X-Message-Number: 21065
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 21:43:35 EST
Subject: missing points?

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Replying to Donaldson, Michael Price writes:

>but I argue that an electron's change in hypothetical "hyperspin"
>would cause us to classify the changed particle as a new species

Only AFTER THE FACT, with the help of a new kind of experiment. The whole 
point is that there may be subspecies arising from the fact that properties 
exist that have not yet been observed. 

As a very rough analogy, remember that in relatively recent times the very 
existence of the whole electromagnetic spectrum, except for visible light, 
was unknown. Now suppose (somehow) we lived in a world with yellow light 
only, or with senses and instruments capable (at the present time) only of 
perceiving yellow light. Then we could not observe the "subspecies" of 
colored objects of otherwise the same kind, and the different colors would 
not necessarily make any difference in the observations now available to us. 

He also  writes:

[Ettinger] >> Second, saying that two elephants are identical is really the 
claim that
>> specifying the quantum state of a system tells you EVERYTHING there
>>is to know about the system, [....]

[Price] >Whoa!  Stop right there.  Saying two things are identical is NOT 
saying we
>know everything about them, just that everything we know about one we also
>know about the other.  Completely and crucially different.

First, some eminent people DO claim that when you specify the wave equation, 
or the quantum state, you have stated everything it is possible to know about 
the system. Of course I don't agree, and of course, "wave equation" and 
"quantum state" are not used with perfect consistency or clarity, but are 
almost always fudged or approximated.  

Second, if you are not saying we know everything about them, then there may 
be things about them we don't know. If there are things about them that we 
don't know, those things may be different for the two elephants, and 
different in a way that would not necessarily affect any observation we have 
already made. That last possibility seems to be the central sticking point. 
(It is easy to produce examples of differences that would or might affect 
present types of observation, but WHY is it ruled out that differences could 
exist that would not affect observations to date?)

Robert Ettinger


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