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Hidden Variables and Common Sense
Once this point has been made here, I think this is worth a separate discussion:  The thesis that the development of modern physics has been anti-common-sense, and that this has a negative influence on society as a whole,  because it destroys the very ideal of the enlightenment as man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. He has, again, to believe claims which contradict common sense, once Scientists, some sort of High Priests of Holy Science, who have some Higher Understanding, tell us that Science has established this.

Instead, hidden variable theories are much more compatible with common sense, much less mystical. Would this be a valid argument in favor of hidden variable theories? Or would this simply an indication that those who propose hidden variable theories are simply too stupid to understand the Deep Truth of the Scientific Insights?

A first point is that there is no such danger for common sense. Nobody gives up his common sense because he does not understand, say, how an IPhone or a modern car works. Understanding the details how these things work can be, indeed, left to specialists. There is no reason to believe that understanding this would be impossible in principle or so without giving up common sense.

The next point is that there may be no choice. Ok, scientists are specialists. Their job is to find out the truth. This truth exists independent of their wishes and choices. If the truth is so that it contradicts common sense, what can one do? Nothing.

Moreover, there is the moral position that scientists should not even care about what happens to society if it learns the truth. They should care about the truth, and if they have found it, to tell it. If quantum theory contradicts common sense, such is life. Scientists are obliged to tell the truth, as far as they know it, and the arguments which make them believe that this is the truth. Roughly, the Galileo vs. the Catholic Church problem.

Fine, but what if it is not clear what is the truth? This is the case of hidden variable theories. We have the mainstream interpretations (spacetime, Copenhagen), and we have hidden variable interpretations (Lorentz ether, dBB). And there is no observational evidence which allows to distinguish them. We cannot be sure, at least yet, which interpretation is the true one. It seems, in this case one could make a case that it would be better if science would support those interpretations which are more compatible with common sense.

Unfortunately, this argument is weak too. The role of different interpretations is that they give different hints for theory development, different directions for future research. Which direction is the most hopeful one? This question is which has to guide a scientist who is searching the truth, and not what the public would prefer.

So, I think all what one can make out of this point is the following: As long as a viable common-sense-compatible interpretation exists, scientists should not claim that it is wrong, even if it is not the preferred one, and even if to present the universe as mystical as possible makes a pop-science article more interesting. And the point of freedom of science: As long as a viable common-sense-compatible interpretation exists, those scientists who favor this interpretation should not be disadvantaged.

Beyond this, common-sense-compatibility is not more than a nice side effect. Which is more a danger known as "wishful thinking" than a good argument for hidden variables.

Or one thinks about a different aspect: Are there some hidden reasons why scientists prefer interpretations which contradict common sense? But this would be a different question, for a separate thread.

Messages In This Thread
Hidden Variables and Common Sense - by Schmelzer - 05-07-2016, 10:33 AM
RE: Hidden Variables and Common Sense - by secur - 05-07-2016, 02:42 PM

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