Re: New website: The Simulation Argument

From: scerir (
Date: Thu Dec 13 2001 - 01:36:51 MST

[Shelly Goldstein]

Moreover, it would not be at all sensible for a theory to acknowledge that
"any statement about the world has to make reference to observation,''
since Zeilinger's assertion is plainly false. Statements about history are
not statements about history books, and statements about dinosaurs are not
statements about fossilized dinosaur bones.


Without picking a fight with Anton Zeilinger, I would argue with Goldstein,
that tangentially, statements about History, can certainly be viewed on
whether or not someone's' History Book was indeed, accurate. Or as we say in
Ohio, "where'd you go to school, in Kentucky?" Statements about dinosaurs,
surely, relate to statements about dinosaur fossils. Paleontologists handle
little else but fossilized bones. Occasionally someone outside the field,
like Alvarez, can turn the topic on its ear, by viewing phenomena outside the
box, as he did by studying chemical traces of iridium.


About Zeilingers's "any statement about the world has to make reference
to observation'' I think that Shelly Goldstein's opposite view might have
some unexpected support from Einstein (contrarian of contrarians).

<< The following year, 1926, is one of high drama in this growing but troubled
relationship. In April, Heisenberg gave a two-hour lecture on his matrix
mechanics in von Laue's famous physics colloquium at the University of Berlin.
In the audience, with a whole group of potentates, was Einstein. It was their
second meeting. Einstein, interested and no doubt disturbed by the lecture,
asked Heisenberg to walk home with him (there is that walk again) and thus
ensued a remarkable discussion, which Heisenberg first reported in print in 1969 (*).

In the discussion with Einstein, Heisenberg once more tried to draw attention to
his having dealt not with unobservable electron orbits inside atoms, but rather with
observable radiation. He said to Einstein: "Since it is acceptable to allow into a
theory only directly observable magnitudes, I thought it more natural to restrict
myself to these, bringing them in, as it were, as representatives of electron orbits."

Einstein responded, "But you don't seriously believe that only observable
magnitudes must go into a physical theory?".

Heisenberg goes on, "In astonishment, I said, I thought that it was exactly
you who had made this thought the foundation of your relativity theory. . . .".

Einstein replied, "Perhaps I used this sort of philosophy; but it is nevertheless
nonsense.". And then came Einstein's famous sentence: "Only the theory
decides what one can observe." >> (**)

(*) W. Heisenberg, Der Teil und das Ganze, R. Piper & Co., Munich (1969).
(**) Gerald Holton in


I like to believe (against all odds) that information is somehow physically
stored in the universe, somehow. But I guess that is why pharmaceutical
companies make prozac ;-)


I'm checking Stonier's book, to see where he stores his "infons" (and his

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:26 MDT