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February 22, 2018

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Challenging the Assumptions That Conflict With Causal Set Theory by Carey Ralph Carlson [refresh]
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Author Carey Ralph Carlson wrote on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 10:50 GMT
Essay Abstract

Physics is currently fragmented into competing theoretical approaches that contradict one another in regard to foundational assumptions. Airing these contradictions can clarify the stark choices that confront theoretical physics from within. Causal set theory has found a respectable niche in fundamental physics, and it is particularly brutal in contradicting widely held assumptions.

Author Bio

Graduated from Macalester College, St. Paul, with a BA in math. Went on to graduate studies in philosophy of science with Grover Maxwell at the U of MN. Had a career in electronics, and then published my "belated thesis" on the mind-body problem. I made some formal discoveries at that point, which I have been publishing and posting in my retirement years.

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James Putnam wrote on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 15:19 GMT
Hi Carey,

Glad to see your essay here. Welcome to FQXi.


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Pentcho Valev wrote on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 15:37 GMT

You wrote: "The reciprocal of frequency is wavelength. Therefore the frequency ratios inherent in causal sets yield wavelength ratios as well."

This would be true if the speed of the wave were invariable:

(frequency) = (speed of the wave)/(wavelength)

Pentcho Valev

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James Putnam replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 15:43 GMT
Dear Pentcho,

Measured locally the speed of light is the constant C.


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Pentcho Valev replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 20:23 GMT
James Putnam wrote: "Measured locally the speed of light is the constant C".

Please define "locally". You may also try to answer the following questions:

The top of a tower of height h emits light with frequency f, speed c and wavelength L (as measured by the emitter): f=c/L. An observer on the ground measures the frequency to be f'=f(1+gh/c^2), the speed of light to be c' and the wavelength to be L': f'=c'/L'.

The questions: c'=? L'=?

My answers: c'=c(1+gh/c^2) ; L'=L

Pentcho Valev

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James Putnam replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 21:14 GMT

Locally means using a measuring rod that is itself affected by the variation of the speed of the light being measured. That rod will undergo length contraction such that it compensates for the variation of the speed of light and masks it locally. If both observers place their measuring rods vertically in the tower, reaching from one observer's position to the other observer's position, then both will measure the same speed of light and it will be C. If both observers use shorter rods to measure the speed of light only at their respective positions they will both measure the speed of light as C.


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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 17:55 GMT

I was interested to see an essay about causal set theory, since this approach also features prominently in my own viewpoint, albeit with a number of important exceptions. You may be interested in reading my essay

On the Foundational Assumptions of Modern Physics

We certainly don't agree on all the particulars, although the way you describe local finiteness seems perhaps closer to my view than the corresponding axiom that usually appears in the literature, which I call interval finiteness. I prefer to regard geometry as emergent (along with interactions) from underlying relations, rather than nonexistent; I call this the causal metric hypothesis. Rafael Sorkin and his collaborators use a discrete measure on the set of elements, which might possibly work, but I don't make this assumption. Also, I expect quantum phenomena to be described by a sum over relations a la Feynman, rather than a single relation.

In any case, I enjoyed reading it. Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Ted Erikson wrote on Aug. 23, 2012 @ 21:29 GMT
Wow! the first essay read with the word "panpsychism".

My essay is perhaps overly simplified, but addresses the real problem of Physics. Wherein lies "consciousness"? Very murky, but emergentism (growth) and panpsychism (memory are properties suggested that aligns them with probabilities of a 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D geometric world, where sphere and tetrahedron have identical "activities"at any size... See:

To Seek Unknown Shores

I think you may appreciate the last 2 pages of my essay..

Good Luck with yours..

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N.D. Cook wrote on Aug. 26, 2012 @ 01:09 GMT
Hi Carey!

I enjoyed reading your FQXi essay, as well as your viXra article on its implications for nuclear physics. As you may know from my FQXi essay, I think there are strong grounds for thinking that the nucleus itself has a lattice structure. (The neutral statement of that argument is that: “The independent-particle model of the nucleus is firmly established as the central paradigm of nuclear structure theory, and implies that each nucleon has a unique set of quantum numbers, n, j, m, etc., that have been experimentally measured countless times in the 2000+ known isotopes and their countless excited states. The exact same pattern of quantum states and their occupancies are reproduced in an fcc lattice. Conventional theorists feign surprise and say, ‘Weird coincidence!’, but the unbiased observer must conclude that the nucleus is either a gas of nucleons, as presumed in the shell model, OR a lattice of nucleons with those same properties.”)

Anyway, the point is that if nucleons are close-packed in an fcc lattice, then the local interactions of each nucleon gives it the symmetries of your model of the neutron, the cuboctahedron!

What I would like to ask you is if you have pursued the “parton substructure” of the many other “elementary” particles? Clearly, the relative stability of the nucleons makes them special, but if such simple geometry underlies the nucleons, then similar parton structures might explain the masses/stability of other particles. My own explorations have been inconclusive, but maybe only because of a lack of stubborn pursuit….



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Anonymous replied on Aug. 26, 2012 @ 17:26 GMT
Hello Norman! So far, I've only modeled with causal sets derived from the tetrahedron, octahedron, cube, and cuboctahedron. The rhombododecahedron, the dual of the cuboctahedron, has twelve rhombus faces, and is likely very important. The icosahedron and dodecahedron likely provide a pair of more exotic quarks. When the experimenters find a new "resonance," they are finding a high-symmetry finite causal set that propagates in chained repetition at its unique deBroglie frequency. Inferring the structure of the finite causal set in question is a matter of combing through the finite causal sets up to a hefty order-- let's say 1000 elements-- looking for instances of outstanding symmetry-- and picking the one that matches the experimental mass value of the new resonance. An algorithm can be used to generate the causal sets up to a given order, and compute the symmetry rankings of the sets generated, to find examples of extraordinary symmetry. These are the ones that can "resonate."

I've worked more with visualization, which works well with the simplest causal sets, and could work further for someone with a facility in Coxeter's type of "beautiful mathematics." But this is an outline for a general program, not specific new modeling on my part. My knowledge of technical physics could fit in a thimble. Your knowledge of physics is greater, and my wish is that someone like you would grasp the reduction to time and carry the program through its next stage of development. -- Carey

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 07:29 GMT
Dear Carey

I enjoyed reading the clear description of causal set theory (CST) and its applications in physics. As with Norman Cook's nuclear dynamics, my own Beautiful Universe Theory is also based on an fcc discrete lattice elements transferring energy locally and causally. I appreciate your approach because it covers the discreteness and causality, but I am loth to give up space. I wonder how properties such as intensity and phase can be described in CST? It is not what you wish, but would it be technically possible to recast (CST) in a lattice without time but with space? The vectors would not look too different than in your diagrams?

I could not relate to the second part of your essay about mental processes, metaphysics and experience. Its just the way my mind works ... or rather doesn't! Please read Constantinos Ragazas' fqxi essay where he analyzes physical and metaphysical conceptions - he also has an interesting approach to Planck's (h) that may play a quantitative role in your CST. I also would be honored if you would read my fqxi essay Fix Physics! .

With all best wishes,


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Carey Ralph Carlson replied on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 17:17 GMT
Hi Vladimir, Thank you for the comments, but using primitive spatial relations instead of primitive time relations would produce only statics without dynamics. My whole thing is a reduction of mass, energy, charge, and color-charge to patterns of discrete temporal succession. -- Carey

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Anonymous wrote on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 21:37 GMT
I really liked the clear and concise introduction to causal sets.

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Gurcharn Singh Sandhu wrote on Sep. 9, 2012 @ 16:44 GMT
Dear Carey,

I have read your essay and I highly appreciate your clear description of causal set theory and its applications in physics. All authors in this contest have presented their viewpoints in different styles. In the grand maze of the unknown it is important to consider all possible alternatives and different viewpoints for building a consolidated common approach. I wish you good...

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 07:13 GMT
Dear Carey Ralph Carlson

I understand what you want to present, it is interesting and relevant.

Would be more attractive if you take out your own opinion of yourself, instead of quoting the opinions of others.

Regard !


August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 00:33 GMT
Mr Carlson,

Excellent course in set theory. Now I understand better the theory. I have a few questions, if I may.

My approach uses logic and the rules of non contradiction as my primary law. This lead me beyond the perceptual reality into metaphysics, which is everything that is real, everything else is experience, a relation between observer and substance. This relation only...

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Nov. 5, 2012 @ 01:19 GMT
Mr Carlson,

I was most impressed by the mass-ratio demonstration. The theory is almost perfect and can almost stand on its own. The only arbitrary finger is stuck in your second paragraph where you say that the pair ordering is “designated” causal.

My essays show how causality can originate simply in logic and be used to remove that finger.

In essence, condensed time, i.e. your causal network, will have a higher probability of existence where it can stay longer or, where time flows more slowly. Consider a particle moving in all directions at various speeds... Where does it exist the most? ... Where is resides the longest of course. And where is that? Where time is slower... as in gravitation.


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Carey R. Carlson replied on Nov. 5, 2012 @ 19:26 GMT
Hi Marcel, Did you see all my constructions at the link to my viXra posting? I do find a stepwise time dilation of the 4-D metric in the modeling of Bohr's formula, which serves as a basis for a discrete version of General Relativity.

I ascribe to the simplest form referential language and logic-- that of "word and object," or the "picture theory of language." The relational structure of a primitive statement in an idealized language correlates 1-to-1 with the relational structure of a primitive fact in whatever domain of reference one intends to describe. In the case of physics, the quantum of action is the primitive fact that correlates to the single arrow of causal set theoy's diagrams. I distinguish pure mathematics from the contingent facts of the temporal world. The math can only apply if the contingent world is composed of contingent relations and relata. I explain my position in depth in a posting titled "The Adequacy of Language for Finite Domains of Reference." Please see that posting, and thank you for your interest. - Carey

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optional replied on Feb. 28, 2013 @ 21:45 GMT
The two way speed of light is constant but not necessarily the one way speed.

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Stephen James Anastasi wrote on Jul. 18, 2015 @ 00:29 GMT
Hello Carey

I'm wondering if you are still around, and if so, might we engage in a dialogue relating to you work (and mine)?

Stephen Anastasi

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