told us that bodies in motion will remain in motion forever unless a force acts on them. I thought that couldn't be true as it went against our ordinary experience of motion, in which things always stop by themselves. He then explained that things stop because of "friction", and even as a child I immediately understood that sometimes you have to invent a fictitious entity to maintain the validity of a fictitious law. It's a wonder that it all works so well, but I still think of the whole structure of physics as nothing but a very clever fiction.

Things we can understand in our reality just don't behave that way. Yes, I know this could be a failure of imagination, but the alternative is that our reality bears no resemblence to our current understanding, which is no comfort either.
It's not a problem of failed imagination, I see it as the result of a very powerful one. Just think what Newton would do if he thought as I did as a child: as soon as he came up with his laws of motion he would think, "nah, this doesn't make any sense unless I invent some additional entities to account for the cases when the laws don't hold, and that would not be right".

So physics is a big pile of laws that are just the product of human imaginations, plus a lot of purely imaginary entities that are required to account for the cases where the laws would otherwise not hold. I'm quite sure the photon is such an imaginary entity. (notice that I mean "imaginary" in the sense that friction is imaginary; the effects of an imaginary entity can be quite real if you assume their existence)

What are the assumptions you speak of?
I hope you can have an idea from the above. Mostly, once we lost the ability to see what we are dealing with (the atomic level), all we were left with was the ability to make assumptions.

I don't know about deterministic, but the belief that the universe is rational and therefore ultimately understandable is what science is all about, for me anyway.
Well, from my perspective the universe can't be rational anymore than a junkyard can. And I don't even think science is about discovering the absolute laws of a perfectly predictable universe, I see science more as an attempt to help us sort out what is essentially an incomprehensible mess. At a minimum you have to admit that science only explains the universe in general principles; in practice most problems are too complex to be approached scientifically.

You know, I want to do that, and I try, but as I look at the world through rose and sh*t colored glasses alternatively, it's not something I have a lot of control over
But that is only because you are confused. There is a perspective from which it is silly to worry about this stuff, except as an intellectual pastime. But here we're leaving the territory of physics and going into something far more important.
 
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Cane_Toad said:
We're back to the original axiom, QM works, ergo, deal with it.
Yes, but now we know where the axioms come from to begin with. In fact quantum mechanics is now the easy part. We know where the path integral formulation comes from, and from that we can get the Schrodinger equation and Hilbert spaces, etc. This at least has a basis in logic and is thus now more intuitive. What is not yet derived from logic alone is the particular Lagrangians of common physical situations. And I don't know why we have 3+1 spacetime dimensions. Though Feynman claims to have derived gravity from QM. I have yet to look into this.
 

Fra

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A first question on a quick reading...

In a sample space, the probability of a conjunction results from multiplying the probabilities of each event
Why do you assume samples be statistically indepdendent?

/Fredrik
 
Well, I don't claim I understand what is going on, I just think it makes sense to think QM is not telling us there's something fundamentally strange about the universe that we couldn't have known otherwise.
If by "otherwise" you mean experimental observation of phenomona, for me QM certainly adds to the consternation. I can directly observe the duality of light, but then QM goes on to describe it in bizarre probablistic functions. I didn't know before QM that all light and matter exist in various degrees of indeterminism.

In fact, I suspect what QM may be doing is provide a formal proof of our complete inability to understand the world without making unjustified assumptions.
:biggrin: :rofl:
As far as I understand it, the whole of physics is a mathematical construct. I never believed those physical entities called laws, forces, fields, and so on, had any reality to them, I always thought of them as abstractions.
Well, certainly the "word" is not the "thing", but when you say "cat", that's also an abstraction, but you know cats exist. Ditto for gravity, magnetism, etc.
I still remember, in grade school, when our teacher told us that bodies in motion will remain in motion forever unless a force acts on them. I thought that couldn't be true as it went against our ordinary experience of motion, in which things always stop by themselves. He then explained that things stop because of "friction", and even as a child I immediately understood that sometimes you have to invent a fictitious entity to maintain the validity of a fictitious law. It's a wonder that it all works so well, but I still think of the whole structure of physics as nothing but a very clever fiction.
Umm, "friction" is no more fictitious than momentum. If I throw a brick at your head, will you duck, or assert the fiction of the situation? Abstractions are not the same thing as fictions.

It's not a problem of failed imagination, I see it as the result of a very powerful one. Just think what Newton would do if he thought as I did as a child: as soon as he came up with his laws of motion he would think, "nah, this doesn't make any sense unless I invent some additional entities to account for the cases when the laws don't hold, and that would not be right".
This wasn't the case in your example regarding momentum. Friction was not invented as a fudge factor. Friction is the "force that acts on them" that was specifically accounted for in Newton's law.

I do see you point, however, and dark matter and dark energy might turn out to be as fictitious as ether.
So physics is a big pile of laws that are just the product of human imaginations, plus a lot of purely imaginary entities that are required to account for the cases where the laws would otherwise not hold. I'm quite sure the photon is such an imaginary entity. (notice that I mean "imaginary" in the sense that friction is imaginary; the effects of an imaginary entity can be quite real if you assume their existence)
You don't seem to be distinguishing between abstractions like friction and photon, which describe observables, and things like string theory which is far removed from what we can feel confident about.
I hope you can have an idea from the above. Mostly, once we lost the ability to see what we are dealing with (the atomic level), all we were left with was the ability to make assumptions.
If you mean see with the naked eye, I think that's over-doing it. For example, I feel pretty confident that electron microscopes are actually telling us real things at the atomic level. There is a point though, where assumptions are being made which will eventually be overturned. That's integral to learning.

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At a minimum you have to admit that science only explains the universe in general principles; in practice most problems are too complex to be approached scientifically.
Our current scientific explanation of the universe is certainly incomplete, but it is evolving. I'm wary of things that people say are "unknowable", or require "faith". It usually means that applying science would be stepping on a belief system.

I'd say science can be applied to problems of nearly any complexity. It's only when aspects of the problem are intangible (i.e. intergalactic space, additional dimensions, etc.) where science struggles most. I have no doubt that someday the mind will be fully understood, measured, modeled, even though the brain presents a hideous complexity. Consider the progress so far.
But that is only because you are confused. There is a perspective from which it is silly to worry about this stuff, except as an intellectual pastime. But here we're leaving the territory of physics and going into something far more important.
Ya, but as it turns out, this stuff affects my view of my existence as much as classical physics, evolution, neurology, etc. have shaped who I am. I've tried the "don't worry, be happy" approach, and I find it useful in bursts, but as unmaintainable as other theologies I've tried. You're right, of course, this begins to digress, but it does state why I care about QM, and its interpretations.
 
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nabuco

If by "otherwise" you mean experimental observation of phenomona, for me QM certainly adds to the consternation. I can directly observe the duality of light, but then QM goes on to describe it in bizarre probablistic functions
My point was more along the lines that those microscopic phenomena have no bearing on our perception of the world. I do not believe QM describes the fundamentals of the universe, but that is mostly because I don't believe the universe has any fundamentals.

Friction was not invented as a fudge factor. Friction is the "force that acts on them" that was specifically accounted for in Newton's law.
I don't dispute that friction is a force, but I think the real reason why things move or don't move cannot be known because it doesn't exist. You can clearly see here how we think differently: you think friction must be real because you think the universe follows rules and friction is one of them; I think the universe has no rules and things move, or don't move, or sometimes move, or sometimes don't move, or any combination of that, for no particular reason.

It's just a different point of view, but it's a point of view that does not end up in some pretty serious dilemmas, which is why I prefer it.

I'd say science can be applied to problems of nearly any complexity.
Yes, but only in principle. In practice most problems are solved intuitively, often with better results than you'd get using a strictly scientific approach. In fact, the best thing about science is that it works together with our intuition -used on their own, each becomes a lot less powerful.

I have no doubt that someday the mind will be fully understood, measured, modeled, even though the brain presents a hideous complexity.
Sounds like a profession of faith to me :smile:

You may be right though. Maybe the brain is simpler than we realize. Then again, it may be more complex than we can possibly imagine.

Ya, but as it turns out, this stuff affects my view of my existence as much as classical physics, evolution, neurology, etc. have shaped who I am.
It shapes all of us, only in different ways. It's not easy living in modern times, there's just too much information, and most of it is wrong or irrelevant.

I've tried the "don't worry, be happy" approach, and I find it useful in bursts, but as unmaintainable as other theologies I've tried
What really worked for me was the realization that we are a mirror image of the universe, albeit in small scale. Sure the universe looks weird, but so do we and that is not reason for concern. For instance, whatever QM is doing to the universe it's also doing to you, and it's hard to believe it's a bad thing.
 
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I think the universe has no rules and things move, or don't move, or sometimes move, or sometimes don't move, or any combination of that, for no particular reason.
Only a naive realist would discuss whether or not the universe 'has' rules. We don't know anything about what the universe 'has', everything you have ever seen or experienced is a part of yourself.

If the question is "can humans ever formulate a system of rules that will be true in every case of motion?" then I get the feeling you would say no. But phrased in this way it is pretty clear that this view is a negative and not well founded impossibility claim, the sort of which histroy shows us have nearly always been wrong in the past.
 
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nabuco

Only a naive realist would discuss whether or not the universe 'has' rules.
I agree, except I wasn't discussing it. I said it was only a point of view.

If the question is "can humans ever formulate a system of rules that will be true in every case of motion?" then I get the feeling you would say no.
Actually, you would get a yes. For instance, I can offer the rule that "things will keep moving until they cease to move". It's not a very useful rule but seems absolutely true to me.

Now if you'd ask me "can humans ever formulate a system of rules that will be true in every case of motion without being essentially tautological", I'd say that is impossible as you'd have to live an eternity to assert the validity of the rules.

phrased in this way it is pretty clear that this view is a negative and not well founded impossibility claim, the sort of which history shows us have nearly always been wrong in the past.
So history has shown us that the universe is in fact governed by logical rules? I thought we were discussing precisely why QM seems to indicates the opposite :confused:

I detect two main approaches here: some people think QM doesn't make sense because the universe is screwed-up, while others think human knowledge will always break down and stop making sense at some point due to our inability to know everything. Call me naïve but I find the latter option far more plausible.
 
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Fra said:
A first question on a quick reading...

Why do you assume samples be statistically indepdendent?

/Fredrik

I guess for the same reason that the initial and final states are considered statistically independent. I labelled each state with a proposition whose truth or falsity are considered seperately from the truth or falsity of any of the others. This makes them "independent" from each other.

It doesn't seem possible to know the total number of states in the entire sample space of the universe since there are so many. So we can't know how probable any one particular state is. And we can't know how probable it is to get an intersection of two sets of states, for example. Since there would be potentially an infinite number of total states in the entire sample space, each state would only have a differential absolute probability associated with it.

We can only know how probable it is to get a measured state given the initial state. Since we prepare the initial state before measurement, we know with absolute certainty that the initial state exists, so we give it a probability of one. Then given that we calculate how probable it is to propagate to measured states.

I made "implication" a square root of a probability because there were two "implications" for one "conjunction". But perhaps there is a more insightful reason for using the square root. Implication between two propositions can be expressed in terms of negation and disjunction, p->q = q+~p. The probability of the negation of p would be 1-P(p). And P(q+~p)=P(q)+P(~p). Now it occurs to me that when dealing with differential probabilities, this last expression may work out to something like (1-P(q)/2), which is the first approximation of the Taylor series for the square root of P(q). If someone would like to work out the details, I'd be grateful.
 
So history has shown us that the universe is in fact governed by logical rules? I thought we were discussing precisely why QM seems to indicates the opposite :confused:
So far it *has* been shown that the universe is governed by logical rules, within the domain they were forumulated. QM seems to be a new situation to me because it is a domain where the kind of logic[sensibility, really] we apply to the rest of the universe begins to break down.

One of the biggest problems I have with QM, is that our macro world is mostly governed by discrete objects and events, but in QM, non-locality seems to be the first consequence. Granted, in the macro universe, we do have fields and gravity, which aren't discrete (classically speaking), so have always been problematic. However, we humans have always been part of the discrete universe, and our ideas of ontology and epistomology have evolved accordingly.

QM (its math and phenomena) doesn't just pull the rug out from under all that, but it pulls the floor, foundation, and ground as well. Suddenly, we "know" nothing about the basis of reality. In our attempts to restore our understanding we are going to ever more extravagant lengths: specialized hyperdimensions, infinite universes, etc. It's a terrible time for Truth, in all senses of "terrible", good and bad. It's like acrophobia. Amazing new vistas too distant to see clearly, but our animal nature doesn't like the insecurity.
 

Fra

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I guess for the same reason that the initial and final states are considered statistically independent. I labelled each state with a proposition whose truth or falsity are considered seperately from the truth or falsity of any of the others. This makes them "independent" from each other.
I don't follow you. Given your assumption here they are independent that's clear, but I don't see what your motivation is for starting your reasoning with something that IMO a clear special case.

Are you trying to make some construct of underlying absolute probabilities to explain the relative probabilities?

Also, from what point of view does the reasoning take place? Who is in possession of the conjunction of all the facts of reality? and do they come from past experiments? If so, how long time do you need to collect all facts of reality?

I am not sure exactly I follow your thinking which is why I ask, but the premises doesn't make sense to me unless you can elaborate them.

/Fredrik
 
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I don't follow you. Given your assumption here they are independent that's clear, but I don't see what your motivation is for starting your reasoning with something that IMO a clear special case.

Are you trying to make some construct of underlying absolute probabilities to explain the relative probabilities?

Also, from what point of view does the reasoning take place? Who is in possession of the conjunction of all the facts of reality? and do they come from past experiments? If so, how long time do you need to collect all facts of reality?

I am not sure exactly I follow your thinking which is why I ask, but the premises doesn't make sense to me unless you can elaborate them.

/Fredrik
I started with the premise that all facts (whatever they are, whether we know them or not) are all consistent with each other - that it is never the case that one fact of reality proves false any other fact. Then I go from there to state the equivalence that all facts exist in conjunction. This all seems rather obvious. But it has implications. It implies that each fact is considered as a separate proposition from every other fact, or that facts are simple events, with only one sample per event, which are statistically independent from any other.

I'm not suggesting that I am in possession of all the facts. I am saying that whatever the facts may be, they can't contradict each other. This stipulation alone seems to lead to quantum mechanics. I am treating the facts in abstraction, and I'm not even trying to state for certain that some particular fact actually exists. That would require an observation to confirm. And we would not even know how many facts are exactly specified by an observation. It might be that my formulation still works even if each fact is an event of many subfacts as the samples within each event. I don't know.

Since we don't know exactly how many facts there are in the universe, we can never know by any means the absolute probability of any one fact. We probably don't even know how to exactly define each fact to begin with. I only suspect that whatever the facts are, they can't contradict each other, and I submit this as a postulate from which to start. I don't even know what the relative probability is to obtain a second fact given the first. I only know that if a conjunction of facts leads to a multiplication by a probability, then implication must be the square root of a probability, since there are two implications for each conjunction.

I've tried to draw only from the realities of an abstract sample space, without resorting to numbers obtained from measurement. In this sense QM is derived from logic alone, as described at:

http://www.sirus.com/users/mjake/Physlogic.htm [Broken]
 
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nabuco

So far it *has* been shown that the universe is governed by logical rules, within the domain they were forumulated.
I'm sorry but you cannot "show" that the universe is governed by logical rules, in any domain. Logical rules do not apply to reality, they only apply to our descriptions of it. What you really believe is that the universe can be described in a logical way, and with that I have no disagreement whatsoever. So much so that I'm positive there's something conceptually wrong with QM.

QM seems to be a new situation to me because it is a domain where the kind of logic[sensibility, really] we apply to the rest of the universe begins to break down.
Let me ask you something: apart from QM, can you think of any other situation in which you could be completely confounded by your own observations?

The best I can think of is watching a magician perform a clever trick. Good magicians can leave you dumbfounded, and the only reason you know they don't have the power to defy logic and commonsense is because you know such a thing is impossible.

As far as I can tell, what is happening in QM is that physicists discovered a trick not even they understand, and everyone is dumbfounded by what appears to be a violation of logic and commonsense. But you can only conclude or accept that if you think such a thing is possible. In essence, if you believe in magic.

In our attempts to restore our understanding we are going to ever more extravagant lengths: specialized hyperdimensions, infinite universes, etc.
Sure. Because "we put the rabbit in the hat and forgot about it" doesn't sound like a better explanation, right? I mean, how could we possibly do such a dumb thing and then act like idiots?

It's a terrible time for Truth, in all senses of "terrible", good and bad. It's like acrophobia.
I hope you don't take offense if I say I'm bemused by that comment. Science is not about truth, let alone "Truth". Science is about working models. I can understand your disappointment for not getting something out of science which you expected to be there, but I can only tell you that you were misled. To find Truth, you have to look beyond science (but you cannot ignore it)
 

Fra

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I started with the premise that all facts (whatever they are, whether we know them or not) are all consistent with each other - that it is never the case that one fact of reality proves false any other fact. Then I go from there to state the equivalence that all facts exist in conjunction. This all seems rather obvious. But it has implications. It implies that each fact is considered as a separate proposition from every other fact, or that facts are simple events, with only one sample per event, which are statistically independent from any other.

I'm not suggesting that I am in possession of all the facts. I am saying that whatever the facts may be, they can't contradict each other. This stipulation alone seems to lead to quantum mechanics. I am treating the facts in abstraction, and I'm not even trying to state for certain that some particular fact actually exists. That would require an observation to confirm. And we would not even know how many facts are exactly specified by an observation. It might be that my formulation still works even if each fact is an event of many subfacts as the samples within each event. I don't know.

Since we don't know exactly how many facts there are in the universe, we can never know by any means the absolute probability of any one fact. We probably don't even know how to exactly define each fact to begin with. I only suspect that whatever the facts are, they can't contradict each other, and I submit this as a postulate from which to start. I don't even know what the relative probability is to obtain a second fact given the first. I only know that if a conjunction of facts leads to a multiplication by a probability, then implication must be the square root of a probability, since there are two implications for each conjunction.

I've tried to draw only from the realities of an abstract sample space, without resorting to numbers obtained from measurement. In this sense QM is derived from logic alone, as described at:

http://www.sirus.com/users/mjake/Physlogic.htm [Broken]
Ok, regardless of the details of your paper I see to roughly speaking get what you are trying to do. Without getting into details I definitely agree that some parts of the QM formalism can consistently be thought of as a generalized probability theory, so in this sense I like your thinking, however there are some flaws in the ordinary QM. Some of these IMO has to do with the event space assumptions, and existence of a natural ordering of a sequence of event space partitions that seem necessary to recover the ordinary path integral. From a reality perspective, the assumption of some universal completely (in principle) known event space is not in my taste. To me it smells like a special case, which may happen to be significant enough to warrant study of course, but still.

I'm working on part of these things and hope that with time some of the fuzzy parts in the foundations should be cleared. I agree with you though that an analysis of the current formalism(which is admittedly flawed), may help pinpoint the exact position of the flaws.

/Fredrik
 
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Science is not about truth, let alone "Truth". Science is about working models.
I hope you don't take offense if I say I'm bemused by that comment. You have shown yourself, Nabuco, as a logical positivist and a pyrrhonist. The realist vs positivist debate is an old one, and the leanings of the scientific majority majority towards one side or another tend to vary with time.

I present you stages of grief:

1) Pre-Awareness
2) Shock
3) Denial
4) Anger
5) Acceptance
6) Vehemence

The grief pertains to the individual having the first fundamental insight of philosophy: my eyes are not windows. Having gotten over his anger and denial, Nabuco strikes me as smugly comfortable in his acceptance stage. From this lofty point he shouts at the unenlightened:

I can understand your disappointment for not getting something out of science which you expected to be there, but I can only tell you that you were misled.
Acceptance is safe and comfortable, but ultimately it is weak, and vehemence is the only path to progress. The stages of grief do not apply only to individuals, they apply to period of western philosophy as a whole:

1) Pre-Socratics
2) Plato
3) Descartes
4) Soft Hume
5) Hard Hume
6) Post-Kantians

The final word on the sort of absolutes in question, universal and nonvacuous, remains to be written.
 
I'm sorry but you cannot "show" that the universe is governed by logical rules, in any domain. Logical rules do not apply to reality, they only apply to our descriptions of it.
....
I can't tell; are you talking about the subjective/objective reality question?

Secondly, I don't see how you can state with certainty that "logical rules do not apply to reality". If our models describe behavior (i.e. laws of motion) without fail, what is the point of gainsaying? Aside from whatever is going on with QM, what is your basis for saying that reality is not, in actuality, following rules that mirror our abstractions? At this point in history, that seems as presumptuous as saying "the universe obeys our rules".

"The word is not the thing", but if you're looking at a duck, and it's quacking back at you, you might as well concede that it's a "duck". That's a paraphrase of a paraphrase of Occam's Razor :smile:

But you can only conclude or accept that if you think such a thing is possible. In essence, if you believe in magic.
Yes, that's another way to put it. QM is showing us things that *are* magic. Historically, each time magic has been replaced by science, there has been an upheaval in our world view. So, my consternation with QM, is that it portends such an upheaval, and it is frustrating to be living on the crux (of unknown duration). And don't tell me to sit back and enjoy the ride. I am enjoying it, but at the same time, it's the shoe that refuses to drop, the Christmas present your mom has hidden.

It's a terrible time for Truth, in all senses of "terrible", good and bad. It's like acrophobia.
I hope you don't take offense if I say I'm bemused by that comment. Science is not about truth, let alone "Truth". Science is about working models. I can understand your disappointment for not getting something out of science which you expected to be there, but I can only tell you that you were misled. To find Truth, you have to look beyond science (but you cannot ignore it)
I didn't say science is about truth. However, truth comes from knowledge, and science is a major source, so, actually, I'm getting precisely what I expect from science. I was saying that Truth seems to be in flux (for the reasons above), and that can be frightening or exciting, because sometimes Truth must be shattered before being rebuilt.
 
N

nabuco

If our models describe behavior (i.e. laws of motion) without fail, what is the point of gainsaying?
Look, I think I'm misguiding you with this debate on whether the universe follows rules or not. Let's put that aside and agree that we are perfecly capable of coming up with a bunch of rules that correctly describe physical phenomena. I never said anything to the contrary although I understand why you think I did.

QM is showing us things that *are* magic.
Do you or do you not believe in magic, after all? If you don't, then you have to admit that QM needs to be reformulated in terms that keep the mathematical model and make more sense intuitively. And you have to believe such a thing is possible.

Historically, each time magic has been replaced by science, there has been an upheaval in our world view. So, my consternation with QM, is that it portends such an upheaval, and it is frustrating to be living on the crux (of unknown duration).
Ha ha ha! This time the upheaval went the wrong way, and the formerly skeptical physicists can now be caught talking about unbelievable quackery. Some fate :smile:

And don't tell me to sit back and enjoy the ride. I am enjoying it, but at the same time, it's the shoe that refuses to drop, the Christmas present your mom has hidden.
Interesting, I see your position now. You think we were on the verge of figuring out how things work, and suddenly we took a major step back. If that is the case, it's really bad.

I have never felt that physics allowed me to understand reality. Classical physics yes, it has had a profound impact on my understanding of the world, but the description of the atom never made any sense to me, and I doubt it ever made any sense to anyone. As far as I can tell it's just a working model of something too small to be observed, nothing else.

Truth seems to be in flux (for the reasons above), and that can be frightening or exciting, because sometimes Truth must be shattered before being rebuilt.
If it has to be shattered then it is not truth, it was illusion. Truth is eternal.
 

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