[time 198] local systems, measurement, etc.

Ben Goertzel (ben@goertzel.org)
Wed, 07 Apr 1999 09:34:39 -0400


It made me smile to read that you suspect no one but the referee has read &
your proofs. This is the lot of most technical research outside the
mainstream these days!
When I went through Tony Smith's work in detail he made the same remark.
As for my own
work, my books on the mind have been read a lot by nontechnical folks who
skip the equations.
The only way I got a bunch of AI experts to study my work closely was to
start a company
and hire them and PAY them to do it ;)

Anyway, looking over your papers a little more, I agree that there is a
remarkable harmony
between your approach to physics & my approach to consciousness. What's
ironic is
that this was not apparent to me on first reading your stuff, only on
fairly closely studying it.
There is something about the nature of scientific, mathematical language
that impedes
conceptual progress. However there is no "magic bullet" to solve this
problem -- ordinary language is
too vague and there are no other alternatives. Someday my Webmind software
system may be
able to help -- taking an article as input and finding other articles that
are "conceptually related"
even though the terminology is different. But, not yet!

Now, back to technical things.

I think I understand Theorem 2 now. Let me make a few comments, basically
in my own language. The mathematics seems sound, what concerns me is the
interpretation and
the extensibility to deal with weak and strong forces...

Basically you have done what you say: You have shown how QM and GR can
coexist, consistently,
in a single mathematical framework. This is
a nice achievement, however, a skeptic would say that it's just a
mathematical trick, because you
don't provide explanations of weak and strong nuclear forces, and you don't
provide any new
experimental predictions about QM/GR interactions. The counterargument to
"it's just a mathematical
trick" is the conceptual power of the interpretation.

The logic of observation and independence in your theory is interesting and
You say that two local systems are necessarily independent because, if
there were a dependence
between them (e.g. a correlation based on past entanglements), then in
order for this dependence to
be known, the two systems would have had to be observed interacting, in
which case they
would not be two different local systems, but two parts of the same local
system. Is that a fair

I start wondering here: What if the two local systems are observed together
by some measuring
apparatus, and the results are recorded on plate X but no one looks at
them. Then the local systems are studied as if independent, using GR on
their centers of mass, because they are separate local systems.
Then plate X is observed: Do the subsequent GR results become wrong because
all of a sudden the
axiom of independence is retroactively revoked??? Is there a paradox here?
 Don't the GR results
get sucked into the subjectivity and multiple possible universes of the
quantum domain?

I am also puzzling over Axiom 6. Here we have 2 local systems and one is
observing the other.
The observing system is somehow seeing the observed system ~not~ as an
object, a center of
mass, but rather as an internal subjective universe, and it is translating
the entities seen in the
observed system's internal subjective universe using relativity... (using
relativistic calculations
based on the two systems' centers of mass and their relative motions). The
question is, what
determines whether I see you as a center of mass or as an internal
subjective universe, a Euclidean
quantum space. (In philosophical terms, this reminds me of Buber's
distinction between
I-It and I-Thou interactions.)

In closing, I have a suggestion of "how to proceed from here." I think we
should try to formulate
your theory in purely logical format, as much as is possible. This would
serve several purposes

1) it would make clearer what has to be done to extend the theory to
account for weak and strong forces
2) it would make clearer the mapping between your theory and my
psychological theory of perception and consciousness
3) it would make clear why the paradoxes I mentioned above are not really
paradoxes (unless they are ;)

A first step would perhaps be for you to give a precise statement of your
axioms and theorems
in WORDS only. I started trying to do this, but figured you would be
better at it. Given this,
the second step will be to try to replace the words with the most general
constructs that make the axioms/theorems true. At worst, this effort would
result in us understanding
your theory better ;)

One more thing. I think that the Big Bang dispute is not that relevant,
because there is no reason to
believe the universe is infinite. I think the whole universe is finite.
Who says the universe doesn't
have a local time, then? And who says a system can't observe itself?
Maybe the universe observes
itself. The infinite degrees of freedom of your hypothesized Universe is
just a mathematical approximation.
The Big Bang is a product of strong nuclear forces I believe (?), and this
issue needs to be revisited once
it is clear how your approach accounts for the strong force.


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