Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by ttn

  1. ttn

    children's books

    Check out the "frog and toad" books by Arnold Lobel. There are four different books that I know of, each with five or six short stories. They're fun and well-written in general, and a few of the stories (e.g., "the kite" from "days with frog and toad") have particularly good philosophical themes. We've also really enjoyed some of Robert McCloskey's books, especially "one morning in maine" and "blueberries for sal". Nothing particularly Objectivist or philosophical about these, but they're good stories with some nice science/nature-ish and pro-values themes, and they have a very calm, m
  2. Let's see... catching up... Thomas, there is no need for you to apologize to me. If anything, Lewis Little should apologize to you and others who got, from his writings, a very wrong impression about the state of contemporary thinking in the foundations of physics. Little works very hard to make it sound like he is the first person in the history of the universe to think that orthodox QM is a bad theory, that physicists' positivist and operationalist and anti-realist and anti-causal tendencies are unscientific and wrong, etc. Actually this kind of misinformation is a crucial part of his
  3. By "EPR-Bell type experiments" I just mean the experiments of Aspect, Weihs, and the other similar ones that are specifically designed to test Bell's inequality. So there must be some sort of confusion here (perhaps my fault) if you thought I was referring to something *other* than Aspect's experiment here. Hopefully all is clear now. It's certainly true that the fact that relativistic local causality (i.e., "locality") is refuted by these experiments is an important and surprising discovery. Most physicists are still in denial about it, which I guess puts the TEW crowd (for onc
  4. Don't confuse confusion with the desire not to know. But, since it's so simple, here you go. By "non-locality" I mean (unless the context specifically indicates otherwise): faster-than-light causation, of the sort ordinarily thought to be prohibited by relativity. Perhapsa further comment I made on HBL last night would be worth adding: "the whole idea of instantaneous action-at-a-distance is a complete red herring -- it should *never* have been in play in these discussions at all. That it has been (and [...] continues to be) is only a result of obfuscation and misinformation o
  5. I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. Are you asking why I didn't appeal to Aspect, but instead appealed to the more recent Aspect-like experiment done by Weihs et al in Innsbruck in 1998? If that's it, there's no real reason or answer. The later experiment is just better, though in ways that probably don't matter for the level of the discussion here. Appealing to Aspect instead would have been equivalent. Or did you mean: why didn't I appeal to experiments (like Aspect's) at all? If that's it, I think the answer is: I thought I did. It's certainly a crucial piece of the puzzle. T
  6. Thomas, we're going in circles, so after this post I won't discuss it any further. Your point seems to be that it's a logical fallacy to infer from "Mr. X is an Objectivist" and "Mr. X believes special-scientific theory Y" to "Y is part of or endorsed by Objectivism." That's of course true. But don't you agree that it's nevertheless reasonable for some honest person to form a negative judgment of Objectivism if he sees someone (who loudly proclaims himself an Objectivist) endorsing and proselytizing for a bunch of dishonest crackpot garbage (and worse, doing so at least in part on nominally
  7. I'm no dummy, but that's all way too complicated for me! Much easier to just type out l-a-m-b-d-a. I will also say: thank god for latex!
  8. On a different site, SoftwareNerd wrote: SN, you are making a good point on that other site, namely, that the TEW supporters do, in fact, explicitly base their support for TEW on Objectivism. But your claim here about what I am saying "at the core" isn't right. I mean, I certainly agree that anyone who is convinced (favorably) about TEW, shouldn't misrepresent Objectivism by saying that TEW is uniquely consistent with Objectivism metaphysics (which claim is simply preposterous). But *at the core* what I'm saying is this: if you're convinced (favorably) about TEW, you are an ignoran
  9. Let's see... Thomas suggested that I'm calling TEW "aribtrary (less than wrong)". I never said that and don't think that. In terms strictly of its truth/falsity, TEW is false. What makes it worse than false is the evasive and dishonest character of its advocates' advocacy of it. But it is not arbitrary (in the technical Objectivist sense). It is not so much put forward in defiance of the need for evidence (and so ultimately meaningless), it is rather put forward in defiance of the fact that it contradicts known evidence and in massively negligent defiance of the proper methods for gene
  10. Grames, thanks, these are all very good questions/points. That's the whole essence of the theory, so yes -- but not just "at one time". Still. That's right. Actually maybe it's worth amplifying for people who don't know the history. Aspect's experiment was in 1982. In the decade or two prior to that, there had been a number of tests of the correlations that are supposed to be restricted by Bell's "locality inequality". But all of these tests used static polarizers, and so (as everyone recognized all along) it would have been possible to account for the results in a loc
  11. I'll try to answer your questions, Thomas, but for the record: no, that isn't what we're talking about, if what you mean is that a positive assessment of Bohm's theory is somehow part of the argument for the worse-than-false status of TEW. You can know with absolutely certainty that TEW is wrong and that Lewis Little is a crackpot without knowing *anything* about Bohm's theory. The only relevance of Bohm's theory to this conclusion is that Little's book contains a number of very deceptive polemics against Bohm's theory, so understanding something of the truth on that point adds a little bit
  12. First, some quickies... Grames: good for you! It's probably my all-time favorite physics paper. I mean, even just the first sentence is completely brilliant and hilarious. I hope you enjoy it, and I would be delighted to help if there's anything in there you get stuck on, or want a different formulation of, or don't think is right, or whatever. AisA: There are lots of schematic pictures of this sort of experiment online. I just googled "EPR Bell experiment" and found a wikipedia page with a semi-acceptable (but highly schematic) diagram: see here. I'm sure if you spend just a m
  13. That's definitely on the right track. Most physicists wouldn't really consider the issue of whether or not it's "surprising" to be scientifically meaningful. They'd say: quantum mechanics just predicts that, for plane polarized light incident on a polarizer at a certain orientation, there's a certain probability for it to pass and a certain probability for it to get absorbed. What more could one want? Of course, one can and should want more -- ultimately. But it's also valid to knowingly postpone questions about "what's really going on" or "how to visualize it" until some future date
  14. That's certainly true. For example, it turns out tables are composed of something more fundamental. Of course, that doesn't mean that tables don't exist or aren't physically real or can't function as agents in causal explanations. I don't understand what you are talking about with the equation involving "change in something". Sorry.
  15. Several quick points. First, I agree completely with Atlas51184's post above. I couldn't have said it better myself. Second, all of this meta-talk about who is being rude or guilty of flinging ad hominem or whatever, is really pointless. In regard to altonhare, he is obviously just what I said -- a troll and a crank. The former means that he posts the same meaningless blather and links to the same crackpot sites online, on practically every thread on this site, obviously hoping that someone will engage with him on it. It is perhaps telling that as of this writing, the "last actio
  16. Were you thinking that "field" couldn't refer to something real because the concept is so *abstract*? I definitely don't think that's right. "Electron" is a good example to explain why. Or "atom". Or "DNA". Or "modem". There are a lot of subtle interpretive issues with GR, so that's hard to answer straight. And I don't have the same expertise in GR I have in some other subjects. So, that said, my somewhat tentative sense is that the metric tensor in GR should be interpreted basically as the gravitational field. That's not exactly the same thing as "space-time" but is rather
  17. altonhare: you are a troll and a crank. Please stop polluting every physics thread with your meaningless, rationalistic, numerological mumbo jumbo. Leaving this post aside, I am never going to respond to anything you post here (and I would strongly encourage others to adopt the same policy).
  18. Yes, OK, that's true. It all comes down to that. You think the field is merely a conceptualization of possible forces (that *would* act *if* a test particle were placed somewhere). But what argument do you have for this? Or rather, what argument do you have *against* the counter-claim, that the field is a real physical object? The E&M version of this question is a completely standard one in undergraduate E&M courses, so you probably encountered it once. The field is indeed first introduced as a "conceptualization of possible forces" but then you discover that you can write the en
  19. Thomas, I'm starting a new thread for any subsequent discussion of your idea that something was or is missing from Newton's theory of gravitation. It's not germane to the TEW thread. In your first post on this (on that other TEW thread) you wrote: That's not really true. Newton gave an equation for the force, and disembodied or not, that force is supposed to be a real thing that expresses the relevant "action" on the apple. Maybe what you're getting at, though, is that we should be able to give some account of what entity exerts that force on the apple (the force being, otherwi
  20. JeffT, You question my suggestion that people not talk up TEW with their friends or professors. I don't see what you think the problem is. If someone is known to be an Objectivist, and starts talking to his physics professor about this wonderful revolutionary new theory, and the physics professor subsequently looks into it and realizes it's crackpot garbage allegedly inspired by or based on Objectivism, that is one presumably intelligent and well-educated person who will never again take Objectivism seriously. Same goes for any friends who happen to be well-enough educated to subsequentl
  21. Thomas, I'm sorry, the "rant" was not directed at you. I thought that was clear, but I guess it wasn't. It was directed at people who support and proselytize for TEW without having the kind of knowledge required to justify their support. That said, the "rant" was... let's say... triggered by what you wrote. Let me explain why. You said you had a background in physics and had looked into Bohm's theory and found it problematic, so I asked you what you thought the problems were. Now, when I asked that, I didn't understand that your background in physics was a long time ago and that yo
  22. In Bohmian Mechanics, the particle moves with a velocity that is basically the group velocity for the wave that's guiding it. (I say "basically" because that way of talking really only makes sense if the guiding wave has the structure of a wave packet, like a little lump, which is only a special case.) What that means is that the "waveform" and the particle move together. So there's no worry about the wave outrunning the particle or vice versa. Also, the waves do not just automatically propagate at the speed of light. Where did you get that idea? I also just want to say, in general,
  23. Thanks for the recommendation. That paper, though, was really a rough draft which on hindsight was too sprawling. I've sort of broken it in half. The half containing the polemic against Jarrett is forthcoming in Foundations of Physics -- an earlier (but still pretty tight) draft is freely available here Local Causality and Completeness: Bell vs. Jarrett That paper includes a much briefer, but still I think illuminating, discussion of Bell's concept of local causality. But I am working (slowly) on a new shorter paper which focuses on that specifically. For now, though, I'd probably
  • Create New...