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Gordon Watson: on 3/15/18 at 7:07am UTC, wrote Dear Ken; further to my earlier comments, please: Since we cannot both...

Juan Ramón González Álvarez: on 2/28/18 at 1:30am UTC, wrote ...is negative. What people do in practice is to select the evolution...

Juan Ramón González Álvarez: on 2/28/18 at 1:26am UTC, wrote The classical second law cannot be fundamental, but we have microscopic...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/27/18 at 4:01am UTC, wrote I just increased your rating from 6.6 to 6.8, but someone two again put you...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/27/18 at 3:47am UTC, wrote Dear Ken, I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to...

Alyssa Ney: on 2/25/18 at 17:05pm UTC, wrote Hi Ken, Great, provocative read. You say an appeal to randomness should...

Wayne Lundberg: on 2/25/18 at 15:18pm UTC, wrote Dear Ken, We agree pretty well that the current situation in which our...

Cristinel Stoica: on 2/22/18 at 7:56am UTC, wrote Dear Ken, Very enjoyable essay, well explained and insightful. You did a...

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FQXi FORUM
July 3, 2022

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Fundamental is Non-Random by Ken Wharton [refresh]

Author Ken Wharton wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 18:59 GMT
Essay Abstract

Although we use randomness when we don't know any better, a principle of indifference cannot be used to explain anything interesting or fundamental. For example, in thermodynamics it can be shown that the real explanatory work is being done by the Second Law, not the equal a priori probability postulate. But to explain the interesting Second Law, many physicists try to retreat to a "random explanation," which fails. Looking at this problem from a different perspective reveals a natural solution: boundary-based explanations that arguably should be viewed as no less fundamental than other physical laws.

Author Bio

Ken Wharton is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at San Jose State University. His primary research field is Quantum Foundations.

Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 2, 2018 @ 20:56 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton,

Congratulations on an excellent essay! Both a pleasure to read and insightful. In some ways it resembles Roger Schlafly's essay in that it uses common sense to develop conclusions based on numerous instances of physics.

You begin by analyzing "randomness" and point out that entropy is associated with a state of knowledge of the 'macrostate', not the unknown...

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 00:24 GMT
Dear Edwin -- very perceptive! Yes, lots of side connections to my main research interests, although I tried to keep that to a minimum... :-) As you can probably tell, though, I'm quite skeptical of treating time independently from space, and tend to think about things in 4D as much as possible. I'll try to get to your own essay next week. Best, Ken

a l wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 10:01 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton,

your essay is remarkable, well argued and nicely written. It is also original as it proceeds in a negative way by emphasizing what is not fundamental: randomness. Actually many popular writings (and some serious ones) advertise randomness as the ultimate explanation even if in most cases it is just a convenient boundary to keep away problems we are not interested in; people who have never heard about Bertrand paradoxes are liable to offer a probabilistic treatment of anything. Just like Penrose's cosmological arguments which go against the mainstream, your essay deserves to be widely read and appreciated.

Best

a.l.

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 00:25 GMT
Thanks for the kind words! Cheers, Ken

Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 15:32 GMT
Dear Professor Ken Wharton,

FQXi.org is clearly seeking to confirm whether Nature is fundamental.

Reliable evidence exists that proves 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.

All objects, be they solid, liquid, or vaporous have always had a visible surface. This is because the real Universe must consist only of one single unified VISIBLE infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated mostly by finite non-surface light.

Only the truth can set you free.

Joe Fisher, Realist

post approved

Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 19:09 GMT
Ken,

Excellent essay, a keeper! You have proven my definition of a truth. I say that a truth is an absence of choice, a fact. The strongest absence of choice is an impossibility. So strong that such impossibilities are a type of truth we call “Postulates”, truths so strong they can never be proven right. Impossiblities are the boundaries that define a truth, as in DE-FINE, or make it finite, real. In other words, a truth is the result of choiceless boundary conditions.

In my essay, I tackle existence with the rule of non-contradiction as boundary condition as a starting point.. Have a look.

Best of luck,

Marcel,

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Flavio Del Santo wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 21:00 GMT
Dear Prof. Wharton,

I found your essay interesting indeed, and well written. However, the impression I had is that your main point in the treatment of physical randomness could have been made more that a century ago, in the debate over statistical mechanics versus deterimistic microphysics. The point is that before quantum mechanics it was totally legitimmate to think of randomness as a collective statistical description, but after all the struggles in quantum theory in the last nine decades, it seems very difficult to avoid (except for de Broglie-Bohm model). I would have liked a more thorough and explicit consideration of quantum physics, that is at the core of the debate over fundamental randomness.

Best regards,

Flavio Del Santo

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 00:50 GMT
Dear Flavio,

Good point! Indeed, I certainly could have written a much longer essay about my take on the use of probability in quantum theory. (That's my primary research interest, after all.) But I think it's important to distinguish probability from randomness -- at least randomness of the 'equal a priori probability postulate' variety that I talk about here. That sort of randomness shows up in quantum statistical mechanics, but not really in quantum theory per se. Probabilities in quantum theory are notoriously *not* random in this manner -- some events are more probable than others -- which makes the quantum issue a somewhat different question than the main point I'm making here.

On that issue, I'm firmly of the opinion that all probabilities -- even quantum probabilities -- are due to things that we don't know. But I'm not at all sure whether there's still room for *non*-fundamental randomness (of the "all-at-once" variety I describe here: http://www.mdpi.com/2078-2489/5/1/190/htm ) , or whether the boundary constraints on the universe really fix the whole history of the universe down to the last detail. Both options still seem to be in play, as I see it.

Thanks for your comment and interest! -Ken

Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Feb. 3, 2018 @ 22:13 GMT
Ken Wharton, in his excellent essay, shows that the boundary conditions are what is fundamental. In this, he supports my definition of what a truth is. “A truth is an absence of choice for everyone”. The strongest absence of choice is an impossibility and this, in the most universal sense, is failing the rule of non-contradiction (RNC). All truths are bound by the rule of non-contradiction. In other words, respecting the rule of non-contradiction de-fines, or makes finite and real a truth. The RNC is the basis of maths, logic, and pretty much everything else. The biggest gap in all this was, I believe, not having a clear definition of a truth...

Neither Ken or I may lay claim to this. This was Aristotle’s claim all along. “The rule of non-contradiction is the most important rule in the universe... “

Right now Aristotle is spinning in his grave shouting..

“ I told you SOOOOOOooooooooooooooo........!!!!!

Thanks Ken,

Marcel,

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Heinrich Luediger replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 11:23 GMT
Dear Marcel-Marie,

basically everyone agrees on RNC, the question is what it means: is it logical (A; not-A), complementary (A; everything A is not) or categorical (orthogonal) (∫AB=0)?

Heinrich

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Marcel-Marie LeBel replied on Feb. 5, 2018 @ 22:03 GMT
Heinrich,

This is an excellent question! In the system described in my essay, it works much like the “logical” RNC you define. It is A is not A*. The asterisk only indicates a different form of A (while minus (-) A suggests a mathematical context.)

For the system to work logically, its elements must be comparable i.e. A, A*, As, etc. and distinguishable (different) so that the RNC may Work. On the other hand, A and B are not comparable and “A not equal B” is simply the definition of them being two different elements (substances A and B in my essay).

So, for example, the following are “not A”:

A* (or any variation of A) : --- comparable and distinguishable, therefore, logically operational within the logical system based on A.

B : (or the set of all except A) not comparable ------ distinguishable by definition.

Nothingness: both comparable and distinguishable, it supports logically the existence of A, A*, .As, etc (all forms of A)... and (if not in the same system) B and anything else.

So, to answer your question, the RNC, INSIDE a substantial system (real stuff), operates in a logical sense (comparable and distinguishable) between all the A and A* and other A variations.

Outside a substantial system, the RNC works in a complementary way (A; all A is not) would differentiate different logical systems, say, one based on A and its variations and another based on B and its variations, or any other ..

Heinrich, could you describe the categorical (orthogonal) (∫AB=0)? RNC?

Thanks,

Marcel,

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Feb. 4, 2018 @ 15:23 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton, You have invested a lot of energy to write this good essay. You write:“What’s needed is some ‘startingpoint’” This starting point can be the principle of the identity of space and matter of Descartes'.According to Descartes, space is matter, and matter is space that moves. Thus, space is the foundation for constructing fundamental theories. The space has information, which is then realized in the device of the world. Look at my essay, FQXi Fundamental in New Cartesian Physics by Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich Where I showed how radically the physics can change if it follows this principle. Evaluate and leave your comment there. Then I'll give you a rating as the bearer of Descartes' idea. Do not allow New Cartesian Physics go away into nothingness, which wants to be the theory of everything OO.

Sincerely, Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich.

post approved

Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 05:13 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton

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

post approved

Francesco D'Isa wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 20:16 GMT
Dear Ken,

thank you for your essay, which I found very interesting and pleasurable. It reminded me a famous poetry by the Italian poet Montale, who said, "Codesto solo oggi possiamo dirti,ciò che non siamo, ciò che non vogliamo." [we can tell you just what we are not and what we don't want].

You write that

> Explaining the relationship between two things does not really explain either of them. What’s needed is some ‘starting point’.

This is very interesting for me, since I proposed in my essay about absolute relativism that everything is relational. But I agree that we can fully know something just within boundaries.

All the best,

Francesco D'isa

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Juan Ramón González Álvarez wrote on Feb. 6, 2018 @ 22:38 GMT
I do not see why an appeal to randomness would be considered less fundamental. Of course, many phenomena in our universe is not random and it can be explained in base to "this" or "that", but there is no objective reason to expect that everything in the universe has a cause. I do not find any reason to believe that Universe is deterministic.

Does energy conservation follow from Noether...

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 17:19 GMT
Thanks, Juan, for a careful reading and interesting points. Lots to parse here.

>I do not see why an appeal to randomness would be considered less fundamental. Of course, many phenomena in our universe is not random and it can be explained in base to "this" or "that", but there is no objective reason to expect that everything in the universe has a cause.

Agreed -- see my...

view entire post

Juan Ramón González Álvarez replied on Feb. 28, 2018 @ 01:26 GMT
The classical second law cannot be fundamental, but we have microscopic analogs of the second law: for instance the Austin-Brussels condition

[equation]

Everywhere around me I see time-asymmetric phenomena. Time-symmetric laws were created in early physics, because physics was born from the observation of simple planetary motions; however biology and chemistry were born from the...

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Juan Ramón González Álvarez replied on Feb. 28, 2018 @ 01:30 GMT
...is negative.

What people do in practice is to select the evolution compatible with the classical second law and ignore the other. The problem is not only that the basic equation gives a set of incorrect solutions. The problem is when we want study dynamical regimes whre the classical second law doesn't apply. In those regimes the second law cannot be used as a consistency check to select the valid solutions; the solutions compatible with Nature, and discard the others.

"There are no irreversible events at a micro scale (Or so most physicists believe; maybe we're all wrong.)". Research made on last 50 years show irreversibility has microphysical roots

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/0471619574.c
h17/summary

PA301&lpg=PA301&dq=MICROPHYSICAL+IRREVERSIBILITYAND+TIME+ASY
MMETRIC+QUANTUM+MECHANICS

Boltzman was wrong and when pressed by critics he vacilated and gave inconsistent answers. Unfortunately a part of physicists continue repeating his mistakes forever. A macro description of time-reversible microscopic physics doesn't introduce irreversibility aparent or otherwise. Rigorous tracing or coarse-graining procedures generate macroscopic equations incompatible with experience, what Boltzmanians do is to produce mathematically invalid derivations where time-symmetry is explicitly broken by introducing some extra-dynamical ad hoc concept that selects the correct description compatible with the second law. The resulting macro equations no longer are compatible with the initial micro equations. Irreversibilty hasn't been derived fmr reversibility. Irrversibility has been imposed by breaking microscopic reversibility. Moreover those ad hoc procedures are oly valid for simple systems such as diluted gases, markovian dynamics in heat baths, and so. That is why Boltzmanians have never produced an equation of motion valid for arbitrary regimes.

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Heinrich Päs wrote on Feb. 7, 2018 @ 18:37 GMT
Dear Ken,

Very nice essay. Actually I noticed that you have written fantastic essays in the previous essay contests as well. So I will check them out one after the other. One idea I missed in your discussion though is that time itself could be emergent - in the sense that entropy increase defines time and that the very notion of „initial“ boils down to small entropy. For example, Claus Kiefer and Dieter Zeh have shown that it is quite reasonable that such an emergent arrow of time can be retrieved by tracing out uninteresting degrees of freedom, and that this arrow of time always points into the direction of an increasing scale factor of the Universe. In practice, I believe, this is equivalent to assume an initial boundary condition, though it applies to the macrostate while the micostate itself has entropy zero and is timeless (this is what I‘m arguing for in my own essay). Best regards, Heinrich

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 03:05 GMT
Thanks, Heinrich! The previous essay that got the most attention was "The Universe is not a Computer", which you might enjoy. There's an extended version on the arXiv.

I am in agreement that the *arrows* of time could certainly be emergent -- indeed, they *must* be if all the laws are time-symmetric. But not time *itself* -- at least not as you describe. For one thing, you can't talk about *anything* increasing without having a concept of time already on the table. For another, entropy isn't fundamental; it applies to macrostates of partial knowledge, not microstates.

As far as Kiefer+Zeh's idea, it doesn't sound like a boundary explanation at all -- sounds like they're linking it to the dynamics. And I would expect that even if large-scale arrows of time emerged due to an increasing scale factor on large scales, that one would be hard pressed to make sure the same arrow emerged at much smaller scales, in all instances. In that respect, I don't see much of a distinction between it and Barbour's "Janus Point" idea that I critique in the essay. But perhaps I'm missing some nuance there.

I took a peek at your own essay, and agree that if entanglement is a "real thing", that certainly pushes one in the direction you take. I happen to be a contrarian on the topic, though, and I strongly align myself with the 'psi-epistemic' viewpoint. Now I just have to figure out what the ontic state really is... Details, details. :-)

Thanks again! --Ken

Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Feb. 8, 2018 @ 04:37 GMT
Ken,

Time runs slower toward the ground. So, an object falling toward the ground is moving spontaneously toward “slower time”. Slower time means “longer seconds”. In order for c (m/s) to remain constant, space must increase just as much as the seconds get longer. In other words, the object is falling spontaneously into larger space, which is dispersion, a classic example of an entropic process.

Both gravity and entropy are spontaneous processes that show a higher probability of existence in one direction. They have the same underlying logical cause.

My essay shows (?) that the universe as a logical system admits only one type of stuff or substance and only one type of logical cause. This logical system also appears to operate using a single logical operation, the logical substitution. Both types of motion, in gravity and in entropic dispersion, are the resolution in progress of an illogical state of affair, a non-uniform state of existence due to a non-uniform logical substitution.

Finally, a clock is a spontaneous device (energy in spring is ok). As such, it represents, for comparison, the local rate of evolution of other (co-located) spontaneous processes, including time. In order for the clock to respond to the local rate of evolution of time “via a logical operation”, they both have to be of the same nature, same type of stuff. The clock is just a more complex form of time.

All mumbo jumbo...Right?

All the bests,

Marcel,

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Narendra Nath wrote on Feb. 9, 2018 @ 08:51 GMT
As i see Physics develop we find the individual processes happening in Nature to be random or probabilty conscious. But if we go into the details of the process we find logic or order in the same. Thus, to me random and order appear as two sides of the same coin that nature throws as dice to us!The spontaneity of the process is random or probability conscious. While the logic behind the process has an order behind. All logical aspect of any processes are restrained by conservation laws. But then two canonically conjugate quantities are governed by the Uncertainity principle according to the Quantum theory. Energy relates to time while space relates to the momentum/motion. It therefore seems that any infermity in space gives rise to motion while any energy infermity leads to phase change in time. Classically we can not understand the reasons behind and that is where Quantum theory comes to explain the process. It mostly governs the microscopic phenomena while classically theory explains the gross picture about the same process. To understand the QM predictions visibly , a teacher has to invoke the classical analogue as reality becomes difficult to visualize quantum mechanically! Such di-echtomy has become the rule we proceed in Physics today!

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Avtar Singh wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 17:38 GMT
Hi Ken:

Completely agree with your conclusion - "Although we use randomness when we don't know any better, a principle of indifference cannot be used to explain anything interesting or fundamental.

The above is vindicated in 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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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 14, 2018 @ 01:21 GMT
Respected Prof Ken Wharton

Wonderful arguments.... " Looking at this problem from a different perspective reveals a natural solution: boundary-based explanations that arguably should be viewed as no less fundamental than other physical laws." Best wishes for your essay sir...

I hope you will not mind that I am not following main stream physics...

By the way…Here in my essay...

view entire post

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Feb. 15, 2018 @ 22:34 GMT
Ken,

Yours is the first essay I have been able to comprehend, from first word to last, and on first reading. Thank you!

I find that it's fully consistent with Einstein's wish to have boundary conditions that would eliminate the need to specify boundary conditions--and therefore lead to a singularity free general relativity. You write:

" ... the initial state of the universe is often referred to as an 'initial boundary condition'. The only problem is that many physicists want to then explain this boundary condition, via dynamics or randomness."

If it's true, however, that the 3 dimension boundary is identical to the 4 dimension horizon, "(3D spatial volumes have 2D boundaries; 4D spacetime- volumes such as our universe have 3D boundaries.)", the 3-d boundary has one negative element + + + - , i.e. (-1), and the 4-d spacetime - - - +, one positive element (+1) though we always measure changes in relations between center mass points, so the positive mass theorem must apply here, for a non-arbitrary initial condition.

Reduce to a 1-dimensional model, and you have my essay.

All best,

Tom

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 04:34 GMT
TH,

You say “....such as our universe have 3D boundaries”. The 3D belongs to our reality, not to the universe; there's a difference. The 3D is just the definition of a point like relational observation, the observer. A lot of what we think we learn about the universe is in fact about ourselves.

Bests,

Marcel,

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Jonathan Kerr wrote on Feb. 16, 2018 @ 18:55 GMT
Dear Ken Wharton,

I like your essay, though I don’t agree with all of it. You actually get to grips with the concepts, rather than jumping through them, as some do. And I enjoyed your way of writing. I agree that randomness can’t be used to explain things, but with one exception - unless one suspects that it’s at the very deepest level.

The symmetries and patterns the laws...

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 16:44 GMT
Thanks, Jonathan! With the caveat that I see an important distinction between generic probability and randomness (the latter being when all possibilities are equally probable), I would also share your hope that we can find a deeper level under QM that would better explain what we see. I took a peek at your essay; it looks like we have opposite perspectives on the "flow of time". I'll try to get back to it later this week. Best, Ken

Anonymous replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 22:35 GMT
Thanks Ken, I know you see time differently. I'd like your opinion on a new point about emergent time, which no-one had refuted so far. It's near the top of page 2 of my essay, and boils down to the need to explain a coincidence - if a real or apparent 'flow of time' emerged, then why was it so appropriate that it allowed laws of physics (such as laws of motion), which were already pre-implied in the sequence of the time slices in the block, to function? What were the laws doing, sitting there in the block in this 'just add water' sort of way?

Btw, I'd be grateful if you'd rate my essay - I've only had four ratings so far, although it was at number three a week ago. It seems that without 10 ratings, the average is not taken seriously. Anyway, thanks. Best regards, Jonathan

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Jonathan Kerr replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 22:38 GMT
Sorry, wasn't logged in - that was me. JK

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Member Dean Rickles wrote on Feb. 17, 2018 @ 00:54 GMT
Hi Ken,

Great essay as always.

On your explanation of the anthropic explanation coming from Boltzmann's account, you write: ""eventually something like our universe would randomly happen, and we find ourselves here because we’re not anywhere else". Of course, this would happen over and over, so depending on how you define "we," we could be somewhere else (as you say, given infinite time anything that can happen will happen, but it will do so again and again). The anthropic part is really that we find ourselves here because conditions permit, not because we aren't anywhere else. Nitpicky I know! And you are right about the problems with this approach in any case.

The boundaries response is a nice alternative (and I like your conceptual motivation of it), and in line with the top-down approaches I mentioned. Of course, we will want to know "why this boundary?" Especially if there are other apparently possible boundaries.

Good luck!

Best,

Dean

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 16:49 GMT
Thanks, Dean! Yes, I certainly could have phrased the anthropic point better... As far as figuring out "why this boundary?", it's important that we *first* figure out what the boundary actually *is*. And I think we'll have a much better chance of answering that question if we come at it with the attitude that once we knew the boundary, it would be *obvious* that this was the only real possibility. If we come at it from the usual assumption that there will even be other possible boundaries, I think it will be much harder to induce in the first place. Just a hunch... Cheers! -Ken

Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 18, 2018 @ 20:10 GMT
Dear Ken,

A few years ago I derived & published a well fitting cyclic evolution model for galaxies with a mechanism also proving an excellent match to the complex CMBR anisotropies at the larger scale. That suggested a cyclic cosmologyy without the issues of the Penrose and other models. I've been focused on SR/QM but you've reminded me that its specific non-random re-ionisation mechanism...

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Author Ken Wharton replied on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 17:00 GMT
Hi Peter,

I'm not against normal distributions, of course -- I'm just against looking for answers to fundamental questions by choosing a random sample out of them.

On the quantum entanglement front, I share your desire to figure out what is "going on" along the worldlines of the two particles, and would very much like to be able to describe all entanglement experiments in terms of those localized parameters. But thanks to Bell, we know that any such model has to either have 1) faster than light influence, 2) direct influence at a distance, 3) retrocausality, or 4) superdeterministic conspiracies. I can't tell from your description if you're in camp 1) or 2) -- hopefully you're not a Bell-denier! -- but I'm firmly in camp 3). If you're interested in (3), you might start with some of the pieces I've written with Huw Price.

Best, Ken

Peter Jackson replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 14:14 GMT
Ken, Thank. Some questions;

Is it best to open mindedly assess theories (SM) or be wedded to a particular one?

I learned the Sci.Method is more important than any past papers. Do you disagree?

Do you think we should consider Bell's own analysis of his proof, or just others?

I'm no Bell denier, but unlike most I also agree with his views! Thing is, your 4 options omit...

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Gordon Watson replied on Feb. 21, 2018 @ 20:51 GMT
Dear Ken, Peter, etc: re Bell's theorem (BT).

Ken's position is firmly in the camp of retrocausality, with Huw Price.

Peter's position is: Some starting assumption used for QM is incorrect.

My position: BT (1964) is developed in the context of EPRB. BT is false in such settings; see Aspect's experiments, etc. A starting assumption in BT is incorrect.

I provide a concise [half-page] refutation of BT on page 8 of my essay.

I look forward to critical comments, etc, on my refutation and/or my position (above).

I'll happily expand on the refutation if there are steps that are not clear, etc.

Best, Gordon Watson More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

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Gordon Watson wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 09:56 GMT
Dear Ken,

Thanks for the brilliant essay* from a like-minded** researcher in Quantum Foundations.

* Me hoping there follows something like this: “If the fundamental is non-random then (after existence), the fundamental is determined and law-like!”

** Me relating to this: "The very concept of a “random explanation” is as meaningless as the...

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Gordon Watson replied on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 00:56 GMT
Ken, if/when you reply to my post, please copy it to my essay-thread so that I'm alerted to it. I'm having trouble keeping abreast of many good discussions this year.

Many thanks; Gordon More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Feb. 19, 2018 @ 17:39 GMT
Ken,

The clarity of your argument is impressive, and it’s given me a lot to think about, relating to the key issue – how do we explain the smooth (but not perfectly smooth) distribution of matter in the early universe? You argue that since it can’t be explained by randomness, or by the operation of dynamic laws, any possible explanation has to relate to higher-level constraints –...

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Feb. 20, 2018 @ 23:45 GMT
Ken,

Your essay exposes in fact the working of epistemology. In that sense, it is fundamental not only to science and physics, but to all our truth systems.

An impossibility is the boundary that defines or make finite a truth system, all truth systems. The impossibility to measure faster than light (SR), the impossibility to distinguish acceleration from gravity (GR), the impossibility to measure both position and momentum (QM) etc.are examples of this. In that respect, SR, GR and QM are separate truth systems because they are derived from different original boundaries or impossibilities.

Boundaries are fundamental to all our truth systems, geometry, maths, logic etc. But the universe happens by itself, spontaneously. It requires a deeper and ontological explanation or “starting point”. This starting point is the law of non-contradiction which the universe’s substance follows from its creation to its evolution.

All the bests,

Marcel,

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 06:34 GMT
Dear Ken

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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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Feb. 22, 2018 @ 07:56 GMT
Dear Ken,

Very enjoyable essay, well explained and insightful. You did a great job dispelling some superstitions even physicists have about the origin of the time arrow. I fully agree that no matter what one tries, the least problematic remains the past hypothesis. What amazes me is that I see once in a while people trying to explain the arrow of time by introducing some time asymmetry...

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Wayne R Lundberg wrote on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 15:18 GMT
Dear Ken,

We agree pretty well that the current situation in which our more fundamental physical theories involve far too many adjustable parameters. For one, I do not believe, as the essay implies a standard theorist must, that these parameters were somehow (chosen at) random.

You seem to agree, but react in an altogether different way. I (as in my essay) seek to explain the...

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Member Alyssa Ney wrote on Feb. 25, 2018 @ 17:05 GMT
Hi Ken,

Great, provocative read. You say an appeal to randomness should not appear in fundamental explanations. But what if the universe really has some fundamental randomness built into it? Isn't this one way the world could be? And if so, then shouldn't this be part of our fundamental picture?

I also was unsure about your conductor analogy. As you concede, in that case, we do think a more fundamental dynamical explanation is possible. So I am not sure that this gives precedent for boundary conditions being explanatory *on their own* as you want them to be. It gives precedent for boundary conditions being explanatory in contexts where we know there are more fundamental explanations that are being black-boxed. But that is not where we are in the cosmological case.

Best,

Alyssa

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 03:47 GMT
Dear Ken,

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

Your essay allowed to consider us like-minded people.

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

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

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 27, 2018 @ 04:01 GMT
I just increased your rating from 6.6 to 6.8, but someone two again put you down.

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Gordon Watson wrote on Mar. 15, 2018 @ 07:07 GMT
Dear Ken; further to my earlier comments, please: Since we cannot both be right, would you mind commenting on my half-page refutation of Bell's theorem?

See ¶13 in More realistic fundamentals: quantum theory from one premiss.

NB: I clarify Bell's 1964-(1) functions by allowing that, pairwise, the HV (λ) heading toward Alice need no be the same as that (μ) heading toward Bob; ie, it is sufficient that they are highly correlated via the pairwise conservation of total angular momentum. Thus, consistent with Bell's 1964-(12) normalization condition:

$\int\!d\boldsymbol{\lambda}\:\rho(\boldsymbol{\lambda})=\int\!d\boldsymbol{\mu}\:\rho(\boldsymbol{\mu})=1.\;\;\;(1)$

Further, in my analysis: after leaving the source, each pristine particle remains pristine until its interaction with a polarizer. Then, in that I allow for perturbative interactions, my use of delta-functions represents the perturbative impact of each such interaction.

My equation (26) then represents the distribution of perturbed particles proceeding to Alice's analyzer. Thus (with b and μ similarly for Bob):

$\int\!d\lambda\;\rho(\lambda)_{Alice}=\tfrac{1}{2}\int\!d\,\lambda[\delta\;(\lambda\sim a^{+})+\delta\,(\lambda\sim a^{-})]=1.\;\;\;(2)$

PS: Bridging the continuous and the discrete -- and thus Bell's related indifference -- integrals are used here by me for generality. Then, since the arguments of Bell's 1964-(1) functions include a continuous variable λ, ρ(λ) in Bell 1964-(2) must include delta-functions. Thus, under Bell's terms, my refutation is both mathematically and physically significant.