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John-Erik Persson: on 3/13/18 at 18:26pm UTC, wrote William McHarris Thanks for discussions. You may be interested in my last...

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FQXi FORUM
August 25, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Reductionism Is Not Fundamental by William C. McHarris [refresh]
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Author William C. McHarris wrote on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 19:57 GMT
Essay Abstract

Reductionism, a pillar of Western science since its inception, may not be fundamental or suitable for a complete description of the Universe, for Nature is far more complex and interconnected than once thought. In this essay I examine the linearity necessary for Reductionism. In addition, I touch on some questionable uses of statistics and the contemporary breakdown in feedback between experiment and theory in modern physics. Perhaps we need to rethink some of our ideas and procedures on how to progress with basic science.

Author Bio

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Physics/Astronomy at Michigan State University. BA, Oberlin College. PhD, University of California, Berkeley. Professor at MSU for 43 years (Full Professor at age 32). 40+ years of research in nuclear chemistry/physics, primarily in gamma-ray spectroscopy, progressing from pure experiment toward mostly theory in nuclear structure and chaos theory. Strong music avocation, including study of composition, organ, and choral conducting at Oberlin. Organist/Conductor at churches in Tennessee, California, and Michigan. Many published compositions. Award-winning ragtime pianist. Assistant Carillonneur at MSU. Taught "Science of Sound" and currently working extensively with electronic keyboards.

Download Essay PDF File

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David Brown wrote on Jan. 23, 2018 @ 23:54 GMT
"... And, to tell the truth, I found that most theorists relied on models and math to a fault, even in basic derivations." I have attempted for several years to convince string theorists of the truth of the following: MILGROM DENIAL HYPOTHESIS: The main problem with string theory is that string theorists fail to realize that Milgrom is the Kepler of contemporary cosmology — on the basis of overwhelming empirical evidence. — Am I wrong about this? Google "witten milgrom", "mcgaugh milgrom", and "kroupa milgrom".

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 21:31 GMT
Dear David Brown,

Thank you for your comment and for bringing Milgrom's Modified Newtonian Dynamics to my attention. It's so new to me that I can't comment on how important it really is (the comparison with with Kepler is pretty strong). However, an initial reading of his ideas makes me want to learn much more, for MOND seems basically sensible. Unfortunately, I couldn't follow too much in your essay — too much covered in too little space — but I do agree with you that most scientists, theorists included, are unwilling to look outside their comfortable boxes, as exemplified by the quotation preceding my essay.

Thanks again for bringing new ideas to my attention.

Bill McHarris

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Flavio Del Santo wrote on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 09:52 GMT
Dear Prof. McHarris,

it was a real pleasure to read such a clearly written, well argued, and insightful essay.

I have came in my essay (and fund the opposition of many here) to the same conclusion of the untenability of reductionism as a research program. Quoting David Bohm (reference in my essay), “the notion that everything is, in principle, reducible to physics [is] an unproved...

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 21:55 GMT
Dear Flavio,

Thank you very much for your kind words. I have just completed studying your most impressive essay, and indeed we do reach rather similar conclusions, if from somewhat different directions and couched in different terms: All too many scientists are shackled by their preconceived ideas/prejudices when trying to proceed beyond the present frontiers of science. And one of the...

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Francesco D'Isa wrote on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 11:59 GMT
Dear Prof. McHarris,

I appreciated reading your essay, it's very well written and well-argued. In my essay I posit arguments against reductionism as well, but from a philosophical point of view, so I found some interesting prompts.

Just out of curiosity, when you write that "Reductionism is not fundamental. Nature — and the Universe — is.", do you mean that everything is fundamental?

All the best,

Francesco D'Isa

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 16:19 GMT
Dear Francesco D'Isa,

Although reductionism cannot make any map the territory it describes, wasn't and isn't it a fundamental method to get elements of knowledge in order to construct from them even castles in the air?

I hope to agree with Prof. McHarris, you, and Flavio Del Santo on that a reductionist approach is restricted by some basic assumptions which are indeed fundamental. Of course, they can merely rule belonging reasoning but not nature which is their basis.

In my essay 3009 I explained why I consider causality a if not the most fundamental assumption. Some consequences may dismay.

All the best,

Eckard Blumschein

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 16:25 GMT
My reasoning is perhaps most easily understandable in a not shown recent reply to Peter Jackson.

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Francesco D'Isa replied on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 16:39 GMT
Dear Eckard Blumschein,

I don't doubt that reductionism can be very useful in a certain extent, but this is why it's not fundamental – it's important for our purposes.

I will read your essay soon to get your points and to reply there, thank you for sharing.

Francesco D'Isa

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Joe Fisher wrote on Jan. 24, 2018 @ 17:06 GMT
Dear Professor William C. McHarris,

Reliable evidence exists that the surface of the earth was formed millions of years before man and his utterly complex finite informational systems ever appeared on that surface. It logically follows that Nature must have permanently devised the only single physical construct of earth allowable.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 22:05 GMT
Dear Joe,

True, that Nature — the Universe — is ultimately most basic and fundamental, but you might wish to consider the following:

Emergent computer programs have done amazingly well in trying to simulate "bottom-up" behavior and evolution of some rather sophisticated systems. However, one of the difficulties often encountered is that they reach only local rather than global maxima. It is as if you are mountain climbing, but you choose not the highest mountain but a lesser mountain, and when you reach its peak there is nowhere to go — and no incentive or path to reach the peak of the highest mountain. This can be circumvented by introducing "predators" into the emergent programs (producing a predator-prey feedback scenario similar to those found in nature), which supply mechanisms (motivations?) forcing the programs to leave their local maximum and try to reach the global maximum.

Now, suppose Nature acts in a somewhat analogous fashion to these emergent programs — after all, evolution is basically a bottom-up process. There very well could be all sorts of local maxima, and our particular Universe could well be one of these local maxima, with no way to reach others. (Or, in the unlikely event that we are on he "global maximum" — whatever that might mean in this context — there are plenty of other, lower maxima that are unattainable for us.) How is this for an alternate (far less esoteric than Elliot's many-worlds ideas) version of a multiverse?!

It's all purely speculative but an intriguing exercise more or less in the spirit of your ideas.

Cheers,

Bill

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Jack Hamilton James wrote on Jan. 25, 2018 @ 06:37 GMT
Alas (and I am no exception), most philosophers don't make good particularly good philosophers either.

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 17:48 GMT
Dear Jack,

Alas, we are all in this boat together — but hooray, we can all keep trying to navigate and find our way toward better (more fundamental?!) explanations!

I was most impressed by your succinct essay, which on first reading might seem superficial but which contains some surprising insights packed into a small package. If I understand you correctly, you propose using our...

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Jack Hamilton James replied on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 22:13 GMT
Dear Bill,

Thank you for your in-depth response to my essay. Your incomprehensible sorting program does indeed present significant challenges. I agree that how evolution arrives at this is seemingly simple yet bafflingly complex - it gives in my view some weight to Leslie Valiants 'ecorithms' (if you haven't read his book on this I think you could get a lot from it given the results of your experiment). I also think your right to relate this in the context of the abstract ideas i have presented here. Perhaps this is because it may refer to the same hurdle - being that what makes those difficult natural algorithms that facilitate our mind, and evolution, are one and the same as that which facilitates quantum fundamentality. How else could evolution process if not innately equipped with the same underlying capacity? I am glad you appreciate the deeper themes of my essay.

Best,

Jack

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Richard L Marker wrote on Jan. 25, 2018 @ 15:54 GMT
Dear Professor McHarris,

Thank you for presenting such an interesting and thought-provoking essay. Reductionism seems to be beyond its limits. Your essay discusses deeper and deeper levels of understanding nature from the top-down. I am curious as to if and how you would extend this to the vast arena of the cosmos. In particular, the Big Bang theory. To me the Big Bang seems like a colorful name applied to curve-fitting. A singularity is not a beginning. If we consider it as such, then we deprive ourselves of looking elsewhere.

My understanding of your essay suggests that you may feel the answer of what is most fundamental must come from the way nature itself operates. Yet, your opening sentence says this is beyond human understanding. I do not share that view, but it is not something on which one votes.

If we accept that the answer to what is most fundamental must come from the bottom-up, where does one find a suitable discussion that explores different ways in which that may have happened? One can find philosophical discussions that are far too general to build into something. It seems we may be missing an important approach in our efforts to solve the mystery.

Richard Marker

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 21:05 GMT
Dear Richard,

Thank you for your kind words. Also, thanks for your beautiful, philosophical essay. I enjoyed reading it very much. To me it seems that you are seeking what physicists call the perhaps quixotic "Theory of Everything." I don't mean to disparage this search, for I hope that you are correct — that it is attainable and not beyond the human intellect. Plus, we most...

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 01:12 GMT
Prof. McHarris:

It was a pleasure reading your essay, which brings up some important points that you have also emphasized in previous years. In particular, you focus on the role of nonlinearity in quantum mechanics, where the orthodox mathematics is entirely linear.

In my own essay, “Fundamental Waves and the Reunification of Physics”, I point out that nonlinear behavior in an electron could give rise to a soliton-like wave packet, which could exhibit the exclusion principle without requiring Pauli’s mathematical construction. It was Pauli’s construction that inadvertently created quantum entanglement, which has been a source of contention ever since. In the past few years, massive funds have been poured into quantum computing research by governments and industries, but quantum computing requires entanglement to function. My prediction is that quantum computing will fail catastrophically within about 5 years, and only then will the foundations of quantum mechanics be reexamined.

Regarding your primary theme of reductionism, I would put things a bit differently. The paradigm of a small number of weakly interacting elements tends to be a good approximation in most regimes, but it is really only an approximation. So a world of electrons, protons, and neutrons works fairly well for most matter at ordinary energies. But look a bit more closely, and you have beta decay with neutrinos, and positrons. Look at higher energies, and you create a whole new zoo of other particles. That may work for a while, but in another regime, things will look completely different. There is no reason to think that we will ever have a final, complete theory of everything.

Best Wishes,

Alan Kadin

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 20:00 GMT
Dear Alan,

Thank you for your comments and comforting thoughts about my essay. I have studied your essay as well, and I was most impressed, even overwhelmed by it. I'll have to follow up by studying your other, previous references before I can really comment intelligently, but here are a few preliminary ideas:

We more or less agree about the importance of nonlinearities necessary for further progress. I was fascinated by your ideas of soliton-like electron waves. I can't quite grasp your overall picture, but it is an impressive attempt to overcome procedures that don't seem to have worked. Even if it isn't true in toto, it's an important way to start out — and a welcome journey into uncharted territory.

As for waves versus particles, one doesn't have to resort to quantum behavior to find this duality. A wave-particle duality of sorts occurs in classical chaotic scattering, where macroscopic balls scattering off arrays as simple as three triangularly-spaced other balls can result in diffraction-like behavior. Some interesting trajectories of this sort are shown in "Chaotic Scattering: An Introduction" [E. Ott and T. Tiel, Chaos, 3, 417 (1993)], as well as in Ott's book, "Chaos in Dynamical Systems." What do you think about waves and particles merely being two different mathematical approaches for describing things — non-commuting mentally as well as physically?

I hope to get back to you after studying and thinking about these things in greater depth.

Best wishes,

Bill

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Member Sabine Hossenfelder wrote on Jan. 26, 2018 @ 07:47 GMT
Dear Prof Mc Harris,

I am afraid I cannot follow your main thesis. Of course a system is not the sum of its components, it's the components plus interactions between them. I hence do not see how non-linear dynamics is incompatible with reductionism. Non-linear dynamics might make it very difficult, maybe impossible in practice, to reconstruct the underlying laws, for sure. I consider this one possible explanation for why we have not been able to make much progress in the foundations of physics in the recent decades indeed - we may be stuck on theories that are too simple. But that a more fundamental theory may not be simple is not in conflict with reductionism per se. Best,

Sabine

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 20:54 GMT
Dear Sabine,

Thanks you for your thought-provoking ideas. I studied your eloquent essay and am much in agreement with it. And I very much look forward to reading your book when it comes out this summer.

We are mostly in agreement, the differences being in degree rather than in kind. In strongly nonlinear systems (not just nonlinear corrections or perturbations on basically linear...

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 16:35 GMT
Professor McHarris,

While you cover quite a few aspects of the problem, I think there is a particular issue that both illustrates the problem and has to be addressed, first and foremost.

We experience reality as flashes of perception and consequently experience time as this "flow," from past to future. While modern physics senses something wrong, it still codifies this perception...

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 17:54 GMT
... and increasing entropy...

Cheers,

Bill McHarris

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 19:27 GMT
I liked your essay a lot Bill...

Unlike Bee; I easily grasped and deeply embrace your main thesis. I'll expound that String theory is an obvious example, because it claims to elucidate the smallest structures possible in the universe - or in any possible universes. This has obvious appeal for people in Finance and Economics, because many of them are what I'd call hard core reductionist materialists. I can imagine them drooling over the potential when Strings first came into vogue. I've met some of the prominent ST researchers, and heard more than a few lectures, so I know many of the people in that field are very smart, but I wonder... What might we learn if ST did not get the lion's share of funding?

I agree that we should not regard nonlinear phenomena as the oddball, but rather see it as an essential part of any realistic attempt to study Physics. In my current essay, I talk about the tendency of physicists to be over eager in reducing models to linear equations that are easily solvable, and ignore nonlinear terms that make our models more physically-realistic. You will also like my description of gravity as a kind of condensation at the band merging Misiurewicz point coinciding with (-1.543689, 0i) in the Mandelbrot Set. This is the spot in the corresponding logistic map where all the divided trajectories appear to converge.

I've long been a fan of chaos theory and fractals, so on some level you are preaching to the choir with me Bill. But I hope there are more like me, who will find your essay transparently revealing and full of welcome insights.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Anonymous replied on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 21:22 GMT
Dear Jonathan,

Thank you very much for your kind words and comments. I also have kind words for your lovely essay, which I have completed studying. I have to admit that I'm a bit overwhelmed by it, as I am somewhat new to the inner workings and implications of/for gravity. However, I am in complete agreement with your ideas about asymmetry being every bit as important as symmetry, also...

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 20:17 GMT
To Jonathan and other readers —

I think it is pretty obvious from content that the previous post was from me, despite the computer's giving me an alternate, more abstract name!

Cheers,

Bill McHarris

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 23:04 GMT
Thanks for your kind remarks Bill!

I've begun digesting the Susskind paper and some of its associated references. I'd be surprised if it dies not tie in with my work fairly directly. Thanks greatly for the heads up. The comments above will be re-read and mined for insights later.

Warm Regards,

Jonathan

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Gary Valentine Hansen wrote on Jan. 31, 2018 @ 03:01 GMT
William,

The notions of a whole being greater, equal to, or less than the sum of its parts are misrepresentations. In the universe of all-there-is, all things have a relation to all other things, and inter-dependent combinations of things, to the extent that the number of subdivisions of the whole is essentially limitless.

By these means the most fundamental element in the overall scheme of things is the whole itself, from whence one can proceed with an understanding that ‘Reductionism is not Fundamental’, nor does it lead to a fundamental axiom of the whole.

Having stated as much, we still have not addressed the subject; What is “Fundamental?” We need to ask ourselves what conditions must be present to enable and whole or parts of wholes? In doing so we need to ask ourselves the ‘What’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’, ‘When’ and ‘How’ questions bearing upon the subject under consideration.

We can probably agree that Time and Space are essential contexts within which all things operate, but Time and Space are not (I suggest) the ultimate fundamentals sought.

I concur with your conclusion that ‘Reductionism is not fundamental. Nature – and the Universe – [aka Existence] is.’

Thanks for swimming against the stream. It is refreshing.

Good Luck.

Gary.

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Anonymous replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 21:42 GMT
Dear Gary,

Thanks for your comments. In a sense your first two paragraphs above eloquently summarize much of my premise. Especially when one includes the feedback inherent in nonlinear interactions, the unification of the whole becomes all that more real.

I just finished studying your own delightful essay. You must have had an immense amount of fun in writing it. Delightful, literate prose! Your history of science in a nutshell is remarkable, and I was delighted with many of your memorable sentences, such as "Academia had been absorbed in splitting hairs for so long that it had lost sight of the nature of the bodies of which the hairs were working parts." Or, "We may assume that theory stands somewhere between imagination and the truth." Your science is weak in places — e.g., the weak interaction is not responsible for "binding atoms to atoms..." — but despite that, I found the essay to be a delightful overview of the problems of modern physics as seen from a philosophical distance!

I would love to see some of your architectural creations in California.

Best wishes,

Bill

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 13, 2018 @ 21:52 GMT
To all —

Again, the above is my post. It appears that if one dwells too long over writing a reply, the computer loses your name!

Bill McHarris

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 21:40 GMT
Dear Proffessor William C. McHarris

Your esteemed words on Reductionism… “the linearity necessary for Reductionism, and some questionable uses of statistics and the contemporary breakdown in feedback between experiment and theory in modern physics.”….. are very important , Proffesor William C. McHarris…... I would like to state that Dynamic Universe Model is based entirely on...

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 19:03 GMT
Dear Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta,

Normally I would thank you for your kind words, but it appears that you have sent essentially the identical message to dozens of us in order to promote your own essay.

Wm. C. McHarris

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 02:34 GMT
Dear William C. McHarris,

I enjoyed your essay and agree with your main points. Being a 'come-lately' to theory is not necessarily negative. I left theoretical physics in the late 70s and returned circa 2006. As far as I'm concerned, I just missed a lot of fads, while all the data discovered in that period is still available. There are advantages to (re-)entering theoretical physics with more experience under one's belt.

For example, lifelong theorists seem to interpret Einstein's linear 'weak field' equations as implying that the weak gravitational field is "linear". This is one more example of projecting mathematical structure onto physical reality and then "believing" in the structure. In fact, changing the field equations by suppressing the self-interactive (non-linear) terms has exactly zero effect on the physical nature of the field! Because most instances of weak-field gravity are boring, this seldom comes back to bite one. But if one can construct a situation where iterative self-interaction repeats endlessly, (or as long as driving energy is available) this non-linearity dominates all other effects.

A comment is not the place to dwell on this, but results are quite fascinating. In short, I am in complete agreement that non-linearity is poorly understood, as it is one of the few places where our intuition really does have problems keeping up.

On another non-intuitive topic, I hope you will read my essay on the historical development of Einstein's space-time symmetry and an alternative energy-time interpretation of special relativity. I would appreciate any comments you might have.

Thanks for a great essay.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 22:13 GMT
Dear Eugene,

Thanks a million for your comments. It happens not only with theory, but also with experiment. I find that from time to time, getting back to relativistic nuclear-nuclear collisions (the last major topic I worked on when mostly involved with nuclear science), it seems like the discussions are but a continuation of what we were discussing just yesterday — new, mostly redundant experimental examples, but very little advance in understanding and/or interpretation.

I have gone over your essay many times, and I must admit that I am both most impressed and overwhelmed by it. Plus, it's a neat idea to contrast Einstein with Hertz rather than with Poincaré, as most people would have done. The dialog is a novel but good way to present the alternate ideas based on Hertz. I'm only marginally familiar with gravitoelectromagnetism, so my comments must be somewhat naive. Emotionally, I really like the idea of a universal, fundamental time, but if it really requires some sort of quasi-ether, have you (or for that matter, anyone else, since I'm not familiar with the field) — have you thought about the idea of "E generating B generating E..." (a good example of nonlinearity) producing the composite electromagnetic wave acting as a sort of self-generated "ether" that travels along with the wave? This would get around the MM results. How would local gravitation affect such a wave?

At the very least, questioning apparent inconsistencies between special and general relativity has to be a very healthy exercise. It reminds me in a way of the Einstein-Bohr debates concerning quantum mechanics. And for the latter it seems that history is beginning to question the hastily drawn conclusions that enthroned the orthodox interpretation.

I'll keep working at your essay and hopefully get a better physical "feel" for it in time, when we might continue the discussion.

Best wishes,

Bill

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Edwin Eugene Klingman replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 05:02 GMT
Dear Bill,

Thank you for doing me the honor of multiple readings of my essay. I know I put in too much info for one reading, and I hoped there would be a few who found it worth a second look.

I probably erred in putting too much detail about gravito-magnetism [the non-linear field that I find so important] because it has little to do with most of the other ideas in the essay. ...

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 23:28 GMT
Respected Pri William C. McHarris,

Thank you very much for your excellent essay written againest on Reductionism, a wonderful thinking "... for Nature is far more complex and interconnected than once thought. you have nicely discussed the linearity necessary for Reductionism, questionable uses of statistics and the contemporary breakdown in feedback between experiment". Definitely...

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 05:17 GMT
Dear William C. McHarris

Just letting you know that I am making a start on reading of your essay, and hope that you might also take a glance over mine please? I look forward to the sharing of thoughtful opinion. Congratulations on your essay rating as it stands, and best of luck for the contest conclusion.

My essay is titled

“Darwinian Universal Fundamental Origin”. It stands as a novel test for whether a natural organisational principle can serve a rationale, for emergence of complex systems of physics and cosmology. I will be interested to have my effort judged on both the basis of prospect and of novelty.

Thank you & kind regards

Steven Andresen

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Luca Valeri wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 21:34 GMT
Dear Bill,

Thanks for your well written essay. I specially liked the passage where you described your own experience in the tension between theory and experiment. During my years at the university, I never liked the experimental lectures. With a bit an arrogant attitude of the theoretical physicist, I though these experiments are boring and it would be enough to know the fundamental laws,...

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 22:11 GMT
Dear Luca,

Thanks for your insightful comments. One of the positive aspects of a blog such as this is its getting experimentalists' and theorists' views together. I appreciate your open-mindedness for accepting experimentalists' ideas.

As for nonlinear dynamics being incompatible with reductionism, one has to be careful to distinguish between weak and strong nonlinear systems. In...

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Luca Valeri replied on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 10:21 GMT
Dear Bill,

Thanks for your comment on my essay. So far you are the only one commenting on my paragraph on free will. I really like that part of my essay, although it is very speculative. What I tried to do is to find a conceptual framework that makes it possible to think about free will. I don’t think this is possible within a reductionistic realistic framework. No wonder that in that...

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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 14:54 GMT
Bill,

Brilliant job, again. Our past close agreement is enhanced and your expression of it excellent. That'll surely be a 10 I think. Of course big affects big, but I see you don't suggest we don't need the smallest & simplest to solve current mysteries. I won't pick out highlights as we have more important work. i.e. I seem to show in mine that we CAN solve current mysteries with the smallest & simplest;;

I hope you'll read and check through my ontological mechanism carefully. There are a number of components which fit together appearing to reproduce all 'non-linear' QM Classically, free of non-local weirdness. 'Superposition' is of REAL states, both non-linear!! Declan Traill's short essay confirms the code based on the mechanism gives the required CSHS >2, with the 'detection loophole' closed with a >1 steering inequality.

Maybe best to first read a short outline sequence I've just posted on John Klausers string.

I have lots of agreement notes & gold stars on yours an apologise, but will post them if you'd like. Exciting times I hope. Do you know where we can get quantity discounts on coffins?

Very best

Peter

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 21:51 GMT
Dear Peter,

Thanks once again. I really appreciate your comments.

I studied your essay (also, your comments on John Lauder's string, which seems to be missing his replies). And I really enjoyed reading your literate essay. You must have had a lot of fun writing it. I got rather lost in the parts concerning orbital angular momentum's components, but I'll go back and work on that again. Meanwhile, since time for evaluation is short, I rate your essay highly, especially the introductory parts — which I can understand. I especially liked your statement, "Theory, like piles, gains traction over time to establish itself and be harder to move."

Keep up the good work of punching holes in orthodox thought. Science can use more of that.

Best wishes,

Bill

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Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 17:43 GMT
Bill,

Thanks. I often feel I'm punching a citadel wall so appreciate you, Chandra and others support. I'd like you to understand the orthogonal vectors in OAM and have just discovered, though unfamiliar to all, they've been in Poincare's Sphere for 100 years! See the Figs in my last years essay; http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2755. Simply ROTATION at poles opposite but is zero at 90o, LINEAR at equator is zero at poles and also opposite at 180o

So start point is NOT 'singlet' but 2 inverse state pairs! Then I show both momenta values physically change non-linearly over 90o by the Cosine of the latitude of the interaction tan point. A bit more careful thought, 2nd photo-multiplier (orthogonal channel) interactions and the WHOLE of QM resolves into classical mechanics with no weirdness. I've just put a quick sequence checklist on my posts to help reconstruct a mental picture. Do also see Declan Traill's short confirmation code & plot, & Gordon Watsons similar analysis.

A 100 sec video here gives a quick glimpse of the dynamics. A full version is also available but needs an update.

THIS may be the weapons we need to open the citadel gates. But I need help to refine and wield it. Let me know how you get on. Top score going on yours now.

Very best

Peter

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 20:21 GMT
Hello again Bill,

Above you commented "Have you thought about looking, for example, at the simplest third-order Mandelbrot Set (missing the x-squared term) to see see what it might have to say..?" so I wanted to find this paper to attach. It is entitled "Physical meaning for Mandelbrot and Julia sets" and Professor Beck does talk about using 3rd and higher degree Mandelbrot and Julia Sets in Physics models. I recall that Barnsley was already talking about creating Green's functions using Julia Sets back in the 70s, so it seems pretty incredible there are so few Physics developments in this area to date.

All the Best,

Jonathan

attachments: Beck-1999-manjulia.pdf

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 21:39 GMT
Thanks, Jonathan,

I downloaded the paper and will get to it shortly. I agree that it's odd there has been so little followup in this field. Perhaps it's because it falls between disciplines — unnecessary for pretty fractal pictures, yet alien to standard calculus techniques.

Cheers,

Bill

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 13:31 GMT
William McHarris

Thank you very much for telling us that we often have too much trust in reductionism, and also in mathematics.

A question: Should we also change our view about Occam's Razor from Simplest is 'most true' to 'easiest to understand'?

I think my essay would interest you:

Fundamental Errors in Physics

Best regards from John-Erik Persson

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 17:49 GMT
Dear John-Erik,

Thanks for your comments. As for Occam's Razor, one always has to be careful — and sensible — when discussing such things. ALL ELSE EQUAL, why not go with the simplest explanation! (And there can even be argument as to which of several explanations is really the simplest. A good discussion of this is given by Penrose toward the beginning of his book, "Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe" [5].) One of the danger signs about any explanation/model/theory is when we have to add corrections upon corrections... in order to get agreement with experimental data. The best known example of this is the old Ptolemaic theory, where epicycle had to be added to epicycle added to epicycle, ad nauseam. The Copernican Theory is not only more esthetically pleasing, but also it is far easier to use. Today the Big Bang Theory appears to have similar problems, although nothing better seems to be currently on the horizon.

A good example of such a quandary is trying to add nonlinear elements to quantum mechanics. They certainly make the basic logic easier to follow, eliminating much of the forced paradoxical thinking. However, nonlinear dynamics is at least as difficult to calculate as standard quantum theory, so we haven't gained much there. It thus becomes very much a matter of taste as to which is, as you say, "most true" or "easiest to understand." Perhaps old Occam was trying to be practical in eliminating nonessentials.

I have given your essay only a superficial reading, and I compliment you on daring to take on much of the accepted ideas in physics. My first impression is that you may go too far, and I disagree with much of what you conclude. However, one of the main purposes of this contest seems to be to get new, even controversial ideas, out into the open. I'll do my best to give your essay a more detailed study as soon as practicable, and hopefully I'll have more comments then.

Best wishes,

Bill

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John-Erik Persson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 17:19 GMT
William McHarris

Thank for these ideas regarding Occam. I agree to all that you say in this blog post. Occam is not in much help regarding truth, but perhaps of some help regarding the order of testing theories.

I hope that you will keep your promise and write comments on my essay. I try to be provocative and is hoping for some kind of resistance. However, until now nobody has given any negative feedback, and that is what I am hoping for. So, please, tell me something that you find inconsistent, so we get something to discuss. It is the negative feedback that is most important.

Waiting for your response, and with best regards __________ John-Erik Persson

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John-Erik Persson replied on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 17:26 GMT
William

Perhaps you are interested in my blog at:

blog

John-Erik

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 09:02 GMT
Dear William

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please? I read all essays from those who comment on my page, and if I cant rate an essay highly, then I don’t rate them at all. Infact I haven’t issued a rating lower that ten. So you have nothing to lose by having me read your essay, and everything to...

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 20:34 GMT
William

I have read your essay. Its wonderful and understandable even by an electrical engineer, with no previous knowledge of nuclear chemistry. Thanks for that interesting reading. I hope for comments on my own essay.

Thanks again ___________ John-Erik

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Author William C. McHarris replied on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 21:57 GMT
Dear John-Erik,

Thanks again! I really appreciate your remarks. Also, despite my statements about some disagreement, I think very highly of your essay. I consider it underrated and hope to do my part in changing that.

Best wishes,

Bill

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Don Limuti wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 03:35 GMT
Hello William,

Your beginning quote set the tone for an exceptional essay.‘Science progresses one funeral at a time.' The future depends on some graduate student who is deeply suspicious of everything I have said.

Geoff Hinton, grandfather of deep learning September 15, 2017

I have this suspicion that what is fundamental is not only non-linear, but discontinuous. For something different take a look at my essay "The Thing That Is Space-Time".

Thanks for your essay,

Don Limuti

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 14:10 GMT
Dear William,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand.

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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richard kingsley nixey wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 20:40 GMT
Bill,

Great essay. Also liked your comments on Peter J's. No time now to chat! Boost coming.

Rich

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 21:53 GMT
Thanks again Bill,

For the reference to Susskind; I thank you. It appears it may be a direct outgrowth of some of the work I cite in my essay, but it is definitely worth following up the complexity limit notion in the context of my present research.

Best of Luck!

Warm Regards,

Jonathan

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Gary Valentine Hansen wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 01:54 GMT
Dear Bill,

Thank you for your perceptive comments on my essay page.

As you may know, on this, the final day for the receipt of comments, there are some shenanigans going on whereby rankings are being forced down, presumably by parties that believe that, in doing so, they can elevate their own status.

For me the process is 'fundamentally' more precious than the goal; however, if you have not ranked my essay, any assistance in the direction of my prior, higher standing would be much appreciated.

I would like to believe that we shall 'meet' again, somewhere, some time.

Until then cheers, and thank you again.

Gary

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 21:02 GMT
SOME OBSERVATIONS AFTER COMMUNITY RATINGS HAVE BEEN CLOSED

The topic of this year's contest seem to have elicited an even wider range of subjects than usual — and the variation in quality is enormous. Many are well-written and inventive, others more orthodox. Many are well-organized and ingenious, others — let's face it — crackpot. But this is all to the good. Contests like this...

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Author William C. McHarris wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 21:05 GMT
SOME OBSERVATIONS AFTER ...

I dawdled too much, so it lost my name again. I confess to being the author of the above post.

Bill McHarris

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Anonymous wrote on Feb. 28, 2018 @ 22:12 GMT
“The Rise and Fall of Anomalons — a Cautionary Tale”

by Wm. C. McHarris

Anomalons were all the rage in nuclear science for about a decade in the 1980’s to 1990’s. First observed in cosmic rays, they were heavy ions — fragments of atomic nuclei — that exhibited anomalously short interaction paths; hence, the name, “anomalons.”

There is much we don’t know...

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attachments: Rise_and_Fall_of_Anomalons.pages

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John-Erik Persson wrote on Mar. 13, 2018 @ 18:26 GMT
William McHarris

Thanks for discussions.

You may be interested in my last blog at:

blog

Best regards from John-Erik Persson

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