** “I have no need of that hypothesis” – LaPlace **

“Materialism”, “certainty”, “uniformity”, “induction”, “determinism”, “scientific law”, “universal causality” are as dead as god — the belief in them is no longer believable.

Nor, is a god hypothesis necessary. Was it only 200 years ago that LaPlace supposedly said this to Napoleon?

The brief rebuttal is

1.There is no such process as “induction” from “the facts” of nature.

2. There are no necessary empirical truths. (No science is certain.)

3. Every empirical statement must be falsifiable in principle.

4. To be part of science, an empirical statement must be testable, hence refutable.

5. “Materialism” is no part of science.

6. Mathematics makes models. Models, however refined, are not reality.

What follows from these now well-known propositions:

1. No part of science presupposes any “uniformity of nature.” (No faith needed!)

2. There are no “laws” in science — no need for a “law giver” or any “source.”

3. If any religion makes an empirical claim; then, it could be false.

4. In order to be considered scientific, empirical claims made by religion must specify conditions to test it — that is, show how it could be falsified.

5. “God” doesn’t do mathematics. Mathematics doesn’t “describe” or “explain” the world.

In practice, what does science have to say about arrogant religionists:

With respect to science vs. western bible-based monotheism, the relationship is strongly asymmetrical in favor of science. Science is the arbiter of which statements about the world, empirical statements, are or are not “known” — that is, are given the always provisional metalinguistic accolade, ‘true.’ (What is the value of truth — Nietzsche’s question is still important.)

True empirical statements are ‘methodologically fit’ according to the relevant testing procedures within science itself. This is the real meaning of ‘the scientific revolution’ — in what sphere is power vested?, who shall decide what is true?, and by what criteria?

Neither ‘ethical fitness’, as in Heraclitus and his Stoic followers, nor ‘theological fitness’, as in Plato and his xian followers, is any longer considered a viable principle for assessing the truth of an empirical statement.

Methodologically, whenever so-called “sacred” writings make claims about the natural world, they are subject to exactly the same forces of potential refutation as any other empirical claim. There is no “executive privilege” for god.

bipolar2

© 2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/18/science/18law.html?8dpc

Maybe both alternatives — Plato’s eternal stone tablet and Dr. Wheeler’s higgledy-piggledy process — will somehow turn out to be true. The dichotomy between forever and emergent might turn out to be as false eventually as the dichotomy between waves and particles as a description of light. Who knows?

I would like to argue for both alternatives, as two sides of a cosmic convection cycle, where the expanding energy of the quantum world is disconnected and discontinuous, random and microcosmic. But like heat it is always expanding. That it is like the future, invisible, but alway drawing us forward.

While the classic macrocosmic world we live in is reductionistically deterministic and lawful, orderly and mechanistic, but subject to entropy and gravity, it is collapsing and falling away into the past, even though it’s the only reality we can directly observe.

This relationship isn’t just about physics, but all sorts of processes can be understood in terms of the energy rising up, as the structured order slowly, or sometimes rapidly, crumbles. For those looking for guidance, Complexity Theory covers much of this ground, with its dichotomy of top down order and bottom up process/chaos. Those of us out in the larger world can see it in any number of ways. Rising unstructured youth and the crumbling order of age. Dynamic societies replacing prior civilizations. Political movements toppling as the ground moves under them.

Particles are energy that has started to contract and waves just wash over us. Like strings and their vibrations, we are always trying to put these two elements in the same equation and they just don’t fit. Maybe it’s trying to tell us something. Maybe Tao knows more then Moses.

that the transverse-moving mass will accelerate away from a given floor level in a free-falling elevator (since *you* claimed its “acceleration” was “different”, not me!) while the down-falling mass won’t, and yet still not “really” have usefully different accelerations (not in *any* perspective at all?)

Apparently you still haven’t really looked at what I wrote about the analogous situation with geodesics on a sphere. If you ever really think about that, and understand it — draw some pictures, do some calculations, whatever it takes for you to grasp it — you will stop harping on about this non-contradiction. There’s nothing further about this on the web page because I have no reason to remind a general audience that the equivalence principle is true, and is not contradicted by this (or any other) prediction of General Relativity.

No, I don’t have a PhD, just a BSc in Maths, but I taught myself GR from Misner, Thorne and Wheeler. The relativistic elasticity material on my web site is entirely orthodox, and as far as I can check is consistent with a PhD on the subject that I cite, but of course I can make no promise that everything is free of errors.

]]>PS – You show savvy yet call yourself “a science fiction writer” – PhD but just didn’t get into the work? Just curious. And are you fully orthodox? I could almost swear, some of that stuff about accelerating elastic looks somewhat idiosyncratic. tx

]]>I’ve written up my analysis of the planar mass here:

Weak-field GR near the centre of a light planar mass

If you ever succeed in getting anyone else who is competent in GR to consider this matter, it might be more productive to point them to this page than to offer them a paraphrase of my conclusions. I doubt you’ll find anyone else willing to wade through the detailed calculations, but anyone who actually knows GR will get as far as the bold-faced summary in the introduction and tell you that whatever the quantitative details, the qualitative statement here is obvious.

I’ll repeat what I noted earlier: the arxiv paper you found, The general relativistic infinite plane, also finds velocity-dependent accelerations in the static frame tied to the mass. The detailed formulas are different because the detailed space-time geometries are different, but the general phenomenon is, clearly, not absent even in solutions with exact planar symmetry.

]]>By “after many interactions” above I meant “after many sorts of interactions”, not after a large number of interactions. ]]>

Yes, that’s what we have, but no sensible thinker considers the objective results to be merely “an appearance” in any sane sense. Collapse is not “an axiom,” it is what happens.

This is an improper evaluation of the evidence. Again, the appearance of collapse is all that we can observe. This appearance can be described through one of two possible mechanisms:

1. There is actual collapse.

2. There is no collapse, but the underlying behavior causes observers to see collapse.

For many observations, these two are completely indistinguishable. Though one might expect that the underlying behavior might lead to subtle differences that may appear in some experiments (this appears to be the case with quantum decoherence), even without such differences one can determine which of the two hypotheses is more likely to be correct by asking which of the two requires fewer assumptions. The answer is that option two has one fewer axiom, and therefore is to be preferred by default.

If anything deserves to be called “hypothetical” it is the wave, not the collapse which is the “given.” We don’t even know what it means to say that the wave functions “exist” per se, but the collapses are little spots right there on a screen etc. How could “shut up and calculate” folks be brushed off so glibly, regardless of whether you agree with them?

Actually, we do know what it means to say that wave functions exist: it means that in between measurements, the particles in question obey the relevant wave equations. Through many repeated observations, we have demonstrated that this is correct, at least to a very good approximation.

QM without an “axiom” of collapse is, as I said, just waves staying waves forever and in one universe – if MW and decoherence say otherwise, then they are playing tricks with the logical and semantic framing of the issues.

Yes, QM without any axiom of collapse is just waves staying waves forever. Yes, there is just one universe. But due to the interactions that exist within quantum mechanics, observers that are described by the same quantum mechanics necessarily observe collapse: different components of the same wave function lose coherence with one another after many interactions, and are no longer capable of interaction.

This is very much like thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is an empirical set of laws that was derived directly from experiments. But we also know that thermodynamics can be derived by taking into account the specific properties of the individual components of the system and taking the large number limit. This derivation of thermodynamics from statistical mechanics shows us that, for example, the tendency towards equilibrium turns out to only be approximate. If you take a box of air, no matter the initial conditions it will tend towards a nearly uniform distribution. Provided the box is large and the air dense enough, statistical mechanics predicts that the deviations from uniformity will be so small or take so long that we will be incapable of detecting them.

The relationship between quantum decoherence and wave function collapse is exactly analogous to that between statistical mechanics and thermodynamics.

The experiments you mention are worth reflecting on, but I think they just show that the tendency to collapse (which is still an actual event each time) is a variable based on interactive parameters, not any big deal that.

And what is the mechanism for this? What is the underlying physics of this mechanism?

Quantum decoherence offers this without any additional assumptions. How many more assumptions will you add to the theory to replicate quantum decoherence just to avoid the many worlds interpretation?

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