Search FQXi

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

Contests Home

Current Essay Contest

Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

Forum Home
Introduction

Order posts by:
chronological order
most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Antony Ryan: on 8/7/13 at 22:32pm UTC, wrote Hi Ken, Hope you enjoyed my essay if you found the time to read it? Even...

Yuri Danoyan: on 8/7/13 at 3:13am UTC, wrote Dr Wharton How is your opinion about my essay? Yuri

Héctor Gianni: on 8/4/13 at 19:39pm UTC, wrote Dear Ken Wharton: I am an old physician and...

eAmazigh HANNOU: on 8/4/13 at 17:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Ken, We are at the end of this essay contest. In conclusion, at the...

Chidi Idika: on 8/3/13 at 5:05am UTC, wrote Dear prof Ken, Am wondering if you could find the time to read What a...

Ken Wharton: on 8/2/13 at 20:42pm UTC, wrote Thanks, Doug! Yes, I definitely remember you... Looking forward to your...

john selye: on 8/2/13 at 16:17pm UTC, wrote Having read so many insightful essays, I am probably not the only one to...

Ken Wharton: on 8/2/13 at 13:18pm UTC, wrote Thanks Georgina! I remember you generally liked my block-universe analysis...

RECENT FORUM POSTS

Steve Dufourny: "E=m(c²+Xl²)+Y=2 mc² the gravitation originates from the energies..." in The Noise of Gravitons

Cabal Owen: "I have learned this while my research - What are the types of BCI’s ..." in Expanding the Mind...

Georgina Woodward: "Compare: "Wild', existentially free particle, unmeasured, unperturbed, in..." in Quantum Physics and the...

Georgina Woodward: "1. The 'magic rabbit' does not come into being, upon the photo being seen...." in Quantum Physics and the...

Deserdi Chapas: "Report on ongoing Holographic Physics work at deserdi.xyz As humanity has..." in Alternative Models of...

umair zaheer: "Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical locations...." in Anatomy of spacetime and...

robin 435: "rsvsfascxseaczcfadv" in Anatomy of spacetime and...

David Vognar: "Electron Doping? by David Vognar I think it helps to visualize physics so..." in The Present State of...

RECENT ARTICLES

The Entropic Price of Building the Perfect Clock: Q&A with Natalia Ares
Experiments investigating the thermodynamics of clocks can teach us about the origin of time's arrow.

Schrödinger’s A.I. Could Test the Foundations of Reality
Physicists lay out blueprints for running a 'Wigner's Friend' experiment using an artificial intelligence, built on a quantum computer, as an 'observer.'

Expanding the Mind (Literally): Q&A with Karim Jerbi and Jordan O'Byrne
Using a brain-computer interface to create a consciousness 'add-on' to help test Integrated Information Theory.

Quanthoven's Fifth
A quantum computer composes chart-topping music, programmed by physicists striving to understand consciousness.

The Math of Consciousness: Q&A with Kobi Kremnitzer
A meditating mathematician is developing a theory of conscious experience to help understand the boundary between the quantum and classical world.

FQXi FORUM
December 9, 2022

CATEGORY: It From Bit or Bit From It? Essay Contest (2013) [back]
TOPIC: Reality, No Matter How You Slice It by Ken Wharton [refresh]

Author Ken Wharton wrote on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 14:25 GMT
Essay Abstract

In order to reject the notion that information is always about something, the "It from Bit'' idea relies on the nonexistence of a realistic framework that might underly quantum theory. This essay develops the case that there is a plausible underlying reality: one actual spacetime-based history, although with behavior that appears strange when analyzed dynamically (one time-slice at a time). By using a simple model with no dynamical laws, it becomes evident that this behavior is actually quite natural when analyzed "all-at-once'' (as in classical statistical mechanics). The "It from Bit" argument against a spacetime-based reality must then somehow defend the importance of dynamical laws, even as it denies a reality on which such fundamental laws could operate.

Author Bio

Ken Wharton is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at San Jose State University. His field is quantum foundations, with particular interest in approaches that incorporate the same time-symmetry as the phenomena they purport to explain.

Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 21:38 GMT
Dear Prof Wharton,

very interesting essay with great conclusion.

I agree that our universe is not a computer. I came to the same conclusion but using geometry (and the topology of 4-manifolds).

Maybe you fill find my essay also interesting?

Please have a look into my essay

Good luck for the contest

Torsten

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 15:04 GMT
Dear Torsten,

Thanks for the pointer -- I did indeed find your essay interesting, even though we seem to have opposite perspectives, especially when it comes to the block universe.

This quite intrigues me, especially in your case; I've generally found that people working in GR accept the block quite naturally. After all, you start off talking about foliation as (effectively) a subjective choice, but yet you end you up with some seemingly-objective difference between the past and the future. Can you better explain how this comes about, and why in your view the future and past are so necessarily different? (Is there effectively some second time dimension on top of your 4D spacetime, in which "now" can evolve?)

At one point you claim such a block would be "deterministic" (and imply that this would be bad), but surely in interesting topological situations you don't mean "predeterministic", in that the future can be generated from the past. But if you don't mean the latter, then what do you mean, other than the tautology that a block is a block?

I'm currently collecting arguments against the block universe, as they probably will be addressed in a semi-popular book I'm writing with Huw Price. I'm familiar with most of the basic ones, but I have a feeling that yours are more exotic and interesting. Any insight you could share, especially as stemming from GR-based arguments, would be much appreciated.

Best,

Ken

Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga replied on Jul. 6, 2013 @ 15:01 GMT
Dear Ken,

thanks for you interest and sorry for the late answer. I'm on vacatrion with only limited internet access.

My work is more in the direction of quantum gravity then GR. But I understood the arguments for a block universe.

Pro block universe: The arguments are more in the direction of causality. If there is a unique path from the past to the

future for every point then one calls this spacetime strongly causal. This concept forbids time loops etc. but it is to

restrictive. In particular, if you have the Cauchy surface N then the spacetime has to be diffeomorphic to NxR. In this

concept, everything is well-ordered.

Contra block universe: In quantum mechanics and also in quantum gravity, you do have philosphically an open future: there are

the possibility for more than one possible measured value. Now, if one assume that everything (including measured values of

observables) is encoded into geometry than one needs a more complex geometry for the future, a tree.

In my model, a tree appears naturally by the smoothness structure. As explained in the essay (hopefully), one has a complex

quantum state given by wildly embedded submanifold. The resulotion of this wild embedded submanifold is given by a tree anf

the branches of the tree representing the different measured values (the encoding of the probability is not clear to me now).

From the GR point of view, I have a spacetime with naked singularities (the saddle points). In this singularities, some

geodesics went in and some more went out (or you have the branching point of the tree). But this spacetime is now not a block

universe (in the strong sense) andf it is not of the form NxR (but NxR with an exotic smoothness structure).

Hopefully I touched some of your points.

More later,

All the best

Torsten

report post as inappropriate

Zoran Mijatovic wrote on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 04:41 GMT
Hello Prof. Wharton.

While I do not agree with your version of a block-universe, and find such speculation a waste of time, I enjoyed reading it immensely. It brought back fond memories of a time when I too entertained such ideas. If you haven't read it already, I recommend Jack Williamson's book "The Legion Of Time" (1952) , I enjoyed it many many years ago, and may pick it up again thanks to you.

Good Luck.

Zoran.

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 15:06 GMT
Dear Zoran,

Thanks for the mostly-kind words! :-) As you can see in my response to Torsten, above, I'm curious about which aspects of my "version of a block universe" you disagree with, and why.

And since you mention Science Fiction discussions of the block universe, you might also try the more recent short stories, "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang and "The Hundred Light-Year Diary" by Greg Egan. I'll try to track down Williamson's book as well.

Cheers!

Ken

Zoran Mijatovic replied on Jul. 2, 2013 @ 02:33 GMT
Prof. Wharton.

I did not mean to be unkind; it is in my nature to be direct, and in that I may seem insensitive; sorry. I will try and chase up "Story of Your Life" and "The Hundred Light-Year Diary" at some point, but it has been a long time since I read science fiction.

Your answer to Torsten suggests you are interested in limiting the impossible infinity of possibilities "choice" brings to a block-universe. A fifth dimension tying future possibilities to past conditions is one way to imagine a suppression mechanism; something imagined many years ago; and while such imaginings are entertaining, I bugged out of that universe a long time ago. I suspect you realized that after reading my essay and some of my replies to relevant posts.

Cheers!

Zoran.

report post as inappropriate

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 06:06 GMT
Resp prof Warton,

Thank you for presenting your nice essay. I saw the abstract and will post my comments soon. So you can produce material from your thinking. . . .

I am requesting you to go through my essay also. And I take this opportunity to say, to come to reality and base your arguments on experimental results.

I failed mainly because I worked against the main stream....

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Sreenath B N wrote on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 15:42 GMT
Dear prof Warton,

Regards and good luck in the contest.

Sreenath BN.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1827

report post as inappropriate

Daryl Janzen wrote on Jun. 30, 2013 @ 21:29 GMT
Dear Ken,

It’s nice to see your well-written and carefully reasoned essay. I agree that information should be about something real, and I found myself quite absorbed by your analysis, which I could easily appreciate despite thinking that there is a fundamental flaw in it. In my previous essay I argued against the relativity of simultaneity (as inferred from the relativity of...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 15:10 GMT
Dear Daryl,

Thanks for your nice comments, but it's important to distinguish between the content and the structure of our essays. The structures may be similar, but if the contents are diametrically opposed, I figure there can't be much of an inherent overlap. And since my *entire premise* is built on relativity of simultaneity, I think that's the case.

Besides, once you go back to the standard dynamical story of the past generating the future, you fall right back into all the no-go theorems from quantum mechanics. Even if I had some reason to doubt relativity (I don't), I'd think this would be a show-stopper for a realist.

Think about it this way: quantum mechanics is unquestionably counter-intuitive. But which intuition(s) does it violate? You seem to be going for a story completely in tune with our base intuitions about both reality and temporal flow, which would seem to leave no room for anything about nature that would surprise us. And since quantum theory *does* surprise us, such a research direction doesn't seem particularly promising (at least not to me).

Best,

Ken

Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 19:16 GMT
Dear Ken,

I'm disappointed by the above response. I read your excellent essay, and, as usual, I agree with much of what you say, but I've also read Daryl's essays, and I'm impressed with his arguments. What you appear to be saying is that you have a belief, and it is not logical, and need not be defended with logic.

I can understand this, as my model is basically rooted in my belief about the nature of the world and my experience living in it. Nevertheless, I was hoping for an enlightening exchange from the above comment. I would ask that you reconsider your response. It seems a simple enough problem has been stated, that deserves more than an abrupt dismissal.

Anyway, I'm glad to see you participating in the contest again, and once more enjoyed reading your essay, which seemed to contain a number of novel points. I invite you read and comment upon my essay if you find the time.

Best,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

report post as inappropriate

Anonymous replied on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 20:42 GMT
Thanks for your support, Edwin. It was a nice surprise when I came to post this response.

Dear Ken,

Thanks for your response. I’m sorry that I wasn’t crystal clear that while I think a strong argument in favour of an absolute frame of reference and true temporal passage takes exactly the same *form* that your essay has, I understand that the *content* of my argument is completely...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 05:25 GMT
Dear Ken

According to my understanding, you conclude that : it is not from the bit, and it seems you have not concluded: "it" is from?

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1802

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 15:20 GMT
Dear Hoang,

I'm not sure I follow your question... If you're asking where "it" comes from, in my view, you're right that I didn't address that in this essay. My view is that the classical-field-microhistory which actually fills our universe is randomly chosen from all the possible microhistories compatible with the cosmological boundary conditions, subject to at least one other constraint (perhaps my NLC from Ref. [9]).

If you then ask where the boundary conditions on our universe come from, I have no idea; that's my ultimate cause. I actually suspect that they will turn out to be quite simple, perhaps even uniquely obvious in the right framework, but don't have much to base that on right now, other than a couple of hand-waving arguments.

Cheers,

Ken

Cristinel Stoica wrote on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 17:47 GMT
Dear Ken,

Thanks for the beautiful, insightful essay. I very much liked your statement "Using a theory that only comprises our knowledge of measurement outcomes to justify knowledge as fundamental is almost like wearing rose-tinted glasses to justify that the world is tinted red."

I find again that our views of how the things will be ultimately resolved in quantum mechanics have some common points, although we express them differently, and we use different approaches. In your essay, you perform an analysis intended to weaken Wheeler's conclusion stated in "it from bit", by using what you call "all-at-once", and maybe as part of your Lagrangian approach. In my essay, I present my view that quantum systems have to obbey the "global consistency principle" (which also fits natural in the 4D block world view of relativity), and that what Wheeler's delayed choice shows is not that information is primordial, but only that the initial conditions depend on what measurements will be performed in the future, or that the initial conditions are delayed.

Best regards,

Cristi Stoica

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 5, 2013 @ 22:13 GMT
Thanks, Cristi ; yes, lots of common points! I had already noted your essay, and mean to comment on it, but it may be a week or so until I get a chance. More soon!

Ken

Member Matthew Saul Leifer wrote on Jul. 1, 2013 @ 20:26 GMT
Hi Ken,

As you know, we agree on a lot of this stuff, although I wish you wouldn't perpetuate Feynman's fallacy that the double slit experiment contains the whole mystery of quantum theory. The double slit experiment, delayed choice, Elitzur Vaidman bomb, and similar phenomena that only rely on basic interferometry can all be accounted for by perfectly sensible local and noncontextual...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Mikalai Birukou replied on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 18:25 GMT
I respectfully disagree with Matthew's statement of falsehood of Feynman's point, quote, "that the double slit experiment contains the whole mystery of quantum theory". Article http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1597 shows how results of double slit experiment lead to concept of interaction confinement, which expresses into unitary dynamic for a closed system, when seen from outside. The "seen from outside" is a relational nature of information as per Carlo's http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1816.

Also want to make a comment about "perfectly sensible local and noncontextual hidden variable theories". I found article that try to suggest tests of such theories. What about actual results? Aspect(&co)'s experiments, in relation to Bell's theorem, still say that nature is not run by hidden variables. Shouldn't we be sceptical here?

report post as inappropriate

Peter Jackson replied on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 19:16 GMT
I have to support Matthews points, and Daryl's. The so called 'no-go' theorems all have limited domains and rely on assumptions. I've now shown how the last one, Bell's theorem, can be overcome in my essay, the EPR paradox resolved as Bell and von Neumann anticipated using a real local mechanism but by 'unifying' QM and SR! The others then melt away as inapplicable.

And Mikalai, the solution I present predicted an 'orbital symmetry' in the results for each detector if proper comparison of actual pairs was carried out. I assumed Aspect hadn't managed this, but to his credit it seems he had! Did you know he discarded over 99% of his data due to some unexplained "orbital asymmetry"? I only found this after researching the French version of his follow up paper. There was then no theory to explain it, now there is, and it derives a cosine curve at EACH detector, making QM uncertainty far more consistent, but also deriving the SR postulates. And as may imagined more emerges, including simplicity. Gordon Watsons essay provides the consistent mathematics.

This would infer that Ken's assumptions were incorrect, though I still can't help feeling that Ken had a slightly devilish reason for drawing his provocative conclusions. I think I show that if we get dynamics right they overcome all assumptions about giving up reality and obeying imaginary stop signs. QM uncertainty emerges closely analogous to Kalusa's thesis, but I needed more space to develop that.

I do beseech you to read mine very carefully and comment. "The Intelligent Bit"

Ken, I need to read yours carefully again before commenting further, and also your considered comments on mine.

Many thanks

Peter

report post as inappropriate

Mikalai Birukou replied on Jul. 4, 2013 @ 15:58 GMT
Dear Peter and Matthew,

Judging by IQit things, one needs a lot of, quote, "axioms". It is a complex thing. Alternative might be a simpler explanation, with potentially different fundamental concepts, then those in classical physics.

To judge between the two, we need an experiment. In absence of experiment, Einstein's razor would have to be used :)

I asked, if there are actual runs for effects due to presence of hidden variables. That shall help.

More so, I think that we may find another suggestion for experiment in the following place. If classically-governed hidden variables is what nature does, then there is no theoretical restriction for tapping into quantum-channel key distribution (man in the middle attack), while QM without hidden variables implies that such tapping is impossible.

Am I right? So, break quantum channel, make a ton of money, and, as a bonus, I will be the first to accept a more cumbersome explanation of reality, cause nature decides through phenomenology (experiment).

report post as inappropriate

Stuart Heinrich wrote on Jul. 2, 2013 @ 07:05 GMT
Dear Dr. Wharton,

I completely agree with you about the necessity to consider the universe all at once, and have made the same arguments myself. So, given that we both agree that there is some formal system which can describe the complete configuration of the universe, past present and future, my question to you is this: why are the axioms of that formal system true, as opposed to some other formal system?

An axiomatic system cannot, by definition, derive its own axioms. From an objective standpoint, one cannot claim that one axiomatic system is "more true" than other. All we can do is say that one axiomatic system describes our universe better or worse than another. But suppose we have found this system. Why is that system the one "true" system, and all other systems false?

If there is one axiomatic system that corresponds to objective reality, if that one axiomatic system is objectively true, there must be some way to break the symmetry between other axiomatic systems...some way to distinguish it, to show why this system is realized and others are not.

This question is unanswered by your essay, and I would argue that an honest look at this question leads to just one logical conclusion.

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:16 GMT
Hi Stuart,

Just because I'm advocating an all-at-once viewpoint doesn't mean I think there is a "formal system that can describe the complete configuration of the universe". In fact, my latest research is based on a framework that explicitly denies that one can deduce the exact configuration of any space-time region, even given the complete boundary conditions. (This is not to say there isn't one particular configuration, it's just that it's not knowable from only the external boundaries.)

As for why the rules that govern our universe happen to be the way they are, that's a good question, but one that's tough to address until we have the correct rules at our disposal! At the end of the day I imagine it will look quite simple and possibly unique, but that day might not happen in our lifetimes...

Best,

Ken

Anonymous wrote on Jul. 2, 2013 @ 11:22 GMT
Dear Prof. Wharton,

Nice essay but I will not hide my disagreement that IT cannot come from BIT, a position you hold. The Quantum world has provided a safe haven for all sorts of pet theories and abstract contraptions to hide, so let me discuss and cross-examine you on the cosmic scale. So dear Prof. Wharton, kindly mount the witness box:

1. Is the universe real? If so, is it an IT?

2. If the universe is an IT as we its inhabitants would not be writing and reading essays if it were not, would it have a beginning?

3. If it had a beginning, and that beginning was from "nothing", is nothing an IT?

4. If nothing is not an IT but is rather "an immaterial thing", then has an IT not come from what does not have an underlying reality?!

Whereas, you yourself have testified publicly that: "the only proper rebuttal is to demonstrate that there is some plausible underlying reality, after all" and the possibility of the contrary haven been demonstrated from exhibits 1 to 4 above,

I now put it to you that, at least on the cosmic scale, "It from Bit" proponents can ... claim to have won the argument by default!!

Cheers and all the best sir. You are discharged and acquitted since you were honest in your testimony. MORAL: IT can at the "very deep bottom" come from an immaterial source and explanation! - It from Bit, Wheeler, 1989

Regards,

Akinbo

*You may wish to appeal this judgement after reading and criticizing my paper.

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:23 GMT
Hi Akinbo,

I'm afraid you still probably won't like my (materialistic) answers to your questions... but here goes.

1) Yes, Yes.

2) Would it have a "beginning"? If you mean a temporal beginning, then I suppose so (although there are interesting cosmologies in which it would not; see Sean Gryb's excellent essay.) But I can tell by your later questions that you also mean a *causal* beginning, that determines the rest of the universe, and this I reject in my all-at-once viewpoint.

3) If it did have a temporal beginning, associated with some cosmological boundary condition at the Big Bang, then while that boundary condition would certainly be an "IT", it would not need to result from anything else. Cosmological boundaries are like ultimate causes. There might be some rule that told us what that boundary might look like, but definitely not a causal rule in that it would have to evolve from something else. The all-at-once view helps with this perspective; if you're in a dynamical view, it may be hard to imagine a free-standing boundary constraint that doesn't evolve from anything else.

4) see 3.

Best,

Ken

Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jul. 2, 2013 @ 11:29 GMT
I am an IT, I don't know why the system calls me Anonymous and turn me to a BIT despite being logged in.

Akinbo

report post as inappropriate

Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Jul. 2, 2013 @ 17:18 GMT
Ken,

I gave your essay a first reading last night. I am going to need to read it again. I have this curious sense that you are implicitly arguing for local hidden variables. Of course since you are working within a block universe idea maybe these are in fact nonlocal. I get this sense there is some subtle issue with what you wrote along these lines.

I do get the sense that your argument is that block time is the proper view of spacetime from the perspective of the action principle. I would tend to concur with this. There is the question I think of how one treats Cauchy data for the initial and end points of a path integral. The role of dynamics is I think secondary. Dynamics just tells us what the system will look like along the parameterization or time variable of the path integral. Since we perceive spacetime according to a present moment that is carried along with time to the next moment we are sort of biased to see the world as dynamical. The action principle provides the Euler-Lagrange equation to permit us to convert the action principle into a dynamical principle.

LC

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:31 GMT
Hi Lawrence,

As for whether I'm arguing for local hidden variables depends on exactly what is meant by "local" (see Matt Leifer's comment above). But I certainly do think there's a nice all-at-once definition of locality, as in GR; in that case it's possible to have a "local" ontology and still have crazy features like closed-timelike curves. My hidden variables also have the feature that they are all associated with points on spacetime, and correlations between points can only be enforced by continuous pathways.

I agree with your excellent point about how we're biased to see things as dynamical, but disagree there is necessarily a dynamical version of the all-at-once story I'm trying to tell. For example, the path integral only converges onto the Euler-Lagrange equations in the hbar->0 limit; is there a finite h-bar dynamical version? Well, arguably yes, if all you care about is probabilities, but I'm restricting the path integral further such that there is no dynamical version at all.

For more on this you might review my previous essay, the Universe is Not a Computer.

Cheers,

Ken

Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 01:27 GMT
Dear Ken

I am not competent enough to respond to the interesting points you raised about dynamics, it from bit and conceptions of Reality. Your arguments are expressed through the use of space-time. I have long ago concluded there is no time dimension and that observer-based physics (frames of reference, her past and future) should be replaced by one describing dynamics in an absolute universe.

You mention the Born Rule and the double-slit experiment. May I direct you to Eric Reiter's unquantum website where he describes experiments that demolish the Born Rule. This agrees with my own 2005 Beautiful Universe Theory also found here where dynamics in a timeless Universe where propbability is emergent is suggested.

With best wishes

report post as inappropriate

Mikalai Birukou wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 02:59 GMT
Dear Ken,

I've been reading your article "The Universe is not a Computer" (arXiv:1211.7081).

I share you concern for a lack of physical interpretation that tells us to use Lagrangian principle, unlike Fermat's principle, which has a clear justification for mathematical procedure (talking about light paths, etc.).

What would you think of the following argument. Let's assume that any dynamic process, or system, can be used as a clock. Different states of system a labelled with some values of real variable, called time (t). We need as little change of state as possible between any two labels t_0 and t_1, to have a clock as precise as possible. Infinitesimal change of system state in quantum mechanics is Hamiltonian, which is units of energy. The mathematical variation method constructs entity with units of action (energy times time).

This physical argument for introduction of Lagrangian principle fits nicely with quantum mechanics, which is discussed in http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/essay-download/159
7/
. Section five actually talks about principle of least action, while the other ones build a ground for it.

In http://physics-essays.birukou.net/principle-of-least-action I describe uneasiness from a student's point of view about LQFT as it is taught at the moment.

Let me know what you think. Do not hesitate to email directly.

Mikalai

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:41 GMT
Hi Mikalai,

I enjoyed most of that last link you posted; excellent points!

Where I think we differ is that I don't assign any particular foliation as fundamental; time and space are all blended together in an all-at-once viewpoint, so Hamiltonian formulations are not fundamental either (or indeed, even always possible). So the energy x time = action is a bit of a red herring in my book; this is no different from momentum x length = action, and any approach that doesn't treat both of these on the same footing is probably treating time as special in a way that I don't think is justified... at least not in an all-at-once perspective!

Best,

Ken

Hoang cao Hai wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 05:14 GMT
Send to all of you

THE ADDITIONAL ARTICLES AND A SMALL TEST FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT

To change the atmosphere "abstract" of the competition and to demonstrate for the real preeminent possibility of the Absolute theory as well as to clarify the issues I mentioned in the essay and to avoid duplicate questions after receiving the opinion of you , I will add a reply to you :

1 . THE...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 18:09 GMT
Ken,

If given the time and the wits to evaluate over 120 more entries, I have a month to try. My seemingly whimsical title, “It’s good to be the king,” is serious about our subject.

Jim

report post as inappropriate

Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jul. 3, 2013 @ 18:25 GMT
Hello Ken,

I only got part way through your essay before fatigue set in last night, but found the part I did read deep and engaging. Seeing your comments above, about seeking alternatives to the Block Time universe description, I wanted to mention the following.

The possibility has been raised that the dimensionality of spacetime is not a constant, where CDT and Quantum Einstein gravity find that the cosmos was 2-d initially, and spacetime later unfolds to become 4-d. I discuss this somewhat in my essay from last year, but a paper of note just came out.

"Dimensional reduction in the sky" arXiv:1305.3153 has as authors two of last year's essay contest entrants, Giovanni Amelino-Camelia and Michele Arzano, along with Giulia Gubitosi and Joao Magueijo. So how can there be block time, if the dimensionality of the cosmos evolves? Since spheres have maximal volume in 5-d, perhaps that is where things are ultimately headed. Care to comment?

Regards,

Jonathan

report post as inappropriate
Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Jul. 9, 2013 @ 05:04 GMT
I wanted to add that Zeeya Merali and the FQXi folks have given this subject a Forum page, for discussion, which can be accessed at:

Dimensional reduction in the sky

Your insights and opinions are of course welcome.

All the Best,

Jonathan

report post as inappropriate

Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:46 GMT
Hi Jonathan,

I have no real problems with (say) a 5D cosmology, so long as it's analyzed "all-at-once". I don't think it's even coherent to talk about the (time)-evolution of a 4D universe into a 5D universe, because the meta-time that this evolution is happening in is supposed to be part of both the 4D and 5D universe. Maybe this is what you mean by saying a block view is impossible, but I'd go so far as to say *any* view is impossible, unless you assign the meta-time as a sixth dimension (in which case I'd advocate for an all-at-once 6D view).

Of course, there may be surfaces in an all-at-once 5D cosmology that are effectively the 4D universe that we experience, but that doesn't mean one can't take a 5D all-at-once view to describe this as well (which would include a 4D all-at-once view as a subset).

Best,

Ken

Armin Nikkhah Shirazi replied on Jul. 15, 2013 @ 14:10 GMT
Hello,

If I may be allowed to inject myself into this discussion: I think that without further specifications, the 'meta-time' in 5D cannot be part of the 4D universe because when transformed to a frame in which it is a proper time, it is constituted of one more quantity than spacetime proper times (i.e. 4+1 vs. 3+1).

In order for it to play any role in 4D there needs to exist a map which defines the relation between events in 4D and 5D. In Euclidean space, this is obviously not a problem because such a map is nothing other than an embedding, by which one may view 4D as a surface in 5D. I don't know whether such a map exists or can even be defined for the Lorentzian metric.

If someone knows the answer to this, I would greatly appreciate it as it plays a crucial role in the framework that I am working on.

All the best,

Armin

report post as inappropriate

Richard N. Shand wrote on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 05:14 GMT
Ken,

I very much enjoyed reading your thoughtful essay. The "Independence Fallacy" can also be examined in terms of quantum information theory (see my essay "A Complex Conjugate Bit and It"). Your all-at-once analysis is supported by Aharonov, Popescu and Tollaksen's time-symmetric formulation of quantum mechanics (Physics Today, November 2010).

You advocate a path integral in standard 4D spacetime approach, rather than "making almost everything interdependent in some strange [QM] configuration space". The problem is that while a static 4D block appears to remove subjectivity, as a God's eye view it is still based on forms created in the mind. The model is epistemic.

On the other hand, if a quantum configuration space is the ontic basis of being, our 4D spacetime collapses to a combinatorial group of symmetries with no unique solution. Perhaps dynamical time evolution is just the difference between the conditional entropy of the local observer (her ignorance) and reciprocal quantum entanglement entropy (the totality of all that is possible).

Best wishes,

Richard Shand

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:53 GMT
Hi Richard,

Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, there are some connections with quantum information theory, although I think the all-at-once view is more difficult to introduce there for a variety of reasons. And there are also connections with Aharonov's two-state formalism, but important differences as well. An all-at-once view of that proposal looks quite strange if you consider A) multiple particles, or B) how things compare on both sides of strong measurements.

I'm not exactly sure what the problem is concerning the mind. While my view is effectively "psi-epistemic" as applied to the standard quantum story, I'm a firm realist about the universe actually being filled with one particular 4D field history. Sure, we humans came up with the idea of physical fields, but that doesn't mean that they can't comprise a realistic ontology.

Best,

Ken

KoGuan Leo wrote on Jul. 14, 2013 @ 00:45 GMT
Dear Ken, what an excellent essay, I enjoyed reading it tremendously. Questions: is up is up or down is down? Is down is up and up is down? The Americans tell the Ausies correctly that you are the down-under people, whereas the Ausies retort correcyly we are the up-upper people and you the Americans are the down-under people. Both turn out to be correct from their respective frame of references...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 13:59 GMT
Hi Leo,

Thanks for your kind comments! I'm not sure I exactly understand your question/comment, but I get the impression you're not enamored of the block universe, and that you see a spatial "here" as being quite different from a temporal "now" in some objective sense.

I guess it's clear that I disagree, but I seem to be at a loss as to how best to persuade block-deniers that time is perfectly real in a block universe, just as real as space, but not essentially different. I do think it's fatally dangerous to think about our universe *without* freezing everything into a 4D block, because then our mental instincts about time and change can't be separated from the objective features we're trying to understand. (Nothing "moves" in 4D; motion occurs when the 4D block is sliced up and played as a movie, but there's a subjective choice involved in how one does this. This doesn't deny that what we think of as motion is an objective feature encoded in the block, but merely separates out which features are subjective.) I'll try a longer answer when I get to Ian's questions below; stay tuned!

Best,

Ken

Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on Jul. 15, 2013 @ 13:28 GMT
Dear Ken,

I found your essay very well-argued and I was especially impressed how you tailored your conclusion to the theme of the contest, i.e. that"Instead of winning the argument by default, then, It from Bit proponents now need to argue that it's better to give up reality."

I have two questions:

1. How is your framework different from Bell's "Superdeterminism"?

It...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 20:12 GMT
Hi Armin,

1) What I'm proposing is usually termed retrocausality, which is completely different and opposed to superdeterminism (although often confused with it, including by Bell himself). In superdeterminism, a future event A is correlated with a past event B by virtue of an even-further-past event C, in the past light-cone of...

view entire post

Armin Nikkhah Shirazi wrote on Jul. 15, 2013 @ 14:19 GMT
Dear Ken,

It occurred to me that the experimental approach that I suggested to you might more likely work better the other way around from the way I described above, namely, that the real affine parameter and the web of affine parameter worldlines may introduce additional constraints not present in standard QM which forecloses certain results (or configurations of results) in your framework that are allowed under standard QM. Of course, to be sure, one needs to do the math, but I hope that you nonetheless found my suggestion useful.

Armin

report post as inappropriate

Hugh Matlock wrote on Jul. 16, 2013 @ 23:24 GMT
Hi Ken,

Your explanation of the Independence Fallacy and your account of a realistic QM is great!

I think your model is well worth developing but I believe it may be consistent with an underlying computational model, rather than foreclosing it: In the simulation paradigm, a computational substrate produces the effects that we observe. In one form of this, observers can see the "display screen" but not the "computer memory" of the system. An observer's timeline is a series of "explicate" snapshots from a particular perspective, which is computationally related to the "implicate" (hidden) state of the system.

Your "all at once" picture seems to me a good description of what such a system is doing internally. Internally, it does not have the past-present-future distinction that observers have, and so is free to propagate changes along the "4D links" you describe. In other words, there are two kinds of change: one that observers see as they view the cosmos along their timelines, and another kind of change that takes place "all at once" at each interaction of observer and cosmos.

This is the model that I explore in my essay Software Cosmos. What I call (after Bohm) the "implicate" seems to me what you describe as the "all at once" picture. We both agree that explicate observers do not have dynamics, the difference is that I see dynamics taking place in the implicate, rather than being discarded completely. I hope you get a chance to read it, as I would love to know what you think.

Hugh

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 20:25 GMT
Hi Hugh,

I'm glad you enjoyed the essay!

At the surface, at least, my 'universe is not a computer' premise (see last year's essay) seems wildly different from your 'software cosmos', but I did see that you favor the fields-over-particles framework, which I'm certainly on board with.

As far as talking about the all-at-once perspective, I think it's crucial not to talk about "change" or "propagation" in a 4D perspective; once time has been mapped to a space-like axis, there's no remaining time dimension for either of those concepts to make sense.

I certainly will agree that, given a block history, we can experience it as "snapshots from a particular perspective", complete with our usual experience of time. But if you try to put ordinary dynamical equations back in at that level, I don't see a way to rescue either time-symmetry or a spacetime-based reality. (Yes, we need to recover *average* dynamics to explain our macroscopic world, but that's not really the same thing if they don't hold at a fundamental level.)

Best,

Ken

Member Ian Durham wrote on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 01:35 GMT
Hey Ken,

I trust that you will take my comments in the spirit they are intended (besides, you can always take solace in the fact that you're better than me at Scrabble). And, of course, you already know that we agree on the final conclusion.

So I have a number of critiques about specific passages, but I think the broadly general issues I have are primarily centered around three...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Armin Nikkhah Shirazi replied on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 05:16 GMT
Dear Ian,

You made a number of very interesting comments, but I am afraid I did not follow all of them. I am really interested in better understanding your arguments, which is why I am taking the liberty to inject a couple of requests for clarification.

RE:c frame

Since all spacetime events in such a frame occur over a duration of exactly zero, I don't understand what you...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Daryl Janzen replied on Jul. 17, 2013 @ 08:35 GMT
Dear Ian,

I hope you'll excuse me butting in here as well, but you make a number of points that are of interest to me. I've been discussing the block universe issue with Ken above, and in my last posts (which he hasn't yet responded to) I wrote something about the Lorentzian signature of space-time, as well as something about a null frame, and I was hoping you could comment on that in light of what you had to say here. I'd also be interested to read the detailed response you said you could send regarding the frame that moves at the speed of light (my email address is daryl.janzen@usask.ca).

Also, your post has me intrigued to read more about quantum contextuality, so I'm going to read your essay on that. But in that regard, I'd be very interested to know what you might have to say in response to Ken's comments to me above.

Best regards,

Daryl

report post as inappropriate

Anonymous replied on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 01:06 GMT
Ken, Armin, and Daryl,

Let me see if I can respond to these questions adequately here.

First in regard to the c frame. So, since light travels at the same speed (set c=1 for simplicity) in any inertial frame, it would seem that all inertial frames would be at rest relative to light. But this can't quite be true because if it were, there should be absolutely no benefit to accelerating...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Jul. 18, 2013 @ 01:56 GMT
Dear Ken. Hello, and apologies if this does not apply to you. I have read and rated your essay and about 50 others. If you have not read, or did not rate my essay The Cloud of Unknowing please consider doing so. With best wishes.

report post as inappropriate

Cristinel Stoica wrote on Jul. 20, 2013 @ 12:44 GMT
Dear Ken,

I replied to the feedback you left on my essay page. Congratulations again for the excellent essay, and good luck with the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi Stoica

report post as inappropriate

Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Jul. 21, 2013 @ 12:39 GMT
Hi Ken,

With more than a little bit of astonishment, I read Ian Durham's claim that you do not properly understand relativity, because of the existence of "at least one" preferred frame. Ian is wrong -- the preferred frame is not "at least one," it is a zero frame, and in general relativity the universe is a 4D quantum.

Only in the static model of quantum complex Hilbert space where...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Thomas Howard Ray replied on Jul. 21, 2013 @ 15:26 GMT
I feel compelled to reproduce a comment that I made in your last year's essay forum:

"I love your statement, 'Now there's one last anthropocentric attitude that needs to go, the idea that the computations we perform are the same computations performed by the universe, the idea that the universe is as 'in the dark' about the future as we are ourselves.'"

Absolutely.

Tom

report post as inappropriate

Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 21, 2013 @ 16:08 GMT
Hi Tom,

I'll have to look at your own essay to see if I can understand the rest of your comments; maybe I'll try to contrast our views on your comment page.

Best,

Ken

Antony Ryan wrote on Jul. 21, 2013 @ 17:09 GMT
Hello Ken,

Apologies for commenting so late in the contest! I really like your essay and the approach is clever and up my street! Title sums it up well too.

All at once makes excellent sense. I like the rose tinted specs analogy at the start. I too tend away from It from Bit.

Your work here has made me consider my 3-spatial dimension, etc, mimicking the Fibonacci sequence around a Black Hole. As 4 corresponding to 4D space-time isn't in the sequence (when passing through zero) I omit time for the my purposes. I think that our two ways of considering the question sit well together.

If you still have time to take a look at my essay, I'd very much appreciate it.

I think you're going to do well in the contest & wish you all the very best!

Congratulations on an excellent essay,

Antony

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 21:31 GMT
Hi Antony,

Thanks for the nice comments! I haven't thought much about black holes lately, but was just informed today how I might apply some of my ideas in that context, so maybe that will get put on the research list. I'll try to get to your essay as well.

Best,

Ken

Antony Ryan replied on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 22:32 GMT
Hi Ken,

Hope you enjoyed my essay if you found the time to read it? Even if it's after the rating finishes I'd be delighted to have any feedback.

Best wishes,

Antony

report post as inappropriate

Paul Borrill wrote on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 00:16 GMT
Outstanding: A beautiful description of the independence fallacy. This is an excellent way to describe why slices in Minkowski space are profoundly unreal, and lead to inconsistent statistics in the “information record” of Bell states and other quantum experiments.

My favorite quote from the paper “But if one updates the past probabilities upon learning which measurement a system will encounter, the premises behind those theorems are explicitly violated.”

It appears, however, to be incomplete in one aspect, it needs a more distinguished understanding of what “dynamical evolution” means. I suspect the “dynamical evolution” aspect you are trying to stay away from is the "monotonic, irreversible flow of time".

I have not yet read your other papers in the references, as soon as I get through this huge volume of FQXi material, I will be sure to go back and read all your papers. I really enjoyed this one, these are excellent ideas, and your writing style is very high quality.

I would differ with you in your description of the double slit experiment, where you talk of photons “not landing in the dark fringes”. I assert that they do indeed “land” in the dark fringes, but they are “entangled” -- the photons are trapped between the emitter and detector bouncing back and forth in a timeless fashion. Entangled systems are DARK (from both an emission and an absorption perspective) [Ref: http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1897 ]

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 21:43 GMT
Hi Paul,

Thanks! But I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say that 3D slices are "unreal", just incomplete. (After all, a 2D slice of a chair is certainly not "unreal", is it?)

You're absolutely right that I need a better description of what I mean by "dynamical evolution"; I probably neglected this because it was the main thrust of last year's essay entry, "The Universe is Not a Computer". So I'd recommend putting that on the top of the pile before tackling anything else.

Your phrase "bouncing back and forth in a timeless fashion" reminds me of how I used to think about retrocausal stories before I settled on the block universe as the only safe framework for coming to careful conclusions about such things. So I'd recommend putting Huw Price's book, "Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point" on your list, which was the book that clarified many of these issues for me, and pointed me in some promising directions.

Best,

Ken

Paul Borrill replied on Aug. 1, 2013 @ 05:55 GMT
Ken - I have downloaded and am reading your other paper now. I am very familiar with Huw Price's work, and especially the book "Times Arrow and Archimedes' Point".

I would be honored to hear your thoughts on the potential unreality of Minkowski space in my essay, and perhaps the novel perspective of entanglement in 1 dimension of time/space. Please make sure to download the corrected version (V1.1a) - from the comments section. http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1897

I look forward to an on-going dialog.

Kind regards, Paul

report post as inappropriate

sridattadev kancharla wrote on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 01:23 GMT
Dear All,

It is with utmost joy and love that I give you all the cosmological iSeries which spans the entire numerical spectrum from -infinity through 0 to +infinity and the simple principle underlying it is sum of any two consecutive numbers is the next number in the series. 0 is the base seed and i can be any seed between 0 and infinity.

iSeries always yields two sub semi...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Michel Planat wrote on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 09:20 GMT
Dear Ken,

Very interesting essay.

Am I wrong if I say that your idea is in the same line that

http://arxiv.org/abs/1201.5590

I red your paper several times to grasp the idea and its consequences.

If I understand correctly, having a 4D relativistic viewpoint, one could reject many arguments in favour of the 'it from bit' perspective, including quantum contextuality? Or may be these arguments claim in favour of a a reintroduction of space-time thinking?

My point is about the underlying structure of observables and you may have interest in reading and rating it.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1789

Good luck,

Michel

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 24, 2013 @ 14:15 GMT
Hi Michel,

I'm glad you found it interesting. I didn't notice any obvious connections to that arXiv paper you mentioned, I'm afraid.

I'm not sure if my arguments allows one to "reject many arguments in favour of the 'it from bit' perspective", so much as attacks their key premise that there is no possible "it" in the first place.

And as far as contextuality goes, the story is complicated... You might read my exchange with Ian Durham on the issue, above.

Best,

Ken

Member Howard N Barnum wrote on Jul. 23, 2013 @ 17:32 GMT
Ken---

Superb job, one of a few essays I consider the very best I've read so far. I'll comment more on points of agreement later, but for now just want to record the way in which I'm engaged with these sorts of ideas, in part through your work and Huw Price's, in part through Matthew Leifer and Rob Spekkens, in part just from my own thinking. I tend to agree that the Bell correlations...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 24, 2013 @ 14:29 GMT
Thanks, Howard!

High praise indeed... I was quite pleased to see (from your own essay, which I need to comment on, still!) that you've been grappling with the spacetime implications of the operationalist viewpoint. So I'll count the essay as a success if I can keep you thinking in those terms for a bit longer... :-)

I do think that reading Rob's essay from last year would be...

view entire post

Member Ian Durham replied on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 18:43 GMT
Hi Ken (and Howard),

As an addendum to the things I mentioned above, what occurred to me while reading Howard's comments was that, in a nutshell, I think we're overcomplicating things by missing the obvious. I know the retrocausal approach has become quite popular, but, again, it seems to be based on a certain set of notions that we seem to be clinging to for dear life --- the time-symmetric nature of modern physical theories, the absolute correctness of the Standard Model, etc. --- and I have no idea why. Again, I don't think the Standard Model needs replacing. I just see it like I see most theories: it is a highly accurate description of a limited set of phenomena. [And for the sake of people who don't want to go digging for my other comments, relativity is simply not time-symmetric. There's a neat little gedankenexperiment that you can do with a type of light clock that shows that if you run it backwards you don't get the Minkowski metric. You only get it if you run it forward in time.]

Ian

report post as inappropriate

Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 13:01 GMT
Hi Ian,

The retrocausal approach is "quite popular"?!! I'd take that as good news if I believed you... :-)

Also, there's a difference between holding CPT symmetry as a nice empirically-grounded principle, and thinking that the Standard Model is "absolutely correct". I'm definitely not in the latter camp.

I'll shoot you an email next week.

Ken

Don Limuti wrote on Jul. 24, 2013 @ 15:17 GMT
Hi Ken,

I finally got to your essay and gave it the best mark.

One minor criticism. A definition of dynamics would have helped less sophisticated readers like myself.

I invite you to visit my essay and see how I "give up dynamics", If you visit please be critical..... There is too much agreement around here.

Thanks,

Don Limuti

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 12:42 GMT
Thanks, Don! I'll try to get to yours as well; I see it's very highly ranked.

Yes, I definitely should have gone more into the definition of "dynamics", but perhaps was overly shy of rehashing last year's essay.

Too much agreement...? See above. :-)

Best,

Ken

Than Tin wrote on Jul. 24, 2013 @ 21:58 GMT
Dr. Wharton

Richard Feynman in his Nobel Acceptance Speech (http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/19
65/feynman-lecture.html)

said: “It always seems odd to me that the fundamental laws of physics, when discovered, can appear in so many different forms that are not apparently identical at first, but with a little mathematical fiddling you can show the...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Akinbo Ojo wrote on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 13:32 GMT
Dear Ken,

Kindly indulge me. Probably no better place to clarify things with the experts than this forum.

Is it being implied by the relational view of space and as suggested by Mach's principle that what decides whether a centrifugal force would act between two bodies in *constant relation*, would not be the bodies themselves, since they are at fixed distance to each other, nor the space in which they are located since it is a nothing, but by a distant sub-atomic particle light-years away in one of the fixed stars in whose reference frame the *constantly related* bodies are in circular motion?

You can reply me here or on my blog. And please pardon my naive view of physics.

Accept my best regards,

Akinbo

report post as inappropriate

Mikalai Birukou wrote on Jul. 25, 2013 @ 18:21 GMT
Dear Ken,

Replying to post on physical basis for introduction of principle of least action (dated Jul. 13, 2013 @ 10:41 GMT)

Having (time x change), or (time x energy) comes naturally by way we introduce the principle of least action. But this introduction is done on the level of effective systems, i.e. not at fundamental level at all. The bigger picture, with places to introduce spacetime as one piece on both low and effective levels, is painted in http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1597 Notice there that notion of time is connected to the system, i.e. it is not a global time (can we call it local time?). And since it is not a global time, a little special place of time in Lagrangian method does not produce global problems, which none of us want :) .

De facto, when we look for a new theory (i.e. suggesting new Lagrangian), we watch out not to have bad things like negative energy. And, although it is beautiful to have complete time-space (t-x) symmetry, we avoid certain theories specifically based on this aspect of time being experimentally a little different.

Sincerely,

Mikalai

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 13:05 GMT
Hi Mikalai,

I'll try to get to your essay, but my time is running out... In response to your point about "time-space symmetry", you might find some useful discussion with Ian and Daryl above.

Best,

Ken

William Amos Carine wrote on Jul. 26, 2013 @ 17:43 GMT
Hi Wharton,

I like the trend that this essay encompasses about not dwelling on the spacetime view of things and also its emphasis on returning to the big picture. It put some critical controversies in history in a more viewable, and relate-able, light.

Thanks,

Amos.

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 13:07 GMT
Thanks for the nice comment, William! (Although I thought I *was* dwelling on the spacetime view...?)

Best,

Ken

Yuri Danoyan wrote on Jul. 26, 2013 @ 20:33 GMT
Dear Professor Wharton

Do you have opinion about my essay?

Yuri

report post as inappropriate

James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 27, 2013 @ 01:14 GMT
Ken,

We agree. In my "It's Great to be the King" I tend to satirically rebuke the Anthropic Principle, especially "It from Bit.

For example, you say, "where everything about the present was encoded in some initial cosmic wavefunction," I deny the existence of consciousness w/o a body during the BB and bodies not possibly existent until 1 billion years after the BB after heavier-element stars.

The connection between consciousness and reality and the subatomic and the macro worlds I say are philosophical / metaphysical with their arguments. They are confused in attributing similar behavior to micro and macro, much like your concept: "case quantum information can plausibly be about something real . Instead of winning the argument by default, then, \It from Bit" proponents now need to argue that it's Better to give up reality. Everyone else need simply embrace entities that fill ordinary spacetime – no matter how you slice it."

Thanks for a well-thought-out read. I am interested in seeing your thoughts on my essay.

Jim

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 13:12 GMT
Hi Jim,

I'm afraid I don't understand the connections you're talking about there, so I'm not sure we're "agreeing" about the same things...

Best,

Ken

Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Jul. 28, 2013 @ 07:28 GMT
Dear prof. Wharton,

Your statement, “with no objective ‘now’, there is no objective line between the past and the future”, indicates the causality of “microhistory", and implies discrete-time.

With this, dynamic time evolution in configuration space is adapted in string-matter continuum scenario, in that one-dimensional observer for one-dimensional source is ascribed to express the emergence of other dimensions with realistic information continuum rather than probabilistic that indicates the observational plausibility of real-time information continuum on molecular dynamics of simplex in linear time with reference to holarchical discrete time.

With best regards,

Jayakar

report post as inappropriate
Jayakar Johnson Joseph replied on Jul. 28, 2013 @ 07:38 GMT
Cont..

I am interested on your essay and my best wishes to you. - Jayakar

report post as inappropriate

Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 13:14 GMT
Hi Jayakar,

I'm not dead-set against discrete time, but if you dig up my entry for two contests ago (Digitial vs. Analog) you'll see why I'm more in the continuum camp. I think it was called "Quantum Theory without Quantization".

Best,

Ken

Georgina Woodward wrote on Jul. 28, 2013 @ 09:12 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton,

Just to let you know I have read your essay which I found really interesting and very clearly explained.I like the way you linked your discussion with the essay question making it highly relevant. Nice helpful diagram too

Good luck, Regards Georgina

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 13:18 GMT
Thanks Georgina! I remember you generally liked my block-universe analysis from the previous contests, right? I think my ideas make sense for people comfortable with that framework, but unfortunately seem to baffle everyone else... :-)

All the best,

Ken

eAmazigh M. HANNOU wrote on Jul. 29, 2013 @ 03:03 GMT
Dear ken,

One single principle leads the Universe.

Every thing, every object, every phenomenon

is under the influence of this principle.

Nothing can exist if it is not born in the form of opposites.

I simply invite you to discover this in a few words,

but the main part is coming soon.

Thank you, and good luck!

I rated your essay accordingly to my appreciation.

report post as inappropriate

Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 11:56 GMT
Hi Ken,

I hope the familiar greeting is OK. We met during the program review for SJSU a few years back maybe more than 5 years now). Anyway I may be back at SDSU this fall since Alej and I have agreed to exchange colloquium talks.

A very nice and deep essay -- not all parts of which I agree with -- but it bears careful reading and thinking about.

At the beginning of the essay...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate
Author Ken Wharton replied on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 20:42 GMT
Thanks, Doug! Yes, I definitely remember you... Looking forward to your seminar at SJSU!

I'll let you know if I spark any dynamics-mutinies for my physics students... But my quantum students still seem to manage to learn how to do QM despite my occasional claim that none of this is what's really going on, so I think I should be safe on that count... :-)

view entire post

john stephan selye wrote on Aug. 2, 2013 @ 16:17 GMT
Having read so many insightful essays, I am probably not the only one to find that my views have crystallized, and that I can now move forward with growing confidence. I cannot exactly say who in the course of the competition was most inspiring - probably it was the continuous back and forth between so many of us. In this case, we should all be grateful to each other.

If I may, I'd like to...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Chidi Idika wrote on Aug. 3, 2013 @ 05:05 GMT
Dear prof Ken,

Am wondering if you could find the time to read What a Wavefunction is It probably looks like a wild claim. But it just may not be. I have a download and am going to read your essay. And i'll be back here to rate. But I'll appreciate if you could read and comment on mine. The text may be hard-going. The physics should interest you.

I define the observer as "wavefunction" or "configuration space".

Best,

Chidi

report post as inappropriate

eAmazigh M. HANNOU wrote on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 17:51 GMT
Dear Ken,

We are at the end of this essay contest.

In conclusion, at the question to know if Information is more fundamental than Matter, there is a good reason to answer that Matter is made of an amazing mixture of eInfo and eEnergy, at the same time.

Matter is thus eInfo made with eEnergy rather than answer it is made with eEnergy and eInfo ; because eInfo is eEnergy, and the one does not go without the other one.

eEnergy and eInfo are the two basic Principles of the eUniverse. Nothing can exist if it is not eEnergy, and any object is eInfo, and therefore eEnergy.

And consequently our eReality is eInfo made with eEnergy. And the final verdict is : eReality is virtual, and virtuality is our fundamental eReality.

Good luck to the winners,

And see you soon, with good news on this topic, and the Theory of Everything.

Amazigh H.

report post as inappropriate

Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Aug. 4, 2013 @ 19:39 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton:

I am an old physician and I don’t know nothing of mathematics and almost nothing of physics. maybe you would be interested in my essay over a subject which after the common people, physic discipline is the one that uses more than any other, the so called “time”.

I am sending you a practical...

view entire post

report post as inappropriate

Yuri Danoyan wrote on Aug. 7, 2013 @ 03:13 GMT
Dr Wharton