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Zellinger on Superdeterminism

  1. Mar 9, 2014 #1
    So my question is, do we believe that he's correct?

    Do we really believe that a mechanisitic view makes experimentation pointless or is he being over dramatic?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2014 #2

    atyy

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    I think he is overdramatic. Free will just means we can choose experiment settings randomly and independently at distant locations. So it just means that the rolling dice here are random and independent from the rolling dice at a distant location. Since the rolling dice are classical, we do believe that they are deterministic. It's just that if we needed to explicitly describe their determinism to describe quantum mechanics with a local hidden variables theory, it'd be quite hopeless.
     
  4. Mar 9, 2014 #3
    The thing that I find unsettling about it is that regardless of determinism, he's arguing that the mind is something more than the product of its constituent particles.

    If the mind is just the product of particles, the expermentalist has no more control over what she chooses to measure or the result of the measurement, under either a deterministic or indeterministic interpretation of quantum physics.

    He is arguing that not only is quantum physics inherently indeterministic, but also that consciousness can control this indeterminsm.

    Whether or not he finds superdeterminism an appealing feature of an interpretation, this really isn't something that I'd expect to be reading from Zellinger. Surely, if he stands by this statement, he must be holding a controversial, fringe view.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  5. Mar 9, 2014 #4

    bhobba

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    For me it, like a lot of philosophical huffing and puffing, is totally pointless.

    You cant even know if the universe is deterministic or not, and in principle, its not even possible to do so.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  6. Mar 9, 2014 #5

    atyy

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    I think he's just confused. Gisin (Bell Prize recipient!) made a similar confused argument in http://arxiv.org/abs/0901.4255. BTW, Zellinger is a nobody. I'd be surprised if Zeilinger were that confused:p
     
  7. Mar 9, 2014 #6
    Wow. I find it astonishing that these guys, at the top of their field, seem to have so little grasp of this. I'm sure that they hold self-consistent views, but seem to lack the ability to talk in terms that each other understand. My tendency was to doubt my own understanding while reading it, but follow up articles on Gisin's article raise the same issues.

    Yeah - I should get my eyes checked.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  8. Mar 9, 2014 #7

    bhobba

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    In QM confusion, unfortunately, abounds.

    It's not that these guys aren't smart and don't know their shite, its just its a difficult area and even the terms used can confuse.

    For example the semantic connection between observation and observer seems a really hard one to shake, despite the more advanced texts like Ballentine making it very clear what the difference is.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  9. Mar 10, 2014 #8

    Haelfix

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    SuperDeterminism is a possible loophole to Bells theorems. Note this is not the same thing as regular determinism or regular mechanicistic laws, and instead is a much stronger statement and sort of gigantic cosmic conspiracy.

    Zeilinger is perfectly correct in his statement, and indeed this is basically an assumption of science. In some sense, this is not unlike living in 'the matrix' where every action you do has been predetermined by some computer.
     
  10. Mar 10, 2014 #9
    Sure, I can understand his reluctance to apply an interpretation which involves superdeterminism but the argument he makes isn't specific to superdeterminism or even determinism. His argument gives freewill an ontological role, which I have no doubt was not his intention.

    I know what he's trying to say but I haven't been able to reformulate his argument to one that is compatible with freewill as an emergent concept rather than one with an ontological role. If, as I suspect, this isn't possible then his objection must be either invalid or can be taken that the validity of science relies on a fundamental notion of consciousness.

    We should stay clear of fiction, otherwise I'd gladly discuss whether The Matrix concludes that human consciousness is ontological or predetermined.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  11. Mar 10, 2014 #10

    Haelfix

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    That's fair enough, and that sort of issue comes up over and over again in this business. Still it would be very difficult to formulate any sort of notion of free will where one sees a gradual 'emergence' thereof. That essentially runs into the same classical/quantum 'cut' problem that Von Neumann was struggling with in his early works on quantum mechanics.. See related discussions and long argument/counterarguments about the Conway Kochen free will theorem and so forth.
     
  12. Mar 10, 2014 #11
    To be clear, by emergent consciousness, I mean consciousness as an arbitrary label we apply to a human-like system with sufficient information processing capacity.

    With the exception of Wheeler's Participatory Anthropic Principle, I see all the other consciousness based views as giving consciousness a significant role in the laws of nature.

    While I'm sympathetic to these views it seems crazy to be forced down this path when confronted with the concept of superdeterminsm in the context of local realism.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  13. Mar 10, 2014 #12

    stevendaryl

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    Something I'm not sure about is whether superdeterminism and retrocausality are two different loopholes, or whether they are really the same thing. It seems (based on not understanding either that well) that retrocausality gives a natural explanation for superdeterminism; if you make causal influences symmetrical with respect to the past and the future, then that would seem to greatly constrain the set of possibilities, and might result in the sort of superdeterminism needed to explain QM correlations.
     
  14. Mar 10, 2014 #13

    atyy

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    The reason I think Zeilinger is wrong is that there is no evidence against superdeterminism. So Zeilinger cannot rule out superdeterminism. However there is plenty of evidence that science does work. So if Zeilinger is right, then either superdeterminism has been ruled out or science does not work, neither of which is true.

    However, if superdeterminism is true, we cannot know what the true superdeterministic theory is. So it is useless for us to think about it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  15. Mar 10, 2014 #14

    stevendaryl

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    Well, we can never KNOW what the real laws of physics are. That doesn't mean it's useless to think about it. I don't see how superdeterminism is any different, in principle.
     
  16. Mar 10, 2014 #15

    atyy

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    I mean think about it in the sense of devising a superdeterministic theory that is scientifically testable and distinguishable from other superdeterministic hypotheses.
     
  17. Mar 10, 2014 #16
    It was Wheeler again, who proposed the reason that elementary particles of the same type are indistinguishable, is that they are actually the same particle wound round in space and time. Antiparticles being particles travelling backwards in time. Feynman raised the objection that we don't see as many particles as antiparticles and Wheeler offered some hand-wavey argument. As I understand it, this suprisingly, isn't seen as controversial. It just falls out of the equations.

    I'm not sure that I see causality, retro or forward in this scanario.

    I'm going way off-piste here, but however you wind the paths to solve the matter anti-matter problem, you're going to end up with a particular type of pattern forming. I wonder if the superdeterminstic reconcilliation of local realism is a comparable problem.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  18. Mar 10, 2014 #17

    stevendaryl

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    How is that different from devising any theory? Ultimately, you match what the theory predicts to what you observe. They either agree, or they don't. The point of experiments is to expand the range of observed phenomena, to give a better chance of falsifying the theory. That would still apply to a superdeterministic theory.
     
  19. Mar 10, 2014 #18
    Sabine Hossenfelder certainly doesn't think so.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.4326
     
  20. Mar 10, 2014 #19

    atyy

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    I meant assuming that quantum mechanics does not break down.

    Edit: I'll probably have to take that back after reading her paper!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  21. Mar 10, 2014 #20
    He does have a point. If the progression of the world is deterministic, including my brain states, then I must hold to beliefs, of which are false, IF that's what the deterministic process entailed. Determinisim and truth is an interesting question to ponder. However, the brain is determined in such a way to distinguish truth from falsehood, leaving no reel possible world of an apparent contradiction.

    The universe is governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The equations of QM are deterministic, the observations are indeterministic. Guess which one of the two is of physical importance? We, the observer, are "curtained" at full disclosure of the future outcomes, only limited to probabilites, albeit deterministic ones.

    It would thus be no more indeterministic than your medical report and prognosis of future cancer development. Deterministic in nature, but indeterministic in observation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
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