Von Neumann's Blunder

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 21:36:20 -0800 (PST)


On Mon, 27 Jan 1997 Omega <omega@pacific.net> Wrote:

>I'm not sure we want to start ascribing the type of infallibility to
>von Neumann that, ahem, certain other people ascribe to say someone
>like Paul.

Von Neumann had little physical intuition, and even in pure mathematics was
not as creative as Godel or Turing, but I don't know anyone in the entire
history of Science who had a quicker mind of made fewer mathematical mistakes.
Von Neumann never won a Nobel Prize, but more than one Nobel Prize winner
with a boiling water IQ ( Hans Bethe, Eugene Wigner, even Richard Feynman)
has publicly stated that in Von Neumann's presence they felt like morons.
This despite the fact that Von Neumann always took great pains to be kind and
exceedingly polite. The man was so smart it was terrifying, Feynman called
him a "monster mind".

>Victor J Stenger contradicts both Bell and Mermim (and presumably
>Hermann too) about the lack of mathematical error in von Neumann's

Bell said it was silly and irrelevant, he did not say it had a mathematical

>>I know of no law of logic the demands that every event have a

>Technically I would agree, BUT such a statement amounts to a
>sweeping and profound metaphysical statement.

Thank you, I rather liked it too.

>Cramer's transactional interpretation does not necessarily imply
>non- locality so much as the fact that local causal principles
>propagate (on the microcausal level) symmetrically bidirectionally
>through time.

If it's true then right now we are causing things to happen in the Vergo
cluster of galaxies before the Earth even existed. how could you get more
non-local than that?

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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