Technical Discussion and Philosophical Progress

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (p. 19-21), Thomas Kuhn remarks on the tendency of sciences to acquire a technical vocabulary and manner of discussion:

We shall be examining the nature of this highly directed or paradigm-based research in the next section, but must first note briefly how the emergence of a paradigm affects the structure of the group that practices the field. When, in the development of a natural science, an individual or group first produces a synthesis able to attract most of the next generation’s practitioners, the older schools gradually disappear. In part their disappearance is caused by their members’ conversion to the new paradigm. But there are always some men who cling to one or another of the older views, and they are simply read out of the profession, which thereafter ignores their work. The new paradigm implies a new and more rigid definition of the field. Those unwilling or unable to accommodate their work to it must proceed in isolation or attach themselves to some other group. Historically, they have often simply stayed in the departments of philosophy from which so many of the special sciences have been spawned. As these indications hint, it is sometimes just its reception of a paradigm that transforms a group previously interested merely in the study of nature into a profession or, at least, a discipline. In the sciences (though not in fields like medicine, technology, and law, of which the principal raison d’être is an external social need), the formation of specialized journals, the foundation of specialists’ societies, and the claim for a special place in the curriculum have usually been associated with a group’s first reception of a single paradigm. At least this was the case between the time, a century and a half ago, when the institutional pattern of scientific specialization first developed and the very recent time when the paraphernalia of specialization acquired a prestige of their own.

The more rigid definition of the scientific group has other consequences. When the individual scientist can take a paradigm for granted, he need no longer, in his major works, attempt to build his field anew, starting from first principles and justifying the use of each concept introduced. That can be left to the writer of textbooks. Given a textbook, however, the creative scientist can begin his research where it leaves off and thus concentrate exclusively upon the subtlest and most esoteric aspects of the natural phenomena that concern his group. And as he does this, his research communiqués will begin to change in ways whose evolution has been too little studied but whose modern end products are obvious to all and oppressive to many. No longer will his researches usually be embodied in books addressed, like Franklin’s Experiments . . . on Electricity or Darwin’s Origin of Species, to anyone who might be interested in the subject matter of the field. Instead they will usually appear as brief articles addressed only to professional colleagues, the men whose knowledge of a shared paradigm can be assumed and who prove to be the only ones able to read the papers addressed to them.

Today in the sciences, books are usually either texts or retrospective reflections upon one aspect or another of the scientific life. The scientist who writes one is more likely to find his professional reputation impaired than enhanced. Only in the earlier, pre-paradigm, stages of the development of the various sciences did the book ordinarily possess the same relation to professional achievement that it still retains in other creative fields. And only in those fields that still retain the book, with or without the article, as a vehicle for research communication are the lines of professionalization still so loosely drawn that the layman may hope to follow progress by reading the practitioners’ original reports. Both in mathematics and astronomy, research reports had ceased already in antiquity to be intelligible to a generally educated audience. In dynamics, research became similarly esoteric in the later Middle Ages, and it recaptured general intelligibility only briefly during the early seventeenth century when a new paradigm replaced the one that had guided medieval research. Electrical research began to require translation for the layman before the end of the eighteenth century, and most other fields of physical science ceased to be generally accessible in the nineteenth. During the same two centuries similar transitions can be isolated in the various parts of the biological sciences. In parts of the social sciences they may well be occurring today. Although it has become customary, and is surely proper, to deplore the widening gulf that separates the professional scientist from his colleagues in other fields, too little attention is paid to the essential relationship between that gulf and the mechanisms intrinsic to scientific advance.

As Kuhn says, this tendency has very well known results. Consider the papers constantly being published at, for example. If you are not familiar with the science in question, you will likely not be able to understand even the title, let alone the summary or the content. Many or most of the words will be meaningless to you, and even if they are not, their combinations will be.

It is also not difficult to see why this happens, and why it must happen. Everything we understand, we understand through form, which is a network of relationships. Thus if particular investigators wish to go into something in greater detail, these relationships will become more and more remote from the ordinary knowledge accessible to everyone. “Just say it in simple words” will become literally impossible, in the sense that explaining the “simple” statement will involve explaining a huge number of relationships that by default a person would have no knowledge of. That is the purpose, as Kuhn notes, of textbooks, namely to form connections between everyday knowledge and the more complex relationships studied in particular fields.

In Chapter XIII, Kuhn relates this sort of development with the word “science” and progress:

The preceding pages have carried my schematic description of scientific development as far as it can go in this essay. Nevertheless, they cannot quite provide a conclusion. If this description has at all caught the essential structure of a science’s continuing evolution, it will simultaneously have posed a special problem: Why should the enterprise sketched above move steadily ahead in ways that, say, art, political theory, or philosophy does not? Why is progress a perquisite reserved almost exclusively for the activities we call science? The most usual answers to that question have been denied in the body of this essay. We must conclude it by asking whether substitutes can be found.

Notice immediately that part of the question is entirely semantic. To a very great extent the term ‘science’ is reserved for fields that do progress in obvious ways. Nowhere does this show more clearly than in the recurrent debates about whether one or another of the contemporary social sciences is really a science. These debates have parallels in the pre-paradigm periods of fields that are today unhesitatingly labeled science. Their ostensible issue throughout is a definition of that vexing term. Men argue that psychology, for example, is a science because it possesses such and such characteristics. Others counter that those characteristics are either unnecessary or not sufficient to make a field a science. Often great energy is invested, great passion aroused, and the outsider is at a loss to know why. Can very much depend upon a definition of ‘science’? Can a definition tell a man whether he is a scientist or not? If so, why do not natural scientists or artists worry about the definition of the term? Inevitably one suspects that the issue is more fundamental. Probably questions like the following are really being asked: Why does my field fail to move ahead in the way that, say, physics does? What changes in technique or method or ideology would enable it to do so? These are not, however, questions that could respond to an agreement on definition. Furthermore, if precedent from the natural sciences serves, they will cease to be a source of concern not when a definition is found, but when the groups that now doubt their own status achieve consensus about their past and present accomplishments. It may, for example, be significant that economists argue less about whether their field is a science than do practitioners of some other fields of social science. Is that because economists know what science is? Or is it rather economics about which they agree?

The last point is telling. There is significantly more consensus among economists than among other sorts of social science, and consequently less worry about whether their field is scientific or not. The difference, then, is a difference of how much agreement is found. There is not necessarily any difference with respect to the kind of increasingly detailed thought that results in increasingly technical discussion. Kuhn remarks:

The theologian who articulates dogma or the philosopher who refines the Kantian imperatives contributes to progress, if only to that of the group that shares his premises. No creative school recognizes a category of work that is, on the one hand, a creative success, but is not, on the other, an addition to the collective achievement of the group. If we doubt, as many do, that nonscientific fields make progress, that cannot be because individual schools make none. Rather, it must be because there are always competing schools, each of which constantly questions the very foundations of the others. The man who argues that philosophy, for example, has made no progress emphasizes that there are still Aristotelians, not that Aristotelianism has failed to progress.

In this sense, if a particular school believes they possess the general truth about some matter (here theology or philosophy), they will quite naturally begin to discuss it in greater detail and in ways which are mainly intelligible to students of that school, just as happens in other technical fields. The field is only failing to progress in the sense that there are other large communities making contrasting claims, while we begin to use the term “science” and to speak of progress when one school completely dominates the field, and to a first approximation even people who know nothing about it assume that the particular school has things basically right.

What does this imply about progress in philosophy?

1. There is progress in the knowledge of topics that were once considered “philosophy,” but when we get to this point, we usually begin to use the name of a particular science, and with good reason, since technical specialization arises in the manner discussed above. Tyler Cowen discusses this sort of thing here.

2. Areas in which there doesn’t seem to be such progress, are probably most often areas where human knowledge remains at an early stage of development; it is precisely at such early stages that discussion does not have a technical character and when it can generally be understood by ordinary people without a specialized education. I pointed out that Aristotle was mistaken to assume that the sciences in general were fully developed. We would be equally mistaken to make such an assumption at the present times. As Kuhn notes, astronomy and mathematics achieved a “scientific” stage centuries before geology and biology did the same, and these long before economics and the like. The conclusion that one should draw is that metaphysics is hard, not that it is impossible or meaningless.

3. Even now, particular philosophical schools or individuals can make progress even without such consensus. This is evidently true if their overall position is correct or more correct than that of others, but it remains true even if their overall position is more wrong than that of other schools. Naturally, in the latter situation, they will not advance beyond the better position of other schools, but they will advance.

4. One who wishes to progress philosophically cannot avoid the tendency to technical specialization, even as an individual. This can be rather problematic for bloggers and people engaging in similar projects. John Nerst describes this problem:

The more I think about this issue the more unsolvable it seems to become. Loyal readers of a publication won’t be satisfied by having the same points reiterated again and again. News media get around this by focusing on, well, news. News are events, you can describe them and react to them for a while until they’re no longer news. Publications that aim to be more analytical and focus on discussing ideas, frameworks, slow processes and large-scale narratives instead of events have a more difficult task because their subject matter doesn’t change quickly enough for it to be possible to churn out new material every day without repeating yourself[2].

Unless you start building upwards. Instead of laying out stone after stone on the ground you put one on top of another, and then one on top of two others laying next to each other, and then one on top of all that, making a single three-level structure. In practice this means writing new material that builds on what came before, taking ideas further and further towards greater complexity, nuance and sophistication. This is what academia does when working correctly.

Mass media (including the more analytical outlets) do it very little and it’s obvious why: it’s too demanding[3]. If an article references six other things you need to have read to fully understand it you’re going to have a lot of difficulty attracting new readers.

Some of his conclusions:

I think that’s the real reason I don’t try to pitch more writing to various online publications. In my summary of 2018 I said it was because I thought my writing was to “too idiosyncratic, abstract and personal to fit in anywhere but my own blog”. Now I think the main reason is that I don’t so much want to take part in public debate or make myself a career. I want to explore ideas that lie at the edge of my own thinking. To do that I must assume that a reader knows broadly the same things I know and I’m just not that interested in writing about things where I can’t do that[9]. I want to follow my thoughts to for me new and unknown places — and import whatever packages I need to do it. This style isn’t compatible with the expectation that a piece will be able to stand on its own and deliver a single recognizable (and defensible) point[10].

The downside is of course obscurity. To achieve both relevance in the wider world and to build on other ideas enough to reach for the sky you need extraordinary success — so extraordinary that you’re essentially pulling the rest of the world along with you.

Obscurity is certainly one result. Another (relevant at least from the VP’s point of view) is disrespect. Scientists are generally respected despite the general incomprehensibility of their writing, on account of the absence of opposing schools. This lack leads people to assume that their arguments must be mostly right, even though they cannot understand them themselves. This can actually lead to an “Emperor has No Clothes” situation, where a scientist publishes something basically crazy, but others, even in his field, are reluctant to say so because they might appear to be the ones who are ignorant. As an example, consider Joy Christian’s “Disproof of Bell’s Theorem.” After reading this text, Scott Aaronson comments:

In response to my post criticizing his “disproof” of Bell’s Theorem, Joy Christian taunted me that “all I knew was words.”  By this, he meant that my criticisms were entirely based on circumstantial evidence, for example that (1) Joy clearly didn’t understand what the word “theorem” even meant, (2) every other sentence he uttered contained howling misconceptions, (3) his papers were written in an obscure, “crackpot” way, and (4) several people had written very clear papers pointing out mathematical errors in his work, to which Joy had responded only with bluster.  But I hadn’t actually studied Joy’s “work” at a technical level.  Well, yesterday I finally did, and I confess that I was astonished by what I found.  Before, I’d actually given Joy some tiny benefit of the doubt—possibly misled by the length and semi-respectful tone of the papers refuting his claims.  I had assumed that Joy’s errors, though ultimately trivial (how could they not be, when he’s claiming to contradict such a well-understood fact provable with a few lines of arithmetic?), would nevertheless be artfully concealed, and would require some expertise in geometric algebra to spot.  I’d also assumed that of course Joy would have some well-defined hidden-variable model that reproduced the quantum-mechanical predictions for the Bell/CHSH experiment (how could he not?), and that the “only” problem would be that, due to cleverly-hidden mistakes, his model would be subtly nonlocal.

What I actually found was a thousand times worse: closer to the stuff freshmen scrawl on an exam when they have no clue what they’re talking about but are hoping for a few pity points.  It’s so bad that I don’t understand how even Joy’s fellow crackpots haven’t laughed this off the stage.  Look, Joy has a hidden variable λ, which is either 1 or -1 uniformly at random.  He also has a measurement choice a of Alice, and a measurement choice b of Bob.  He then defines Alice and Bob’s measurement outcomes A and B via the following functions:

A(a,λ) = something complicated = (as Joy correctly observes) λ

B(b,λ) = something complicated = (as Joy correctly observes) -λ

I shit you not.  A(a,λ) = λ, and B(b,λ) = -λ.  Neither A nor B has any dependence on the choices of measurement a and b, and the complicated definitions that he gives for them turn out to be completely superfluous.  No matter what measurements are made, A and B are always perfectly anticorrelated with each other.

You might wonder: what could lead anyone—no matter how deluded—even to think such a thing could violate the Bell/CHSH inequalities?

“Give opposite answers in all cases” is in fact entirely irrelevant to Bell’s inequality. Thus the rest of Joy’s paper has no bearing whatsoever on the issue: it is essentially meaningless nonsense. Aaronson says he was possibly “misled by the length and semi-respectful tone of the papers refuting his claims.” But it is not difficult to see why people would be cautious in this way: the fear that they would turn out to be the ones missing something important.

The individual blogger in philosophy, however, is in a different position. If they wish to develop their thought it must become more technical, and there is no similar community backing that would cause others to assume that the writing basically makes sense. Thus, one’s writing is not only likely to become more and more obscure, but others will become more and more likely to assume that it is more or less meaningless word salad. This will happen even more to the degree that there is cultural opposition to one’s vocabulary, concepts, and topics.

45 thoughts on “Technical Discussion and Philosophical Progress

  1. You seem to have a philosophy background, and yet you do not seem to recognize that Aaronson’s argument you have quoted is a strawman argument. What he describes is not my model for the quantum correlations at all. In particular, my model for the singlet correlations does not “give opposite answers in all cases.” Any student of physics 101 would know that that would violate the conservation of spin angular momentum. Aaronson is either misrepresenting my model on purpose, or he is simply ignorant of basic physics because he is a computer scientist, not a physicist. For further details, see my responses to Gill et al. on pages 12 to 16 of this paper: . It is unwise to base one’s argument on factual errors.


    • Whether Aaronson is trustworthy isn’t relevant. The statement that the two measurements are opposite is taken directly from your paper. Your words, from the paper here ( You say that

      A(a, λ) = +1 if λ=+1, -1 if λ=-1
      B(b, λ) = -1 if λ=+1, +1 if λ=-1

      +1 and -1 are opposite answers. So if you are not giving opposite answers in all cases, these cannot be the results. In that case: what is the result of the experiment when A(a, λ) = +1, and what is the result when it is -1?


  2. Aaronson’s misrepresentation of my model is obviously relevant. I doubt that you have come up with it yourself. You are just parroting his strawman, and using your blog to advertise it further on the Internet.

    Within my quaternionic 3-sphere model the correct correlations between the results A(a, λ) = +1 or -1 and B(b, λ) = +1 or -1 for all cases (i.e., for all directions a and b) have been derived in the paper you have linked. The correct answer, E(a, b) = = -cos(a, b), which is necessitated by the conservation of the zero-spin angular momentum, is given in Eq. (12) of the paper. My derivation and my answer have been accepted by a respected physics journal: .

    But you are free of course to accept an online personal attack on me by Aaronson and ignore the verdict of the reviewers and editors of a respected physics journal in which Richard Feynman once published his paper.

    Your last question tells me that you do not know much physics. Your question is: “… what is the result of the experiment when A(a, λ) = +1, and what is the result when it is -1?” Is this how the experiments are done? Is this what is observed in the experiments? I hope you know that in the actual experiments all results are observed by *coincident counts* between the individual results A(a, λ) and B(b, λ). You are not permitted to demand anything from a local-realistic model that is not predicted by quantum mechanics and not observed in the experiments. Now think about your last question and you will realize that your demand is not justified.


    • Several minor points:

      1. This blog has very few readers, so you might want to consider whether this is the best way to spend your time. Personally, however, I have no objection to the discussion.

      2. You would be well advised to refrain from comments on personal abilities or who does or doesn’t deserve respect. I am not interested in discussing those matters rather than the topic of discussion here.

      On the issue under discussion, I am aware that we are trying to measure a correlation, which you call “coincident counts.” I have a discussion of this here ( ) where I explain the standard reasoning showing that the results cannot be explained locally.

      However, in order to measure a correlation, you need to first do *individual* experiments and then count the results. I am fairly sure that originally you meant A(a, λ) and B(b, λ) individual outcomes. Now you seem to be denying this, but for some reason you don’t seem to be stating even “yes they are” or “no they are not” clearly. You said — in your own words — that those two things, whatever they are, have opposite signs. So I have a few questions:

      1. If A(a, λ) and B(b, λ) are individual outcomes, how are they not opposite?
      2. If A(a, λ) and B(b, λ) are *not* individual outcomes, what are they instead?
      3. If A(a, λ) and B(b, λ) are *not* individual outcomes, what other way do you use to represent the individual outcomes?

      I will note that if you have no representation of individual outcomes, you cannot measure the correlation, since the correlation is the effect of counting particular cases, just as you would measure the correlation between two dice by counting the number of *individual* times when the throws matched.

      E(a, b) is *not* “the correct answer” here, because that is a correlation. I am asking you *not* about the correlation, but about the individual outcomes. If you have no representation of the individual outcomes, you have no way to count them, and thus no way to measure a correlation.

      For bonus points:

      4. Do you agree or disagree with the Church-Turing thesis, and why?


      • You are likely to get more readers by having this discussion. Quantum mechanics does not predict individual A and B outcomes. Joy’s model is not an experiment; he is not obligated to predict individual event by event outcomes any more than quantum mechanics does. However, his model is a valid local realistic explanation of why the quantum experiments get the particular correlations that they do.


        • “He is not obligated to predict individual event by event outcomes any more than quantum mechanics does.”

          Quantum mechanics does not propose a local realistic model, and that is *why* it does not predict individual outcomes. If Joy is proposing a local realistic model, he should have a model of the individual outcomes.


  3. Well, a personal attack on me is already involved in your quote from Aaronson. By quoting him you have already made a personal attack on me, and that’s why I am here in the first place. You can’t claim that you are just quoting someone else and that makes you innocent. In fact, you have drawn negative conclusions of your own from Aaronson’s quote. If I repeat a lie of someone else, then I am a liar. It is as simple as that.

    But while I am here, I am happy to answer your questions about my model. A(a, λ) = +/-1 and B(b, λ) = +/-1 are indeed individual outcomes in my model. I am not denying that at all. And for a = b, these individual outcomes are indeed perfectly anti-correlated, AB = -1, as they must be according to what is predicted by quantum mechanics and observed in the experiments. What I am denying, however, is that AB = -1 is implied for all a and b in my model, as claimed by Aaronson and others. In my model AB = -1 for all a and b (even for b =/= a) can hold if and only if the conservation of zero-spin angular momentum is violated.

    Now, it is indeed the case that in the actual experiments one first records individual results at the two stations, but not to calculate the correlation between A and B. The individual results are recorded to calculate the individual averages, = 0 and = 0. The correlation between A and B are then calculated by coincidence counts or simultaneous measurements of A and B, by recording only simultaneous clicks of the two detectors. If the measurements of A and B are not perfectly simultaneous, then we have a time-window loophole, which no one wants. So essentially what is observed is the product AB, which could be = +1 or -1.

    Thus, the question you have raised can be (and should be) stated as follows: It appears to some people that from my definitions of the measurement functions A and B their product AB is always equal to -1, but in the experiments one observes both +1 and -1 values for the product; how does that come about?

    Well, that comes about because of the Mobius-like twists in the spherical geometry of the 3-sphere. This geometry, S^3, is a spatial part of a spacetime solution of Einstein’s field equation of GR. And those twists are intimately connected to the conservation of zero-spin angular momentum. The non-trivial correlation -cos(a, b) is thus a direct result of the conservation of zero-spin angular momentum. I readily admit that this is not something obvious or easy to understand. But once one employs the correct mathematics of the quaternionic 3-sphere, it all works out beautifully, as I have repeatedly shown for the past eleven years.

    I am not falling for your bonus point. The Church-Turing thesis is irrelevant for the local-realism concerns of Einstein and Bell. Therefore it is not something that concerns me in this context. I am only interested in the physics of the EPR-Bohm type experiments.


    • So you have agreed that A(a, λ) and B(b, λ) are individual outcomes. You explicitly stated that they are equal to 1 and -1 or -1 and 1, depending on λ. Now you are saying that depending on a and b, in a particular case, they might not have opposite signs.

      So your original description was mistaken? Yes or no. Geometry, no matter how complicated, will not prevent 1 and -1 from being opposites.

      The Church-Turing thesis is relevant because if it is true, any geometry whatsoever can be modeled to any degree of precision desired by a computer program. You argue (mistakenly) that your geometrical model cannot be imitated by a program, and so you should be arguing that you have proven the Church-Turing thesis false. That, if anything, would be even more important than your supposed disproof of Bell’s Theorem.


      • I am not interested in the Church-Turing thesis. It is irrelevant for the question of local realism.

        A computer program is not physics. It is a toy that some people like to play with. Nevertheless, here is one of several computer programs that reproduce the strong correlations within my geometrical model:

        Any local-realistic model is only obliged to reproduce what is observed in the experiments. There are three different experiments involved in the Bell-test experiments. The first experiment only measures the A outcomes. These are predicted to be A = +/-1 in my model, as is quite clear from my equations (1). The second experiment only measures the B outcomes. These are predicted to be B = +/-1 in my model, as is clear from my equation (2). The third experiment measures A and B simultaneously — strictly simultaneously. In other words, the third experiment measures the product AB. In my model, the measurements of AB can give both +1 and -1 values when b =/= a. But when b = a, AB = -1.

        All these facts are quite clearly displayed in the plot of the computer program linked above.


        • You stated in an earlier paper that such a simulation is impossible. Apparently you changed your mind. That’s fine. Just as you also changed your mind about the relationship of A and B to a, b, and λ. It would be better, however, to explicitly acknowledge those changes, rather than pretend that nothing has changed.

          I will comment on your code at some later point, after careful reading. I will however admit that my initial guess is that your model is not local.


          • I am not a programmer. The analytical model is all I care about. During the first years of my work, some incompetent programmers declared (very vocally) that it was not possible to simulate my model. Eventually, however, some very competent programmers took up the challenge and produced several good programs.

            But I have never changed my mind about the relationship of A and B to a, b, and λ in my model. These relationships are not for me change. They are the immutable features of the local-reality of Nature.

            I can only laugh when you say that my model may not be local. It is your prejudice talking, which perhaps comes from your blind belief in Bell’s so-called “theorem.” I think before looking into my 3-sphere model it would be best if you first recognized that Bell’s “theorem” is a non-starter:


            • First, one way or another you admitted that A and B are not always opposite of one another. That is a change from what you said originally, period.

              There is nothing blind about it. If you read the link I sent you, you would see the reasoning that established the impossibility of a local model.


                • Your paper most certainly does not prove Bell wrong. It is widely admitted that if *there is no such thing* as what would have happened if the detector had been set at a different angle, Bell’s conclusion does not follow. It is also widely understood that this is not considered “realism” in these contexts.

                  In any case, in your model, there *is* such a thing as the measurement that would have been made, and if your program worked as intended (already pretty sure it doesn’t), it would be possible to change the angle by stepping in and modifying it during the run, and thereby calculate the measurement for more than setting.


        • What is the following code supposed to do specifically:

          v=I.aa ;
          q=v w;
          q=w v;

          s[angleIx]=s[angleIx]+q; //

          It sure looks like you are making the measurement *outcomes* depend on *both* measurement settings. If that is the case, obviously you do not have a local model.


                • Great. Now use your math to write a program that simulates an EPR experiment.

                  If you write a program that does that using one function that depends on the setting at A (and the original hidden variable) and another function that depends on the setting at B (and the original hidden variable), run it some large number of times, and then calculate correlations by counting the outcomes, and the correlations violate the Bell inequality, you will have proven your point.

                  Until then, you have proven nothing. Of course you can create code that *claims* the Bell inequality is violated. The same way you are claiming it verbally.

                  I won’t be spending more time on the code, given that, until you satisfy the above requirement of reproducing actual outcomes that have a statistical correlation.


                  • It is mathematically impossible to “violate” any of the Bell inequalities. QM never does it. No experiment has ever done it so why should Joy’s model have to do it?

                    The GAViewer computer simulation just validates (proves) that Joy’s analytical math is correct. Joy’s model is a local realistic explanation of quantum correlations.

                    Bell’s theory is pretty easy to mathematically debunk. It has nothing at all to do with quantum mechanics. For QM and the quantum experiments, the goal post is shifted to a different inequality other than Bell’s inequalities.


                    • Bell’s inequality (as he understood it) is a *bound* on classical correlations, and it is violated by quantum mechanical predictions.

                      My understanding is that you were claiming that Bell was wrong about it bounding classical correlations, and therefore the quantum correlations might simply be classical ones. Now you are claiming that the inequality is *never* violated, not even in quantum mechanics.

                      It is perfectly clear from this claim that you have literally no idea what you’re talking about. Go and fix that.


                    • Fred: “It is mathematically impossible to “violate” any of the Bell inequalities. QM never does it. No experiment has ever done it so why should Joy’s model have to do it?”

                      Absolutely. The simulation demanded by entirelyuseless is not how the actual experiments are done. What is demanded is not possible in any possible world, classical or quantum. See footnote 3 of my paper I linked above:

                      “The possible space-like separated events being averaged in (5) cannot possibly occur in any possible world, classical or quantum. To appreciate this elementary fact, consider the following homely analogy: Imagine a couple, say Jack and Jill, who decide to separate while in Kansas City, and travel to the West and East Coasts respectively. Jack decides to travel to Los Angeles, while Jill can’t make up her mind and might travel to either New York or Miami. So while Jack reaches Los Angeles, Jill might reach either New York or Miami. Thus there are two possible destinations for the couple. Either Jack reaches Los Angeles and Jill reaches New York, or Jack reaches Los Angeles and Jill reaches Miami. Now suppose that, upon reaching New York, Jill decides to buy either apple juice or orange juice. And likewise, upon reaching Miami, Jill decides to buy either apple juice or orange juice. Consequently, there are following four counterfactually possible events that can realistically occur, at least in our familiar world: (1) While Jack reaches Los Angeles and buys apple juice, Jill reaches New York and buys apple juice; Or, (2) while Jack reaches Los Angeles and buys apple juice, Jill reaches New York and buys orange juice; Or, (3) while Jack reaches Los Angeles and buys apple juice, Jill reaches Miami and buys apple juice; Or, (4) while Jack reaches Los Angeles and buys apple juice, Jill reaches Miami and buys orange juice. So far so good. But what is being averaged in (5) are impossible events of the following kind: (5) While Jack reaches Los Angeles and buys apple juice, Jill reaches New York and buys apple juice and Jill reaches Miami and buys orange juice at exactly the same time! Needless to say, no such events can possibly occur in any possible world, even counterfactually. In particular, Einstein’s conception of local realism by no means demands such absurd or impossible events in any possible world [6]. It is therefore not at all surprising why the unphysical bounds of ±2 on the CHSH sum of expectation values obtained by averaging over the absurd events like (7) are not respected in the actual experiments [5].”


                    • Next you and Joy speak privately, perhaps you should get your stories straight.

                      Fred: “It is mathematically impossible to “violate” any of the Bell inequalities. QM never does it. No experiment has ever done it so why should Joy’s model have to do it?”

                      Joy: “It is therefore not at all surprising why the unphysical bounds of ±2 on the CHSH sum of expectation values obtained by averaging over the absurd events like (7) are not respected in the actual experiments [5].”

                      In other words, Fred says its impossible; Joy says its not surprising that it is a fact.

                      Get your story straight. And there’s a sign here that Joy doesn’t know what he’s talking about either, since he responded “absolutely,” instead of correcting the mistake.


  4. entirelyuseless said, “Quantum mechanics predicts *probabilities* of individual outcomes as well as *probabilities* of individual outcomes given a certain outcome on the other side. That is not a local model because of the “given a certain outcome on the other side.” It’s perfectly fine if Joy can propose the probability of an individual outcome without the part about “given a certain outcome on the other side.” If so, his model will be a local realistic one. But in that case it very obviously will not violate the Bell inequality, and it will not match the actual quantum mechanical outcomes.”

    The QM prediction for individual event by event outcomes is 50-50 + or – 1. Joy’s model predicts the same exact thing as well as the other QM predictions. But QM DOES NOT use individual outcome counts for its calculation of the correlation. So why is it not possible for a local realistic model to calculate the correlation not using event by event outcomes? Guess what? It is possible! And Joy has done it.

    Now, the only time event by event outcomes are required for the correlation calculation is for an experiment.


  5. entirelyuseless said; “Bell’s inequality (as he understood it) is a *bound* on classical correlations, and it is violated by quantum mechanical predictions.
    My understanding is that you were claiming that Bell was wrong about it bounding classical correlations, and therefore the quantum correlations might simply be classical ones. Now you are claiming that the inequality is *never* violated, not even in quantum mechanics.
    It is perfectly clear from this claim that you have literally no idea what you’re talking about. Go and fix that.”

    Your understanding is wrong. I never claimed that at all. Now YOU are shifting some goalposts. But I will say it again; IT IS MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYTHING TO VIOLATE BELL’S INEQUALITY. Now if you can’t understand that simple mathematical fact, you need to fix something in your thinking.

    The BIG problem here is that no one wants to admit that they have be hoodwinked for the last 50+ years.

    Take a really good look at how the supposed “violation” is done by QM or the experiments. A different inequality is used with a higher bound. Very simple.


  6. Fred: “It is mathematically impossible to “violate” any of the Bell inequalities. QM never does it. No experiment has ever done it so why should Joy’s model have to do it?”

    Me: “It is therefore not at all surprising why the unphysical bounds of ±2 on the CHSH sum of expectation values obtained by averaging over the absurd events like (7) are not respected in the actual experiments [5].”

    Fred and I are saying the same thing. Nothing can violate the bounds of +/-2. Read the whole footnote I wrote, not something out of context. The point is that you are demanding something that is not how the experiments are done. Again, read my whole footnote. This is the second time you have put words in my mouth and out of context.


      • All the talk of computer simulations is red herring. That is not what Bell claimed in his so-called “theorem.”

        Bell claimed that no analytical functions such as those defined in equations (1) and (2) of my one-page paper, ,

        can reproduce the correlation E(a, b) = -cos(a, b) between them. Thus Bell’s is a strictly analytical claim. My local model in the paper above clearly demonstrates that it was Bell who was “talking nonsense.”

        But I should have known that anyone who cheerfully quotes from Aaronson’s blog is not worth engaging with.


        • If your math means anything at all, you can program a computer to simulate it. Maybe not you personally, but there are many mathematicians that know how to code. If you can explain your math to a mathematician, and your math is valid, it can be simulated on a computer.

          One final offer: if you can code or get someone to code a simulation proving Bell’s Theorem false with simulated outcomes, as explained here (, I will pay you $5,000.


          • That so-called challenge is a fictitious junk. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how the Bell-test experiments are actually done or how Nature truly operates. So you can keep your $5,000.

            As I noted, computer simulations are beside the point. Bell’s theorem IS false, as my analytical results prove:


            • Ah…, the RIGGED Quantum Randi Challenge. LOL! The only way it can be beat is by introducing non-locality. Anyone that believes that is totally deluding themselves. Again…, one needs only to carefully follow the math and logic to understand that IT IS MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO VIOLATE ANY BELL INEQUALITY. QM can’t do it and neither can any experiment.


              • Joy Christian Says:
                Comment #19 May 2nd, 2012 at 7:41 pm

                @Chris: Yes, there is an experimental test. It is a difficult, macroscopic experiment, but I have been told by David Wineland (yes, the famous David Wineland) that it is doable. You can find the experiment described here:
                Note that Bell and Scott predict that my proposed experiment will not violate the Bell-CHSH inequality. My model for the EPR experiment on the other hand predicts that it will violate the Bell-CHSH inequality, in a purely classical, macroscopic domain. In other words, if performed, my experiment could finally test the validity of Bell’s theorem experimentally. So far there has been absolutely no evidence for the validity of Bell’s theorem in a purely classical, macroscopic domain.


                • Ah, semantics! Joy means here by “violation” that his experiment would violate the inequalities in the same cheating way that the experiments and QM do. Joy now-a-days is more careful with his language.

                  Back to the QRC; in what conceivable physical world could the angles, a, b, and c for EPRB all happen at the same time? You can only have a and b or b and c or a and c at the same time. The QRC is unphysically rigged!


                  • Indeed. I use the word “exceed” now instead of “violate”, for *nothing* can violate a mathematical inequality.

                    What is exceeded in the experiments is the absolute bound of 2. But that is an unphysical bound, so no one should be surprised by that. Because the correct physical bound on | CHSH | is 4, not 2, as I have shown in this paper: .


                  • By the way: you don’t have to calculate the results for all the angles at once. You only have to have a local calculation that is *ready* to calculate an outcome regardless of the angle.

                    Nature does this, since it is possible to get an outcome however you set the angle, and in a local model, nature doesn’t know till it gets there what the angle is. If you say that nature isn’t ready to do this, you are either depending on superdeterminism or on the detection loophole. If those were the explanation for the EPR experiments (they aren’t), that would not mean Bell’s theorem was wrong. The theorem would still be right. But quantum mechanics would be an inaccurate description of the world.

                    I will not address, and will most likely delete, any response to this or any other attempt to continue this discussion.


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