Scientific Certainty?


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It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small.

Be prepared to see the theories you love most of all refuted by experiment in your lifetime.

You hammer on uncertainty except for a theory that seemingly undermines certainty - even though I don't think it even does.

Clearly it's impossible to "calculate" the future with certainty out of sheer complexity, Rand knew that as much as any 5 year old. It's only special classes of events that are predictable, such as planetary orbits. I can't see what difference quantum mechanics adds to this.

I'm not in opposition to most of the facts you present, I'm suspicious of the way you emphasize things and thus your motives.

It might be that you're just playing the devil's advocate here and somewhat trolling around. Fair enough.

But I'm curious, are you conscious about where the opposition (such as Michael's) is coming from?

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Bob,

Rand dealt with this issue in her essay, "The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made" and in other places. She distinguished between man-made facts and natural ones ("the given").

See here a list of quotes from The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Metaphysical vs. Man-Made.

Here's the first quote just to get the ball rolling (from “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made,” in Philosophy: Who Needs It:

Any natural phenomenon, i.e., any event which occurs without human participation, is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur; any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different. For example, a flood occurring in an uninhabited land, is the metaphysically given; a dam built to contain the flood water, is the man-made; if the builders miscalculate and the dam breaks, the disaster is metaphysical in its origin, but intensified by man in its consequences. To correct the situation, men must obey nature by studying the causes and potentialities of the flood, then command nature by building better flood controls.

Any natural phenomenon, like a flood occuring in uninhabited land, is physical in its origin. Why call it 'meta'-physical?

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Michael wrote:

I think her identification here is one of her best ideas. I don't know how many times I have seen science-minded people argue that just because a man-made fact could have been different, this means that a natural fact could have been different, also . . .

end quote

That thought was rather good. Would Rand say Quantum Mechanics is the man-made? I have been watching a bit of PBS and the Science Channel about elemental particles, QM, the Higgs boson, etc., so my understanding is nil. Scientists are now predicting that the most elemental thing is actually a “probability wave” and not solid or just in one place. If it is UN-observed by a human, it was there. If it was observed by a human it must be somewhere else. It sounds like a Twilight Zone episode.

Peter

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The "absolute" in "absolute truth" is often used for pure reinforcement, for emphasis. Therefore a statement like "Truth is absolutely contextual" contains no contradiction if "absolutely" is used as a mere emphasis. More on the other thread:

http://www.objectivi...=0

Have you considered the distinction between that which must be true and that which just happens to be true? Some true statements are necessarily true. For example the statement: an even number is divisible by 2. Some true statement happen to be true, but could have been otherwise. For example the statement: there is a five dollar bill in my wallet.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I haven't considered the distinction in my # 20 post, the reason being that it was irrelevant in the context of that post, which was about "absolute" being used for reasons of pure emphasis in the word combination "absolute truth".

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It might be that you're just playing the devil's advocate here and somewhat trolling around. Fair enough.

But I'm curious, are you conscious about where the opposition (such as Michael's) is coming from?

Not really. It is of little concern to me. I deal primarily with facts, and philosophical objections short of showing a blatant logical contradiction in what I say simply does not register. Facts Rule. Theories sometimes serve.

And I don't troll.

By the way quantum physics is the best physical theory ever formulated, bar none. It is good to 12 decimal places and has yet to be falsified by experimental means.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Michael wrote:

I think her identification here is one of her best ideas. I don't know how many times I have seen science-minded people argue that just because a man-made fact could have been different, this means that a natural fact could have been different, also . . .

end quote

Consider the Stern-Gerlach Experiment. At the subatomic level things are chancy. Fortunately the probabilities can be accurately calculated. Just look at the eignvalues of the applicable Hermite Operators and square them.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Ba'al Chatzaf wryly wrote:

Consider the Stern-Gerlach Experiment. At the subatomic level things are chancy. Fortunately the probabilities can be accurately calculated. Just look at the eignvalues of the applicable Hermite Operators and square them.

end quote

Damn. You are good. I won’t spring the trap. My last letter gives the answer to whoever is first to discover its relevance. Make it yours. Publish.

Peter

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Any natural phenomenon, like a flood occuring in uninhabited land, is physical in its origin. Why call it 'meta'-physical?

Our word physics and physical come from the Greek φυσικό which means natural

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The "metaphysical" vs the "man-made"

I borrowed this quote from the Brights Forum:

"Such astronomical variation from such simple and minimal ingredients - water and air interacting dynamically. In contrast, consider the crude and primitive product of man-madesnowblowers:

http://www.snowcrystals.com

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/photos.htm

Resized to 66% (was 872 x 570) - Click image to enlargewc1224d080C.jpg

So ...

Real (natural) snowflakes : man-made "snowflakes"

... as ...

Biological (natural) consciousness : man-made conscious artifact"

A rather apt comparison, yes?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small. It is one of those 5 sigma jobs. Not absolute certainty, but pretty damned sure. Which is about as good as it gets.

Bob,

Not according to your standards.

How do you know the experiment has been carefully done and oft repeated?

How do you know the results were the same "thousands of times"?

How do you know it corroborates anything?

How do you even use the word "corroborate" and have it actually mean something?

Don't you have doubts about all this?

Hell. how do you even know that's "about as good as it gets"?

You can't have it both ways. You either know these things or you doubt them.

And it you doubt them, then you must doubt your own opinions of Ayn Rand.

There is no such thing as a little bit pregnant.

But enough blank-outs on logic. Are you comfortable basing your entire approach to science on a contradiction? That you must, by definition, doubt the laws of logic since they are part of "in here"?

Michael

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Would Rand say Quantum Mechanics is the man-made?

Peter,

I don't know what Rand would say. I do know what I say.

I claim that we are made out of the same stuff as the rest of the universe.

We are not freaks of nature (to repeat what Nathaniel Branden often wrote).

We have a top-down "form-making" nature and we have a bottom-up "emerging" nature.

People with Bob's view (that there is an "in here" and an "out there" and that they are fundamentally different) deny the top-down part and put doubt in its place--as they have to since they are denying half of reality.

I say QM (at least my understanding of it) confirms my view.

I'm not sure Ayn Rand would have agreed with my formulation as I state it, but she did affirm that the human mind is a causal agent, which perfectly reflects my view. QM merely shows the possibility that its causation capability is not strictly limited to what its host human body does.

Michael

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Example: It is absolutely true that this forum is called "Objectivist Living".

That is a true statement which could have been otherwise. This forum could have been named Practical Objectivsm or some such.

It is true that this forum is called Objectivist Living but it is happenstantially true. It could have been named otherwise.

I think of absolute truth as necessary truth. X is absolutely true if and only if there are no possible circumstances under which X is false. X is contingently true if X is true but not necessarily true. That makes X non-absolutely true but true none the less.

Question: Did Ayn Rand seriously deal with modalities. (Possibly, Necessarily, Contingently). Aristotle did. See http://plato.stanfor...ristotle-logic/

Ba'al Chatzaf

Leonard Peikoff demolished the whole notion of necessary vs. contingent truth in The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy, which, incidentally, was written prior to Rand's break wth Branden. (I witnessed Nathaniel Branden praising Peikoff's essay during one of my many trips to NBI in the 1960s.)

You can read the entire essay in the expanded version of Introduction to Objectivst Epistemology.

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Send a stream of electrons through a Stern-Gerlach magenet and two stream come out spin-up and spin-down. 50-50...
Bob, Really? How do you know that? Isn't it reasonable to doubt it? I'm just using your standard... Michael
It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small. It is one of those 5 sigma jobs. Not absolute certainty, but pretty damned sure. Which is about as good as it gets. Ba'al Chatzaf

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-bohm/

Section 11 on spin toward the bottom:

"We thus might naturally wonder how Bohmian mechanics manages to cope with spin. But this question has already been answered here. Bohmian mechanics makes sense for particles with spin, i.e., for particles whose wave functions are spinor-valued. When such particles are suitably directed toward Stern-Gerlach magnets, they emerge moving in more or less a discrete set of directions — 2 possible directions for a spin-1/2 particle, having 2 spin components, 3 for spin-1 with 3 spin components, and so on. This occurs because the Stern-Gerlach magnets are so designed and so oriented that a wave packet (a localized wave function with reasonably well defined velocity) directed towards the magnet will, by virtue of the Schrödinger evolution, separate into distinct packets — corresponding to the spin components of the wave function and moving in the discrete set of directions. The particle itself, depending upon its initial position, ends up in one of the packets moving in one of the directions."

There is no priority in assuming a probabilistic explanation [probability waves] of quantum mechanics. That priority was disproved by J.S. Bell in 1964 yet it continues to be repeated as though repetition constitutes proof.

Dennis May

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Send a stream of electrons through a Stern-Gerlach magenet and two stream come out spin-up and spin-down. 50-50...
Bob, Really? How do you know that? Isn't it reasonable to doubt it? I'm just using your standard... Michael
It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small. It is one of those 5 sigma jobs. Not absolute certainty, but pretty damned sure. Which is about as good as it gets. Ba'al Chatzaf

http://plato.stanfor...ntries/qm-bohm/

Section 11 on spin toward the bottom:

"We thus might naturally wonder how Bohmian mechanics manages to cope with spin. But this question has already been answered here. Bohmian mechanics makes sense for particles with spin, i.e., for particles whose wave functions are spinor-valued. When such particles are suitably directed toward Stern-Gerlach magnets, they emerge moving in more or less a discrete set of directions — 2 possible directions for a spin-1/2 particle, having 2 spin components, 3 for spin-1 with 3 spin components, and so on. This occurs because the Stern-Gerlach magnets are so designed and so oriented that a wave packet (a localized wave function with reasonably well defined velocity) directed towards the magnet will, by virtue of the Schrödinger evolution, separate into distinct packets — corresponding to the spin components of the wave function and moving in the discrete set of directions. The particle itself, depending upon its initial position, ends up in one of the packets moving in one of the directions."

There is no priority in assuming a probabilistic explanation [probability waves] of quantum mechanics. That priority was disproved by J.S. Bell in 1964 yet it continues to be repeated as though repetition constitutes proof.

Dennis May

Bohm Debroigle QM is unable to ground quantum electro-dynamics (abbr QED). It is not Lorentz invariant.

An any case there is no experiment made to date in which B-DeB beats Quantum Theory. Which is why it is not -the- quauntum theory. Another problem is that the B-DeB pilot wave has infinite velocity.and does not diminish in amplitude with distance. Many physicists don't like that. It is also not Lorentz invariant in the form Bohm proposed it. That is annoying.

The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results.

The relativistic versions of B-DeB require stochastic processes.

I clipped this from the wiki article. You might find it interesting:

Nikolić has proposed a Lorentz-covariant formulation of the Bohmian interpretation of many-particle wave functions.[20] He has developed a generalized relativistic-invariant probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory,[12][21][22] in which | ψ | 2 is no longer a probability density in space, but a probability density in space-time. He uses this generalized probabilistic interpretation to formulate a relativistic-covariant version of de Broglie–Bohm theory without introducing a preferred foliation of space-time. His work also covers the extension of the Bohmian interpretation to a quantization of fields and strings.[23]

In short, probability is back. Can't seem to get rid of it. Here is the thing:

No one has been able to improve upon re-normalized quantum electrodynamics. Bohm DeBroigle doesn't. When you come up of a Lorentz invariant theory that predicts correctly to 12 decimal places, please be sure to let us know. In the mean time we just can't get rid of probabilities without some kind of problem.

If you can find a way to get us back to the "good old days" of Hamiltonian - Lagrangian physics, please let us know.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Send a stream of electrons through a Stern-Gerlach magenet and two stream come out spin-up and spin-down. 50-50...
Bob, Really? How do you know that? Isn't it reasonable to doubt it? I'm just using your standard... Michael
It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small. It is one of those 5 sigma jobs. Not absolute certainty, but pretty damned sure. Which is about as good as it gets. Ba'al Chatzaf
http://plato.stanfor...ntries/qm-bohm/ Section 11 on spin toward the bottom: "We thus might naturally wonder how Bohmian mechanics manages to cope with spin. But this question has already been answered here. Bohmian mechanics makes sense for particles with spin, i.e., for particles whose wave functions are spinor-valued. When such particles are suitably directed toward Stern-Gerlach magnets, they emerge moving in more or less a discrete set of directions — 2 possible directions for a spin-1/2 particle, having 2 spin components, 3 for spin-1 with 3 spin components, and so on. This occurs because the Stern-Gerlach magnets are so designed and so oriented that a wave packet (a localized wave function with reasonably well defined velocity) directed towards the magnet will, by virtue of the Schrödinger evolution, separate into distinct packets — corresponding to the spin components of the wave function and moving in the discrete set of directions. The particle itself, depending upon its initial position, ends up in one of the packets moving in one of the directions." There is no priority in assuming a probabilistic explanation [probability waves] of quantum mechanics. That priority was disproved by J.S. Bell in 1964 yet it continues to be repeated as though repetition constitutes proof. Dennis May
Bohm Debroigle QM is unable to ground quantum electro-dynamics (abbr QED). It is not Lorentz invariant. An any case there is no experiment made to date in which B-DeB beats Quantum Theory. Which is why it is not -the- quauntum theory. Another problem is that the B-DeB pilot wave has infinite velocity.and does not diminish in amplitude with distance. Many physicists don't like that. It is also not Lorentz invariant in the form Bohm proposed it. That is annoying. The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results. The relativistic versions of B-DeB require stochastic processes. I clipped this from the wiki article. You might find it interesting: Nikolić has proposed a Lorentz-covariant formulation of the Bohmian interpretation of many-particle wave functions.[20] He has developed a generalized relativistic-invariant probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory,[12][21][22] in which | ψ | 2 is no longer a probability density in space, but a probability density in space-time. He uses this generalized probabilistic interpretation to formulate a relativistic-covariant version of de Broglie–Bohm theory without introducing a preferred foliation of space-time. His work also covers the extension of the Bohmian interpretation to a quantization of fields and strings.[23] In short, probability is back. Can't seem to get rid of it. Here is the thing: No one has been able to improve upon re-normalized quantum electrodynamics. Bohm DeBroigle doesn't. When you come up of a Lorentz invariant theory that predicts correctly to 12 decimal places, please be sure to let us know. In the mean time we just can't get rid of probabilities without some kind of problem. If you can find a way to get us back to the "good old days" of Hamiltonian - Lagrangian physics, please let us know. Ba'al Chatzaf

"The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results."

To say that is where the probability comes from is only one way the math can be used - it infers absolutely nothing about a probabilistic interpretation. There is no experiment in which Bohmian Mechanics beats non-relativistic standard interpretation QM because both produce the same results. This has been known for many decades. Bohm did not propose specifics about the "pilot wave" any more than the standard interpretation can explain the collapse of probability waves capable of localizing particles across all of space. Nikolić calling them "probability waves" does nothing to make that the case.

Re-normalized quantum electrodynamics produces good results - a marriage between incompatible deterministic relativity and an indeterministic interpretation of QM - using questionable mathematical techniques without physical foundation. But it works so now the task is to come up with a Bohmian

relativistic equivalent since absolutely nothing has changed as far as the priority of a probabilistic interpretation versus a deterministic interpretation. Bell settled that issue in 1964 and quantum electrodynamics overlaps the time frame of Bell's work - the final present form being completed in 1975 without any challenge of Bell's ideas whatsoever. Again repeating the assertion of a priority for a probablistic interpretation adds no weight to the argument. The most that can possibly be said is that a relativistic version of Bohmian mechanics is still in its infancy and does yet compete in the relativistic realm. An understandable situation given the thousands to one funding differential and misinformation about the status of Bohmian Mechanics being taught to this day.

Dennis May

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Send a stream of electrons through a Stern-Gerlach magenet and two stream come out spin-up and spin-down. 50-50...
Bob, Really? How do you know that? Isn't it reasonable to doubt it? I'm just using your standard... Michael
It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small. It is one of those 5 sigma jobs. Not absolute certainty, but pretty damned sure. Which is about as good as it gets. Ba'al Chatzaf
http://plato.stanfor...ntries/qm-bohm/ Section 11 on spin toward the bottom: "We thus might naturally wonder how Bohmian mechanics manages to cope with spin. But this question has already been answered here. Bohmian mechanics makes sense for particles with spin, i.e., for particles whose wave functions are spinor-valued. When such particles are suitably directed toward Stern-Gerlach magnets, they emerge moving in more or less a discrete set of directions — 2 possible directions for a spin-1/2 particle, having 2 spin components, 3 for spin-1 with 3 spin components, and so on. This occurs because the Stern-Gerlach magnets are so designed and so oriented that a wave packet (a localized wave function with reasonably well defined velocity) directed towards the magnet will, by virtue of the Schrödinger evolution, separate into distinct packets — corresponding to the spin components of the wave function and moving in the discrete set of directions. The particle itself, depending upon its initial position, ends up in one of the packets moving in one of the directions." There is no priority in assuming a probabilistic explanation [probability waves] of quantum mechanics. That priority was disproved by J.S. Bell in 1964 yet it continues to be repeated as though repetition constitutes proof. Dennis May
Bohm Debroigle QM is unable to ground quantum electro-dynamics (abbr QED). It is not Lorentz invariant. An any case there is no experiment made to date in which B-DeB beats Quantum Theory. Which is why it is not -the- quauntum theory. Another problem is that the B-DeB pilot wave has infinite velocity.and does not diminish in amplitude with distance. Many physicists don't like that. It is also not Lorentz invariant in the form Bohm proposed it. That is annoying. The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results. The relativistic versions of B-DeB require stochastic processes. I clipped this from the wiki article. You might find it interesting: Nikolić has proposed a Lorentz-covariant formulation of the Bohmian interpretation of many-particle wave functions.[20] He has developed a generalized relativistic-invariant probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory,[12][21][22] in which | ψ | 2 is no longer a probability density in space, but a probability density in space-time. He uses this generalized probabilistic interpretation to formulate a relativistic-covariant version of de Broglie–Bohm theory without introducing a preferred foliation of space-time. His work also covers the extension of the Bohmian interpretation to a quantization of fields and strings.[23] In short, probability is back. Can't seem to get rid of it. Here is the thing: No one has been able to improve upon re-normalized quantum electrodynamics. Bohm DeBroigle doesn't. When you come up of a Lorentz invariant theory that predicts correctly to 12 decimal places, please be sure to let us know. In the mean time we just can't get rid of probabilities without some kind of problem. If you can find a way to get us back to the "good old days" of Hamiltonian - Lagrangian physics, please let us know. Ba'al Chatzaf

"The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results."

To say that is where the probability comes from is only one way the math can be used - it infers absolutely nothing about a probabilistic interpretation. There is no experiment in which Bohmian Mechanics beats non-relativistic standard interpretation QM because both produce the same results. This has been known for many decades. Bohm did not propose specifics about the "pilot wave" any more than the standard interpretation can explain the collapse of probability waves capable of localizing particles across all of space. Nikolić calling them "probability waves" does nothing to make that the case.

Re-normalized quantum electrodynamics produces good results - a marriage between incompatible deterministic relativity and an indeterministic interpretation of QM - using questionable mathematical techniques without physical foundation. But it works so now the task is to come up with a Bohmian

relativistic equivalent since absolutely nothing has changed as far as the priority of a probabilistic interpretation versus a deterministic interpretation. Bell settled that issue in 1964 and quantum electrodynamics overlaps the time frame of Bell's work - the final present form being completed in 1975 without any challenge of Bell's ideas whatsoever. Again repeating the assertion of a priority for a probablistic interpretation adds no weight to the argument. The most that can possibly be said is that a relativistic version of Bohmian mechanics is still in its infancy and does yet compete in the relativistic realm. An understandable situation given the thousands to one funding differential and misinformation about the status of Bohmian Mechanics being taught to this day.

Dennis May

These philosophical quibbles matter little to me. I am interested in RIght Answers and Facts. I am what Ayn Rand called concrete bound. Facts Rule. Theories Serve (sometimes) and Principles stretch to fit. If you have a better way to come up with more Right Answers then publish, and have your work checked out by experts. Einstein did it. And he did it while he was working at the Patent Office too.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Send a stream of electrons through a Stern-Gerlach magenet and two stream come out spin-up and spin-down. 50-50...
Bob, Really? How do you know that? Isn't it reasonable to doubt it? I'm just using your standard... Michael
It is a very carefully done and oft reproduced experiment. It has been done thousands of times with the same result. It is part of a complex experiment that corroborates the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The chances of error are quite small. It is one of those 5 sigma jobs. Not absolute certainty, but pretty damned sure. Which is about as good as it gets. Ba'al Chatzaf
http://plato.stanfor...ntries/qm-bohm/ Section 11 on spin toward the bottom: "We thus might naturally wonder how Bohmian mechanics manages to cope with spin. But this question has already been answered here. Bohmian mechanics makes sense for particles with spin, i.e., for particles whose wave functions are spinor-valued. When such particles are suitably directed toward Stern-Gerlach magnets, they emerge moving in more or less a discrete set of directions — 2 possible directions for a spin-1/2 particle, having 2 spin components, 3 for spin-1 with 3 spin components, and so on. This occurs because the Stern-Gerlach magnets are so designed and so oriented that a wave packet (a localized wave function with reasonably well defined velocity) directed towards the magnet will, by virtue of the Schrödinger evolution, separate into distinct packets — corresponding to the spin components of the wave function and moving in the discrete set of directions. The particle itself, depending upon its initial position, ends up in one of the packets moving in one of the directions." There is no priority in assuming a probabilistic explanation [probability waves] of quantum mechanics. That priority was disproved by J.S. Bell in 1964 yet it continues to be repeated as though repetition constitutes proof. Dennis May
Bohm Debroigle QM is unable to ground quantum electro-dynamics (abbr QED). It is not Lorentz invariant. An any case there is no experiment made to date in which B-DeB beats Quantum Theory. Which is why it is not -the- quauntum theory. Another problem is that the B-DeB pilot wave has infinite velocity.and does not diminish in amplitude with distance. Many physicists don't like that. It is also not Lorentz invariant in the form Bohm proposed it. That is annoying. The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results. The relativistic versions of B-DeB require stochastic processes. I clipped this from the wiki article. You might find it interesting: Nikolić has proposed a Lorentz-covariant formulation of the Bohmian interpretation of many-particle wave functions.[20] He has developed a generalized relativistic-invariant probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory,[12][21][22] in which | ψ | 2 is no longer a probability density in space, but a probability density in space-time. He uses this generalized probabilistic interpretation to formulate a relativistic-covariant version of de Broglie–Bohm theory without introducing a preferred foliation of space-time. His work also covers the extension of the Bohmian interpretation to a quantization of fields and strings.[23] In short, probability is back. Can't seem to get rid of it. Here is the thing: No one has been able to improve upon re-normalized quantum electrodynamics. Bohm DeBroigle doesn't. When you come up of a Lorentz invariant theory that predicts correctly to 12 decimal places, please be sure to let us know. In the mean time we just can't get rid of probabilities without some kind of problem. If you can find a way to get us back to the "good old days" of Hamiltonian - Lagrangian physics, please let us know. Ba'al Chatzaf

"The Max Born interpretation of the eigenvalues of the operator (that is where the probabilities come from) still produces the results."

To say that is where the probability comes from is only one way the math can be used - it infers absolutely nothing about a probabilistic interpretation. There is no experiment in which Bohmian Mechanics beats non-relativistic standard interpretation QM because both produce the same results. This has been known for many decades. Bohm did not propose specifics about the "pilot wave" any more than the standard interpretation can explain the collapse of probability waves capable of localizing particles across all of space. Nikolić calling them "probability waves" does nothing to make that the case.

Re-normalized quantum electrodynamics produces good results - a marriage between incompatible deterministic relativity and an indeterministic interpretation of QM - using questionable mathematical techniques without physical foundation. But it works so now the task is to come up with a Bohmian

relativistic equivalent since absolutely nothing has changed as far as the priority of a probabilistic interpretation versus a deterministic interpretation. Bell settled that issue in 1964 and quantum electrodynamics overlaps the time frame of Bell's work - the final present form being completed in 1975 without any challenge of Bell's ideas whatsoever. Again repeating the assertion of a priority for a probablistic interpretation adds no weight to the argument. The most that can possibly be said is that a relativistic version of Bohmian mechanics is still in its infancy and does yet compete in the relativistic realm. An understandable situation given the thousands to one funding differential and misinformation about the status of Bohmian Mechanics being taught to this day.

Dennis May

These philosophical quibbles matter little to me. I am interested in RIght Answers and Facts. I am what Ayn Rand called concrete bound. Facts Rule. Theories Serve (sometimes) and Principles stretch to fit. If you have a better way to come up with more Right Answers then publish, and have your work checked out by experts. Einstein did it. And he did it while he was working at the Patent Office too.

Ba'al Chatzaf

No argument here about right answers and facts. I am taking your suggestion and working on a paper for arXiv. Eventually little papers won't be enough and I will have to go Tome to ever get it done.

Dennis May

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These philosophical quibbles matter little to me.

Bob,

Bull.

They matter enough that you always claim we can't really know anything, only sort of--and that's the best we can do.

When pontificating at those times, you are awfully interested in "philosophical quibbles."

I am interested in RIght Answers and Facts.

Don't you mean "Somewhat Right Answers" and "Somewhat Presumed Facts"?

Or by Right Answers and Facts, do you mean something better than "the best we can do"?

I'm still interested if you think the laws of logic permit doubt.

Michael

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Like to put in my 2 cents with in this post. Here is a quote from Natalie Angier, a science journalist, from her book The Canon, “Science is uncertain because scientists really can’t prove anything, irrefutably and beyond a neutrino of a doubt, and they don’t even try. Instead, they try to rule out competing hypotheses, until the hypothesis they’re entertaining is the likeliest explanation, within a very, very small margin of error – the tinier, the better.” I do think that science does not try to be a religion. There is always a door open for you to disprove something.

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Like to put in my 2 cents with in this post. Here is a quote from Natalie Angier, a science journalist, from her book The Canon, "Science is uncertain because scientists really can't prove anything, irrefutably and beyond a neutrino of a doubt, and they don't even try. Instead, they try to rule out competing hypotheses, until the hypothesis they're entertaining is the likeliest explanation, within a very, very small margin of error – the tinier, the better." I do think that science does not try to be a religion. There is always a door open for you to disprove something.

Amen, amen. Certainty looks like a will of the wisp. Given a choice between 100 percent certainty, not to be achieved, and 99.995% pretty damned good, I choose the latter and reject the former.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Nero,

Let's put it this way.

How can you know something is wrong unless you compare it to something that is right?

Your quote talks about "margin of error." So how can you have error if you don't have correct? "Margin" is a degree. How can you have a degree of something that essentially doesn't exist--or exists without an opposite (if you use this standard)?

I believe this formulation from science that you can be 100% wrong, but never 100% right is an intellectual con game.

In fact, this con makes science into a religion since the only way to accept such a standard is by faith and blank-out.

Popper himself had to do away with definitions (playing word games that go into infinite regress) so he could entertain such a faith.

Michael

(EDIT: btw - Welcome to OL. :smile: )

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Nero,

Let's put it this way.

How can you know something is wrong unless you compare it to something that is right?

Your quote talks about "margin of error." So how can you have error if you don't have correct? "Margin" is a degree. How can you have a degree of something that doesn't exist?

I believe this formulation from science that you can be 100% wrong, but never 100% right is an intellectual con game.

In fact, this con makes science into a religion since the only way to accept such a standard is by faith and blank-out.

Michael

(EDIT: btw - Welcome to OL. :smile: )

History is full of diligent work in areas with a completely wrong approach. Less common but still present are theories which have been incorrectly "disproved" only to re-emerge when more information becomes available. The most common reason for these kinds of results is incomplete or incorrect context and compartmentalization of results. There are a number of reasons for the crisis in science which we are in the midst of - political and intellectual con games are certainly among them.

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Dennis,

I agree that there are many forces working on science that strain objectivity (did I hear money and power and even pigheadedness? :smile: ), but I'm talking about an epistemological problem.

When scientists try to invalidate the human mind with fancy word games, I think it's time to start over and set some clear rules for cognition.

Maybe I can make it clearer by analogy. To me, a concept is a mental category that refers to existents--something like a file folder that holds other mental events. This means you can put all kinds of observations and reasoning in it. But some stuff will not be in the right place, so you have to take that stuff out and get rid of it or put it in the right folder. The argument I am going against.claims that because you can put all kinds of stuff in a file folder and get it wrong, this means that file folders don't exist at all. Or worse, there are only degrees of file folders, never a whole folder.

Metaphysically this gets weird. It's like saying there is really no such thing as red, only degrees of red.

Michael

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Dennis,

I agree that there are many forces working on science that strain objectivity (did I hear money and power and even pigheadedness? :smile: ), but I'm talking about an epistemological problem.

When scientists try to invalidate the human mind with fancy word games, I think it's time to start over and set some clear rules for cognition.

Maybe I can make it clearer by analogy. To me, a concept is a mental category that refers to existents--something like a file folder that holds other mental events. This means you can put all kinds of observations and reasoning in it. But some stuff will not be in the right place, so you have to take that stuff out and get rid of it or put it in the right folder. The argument I am going against.claims that because you can put all kinds of stuff in a file folder and get it wrong, this means that file folders don't exist at all. Or worse, there are only degrees of file folders, never a whole folder.

Metaphysically this gets weird. It's like saying there is really no such thing as red, only degrees of red.

Michael

I am always concerned about context and compartmentalization in such discussions which is why it is helpful to have a specific topic at hand to illustrate how it is possible to go metaphysically astray when discussing almost anything. The context of when it is appropropriate and not appropriate to compartmentalize a discussion is also very important in the logical outcome.

Dennis May

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