objective reality

4 views
Skip to first unread message

Marc

unread,
Sep 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/15/99
to
Why was Einstein so obsessed with objective reality? Quantum theory shows
that the external world and our senses cannot be seperated. We are
inextricibly entangled with what we percieve, coupled with our language to
share our expeirences with other minds.

Amw

unread,
Sep 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/15/99
to

Marc wrote:

First and foremost, Einstein didn't buy QM or to be more precise the common
interpretation of QM.

But probably more important is that devoid of objective reality, science is
not even possible. All you have is a collection of subjective observations,
"inextricably entangled with what we perceive" and isolated from all other
observers and observations. Since no two observers can make the same
observation, one is left adrift in only one of a multitude of universes. If
the universe is truly dependent on the observer, then for all intent and
purposes, no two observers live in the same universe. There would be
commonality among observations required in order to deduce general laws of
physics.

At one time there was a universe prior to your arrival or even your
consciousness of it. It existed without you. Now trace this line of thinking
all the way back, and you come to a point where the universe existed without
your parents, or their parents ad infinitum, (or nearly so). You end up at a
time before a first observer, before consciousness. Did the universe exist at
that time? Did all the quantum interaction still proceed as they do now,
without anyone watching? If it did not, then how could conscious individuals
evolve (i.e. humans), if their existent required consciousness as a
prerequisite? Well one could answer in a more theological vein, however one is
also forced to explain a lack of supporting physical evidence for such a
being. One would be forced to postulate, rather than reason, the apparent
non-existence and unobservability of such a necessary conscious entity.

Now on the other hand, if I -can- communicate my observations to you, and you
can not only understand them, but do the experiments yourself and see if you
get the same observations, then that alone becomes clear and convincing
evidence for the existence of an objective universe. All the theological
digressions become superflous, all such unobservables become unnecessary. That
commonality shows that such is the universe we live in.

It should also be noted, that contrary to how it is portrayed in popular
literature, Schrodinger's famous cat is not an example of how weird QM is, but
was developed by its creator as an argument against the Copenhagen
interpretation of QM. Schrodinger and Einstein, as well as many other of the
founding fathers of QM did not buy the common interpretation. Everyone sees
the math works, but even at present, there is a large debate about exactly
what that math means or how it should be interpreted. I think Nathan is more
up on the different interpretations of QM than most here. Perhaps he can be
convinced to give a basic rundown.

Ben

Gerry Quinn

unread,
Sep 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/15/99
to
In article <7rn43m$87o$1...@news4.svr.pol.co.uk>, "Marc" <ma...@lepton78.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>Why was Einstein so obsessed with objective reality?

Because he was a good scientist.

>Quantum theory shows
>that the external world and our senses cannot be seperated. We are
>inextricibly entangled with what we percieve, coupled with our language to
>share our expeirences with other minds.
>

It is not necessary to perform a complete separation. If it were, your
post would be gibberish to me. Since it is not gibberish, it is wrong.

- Gerry Quinn

Ilja Schmelzer

unread,
Sep 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/15/99
to
"Marc" <ma...@lepton78.freeserve.co.uk> writes:
> Why was Einstein so obsessed with objective reality?

A reasonable position.

> Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> be seperated.

It doesn't.

Ilja
--
I. Schmelzer, D-10178 Berlin, Keibelstr. 38, <il...@cyberpass.net>
http://www.cyberpass.net/~ilja

Frank Wappler

unread,
Sep 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/15/99
to
Marc wrote:
> Why was Einstein so obsessed with objective reality? [...]

> We are inextricibly entangled with what we percieve, coupled with
> our language to share our experiences with other minds.

Sure. But therefore it's an interesting challenge to derive statements
about objective reality, which can be understood/reproduced/agreed_on
by all observers, at least in principle;
to derive shared measurements from own individual observations/reality.

Everyone ought to be obsessed with shared objective reality to some extent,
for lack of anything more interesting concerning her/him/itself alone.

> Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses
> cannot be seperated.

Yes, quantum mechanics illustrates this; being a formalized approach
to the challenge of deriving statements about objective reality.

Perhaps Einstein didn't seem to fully appreciate the difficulty because
he had been so successful in doing just this, (only) intuitively? ...

Best regards, Frank W ~@) R


z@z

unread,
Sep 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/15/99
to
Marc wrote:

| Why was Einstein so obsessed with objective reality?

Because, unlike folks like Bohr and Heisenberg, he was not a
dogmatist but a naturalist. A naturalist believes that nature
and reason precede the theories, which essentially are linguistic
and mathematical constructs created by humans, whereas a
dogmatist sacrifices reason to the currently accepted dogmas,
e.g. by introducing virtual entities or special mechanisms
for circumventing logical consistency (such as Heisenberg's
uncertainty relations).

| Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses

| cannot be separated.

I have written some years ago:

The lack of logic of modern physics becomes obvious from
this: On the one hand the independence of physical laws from
observations and measurements is denied; on the other hand
these laws are used to explain the evolution of the universe
despite the fact that neither observations nor measurments
can have been involved.
http://members.lol.li/twostone/aa2.html (in German)


Cheers, Wolfgang


Simple black hole paradox refuting General Relativity:
http://members.lol.li/twostone/E/paradoxGR.html

Why SR does not explain MMX:
http://members.lol.li/twostone/E/refutationSR.html

Spaceship paradox refuting Special Relativity:
http://members.lol.li/twostone/E/paradox.html

Marc

unread,
Sep 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/16/99
to

z@z <z...@z.lol.li> wrote in message news:7roja5$o8v$1...@pollux.ip-plus.net...

> Marc wrote:
>
> | Why was Einstein so obsessed with objective reality?
>
> Because, unlike folks like Bohr and Heisenberg, he was not a
> dogmatist but a naturalist. A naturalist believes that nature
> and reason precede the theories, which essentially are linguistic
> and mathematical constructs created by humans, whereas a
> dogmatist sacrifices reason to the currently accepted dogmas,
> e.g. by introducing virtual entities or special mechanisms
> for circumventing logical consistency (such as Heisenberg's
> uncertainty relations).
>
> | Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses
> | cannot be separated.
>
> I have written some years ago:
>
> The lack of logic of modern physics becomes obvious from
> this: On the one hand the independence of physical laws from
> observations and measurements is denied; on the other hand
> these laws are used to explain the evolution of the universe
> despite the fact that neither observations nor measurments
> can have been involved.
> http://members.lol.li/twostone/aa2.html (in German)
>
>
> Cheers, Wolfgang
>
>
So why couldn't Einstein defeat Bohr at Solway in front of the most
intelligent minds on the planet at that time ?

Marc

unread,
Sep 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/16/99
to

Ilja Schmelzer <schm...@fermi.wias-berlin.de> wrote in message
news:i3g7lls...@fermi.wias-berlin.de...

> > Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> > be seperated.
>
> It doesn't.
>
> Maybe I'm missing something here. You say quantum theory doesn't show that
reality and our senses
cannot be seperated. Prove it.
> -- marco


Ilja Schmelzer

unread,
Sep 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/16/99
to
"Marc" <ma...@lepton78.freeserve.co.uk> writes:
> > > Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> > > be seperated.
> >
> > It doesn't.

> Maybe I'm missing something here. You say quantum theory doesn't show that
> reality and our senses cannot be seperated. Prove it.

First, the burden of the proof is on the other side - you claim that
QT shows something.

But I can prove it in some sense. Use Bohmian mechanics - a
realistic, deterministic theory. Observers play no special role, as
in classical theory.

Predictions of BM are the same as of QM. Therefore, QM shows nothing
in such a metaphysical direction which BM does not show too. BM shows
nothing different from classical theory in this question.

z@z

unread,
Sep 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/16/99
to
Hello Marc!

| So why couldn't Einstein defeat Bohr at Solway in front of the most
| intelligent minds on the planet at that time ?

Maybe "the most intelligent minds on the planet" were not
intelligent enough. :-)

1) At first all agreed that there are no actions at a distance.

(Actions at a distance are much simpler and correspond much
better to Ockham's razor than interactions by fields or
virtual particles. Interaction by virual particles creates
more problems than it resolves. It appearently resolves the
problem of how particles can interact, but it raises e.g.
the even more complex problem of how the particles interact
with the interacting particles.)

2) At least the EPR paper showed that QM entails actions at a
distance in very special situations. These (rather absurd)
actions do not even decrease with increasing distance as it
is the case in the classical action at distance theories.

3) Bohr simply declared that in exactly the EPR situations there
is some form of non-locality (which is essentially a strong
form of actions at a distance).

It is almost always possible to rescue a theory from refutation
by introducing (further) ad-hoc-hypotheses.


Cheers, Wolfgang

Spacial extension of elementary particles:
http://members.lol.li/twostone/E/psychon.html#a07

Klaus Kassner

unread,
Sep 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/17/99
to
Ilja Schmelzer wrote:

> A reasonable position.

>
> > Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> > be seperated.
>
> It doesn't.

It sure does. Even Bohmian mechanics does. Quantum mechanics remains
nonseparable even in realistic versions. This expresses itself via
nonlocality.
--
Klaus Kassner
Institut fuer Theoretische Physik / Computerorientierte Theor. Physik
Otto-von-Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg
Postfach 4120 / D-39016 Magdeburg

Ilja Schmelzer

unread,
Sep 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/20/99
to
Klaus Kassner <klaus....@physik.uni-magdeburg.de> writes:
> > > Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> > > be seperated.
> >
> > It doesn't.

> It sure does. Even Bohmian mechanics does. Quantum mechanics remains
> nonseparable even in realistic versions. This expresses itself via
> nonlocality.

That's nothing I would like to discuss with you, Klaus.

Klaus Kassner

unread,
Sep 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/21/99
to
Ilja Schmelzer wrote:

>
> "Marc" <ma...@lepton78.freeserve.co.uk> writes:
> > > > Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> > > > be seperated.

> > > It doesn't.


> > Maybe I'm missing something here. You say quantum theory doesn't show that
> > reality and our senses cannot be seperated. Prove it.

> First, the burden of the proof is on the other side - you claim that
> QT shows something.

He only says something he thinks others have proved. So you should
show that this is wrong, if you claim the opposite. There is pretty
general agreement that our world is nonseparable, whatever interpretation
of quantum mechanics you prefer.

The level of our "senses" is, of course, a too coarse one. However,
at the level of measuring apparatus separable from quantum object or not,
the current answer is "no". Independent of any interpretation.



> But I can prove it in some sense. Use Bohmian mechanics - a
> realistic, deterministic theory. Observers play no special role, as
> in classical theory.

But *contextuality* plays a big role. Which, in a sense, includes observers.



> Predictions of BM are the same as of QM. Therefore, QM shows nothing
> in such a metaphysical direction which BM does not show too. BM shows
> nothing different from classical theory in this question.

Right. And BM does have the strong contextuality.

Ilja Schmelzer

unread,
Sep 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM9/22/99
to
Klaus Kassner <klaus....@physik.uni-magdeburg.de> writes:
>>>>> Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
>>>>> be seperated.
>
>>>> It doesn't.
>
>>> Maybe I'm missing something here. You say quantum theory doesn't show that
>>> reality and our senses cannot be seperated. Prove it.
>
>> First, the burden of the proof is on the other side - you claim that
>> QT shows something.

> He only says something he thinks others have proved. So you should
> show that this is wrong, if you claim the opposite. There is pretty
> general agreement that our world is nonseparable, whatever
> interpretation of quantum mechanics you prefer.

But this non-separability has nothing to do with "our senses". It was
mainly this "our senses" which has caused my response.

> The level of our "senses" is, of course, a too coarse one. However,
> at the level of measuring apparatus separable from quantum object or
> not, the current answer is "no". Independent of any interpretation.

But that's true in principle for a classical observer too. And for
pragmatical questions we can sepatate and do it.

>> Predictions of BM are the same as of QM. Therefore, QM shows nothing
>> in such a metaphysical direction which BM does not show too. BM shows
>> nothing different from classical theory in this question.

> Right.

Ok, this was my point.

> And BM does have the strong contextuality.

No problem.

Klaus Kassner

unread,
Oct 5, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/5/99
to
Ilja Schmelzer wrote:
>
> Klaus Kassner <klaus....@physik.uni-magdeburg.de> writes:
> >>>>> Quantum theory shows that the external world and our senses cannot
> >>>>> be seperated.
> >
> >>>> It doesn't.
> >
> >>> Maybe I'm missing something here. You say quantum theory doesn't show that
> >>> reality and our senses cannot be seperated. Prove it.
> >
> >> First, the burden of the proof is on the other side - you claim that
> >> QT shows something.
>
> > He only says something he thinks others have proved. So you should
> > show that this is wrong, if you claim the opposite. There is pretty
> > general agreement that our world is nonseparable, whatever
> > interpretation of quantum mechanics you prefer.
>
> But this non-separability has nothing to do with "our senses". It was
> mainly this "our senses" which has caused my response.

I thought you were using an extended notion of "senses" including
"measuring devices". I agree that senses are usually macroscopic
enough to be considered separately from the external world.
Although I think you can, under favourable circumstances, detect
a single photon with your eyes.


> > The level of our "senses" is, of course, a too coarse one. However,
> > at the level of measuring apparatus separable from quantum object or
> > not, the current answer is "no". Independent of any interpretation.
>
> But that's true in principle for a classical observer too. And for
> pragmatical questions we can sepatate and do it.

There is a qualitative difference. Classical theory allows you to make
interactions arbitrarily weak, allowing a separation in practice
(FAPP, as Bell would say :-)). In quantum mechanics, this is not possible
anymore.


> >> Predictions of BM are the same as of QM. Therefore, QM shows nothing
> >> in such a metaphysical direction which BM does not show too. BM shows
> >> nothing different from classical theory in this question.
>
> > Right.
>
> Ok, this was my point.
>
> > And BM does have the strong contextuality.
>
> No problem.

Really? It means that certain properties cannot be defined except for a
many-particle system including the measuring apparatus. Properties that
have been traditionally assigned to single particles, of course.
Hence, these properties are not "real" for single
particles (such as temperature is not a real property of a single particle,
which however has never been considered a property of a single particle
traditionally).

Ilja Schmelzer

unread,
Oct 6, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/6/99
to
Klaus Kassner <klaus....@physik.uni-magdeburg.de> writes:
> > > The level of our "senses" is, of course, a too coarse one. However,
> > > at the level of measuring apparatus separable from quantum object or
> > > not, the current answer is "no". Independent of any interpretation.
> >
> > But that's true in principle for a classical observer too. And for
> > pragmatical questions we can sepatate and do it.
>
> There is a qualitative difference. Classical theory allows you to make
> interactions arbitrarily weak, allowing a separation in practice
> (FAPP, as Bell would say :-)). In quantum mechanics, this is not possible
> anymore.

IMHO we have to distinguish here if we want to describe an observer as
part of the whole situation (internal description) or as some God-like
external observer.

For a God-like external observer, separation is not problematic in
Bohmian theory too.

An internal description is problematic in a deterministic theory,
because it seems to be in conflict with free will. Moreover, if an
internal classical observer may be separated in classical theory is an
open question. It is usually not considered, that's all. An example
of a classical theory where the observer cannot be separated is my
ether theory.

> > > And BM does have the strong contextuality.
> >
> > No problem.
>
> Really? It means that certain properties cannot be defined except for a
> many-particle system including the measuring apparatus. Properties that
> have been traditionally assigned to single particles, of course.
> Hence, these properties are not "real" for single
> particles (such as temperature is not a real property of a single particle,
> which however has never been considered a property of a single particle
> traditionally).

Yep. My "no problem"-remark means it does not change my point.

Ilja
--
I. Schmelzer, <il...@cyberpass.net>, http://www.cyberpass.net/~ilja

Klaus Kassner

unread,
Oct 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/8/99
to
Ilja Schmelzer wrote:
>
> Klaus Kassner <klaus....@physik.uni-magdeburg.de> writes:
> > > > The level of our "senses" is, of course, a too coarse one. However,
> > > > at the level of measuring apparatus separable from quantum object or
> > > > not, the current answer is "no". Independent of any interpretation.
> > >
> > > But that's true in principle for a classical observer too. And for
> > > pragmatical questions we can sepatate and do it.
> >
> > There is a qualitative difference. Classical theory allows you to make
> > interactions arbitrarily weak, allowing a separation in practice
> > (FAPP, as Bell would say :-)). In quantum mechanics, this is not possible
> > anymore.
>
> IMHO we have to distinguish here if we want to describe an observer as
> part of the whole situation (internal description) or as some God-like
> external observer.
>
> For a God-like external observer, separation is not problematic in
> Bohmian theory too.

I don't agree. You cannot assign a full set of properties to a separate
system in Bohmian theory. So you cannot separate it off the rest,
God-like or not.


> An internal description is problematic in a deterministic theory,
> because it seems to be in conflict with free will. Moreover, if an
> internal classical observer may be separated in classical theory is an
> open question. It is usually not considered, that's all.

I don't think it is an open question. It is decided by the theory.

> An example
> of a classical theory where the observer cannot be separated is my
> ether theory.

I do not think so. Your theory is just as any classic theory in this
respect.

Ilja Schmelzer

unread,
Oct 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/11/99
to
Klaus Kassner <klaus....@physik.uni-magdeburg.de> writes:
> > IMHO we have to distinguish here if we want to describe an observer as
> > part of the whole situation (internal description) or as some God-like
> > external observer.
> >
> > For a God-like external observer, separation is not problematic in
> > Bohmian theory too.
>
> I don't agree. You cannot assign a full set of properties to a separate
> system in Bohmian theory. So you cannot separate it off the rest,
> God-like or not.

God has chosen another definition of "full set of properties" if BM is
true.

>> An internal description is problematic in a deterministic theory,
>> because it seems to be in conflict with free will. Moreover, if an
>> internal classical observer may be separated in classical theory is an
>> open question. It is usually not considered, that's all.

> I don't think it is an open question. It is decided by the theory.

"Open" in the sense that not many researchers seem to have bothered
about the question what is the decision of a given theory here.

> > An example
> > of a classical theory where the observer cannot be separated is my
> > ether theory.
>
> I do not think so. Your theory is just as any classic theory in this
> respect.

In the sense that "It is decided by the theory" I agree. The point is
that the decision of the theory is non-trivial in this case - not
everything is observable.

Klaus Kassner

unread,
Oct 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/20/99
to
Ilja Schmelzer wrote:

> God has chosen another definition of "full set of properties" if BM is
> true.

Yes. Only the whole world has a full set of properties...

> > > An example
> > > of a classical theory where the observer cannot be separated is my
> > > ether theory.
> >
> > I do not think so. Your theory is just as any classic theory in this
> > respect.
>
> In the sense that "It is decided by the theory" I agree. The point is
> that the decision of the theory is non-trivial in this case - not
> everything is observable.

This is true in other classic theories, too. The vector potential is not
observable in classic electromagnetism. A coordinate system is not
observable in any classic theory.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages