Space is dead: A challenge to the standard model of quantum mechanics

Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.

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  • Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
  • In nature, properties of Particle B may depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
  • In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.
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Principles of the Open Future

Lee Smolin: As long as people of faith respect the facts and the deductions of science we should be respectful of their faith and their search for a faith.

When public evidence and rational deduction is sufficient to answer a question we must all be swayed by that rationale and must be swayed by the answer.  When public evidence is not sufficient to answer a question, we must promote and encourage the widest range of disagreement and competition among people with different views.  I think those principles underlie healthy democratic societies as well as science.  

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Math is Not a Mirror of Nature

Lee Smolin: I used to think that my job as a physicist was this kind of mystical transcendent undertaking to transcend the daily reality and experience of the world and discover this timeless representation of the world where the truth really was.

math is a tool.  There are different parts of mathematics that are useful as tools.  Mathematical deduction is outside of time.  If you deduce a prediction mathematically what you’re doing is representing a set of causal processes and causal relations carried out in time with a set of logical implications which are timeless.  But that’s fine to do if you understand what you’re doing. 

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Lee Smolin: Can Physics Save Economics?

It was actually "physics envy" that got us in trouble in the first place. 

When the theoretical physicist Lee Smolin was asked to join a research group to work on economics his first response was "I don't know anything about economics." That's okay, said Mike Brown, the former CFO of Microsoft, "because nobody does and the whole system is about to collapse." 

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