Understanding, Quantum Theory and Control Theory

Thank you Marc for joining the conversation. I will look at
the writers you suggested. Bill has addressed the idea that certainty is never
possible when he speaks about models and their role in perception. In QT this
comes up quite often as a subtext. They speak about the lack of certainty as a
way of life, but they speak about it in a certainty way. What do I mean? In
QT one has the probability of the spin of a particle being up or down until it
is measured. A more familiar version is Schrödinger’s Cat: it is alive
or dead until it is observed. So in QT probability is different than in the
classical world. In QT you can speak about the probability of a particle being
in two states at once, whereas in classical theory, our world, it is only in one
state. Beneath the conversation in QT is the classical underpinning of certainty.
That is, one is speaking about a thing or a system in certainty terms so you
are going to get a certainty answer back. Thus the model of QT is a certainty
model. But in control theory, as I see it, certainty is not the model, but self
referential stability instead. If this is so, then in CT, what would it mean
if we interpreted QT experiments as self referential stability systems? I do
not know.

Ely

···

From: Control Systems
Group Network (CSGnet) [mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Marc Abrams
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005
1:57 PM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: Understanding

Well, I was thinking that the
correlation itself was a reference signal of sorts to the system of the
experiment. It is a just a way to talk about this.

I want to see if we can speak of these quantum experiments in
terms of CT. If so, what would the discussion be like. I think
Bill’s work lends itself to this different dialogue.

Ely, you bring
up some extremely important points about doing science here that have fallen on
deaf ears here on CSGnet. Maybe they will listen to you.

There are many
ways to think about things, explain things, and to view them. This is one
reason why science, if done properly, is never done as a matter of being
‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Since certainty is impossible, all we can ever hope to accomplish
is to strive for some approximation of the truth.

The notion Bill
has that PCT or some other theory will prove to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is bad
science and misguided because it cuts off the dialogue among people. If you are
convinced someone is ‘wrong’ there is never a need to listen to anything the
person has to say, convinced that someone else’s view is worthless just
eliminates a potential useful source of information.

When ideology
take a back seat exploration, science ceases to exist and when you stop
exploring, the search for truth stops as well.

I’m convinced
Bill Powers feels he has already found the ‘truth’ in PCT and most of the folks
here believe that as well.

You mentioned a
few folks that have been involved in the development of systems ideas. How
familiar are you with the control community? Are you familiar with System
Dynamics and the work of Jay Forrester? You might want to look into that and a
great deal more as well in the field of control. You might also want to confer
with Cliff Joslyn on this. I would also hiighly recommend Feedback Thought i
the Social Sciences
by George Richardson as a way for you to take an
historical view of the field.

All of this
‘advice’ of course predicated on the notion that science and not religion is your
main pursuit.

Marc

Ely


From:
Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet) [mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Bruce Gregory
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005
8:55 AM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Understanding

/x-tad-smaller>/fontfamily>[From Bruce Gregory (2005.03.26.2005)]

Ely Dorsey wrote:

The philosophy is very rich. General Relativity also helps one see

sides of QT that are different. This theory is not hard at all. Anyone

can play with it. The difficult part is the nature of explanation. That

is, what do we mean by explanation? This is why I am studying your work

along with Maturana and von Glasersfeld.

/x-tad-smaller>/fontfamily>The most useful comment I have found in this
regard comes from John von Neumann,

“In mathematics you don’t understand things, you just get used to
them.”

This is even more true of physics, I have found.

A true believer knows the solution before he understands the problem.

Ely,

In a message dated 3/26/2005 2:31:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, edorsey@STARPOWER.NET writes:

Thank you Marc for joining the conversation. I will look at the writers you suggested. Bill has addressed the idea that certainty is never possible when he speaks about models and their role in perception.

It is not only Bill and his models alone. It is this way for all of us with all knowledge. Certainty can never be attained, but ‘truth’ may be approached. This I believe is a very important insight that the practice of science provides us with.

This tells us that no matter what we might believe to be true today, tomorrow it might prove to be false or incomplete and often is. This also places the notions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in their rightful place as temporal manifestations that for any practical scientific purpose are meaningless concepts. Physics of course is a classic example of this. Newton’s work remains important and useful today but we know it is incomplete. We can say the same about all who have followed. In fact that is precisely the reason you are here on CSGnet today and hopefully others will follow you in this wonderful pursuit as well.

It is a pursuit that will never come to an end because I believe we will always be in the pursuit of the truth and we will never be able to attain it with any certainty.

But this pursuit like everything else in life comes with it’s costs. And for most of us these ‘costs’ are high indeed. We often spend very long periods of time devoted to learning and studying a field only to find out that we were going over barren ground and major shifts in thinking need to take place.

As control systems we do not find this a comfortable thing to do.

There are many ways to think about things so here is something else for you to think about. There really is no such thing as making a ‘mistake’. Whatever it is you have come up with as a solution is simply a solution to a different problem, one you are not currently dealing with or are aware of. The question then becomes. What is this ‘mistake’ a solution for? Many discovery’s in science have taken place due to this. The discovery of Penicillin comes to mind.

What I am getting at here is that by being aggressive and making mistakes, discoveries will follow, you just need to be smart enough to realize what is actually going on.

Good, critical, scientific dialogue I believe leads to the types of ‘mistakes’ that others can look at and learn from. Without critical dialogue there is no new information exchanged, no ‘mistakes’ uncovered, no discovery possible and certainly no new learning can therefore take place.

In QT this comes up quite often as a subtext. They speak about the lack of certainty as a way of life, but they speak about it in a certainty way. What do I mean? In QT one has the probability of the spin of a particle being up or down until it is measured. A more familiar version is Schrödinger’s Cat: it is alive or dead until it is observed. So in QT probability is different than in the classical world. In QT you can speak about the probability of a particle being in two states at once, whereas in classical theory, our world, it is only in one state. Beneath the conversation in QT is the classical underpinning of certainty. That is, one is speaking about a thing or a system in certainty terms so you are going to get a certainty answer back. Thus the model of QT is a certainty model.

I believe it is a ‘probability’ model, not a certainty model. But again, here is where different views and interpretations come into play. If we each investigated the actual reasons why you believe it to be ‘certainty’ and I ‘probability’ we each may ‘discover’ something worthwhile, but if each of us is convinced that we each posses the ‘right’ answer and the ‘truth’ there can be no discovery for either one of us and we both walk away losers in the deal.

But in control theory, as I see it, certainty is not the model, but self referential stability instead.

Here you speak of the differences Richardson was pointing out in his book and one of the differences between the ‘cybernetics’ thread and ‘servo-mechanism’ or control threads of feedback thought. I am convinced you would find Richardson’s book invaluable and illuminating in your pursuit

If this is so, then in CT, what would it mean if we interpreted QT experiments as self referential stability systems? I do not know.

Beats the hell out of me as well. Any way of testing your conjectures?

How would you go about testing this idea?

Marc

···

Ely


From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet) [mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Marc Abrams
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 1:57 PM
To:
CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: Understanding

Well, I was thinking that the correlation itself was a reference signal of sorts to the system of the experiment.  It is a just a way to talk about this.
I want to see if we can speak of these quantum experiments in terms of CT.  If so, what would the discussion be like.  I think Bill’s work lends itself to this different dialogue.

Ely, you bring up some extremely important points about doing science here that have fallen on deaf ears here on CSGnet. Maybe they will listen to you.

There are many ways to think about things, explain things, and to view them. This is one reason why science, if done properly, is never done as a matter of being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Since certainty is impossible, all we can ever hope to accomplish is to strive for some approximation of the truth.

The notion Bill has that PCT or some other theory will prove to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is bad science and misguided because it cuts off the dialogue among people. If you are convinced someone is ‘wrong’ there is never a need to listen to anything the person has to say, convinced that someone else’s view is worthless just eliminates a potential useful source of information.

When ideology take a back seat exploration, science ceases to exist and when you stop exploring, the search for truth stops as well.

I’m convinced Bill Powers feels he has already found the ‘truth’ in PCT and most of the folks here believe that as well.

You mentioned a few folks that have been involved in the development of systems ideas. How familiar are you with the control community? Are you familiar with System Dynamics and the work of Jay Forrester? You might want to look into that and a great deal more as well in the field of control. You might also want to confer with Cliff Joslyn on this. I would also hiighly recommend Feedback Thought i the Social Sciences by George Richardson as a way for you to take an historical view of the field.

All of this ‘advice’ of course predicated on the notion that science and not religion is your main pursuit.

Marc

Ely


From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet) [mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Bruce Gregory
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 8:55 AM
To:
CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject:
Understanding

/x-tad-smaller>/fontfamily>[From Bruce Gregory (2005.03.26.2005)]


Ely Dorsey wrote:

> The philosophy is very rich. General Relativity also helps one see
> sides of QT that are different. This theory is not hard at all. Anyone
> can play with it. The difficult part is the nature of explanation. That
> is, what do we mean by explanation? This is why I am studying your work
> along with Maturana and von Glasersfeld.


/x-tad-smaller>/fontfamily>The most useful comment I have found in this regard comes from John von Neumann,

"In mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them."

This is even more true of physics, I have found.



A true believer knows the solution before he understands the problem.