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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Sylvia Wenmackers: on 3/12/18 at 20:30pm UTC, wrote Dear Ilja, I think your essay asks a really interesting and relevant...

Peter Jackson: on 2/22/18 at 11:16am UTC, wrote Ilja, Great job and analysis, nicely presented. You coolly and...

Steven Andresen: on 2/22/18 at 8:44am UTC, wrote Dear Ilja If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

Ilja Schmelzer: on 2/19/18 at 19:43pm UTC, wrote Oh, I see. 2/10 was a date. I'm German, I would write that date 10.2. and...

Ilja Schmelzer: on 2/19/18 at 12:32pm UTC, wrote My point is not that randomness vs. determinism is conventional, but that...

Luca Valeri: on 2/19/18 at 11:55am UTC, wrote Dear Ilja, I read your essay with great interest. But after months of...

Steve Dufourny: on 2/18/18 at 20:38pm UTC, wrote Thanks for these explainations, I have a kind of same reasoning about ths...

James Hoover: on 2/18/18 at 19:16pm UTC, wrote Ilja, My rating on 2/10 was 7. I keep track of my ratings because I have...


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FQXi FORUM
October 17, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: What survives theory change? by Ilja Schmelzer [refresh]
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Author Ilja Schmelzer wrote on Jan. 25, 2018 @ 17:22 GMT
Essay Abstract

To find out which properties have a chance to survive in future more fundamental theories, we consider different examples of changes from fundamental theories to approximations. Not surprising at all is the observation that space and time are more stable than the configuration space, which is more stable than the laws of evolution. This holds for the corresponding symmetry groups too. The consideration of a sound analogon of Lorentz symmetry suggests that a global symmetry which becomes localized in a more fundamental theory is doomed to disappear in the next more fundamental theory. This contradicts common opinions about local Lorentz- and gauge symmetries as well as quantum randomness having a deep fundamental character.

Author Bio

Born 1959 in Halle, Germany. Studied mathematics at the Moscow State University. Independent researcher.

Download Essay PDF File

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 08:03 GMT
Dear Ilja Schmelzer,

What a pleasure to read your excellent essay. In your approach "What survives theory change?" is unique and probably the best and most informative one I have seen in this contest. You handle random versus deterministic in a deep but almost offhand way, noting that:

"To switch between determinism and randomness is surprisingly easy and happens quite often."

You also state

"… we have no possibility to derive a more fundamental theory from the existing one."

This may be obvious but it is seldom stated. And one tends to forget that the fact that covariance has no physical content was noted over 100 years ago by Kretschmann.

Your discussion of Lorentz symmetry is the most interesting one that I've seen. Thank you. My essay treats the derivation of the Lorentz transform in one inertial frame (all SR derivations used two frames) and then contrast space-time symmetry with energy-time conjugation. I think that you might enjoy my essay as there is considerable overlap with yours, and I would appreciate any comments you might give.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 11:45 GMT
Dear Edwin Eugene Klingman,

thank you for your comment. Regarding the idea of considering relativity in one frame only, this seems to correspond to Bell's "how to teach special relativity" paper, where the main point is also that one gets much better intuitions about his thread between rockets example if one analyses it in a single frame, instead of switching all the time between different frames and confusing oneself in this way.

My intro to relativity http://ilja-schmelzer.de/papers/LorentzEtherIntro.pdf may be interesting in this context too. I use there the Lorentz transformation, with the speed of sound instead of c, in a single frame to construct a Doppler-shifted solution of the same sound wave equation.

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Christophe Tournayre wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 10:24 GMT
Thank you for sharing your ideas.

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Flavio Del Santo wrote on Jan. 27, 2018 @ 12:53 GMT
Dear Ilja Schmelzer,

thank you for this interesting essay. I particularly like the beginning of your essay: 'The question “what is fundamental” has a quite simple answer: We don’t know. What we actually know are two “most fundamental” theories, and they are in deep conflict about which properties are really fundamental'

In this respect you might like to see some similarities with what I have proposed in mine, as a progressive research for more fundamental conceprt, within a certain methodological chice.

If you find time to do it, I look forward to discuss with you.

All the best,

Flavio

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John C Hodge wrote on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 16:19 GMT
Ilja Schmelzer:

Thanks for the link to your site (in a previous reply). Lots to digest.

I'm interested in the ether as the stuff (physically real) that warps and moves matter in GR and as the background of a Bohm interpretation. I think your ether has a mass-like component (the force exerted is more like a wind where the momentum change and the divergence exert the force - not just the divergence. The universe may be an open system with sources (spiral galaxies) and sinks (elliptical galaxies). Hence, the background is not uniform - obeys the heat equation where the change in the ether density with location and time is analogous to the temperature of the heat equation (no momentum component). This solves many ad hoc and anomalous comology data such as dark matter, dark energy, inflation, etc.

To make the simulation of the diffraction experiment work (Hodge Experiment - variable intensity of light across the diffraction slit), The speed of the wave in the Bohm interpretation ether (my plenum) needs to be much, much faster the light. Some suggests this for gravity waves, also. Therefore, there is no "local" influence in Bell. All influence is non-local (comment?)

Of the 2 general approaches to measuring c, those using the left (geometry) side seem flawed compared to those like T. van Flandern.

One of my next research is the lorentz equations into my model - I think they don't fit.

Yours is one of the few that addresses the question.A 10 may help.

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 17:07 GMT
My ether follows continuity and Euler equations, thus, its mass is conserved (no sources and sinks). Actually, an analogon of temperature plays no role, the equations are all reversible in time.

Also one should not expect from the gravitational part anything new for the cold dark matter, at this level, it is equivalent to the Einstein equations of GR. The matter model http://ilja-schmelzer.de/matter/ gives some massive scalar dark matter fields, which is fine if the cold dark matter model is fine.

While I'm working on my own interpretation, it will be a combination of Copenhagen and Bohm, using all of Bohm's formulas, thus, also the non-locality of these formulas. Non-locality is not a problem for a theory with a preferred frame. So, the preferred frame necessary for any realistic interpretation of quantum theory fits nice with an ether which has a preferred frame too.

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John C Hodge replied on Jan. 28, 2018 @ 19:46 GMT
Thanks for your reply. I'm reading the papers on your site.

I'm looking for the explanation of many cosmological mysteries not the least is the ad hoc assumptions of dark matter (rotation curves which dark matter covers poorly), galaxy redshift which thd Doppler shift explanation covers poorly (0.8 correlation with the galaxies beyond 10 Mpc at 0.3 correlation), and many others.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 07:58 GMT
Dear Ilja Schmelzer.

Having enjoyed your distinction between (Einstein's) aether and (Lorentz') ether, I also noticed with pleasure that you wrote "sound-Lorentz symmetry" in the sense of analogy.

I would like you to agree on restricting the notion symmetry to invariance e.h. under shift, for the sake of simplicity.

My last Boss blamed a paper of mine for being too fundamental. Why? He got aware that there is a problem that evades solution with approximation and mathematics because it depends on a philosophical alternative between Parmenides and Heraclitos: Is an evolving system system shift-invariant at all?

My answer is yes in case of models but no in case of reality. To me, there is just one fix point in nature - the current border between the past and the future. Any counterargument?

Nonetheless, I admire your interesting essay which deserves getting rated high.

Kind regards,

Eckard Blumschein

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Aditya Dwarkesh wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 10:49 GMT
Hi Ilja,

I think you have taken a very interesting approach. I myself hopped aboard the same train of thought; analyzing the dynamics of theory evolution is, I believe, the correct way to go about answer this question.

However, it is a logical possibility that we obtain some future theory in such a way that there is no invariant that can be found between the past theory and the future one. What would one do in that case?

Regards,

Aditya

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 20:31 GMT
Part of my first version (which appeared far too long) was also a consideration what we can have with certainty. One should, of course, not expect much, a version of Kantian necessities of thought.

But it includes logic, and, after Jaynes, also classical Bayesian probability theory interpreted as the logic of plausible reasoning. In arxiv:1712.04334 I show that this extends also to some formulas which are today associated with "realism" and "causality" so that we can add them too.

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 14:22 GMT
Dear Dr. Schmelzer,

I enjoyed reading your essay, including your efforts to extract key aspects of classical physics that may be retained in future theories.

You might be interested in reading my essay, “Fundamental Waves and the Reunification of Physics”, in which I argue that both GR and QM have been fundamentally misunderstood, and that something close to classical physics should be restored. QM should not be a general theory of nature, but rather a mechanism for creating discrete soliton-like wavepackets from otherwise classical continuous fields. These same quantum wavepackets have a characteristic frequency and wavelength that define local time and space, enabling GR without invoking an abstract curved spacetime.

This neoclassical picture has no quantum entanglement, which has important technological implications. In the past few years, quantum computing has become a fashionable field for R&D by governments and corporations. But the predicted power of quantum computing comes directly from entanglement. I predict that the entire quantum computing enterprise will fail within about 5 years. Only then will the mainstream start to question the foundations of quantum mechanics.

Alan Kadin

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 17:40 GMT
I also think that important parts of classical physics should be restored. With my proposals for an ether theory, as for gravity (ilja-schmelzer.de/gravity) as for the standard model (ilja-schmelzer.de/matter) the classical physics have been nicely restored in the relativistic part.

As the starting point for a revival of classical physics in the quantum domain, I'm working on a reinterpretation, combining formulas from de Broglie-Bohm with Copenhagen. This recovers classical ontology (a trajectory in configuration space). The wave function is interpreted as epistemic.

But this interpretation also shows that quantum theory is an approximation. This is because the Bohmian velocity becomes infinite near zeros, and infinities do not exist in nature. So, quantum theory has to fail near the zeros. It also follows that quantum computing will fail earlier or later, once it is only an approximate theory.

But about the time when it starts to fail, I would not make any predictions. (But I hope of course that public key encryption remains safe.) And I also doubt that such a failure would be considered as evidence that quantum theory is wrong. There would be the much simpler explanation that this is simply noise which distorts the computer, and up to now, we have not succeeded to reduce this noise sufficiently.

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Francesco D'Isa wrote on Jan. 29, 2018 @ 15:40 GMT
Dear Ilja,

thank you for your essay, it's very interesting and well written. You posit some very good arguments around the idea that everything we think could be fundamental is not so – that's for sure an important first step. I hope to read something from you about the nexts as well!

Bests and good luck!

Francesco D'Isa

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David Lyle Peterson wrote on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 03:10 GMT
Dear Ilja,

Your “independent scientist” articles are impressive efforts, and your present essay was one of the most coherent and intelligent I’ve read so far: For the next levels of fundamentality below the standard model, we can’t trust a principle of intrinsic randomness, anticipate preservation of favorite symmetry concepts, and might even deviate from the principle of “no prior geometry” or no “preferred frame in spacetime.” Kretschmann is mentioned in most general relativity books but rarely emphasized. Although the “principle of general covariance” is admitted to have “no forcible content,” I notice that Ted Jacobson still seems to value it as a guiding principle and others value it for “the simplicity and transparency criterion” —close but not quite in the “useless” category. Einstein was successful in dethroning the aether concept in 1905 but somewhat reintroduced it in 1915 (he thought of g_munu as a new type of “aether”) and wished that he hadn’t been so forceful earlier. Many others have discussed their own ideas of aether despite mainstream dislike of the word.

We do desire a sub-quantum theory; and if some sort of preferred-frame became justified, it would at least aid intuitions.

David Peterson

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Anonymous replied on Jan. 30, 2018 @ 11:05 GMT
Dear David,

I use general covariance also as a guiding principle, and the simplest expression for the Lagrangian of my own ether theory (see ilja-schmelzer.de/gravity ) is I think the covariant form, with the theory described by a Lorentz metric and the four preferred coordinates as four scalar fields, using the straightforward Lagrangian for scalar fields.

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 05:04 GMT
Dear Ilja Schmelzer

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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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 13:19 GMT
Hi Ilja Schmelzer

You gave Wonderful words....." we consider different examples of changes from fundamental theories to approximations. Not surprising at all is the observation that space and time are more stable than the configuration space, which is more stable than the laws of evolution. This holds for the corresponding symmetry groups too....... " hope you will have a look at another...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 21:27 GMT
Ilja,

It is quite true that we don't know "what is fundamental." Perhaps I generalize the meaning of fundamental as that which is required for existence of the subject (concept or thing we study), but it helps to go from general to specific in such difficult reasoning. When you say in your summary that questioning whether the theory is deterministic or stochastic, it doesn't matter, I agree. But the two determinations -- deterministic or stochastic -- are basically mixing two worlds -- quantum and classical which our fundamental theories, ToE, for example, are trying to bring together. LIGO's queries, which hope to record the BB necessarily use macro tools to discover the quantum and maybe bring this union of quantum and macro together. The LHC is trying to do the same by simulation the seconds after the BB. We don't know if this will happen but I contend that each discovery helps to evolve what is fundamental. Your essay helps to bring together these concepts as we build upon each other's ideas. Hope you have a chance to look at my ideas regarding "fundamental."

Best Regards.

Jim Hoover

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Avtar Singh wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 17:27 GMT
Hi Ilja:

Your statement - "The consideration of a sound analogon of Lorentz symmetry suggests that a global symmetry which becomes localized in a more fundamental theory is doomed to disappear in the next more fundamental theory." is vindicated by my paper -– “What is Fundamental – Is C the Speed of Light”. that describes the fundamental physics of antigravity missing from the widely-accepted mainstream physics and cosmology theories resolving their current inconsistencies and paradoxes. The missing physics depicts a spontaneous relativistic mass creation/dilation photon model that explains the yet unknown dark energy, inner workings of quantum mechanics, and bridges the gaps among relativity and Maxwell’s theories. The model also provides field equations governing the spontaneous wave-particle complimentarity or mass-energy equivalence. The key significance or contribution of the proposed work is to enhance fundamental understanding of C, commonly known as the speed of light, and Cosmological Constant, commonly known as the dark energy.

The paper not only provides comparisons against existing empirical observations but also forwards testable predictions for future falsification of the proposed model.

I would like to invite you to read my paper and appreciate any feedback comments.

Best Regards

Avtar Singh

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 23:34 GMT
Ilja,

As time grows short, I recheck those that I have commented on to see if I've rated them. I find that I rated yours on 2/10.

Hope you can get a chance to look at mine.

Jim Hoover

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 07:52 GMT
I have taken a look and would give you 1/10, it simply makes no sense to me. But after two or three initial votes, I have decided not to vote anymore, recognizing that my own participation would distort my vote.

Your 2/10 vote was useful for me because it made visible to me that a single negative vote was sufficient to kick me out of the leading group with no chance of return. Given that I do not even want to write things which everybody likes, it is now clear to me that I would not even like to win here. Science cannot be a democracy, so to decide about a winner in a scientific contest by voting is kind of absurd, and it is fine that this attempt to participate has remembered me about this.

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Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 14:24 GMT
Dear Ilja,

I must agree. A democratic decision is a kind of sociological tool to keep the people calm. Worse, they suggest to be open by allowing essays to contradict their own rules of participation (non-topic, worse style, copied texts from old papers, mathematical musings beyond any contribution found in Scientific American or similar journals etc.). I would prefer a much more stringent selection process and the resulting essays to be all examined for possible winners by the panel of judges. The restrictions on eligibility may compensate for the final selection process by the judges and would reduce downvoting, since voting isn't anymore a valid criteria to become a finalist.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 13:35 GMT
Dear Mr Schmelzer,

Very relevant general essay,

I have a question, have you already thought about a gravitational aether instead of a luminiferous one ? it seems that this aether is gravitational.I have this conclusion in my theory of spherisation with quant and cosm sphères Inside this universal sphere in inserting and considering this DM and DE and a serie of spherical volumes for the serie of uniqueness.

Best Regards

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 21:40 GMT
Of course. My own ether theory is, first of all, gravitational. See http://ilja-schmelzer.de/gravity for details. After this, some claims that fermions do not fit into that theory motivated me to study the standard model, with an even greater success, namely explaining the most important parts (gauge group, numbers of fermions and their charges) from a surprisingly simple ether model. See http://ilja-schmelzer.de/matter for details. Both published in peer-reviewed journals, which is very hard for ether theories.

After this, my ether theory is a TOE - all fields ruled by a wave equation containing c are ether waves. Everything else would be really strange - one field with velocity c is an ether wave, another one with the same c not? I don't believe.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 20:38 GMT
Thanks for these explainations, I have a kind of same reasoning about ths aether.At the difference that I have considered particles of gravitation correlated with the dark matter, it is intuitive like my equation and hypothetical, here is my equation with this DM non baryonic with m(nb) this matter non baryonic and l their linear velocity, E=m(b)c²+m(nb)l² I say me that this DM is an important piece of puzzle.The Dark energy I consider it like an anti gravitational spherical push.

Congratulations for your essay and your line of reasoning, best regards

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 16:34 GMT
Ilja,

If I was to suggest what would be the most elementary theory change it would be time.

The problem is that we experience reality as flashes of cognition and naturally think of time as the point of the present moving past to future. Physics codifies this as measures of duration, between events.

The underlaying fact is that it is change turning future to past, as in...

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 19:16 GMT
Ilja,

My rating on 2/10 was 7. I keep track of my ratings because I have been a victim of 1 and 2 ratings w/o comments as well. I'm sorry you were a victim too.

Jim

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 19:43 GMT
Oh, I see. 2/10 was a date. I'm German, I would write that date 10.2. and have completely misinterpreted your comment as giving me 2 of 10 points. Sorry.

Whatever, this has not changed my count for you, because, as I have explained, I decided not to vote, and not given one. And the point that it was a single vote which has kicked me out of the leading group I have recognized independently.

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Luca Valeri wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 11:55 GMT
Dear Ilja,

I read your essay with great interest. But after months of developing my ideas for the essay, I look at the other essays trough the glasses of my own ideas. So I want to make a few comments on what I see in your essay and I found most interesting.

In my essay I show that any realistic theory must have conventional elements. And by realistic I mean, any theory that has...

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Author Ilja Schmelzer replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 12:32 GMT
My point is not that randomness vs. determinism is conventional, but that they easily change if one changes the degree of fundamentality/approximation. So the quantum predictions are random, objectively, same for Brownian motion. And classical Hamilton mechanics are deterministic, objectively. There can be no convention to make Hamilton mechanics random.

In general, conventionalism is a problem only for those who follow the positivistic idea that one can derive something from observables. In Popperian science, a theory contains a lot of metaphysical elements, what matters are the predictions made and, then, simplicity. If different theories differ only in conventions, it means a preference for the simplest convention, and if they are equal in simplicity, so what - no reason to care.

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 08:44 GMT
Dear Ilja

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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Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 11:16 GMT
Ilja,

Great job and analysis, nicely presented. You coolly and systematically demolish common overcomplacency without ostensibly selling new physics to those happy with the illogicality they're wedded to and embedded in. I agree most on SR, as my prev essays back to 2011 but this year I'm interested that your QM 'interpretation' is a combination of Bohm & Copenhagen with "classical Bayesian probability theory interpreted as the logic of plausible reasoning".

I implore you to read my essay (similar conclusions) and carefully follow the classical mechanistic sequence using more sensible assumptions which reproduces QM predictions. Declan Traill's essay shows the code and plot gives the magic CHSH >2 with detection 'loophole' closed. Few have followed it so far as it takes care and a complex analysis most preconditioned brains can't manage.

I'm interested how you'll get on. There's also a 100 sec video giving a glimpse, including non-integer spins, but it really needs 100 minutes to absorb & process.

Well done.

Peter

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Member Sylvia Wenmackers wrote on Mar. 12, 2018 @ 20:30 GMT
Dear Ilja,

I think your essay asks a really interesting and relevant question. You might enjoy reading Masterton, Zenker, and Gärdenfors (2017) EJPS article: "Using conceptual spaces to exhibit conceptual continuity through scientific theory change." They also address this question, with a detailed analysis of the changes and continuities involved in the relativity theories.

Also in regard to the interplay between deterministic and stochastic theories, I agree with your general observations and would like to recommend an article that offers relevant case studies: Werndl (2009) Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics: "Are deterministic descriptions and indeterministic descriptions observationally equivalent?"

The contest entries I've read so far includes Gibbs's "A universe made of stories". Regarding symmetries, he discusses an example from geometry, yet he concludes oppositely from you. While I'm more inclined to agree with your analysis, I wanted to flag this so maybe you too could discuss this directly.

Best wishes,

Sylvia - Seek Fundamentality, and Distrust It

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