Group Think

Lyle Burkhead (
Sun, 26 Jan 1997 18:26:14 -0500 (EST)

Omega writes,

> It is surely a cautionary tale of the human propensity for "group think",
> something which John Gribbin goes on to address by paraphrasing
> David Mermin's 1993 article from the 'Reviews of Modern Physics #65
> (1993) page 803:
>> Writing in 1993, David Mermin referred to the generations of graduate
>> students who might have been tempted to construct hidden-variables
>> theories but had been 'beaten into submission' by the claim that von
>> Neumann had proved that it could not be done. He said that von
>> Neumann's 'no-hidden-variables proof' was based on an assumption so
>> silly 'that one is led to wonder whether the proof was ever studied
>> by either the students or those who appealed to it to rescue them
>> from speculative adventures' in the realms of quantum interpretation.

This whole discussion has been very enlightening to me. It's news
to me that von Neumann was wrong. I must confess that I, like most
people, have always accepted his assertion about hidden variables
without looking at the proof. Not only that -- I still haven't read the
proof. Now I'm taking your word for it that he was wrong!! ;-)

Going beyond group-think is almost impossible. But we have to keep

BTW, "Grete Hermann" sounds like a female name. If so, let's give
credit where credit is due.