Sabine Hossenfelder digs herself into a deeper hole

YouTubing physicist Sabine Hossenfelder has now replied to my criticism of her debate performance against me, published yesterday on this blog. Her reply can be found here. As you read it, try to keep in mind the context. Namely, in my criticism I focused on the following statement that Hossenfelder made during the debate: 

I argued that this was simply not true: in the papers she referred to as substantiation for her statement, hidden variables are not defined. This is important, for this false statement has set the ethos of the entire debate, and made me look like I was fatally uninformed about her output. I had just "looked at the wrong paper," poor silly me:

Never mind the fact that the very paper she is referring to in the clip above does not define tenable hidden variables; it's just a toy model, as discussed in my previous post.

Her reply now is, one would assume, meant to argue that her statement that she did define the hidden variables somewhere is, in fact, correct. Now go ahead and read her reply with this in mind, before I influence you with my commentary below.

Notice first that the first 14 paragraphs of her reply have absolutely nothing to do with the points in contention. They broaden the scope of the discussion not only beyond physics, but beyond anything of any technical relevance to the discussion. This is particularly peculiar since Hossenfelder had insisted, as a precondition for her participation in the debate, that the scope be limited to her superdeterministic views alone, and not encompass anything beyond, especially philosophy. I had to agree to that. But now she voluntarily broadens the scope way beyond my wildest dreams. One must wonder what motivated her to do so, instead of staying focused on the very specific issues in contention. Be that as it may, right now the roles seem to be inverted, for I am much more interested in staying very sharply focused on the issues in contention.

I leave it to you to interpret the 14 initial paragraphs of her reply and extract conclusions from them. I think what they reveal is clear enough (and interesting, too) to obviate further commentary from me.

Now, notice that in the rest of her reply, instead of trying to argue that, as per the video clip above, she did define the hidden variables, she tries instead to justify why she didn't. As such, her reply is a rather explicit admission that her categorical statement during the debate was indeed false: she did not specify the hidden variables in those earlier papers. I will quote the salient passages of her reply below just for an abundance of clarity; but basically the entire reply, after the weird initial paragraphs, is an admission. I use snapshots below to preclude any chance of misquoting her.

The above is pretty clear: she is justifying why she did not define the hidden variables; after all, it's a "waste of time" to do so and she is very busy. Be that as it may, this unambiguously confirms my criticism: Hossenfelder misrepresented her own work during the debate, in order to save face and try to make me look like someone fatally ignorant of her output. And as an aside, the reason why "there are too many ways [the hidden variables] could be [defined]" is that they are entirely arbitrary figments of the imagination, ungrounded in empirical observation, so anything goes.

Now a very strange passage:

Indeed she said that at a later passage of the debate, but that isn't the point. The point is that she is suggesting here that it was me who incorrectly said that she claimed to have defined the hidden variables; she has always maintained that she never did it! To this, I can only offer the following, once again:

I am not doing this just to gratuitously and repeatedly stick my finger in the wound; I'm not trying to do character assassination. But during the debate Hossenfelder attempted (and probably succeeded, in the eyes of many viewers) to make me look like an ignorant fool by flat-out misrepresenting her own output. I ought to defend myself against that overt suggestion, which I consider to have been rhetorical and dishonest, violating all basic debate ethics. Just consider the vibe in this segment again, and pretend that you don't know what you now know, having read my posts and, above all, her admission:

Now, if at this point you feel like ignoring this whole thing because it's becoming too personal and ugly, and not about content anymore, I urge you to stay the course, because it's integral to understanding what's going on in our culture. The problem is largely about trust and character. The accumulated human knowledge at our disposal today makes it impossible for any one person to know enough about everything of relevance without having to trust some authority figure. Therefore, we must trust someone, and choosing who to trust is critical.

What this ugly engagement shows is that it is entirely possible for someone who sincerely considers themselves honest to arbitrarily dismiss substantive points, deflect and mislead to a level that flirts with lying, just to save face and avoid being pinned down during a debate, thereby protecting their public image at the cost of someone else's. How many of Hossenfelder's YouTube subscribers have the knowledge of particle physics required to objectively and critically evaluate her countless bold claims? How many even want to do so, as opposed to taking her on her word, insofar as it confirms their own views and provides reassurance?

This is the cultural game today. If you want to really understand what's happening, an engagement like this one is quite revealing, even if ugly.

Now a slightly more technical point, for the sake of completeness, if you still have the energy to stay with me on this. The point of her reply where Hossenfelder suggests some possible definition of the hidden variables is this:

Of course, to just say that the hidden variables are "the degrees of freedom of the detector" is just a linguistic definition, and a very loose one at that, not a scientific one. For comparison, imagine a neuroscientist saying: "consciousness is the involuntary wiggling of the left big toe." This, too, is a linguistic definition, but not a scientific one. For scientific definitions entail characterizing the thing defined in a way that is explicit and coherent with the role the thing is supposed to play within a theory. In the case of consciousness, the neuroscientist would have to justify their definition by explicitly and coherently hypothesizing a link between left-big-toe-wiggling and the felt qualities of experience.

For instance, not that long ago the Higgs boson was just an imaginary theoretical entity: it had never been observed (well, actually it had been, but we didn't have enough statistics to claim a discovery). Nonetheless, imaginary as it was at the time, it was still scientifically defined: Peter Higgs had given us a fairly complete, explicit and coherent characterization of the Higgs boson, and its role within the standard model. We knew the energy ranges in which we expected to find it; we knew which particles it likely decayed into and why it did so; importantly, we also knew how it played its role within the standard model: namely, by accounting for inertia (i.e. making sense of why not everything is moving at the speed of light all the time) through its associated Higgs field. Now that was a scientific definition of an imaginary theoretical entity. Hossenfelder provides no such a thing; not even remotely (and no, her 'toy model' obviously doesn't count, because, as the first author of her own paper admits explicitly and as discussed in my previous post, that model is not applicable to... well, reality).

As a matter of fact, Hossenfelder seems to have acknowledged, during the tweet exchange between us upon the publication of her reply, that she adopts a merely linguistic understanding of what a 'definition' entails:

Of course, what Kermit the frog can do is an arbitrary, merely linguistic definition of the hidden variables, such as 'hidden variables are the blueness of the sky,' or something to that effect. But that is not what I could have possibly meant when I confronted her with her lack of theoretical definition; and Hossenfelder, of course, knows it. But just as she did in the debate, she is willing to use dismissiveness, deflection, dissimulated confusion and misleading statements, all for purely rhetorical purposes.

Anticipating a question that is probably coming, I will never say 'no' to a debate against a person whose positions I have taken the initiative to criticize harshly in public. So if Hossenfelder wants to debate again, I am game. That said, I don't think another debate would be any more productive than the first, or take this discussion any further; for I am now convinced, to my own satisfaction, that Hossenfelder does not engage according to what I consider to be the minimum level of intellectual honesty required to render the debate fruitful.


  1. she refers to you as being a "person named bernardo kastrup", I think if you have another debate she will call you a life-form, maybe an alleged life-form. best to stay away from it!

    1. :-))) Jerry Coyne once called me a 'flea.' This is a step up from that! ;-)

    2. bsolutely. they are driving your evolution. you should be glad.

  2. Not sure about her metaphysical assumptions but some of her music videos are quite fun;)

  3. She writes checks of condescension because her bank account is "actual physicist with the PhD." She leans heavily on this appeal to authority and on the aura of scientists as the new priesthood. It's effective to the casually interested, esp when the non-physicist is making a subtle point that takes energy to follow.

    "I don't know what that means" is anti-intellectual and dismissive. It says I can't be bothered with what these non-physicists are on about. I'm too busy doing science, the science that gave you computers and medical imaging and all the wonders you enjoy.

  4. What is the difference between the photographing the moon example (statistical independence), not changing the properties of the moon during the act of observation and "the physical properties of the basic building blocks of the material world—think of the mass, charge, spin, speed and direction of movement of elementary particles—do not exist prior to being measured"? I mean is bringing properties into existence through the act of observation not equal to changing them? A change from non-existence to existence? I suspect a subtle but important difference but cannot get it, still trying to wrap my head around statistical independence from first reading the Essentia article, because I think this is important. Thanks!

    1. Good question, which I answered here:
      The relevant passage is this:

      "Notice that, under analytic idealism, the moon we see is not the thing in itself, but a representation thereof on the dashboard we call perception. There is indeed something real out there, which itself cannot be magically changed by measurement or detector settings, but which, when measured, presents itself to us in the form of the appearance we call the moon. Under analytic idealism, measurement doesn’t change reality; it simply produces an appearance or representation thereof, which in turn is relative to the measurement context. The physical world is the representation produced by measurement, not the reality measured in the first place.

      But under Hossenfelder’s ‘hidden variables’ model, that great spheroid in the night sky, with a certain mass, speed and direction of movement, is the thing in itself, not a mere appearance or representation. In stating that camera settings—in the context of this metaphor—change the thing observed, she is attributing to these settings the magical power to change reality itself, not mere representations thereof."

    2. This seems a subtle point that I'm trying to get my head round too. Sabine seems to be saying there is no such thing as a 'thing in itself' as how we measure it changes the thing measured i.e it is contextual. Bernardo seems to be saying there is 'a thing in itself' but how it represents itself to us changes upon our particular measurement. Popularly idealism is regarded as the position that reality is contextual on the observer (the external world as separate from us is illusory) so it almost seems as if Sabine is being more of an idealist here and Bernardo an indirect realist (there is a real thing but we cannot know it is as it really is). A further clarification would help me here ...

    3. Surely her point is that while the moon cannot be changed by the particular equipment and other experimental variables, being a macroscopic object, quantum phenomena can be so modified. That is precisely what makes them quantum. I think she says as much at one point in the debate.

    4. No, the supposed lack of statistical independence is not what makes anything quantum; superposition states are. Statistical independence is Sabine's (and yours, apparently) fantasy about what should happen at a microscopic level; an entirely arbitrary fantasy that not only isn't backed by evidence, it isn't even scientifically defined. To state that we can abandon statistical independence simply because things are small is a peculiar form of arbitrary faith, not science. Moreover, what motivates Sabine to propose these loose and ill-defined fantasies is precisely that she wants to import an intuition from the macroscopic world (namely, physical causal closure) to the microscopic one. So the argument for the fantasy is even self-contradictory.

  5. Very solid! I forgot.... Idealism (no properties of the underlying reality are brought into existence and changed to even begin with), too brainwashed by all those years of believing that people actually know what they are so firmly preaching (materialism)

  6. One encounters this condescending intellectual attitude from 'Skeptics' whenever, for example, the subject of scientific research into Psi is broached. One is immediately dismissed as foolish and evidence is demanded despite the fact there is a enormous accumulation of evidence (10s of thousands of books and documented cases for example, at the IGPP institute in Germany alone, not to mention the British and American branches of the SPR).

    I often feel we are living in times similar to that of Galileo, but instead of the church persecuting and disowning anyone who dared too challenge their official doctrine - we now have a very controlled Academia (including Wikipedia) that punishes anyone who attempts to challenge the current authoritarian stranglehold on the current mediocre orthodoxy - which involves primarily (IMO) a near neurotic insistence on reductive materialism - at the exclusion of all other considerations and counter evidential material.

    This is also the case with the continuing insistence on the 'hidden variables' model - which has become as much of a religion to reductive materialists as was the fanatical religion of the priests Galileo faced during his time.

    1. Bravo, Dante! I wholeheartedly agree. The lamentable situation reminds me of my criticism of the fanatical narrow-mindedness of the late UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass. At that time (1988) I postulated Klass's "Four Rules of Inquiry" (which can be altered to apply to any adamantine disciple of the Church of Realism):

      1. Select for investigation only those cases for which a conventional explanation appears readily obtainable.

      2. Those cases which cannot be correlated with astronomical events should be attributed to atmospheric plasmas.

      3. When forced to consider other cases, impugn the ability of the witnesses to make valid observations.

      4. If a case remains unassailable, it is a hoax.

    2. Thanks Will. I find especially egregious and anti-intellectual the pervasive distortion and perversion of objectivity one can find on Wikipedia (on certain targeted subjects) - a platform that has been used to promote without shame, various creeds that primarily can be sourced from so-called militant Skeptics or Neoliberal political ideologues.

      For example, I was astonished to find this particular entry in Wikipedia on Fred Hoyle's famous 'Tornado in a Junkyard" quote:

      One can see immediately the NPOV lack of objectivity in this entry, and a characterization of Hoyle's quote being known as "Hoyle's Fallacy" - which outside of this particular ugly biased article - the nomenclature is attributed to Richard Dawkins, who hardly is a spokesman for all of Science.

      You will find in the comments section of this Wikipedia post, the obvious censorship and distortion of balance for the article itself - despite reasonable and rational objections.

      It is this type of this widely disseminated propaganda - via the popularity of Wikipedia itself, and its so-called objective open sourced editorial policies - which I and many others have found not to be the case, that leads one to feel that we are living in a time that harkens back to the church's repression during Galileo's time.

      One can find numerous articles on Wikipedia, especially anything related to what Skeptics will immediately label as Woo Woo: such as parapsychological research, or investigations into UAFs - are unbalanced and NPOV by Wikipedia's own standards. Even biographies are used as propaganda sources to smear certain targeted individuals, similar to the church ostracizing and labeling heretics anyone that did not adopt their orthodox doctrines.

    3. Superdeterminism is the last loophole on the shelf.

      "Did you do it? Did you adopt superdeterminism?"
      "What did it cost?"

      Truly, the "everything" is scientific enquiry, human meaning, etc...

    4. Superdeterminism seems a far more unbelievable hypothesis (at least to me) than the possibility consciousness may be a fundamental aspect of reality, and not just a product of it.

    5. (please pardon my late chip-in)

      if “superdeterminism” (reductive determinism) is an accurate description of reality — as SH asserts — then every action was determined at the instant the universe came to exist.

      under those conditions, there is no such thing as mentality, so no thoughts, beliefs, etc, and no such thing as the enduring self-awareness necessary for any of us to comprehend a syllogism (which we all do, often).

      AFAICT, nobody has yet been reckless enough to attempt to describe the initial situation which (acted upon by physical forces only) resulted in the flint, fungus, flounder, ferns, flamingos and Physicists we observe today, let alone including any variables (“hidden” or not) which may have contributed to that negative entropy.

      Dante, please continue your efforts to cause others to question the religion of biological evolution. :-)

  7. To provide a bit of context first: At time 4:34 in the original video, Hossenfelder says: "Superdeterminism isn't really a theory, it's a property of a class of theories...". And in the linked blog post "the variables in this yet-to-be-found underlying theory are only “hidden” in so far as that they don’t appear in quantum mechanics".

    One of the points that seems to have been misunderstood by Kastrup is that a particular hidden variables model/theory (i.e. a hypothesis about an extension of quantum mechanics) can in fact be arbitrary (but hopefully good educated guesses). It is just a particular guess with the property that there's more than what's given to us by quantum mechanics thus far. Showing the null hypothesis for a particular hidden variables model does not prevent someone else from trying to come up with a different model, but showing the alternative hypothesis for a particular hidden variables model will mean that current quantum mechanics is incomplete. As an analogy, you can think of the development of quantum mechanics, at the time, as a hidden variables model/theory that superseded Newtonian mechanics.

    As far as definitions go, we can "define" hidden variables models as going beyond the current formulation of quantum mechanics in some way. We can also define a particular hidden variables model that specifies in what way it goes beyond the current formulation (i.e. including things like additional particle properties, or the detector states).

    As a small note, I checked the referenced 2011 paper, and the hidden variables for the toy model were defined on page 3: "As hidden variables we use complex numbers that are uniformly distributed inside the complex unit circle..."

    1. That's very obviously not a definition of what the hidden variables are, it's just a loose boundary constraint on their _values_. As for the possibility of coming up with very different hidden variables models, that shows that such variables are arbitrary figments of the imagination, ungrounded on the empirical evidence that otherwise bounds real scientific theories.

    2. "As for the possibility of coming up with very different hidden variables models, that shows that such variables are arbitrary figments of the imagination"
      Yes, this is what has been said about them on multiple occasions now (reread the context in my original comment), to which you can't seem to accept to be the case for some reason (why?). The point is that we don't quite know what the hidden variables are yet, so of course the models that contain hidden variables may choose them to be arbitrary (well, it's hopefully less trial and error and more educated guesses).

      That said, we can postulate that there must be _something_ there because the math works out to be inconsistent otherwise (i.e. due to the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity). We consider the universe to work under consistent laws, and so the fact that our best explanations thus far leads to mathematical inconsistency is indicative that our explanations are still incomplete. And an extension of current theory (e.g. through models containing hidden variables) is a way of going about solving that dilemma.

      Now, I'm not saying that it is the only way, or that it will end up being the right way even, but before you can talk about why a particular hidden variables model can work or have experiments designed around it, you have to understand that it is actually a valid way. Without being able to propose new alternative hypotheses that postulates additional mechanisms, science could not progress.

      In closing, it seems that you may be fixated on a mental conceptualization of the term "hidden variables" that is biased by the unfortunately misleading nomenclature. Hidden variables are not necessarily additional physical properties that we haven't been able to measure yet, but it is rather just synonymous with "mathematical extensions to quantum mechanics". And superdeterminism is just a type of extension that favors local causality (at the expense of statistical independence) for the reason being that general relativity is a locally causal theory.

    3. There's no empirical reason for postulating that "there is something there;" none whatsoever. Regarding mathematics: it is a description of empirical reality, not a maker of reality. As for unification theories: that's a totally different subject; that's loop quantum gravity or some form of superstring theory. Hidden variables are figments of the imagination, motivated purely by a metaphysical commitment to physical realism. I guess made my point sufficiently clear. You don't need to agree.

    4. A agree that there is no empirical reason yet, but only to the extent that there haven't been any experiments performed yet that would corroborate hidden variables models. But I contend that there is still sufficient reason to design and attempt those experiments. Even though, as you say, mathematics are a way of describing reality, history has shown that our mathematical descriptions can be predictive for uncovering what parts of reality we may have not observed empirically yet (you give the example of the Higgs boson in your blog post above, so I believe you understand this point).

    5. "haven't been any experiments performed yet that would corroborate hidden variables"

      There have been a large number of scientific 'corroborated' experiments (and variations) confirming John Bell's 1964 paper (Inequality Test/Theorem) on Einstein's PDR. Scientific experiments that closed numerous so-called 'loopholes' - Garg/Mermin closed the Detection Loophole, Alain Aspect closed the Locality Loophole, etc. Kochen-Specker has also been experimentally proven in 1975, and by Penrose/Peres in 1991. Conway in 1995. Uijelen and Westerbaan in 2014.

      It is nonsense to claim physics experiments have not been devised to substantiate the claim of 'hidden variables' - in fact, one of most intensive scientific efforts over the last few decades have consisted in verifying and re-verifying the early findings of contextuality in quantum physics - and confirming John Bell's non-locality and Kochen Specker's contextuality.

    6. Yes, countless experiments have _refuted_ hidden variables, both local and global variables. No experiment has _corroborated_ hidden variables. Hossenfelder's way to get round this empirical certainty is to abandon statistical independence (one of Bell's assumptions), which is a rather hard and arbitrary pill to swallow, since basically the whole of science has shown that statistical independence holds in all known instances of measurement.

    7. Thank you for the clarification. What a strange argument by Hossenfelder. John Bell produced his theorem to prove hidden variables cannot exist. The statistical math, as you say, is there for anyone to follow and understand (and is not to complicated).

      Hossenfelder appears to argue that even though there is a mountain of evidence refuting ocean water is full of sugar (instead of salt), it really does have sugar but it just hasn't been corroborated yet with an adequately devised experiment.

    8. Sorry, replace 'Hossenfelder' with Delphi. Hossenfelder appears to be making a different argument than Delphi here. My mistake in reference.

    9. Edmundo and Kastrup, I believe the particular line of argument being made here about experiments ruling out hidden variables is incorrect. At the very least, there is a consistency in how this criticism is addressed by Hossenfelder: In the original video between Kastrup and Hossenfelder, around time 23:33 she states: "Of course, if no one makes the experiment to falsify, then we're not going to falsify it." And around time 59:02, she mentions: "trying to convince experimentalists to please stop doing always the same Bell type tests which will always give the same result, but we already know this," and to "please do some other experiment that could reveal some evidence for those hidden variables". Finally, in Hossenfelder's video on superdeterminism on her channel (titled: Does Superdeterminism save Quantum Mechanics? Or does it kill free will and destroy science?), around time 17:18, she states "You can't test superdeterminism by measuring violations of Bell's inequality, because it doesn't fulfill the assumptions of Bell's theorem, so it doesn't have to obey the inequality".

      Taking these statements into consideration, the conclusion I draw is simply what I wrote earlier: "there haven't been any experiments performed yet that would corroborate hidden variables models", but to this I would also add the clarification "there haven't been any experiments performed yet that would rule out hidden variables." Basically, the point here is that experiments confirming Bell's 1964 paper doesn't necessarily "prove hidden variables cannot exist", but that conclusion is only under the assumption that you have statistical independence to begin with. In fact, Kastrup response agrees with this notion: "Hossenfelder's way to get round this empirical certainty is to abandon statistical independence (one of Bell's assumptions)". But as a result, to say that Bell's type experiments rules out statistical independence is essentially circular reasoning (since it was an assumption to begin with).

      Rather, if you zoom out a bit, what you really get is that the violations of the derived inequalities from Bell's theorem results in potential solutions admitting to local causality or statistical independence (but not both). If I were to make an analogy here, it would be like having two potential words being valid solutions to a crossword puzzle, but you don't have enough other characters to figure out which one it is yet. Continuing to perform Bell's type experiments is analogous to confirming the characters that you already know, and you're no better off than when you started.

      Now, once you have agreed that this is the general setup of the problem, then it can actually be debated (and hopefully experimented) on even ground what it means to have a theory that maintains local causality or statistical independence (but not both). I think that just as strongly as Kastrup may have argued for statistical independence not being thrown out, he may be similarly persuaded (as I believe Hossenfelder has) by the history of scientific experiments that suggest that there aren't any "external forces" influencing outcomes in an experiment (i.e. that we can sufficiently isolate causal interactions to the experimental setup). That's what it means for local causality to be preserved, no "spooky action at a distance".

    10. @Delphi
      > The point is that we don't quite know what the hidden variables are yet, so of course the models that contain hidden variables may choose them to be arbitrary

      >That said, we can postulate that there must be _something_ there because the math works out to be inconsistent otherwise (i.e. due to the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity).

      In the spirit of Ontic Structural Realism, I would propose the following: what if hidden variables descend into an infinite regress. Or, to borrow the concept of material particles, what if material particles themselves are infinitely divisible. Not only would that render the final and definite answers on the nature of reality, or the fundamental layer of reality (if there is such thing, see Schaffer, NOUS 37:3 (2003) 498–517) eternally out of our reach, but it would also lead us to a logical question. Are there any material particles in the universe, or is it relations (turtles) all the way down?

    11. @Delphi
      >The point is that we don't quite know what the hidden variables are yet, so of course the models that contain hidden variables may choose them to be arbitrary

      >That said, we can postulate that there must be _something_ there because the math works out to be inconsistent otherwise (i.e. due to the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity).

      What if hidden variables, in the spirit of Ontic Structural Realism, descend into an infinite regress? Or, to borrow the concept of material particles, what if those material particles themselves are infinitely divisible (hence the infinite regress of hidden variables). Wouldn't that render the fundamental level, i.e. the layer of reality that would give us final answers in the physicalist quest for a theory of everything, forever out of reach?

      We can even ask if it makes sense to seek for a fundamental level (see Schaffer, NOUS 37:3 (2003) 498–517), or is it, in fact, relations (turtles) all the way down, thus reducing physicalism to a mere absurdity? If we gain access to the infinitely precise measurement device, and relata always turn out to be relational structures themselves, how would it impact the physicalist ontology?

    12. Javor, although I'm doubtful of the case of infinite regress (or at least hopeful that it isn't the case), I think the most pragmatic answer to your main question is simply that we'll cross that bridge when we get there. For the time being, because we _have_ identified a known inconsistency in our theories, it makes sense to at least seek one level deeper than we currently know.

      Regarding your comments on relational structures, you may find the Wolfram physics project interesting, where they explore what they call a "rulial space": the space defined by allowing all possible rules of a given class to be followed between states of a system.

    13. >>"Yes, countless experiments have _refuted_ hidden variables, both local and global variables. No experiment has _corroborated_ hidden variables. Hossenfelder's way to get round this empirical certainty is to abandon statistical independence (one of Bell's assumptions), which is a rather hard and arbitrary pill to swallow, since basically the whole of science has shown that statistical independence holds in all known instances of measurement."<<

      The point about empircism is that an assumption such as statistical independence is just as unempirical as a "hidden variable"....and if the complaint is that a hidden variable is "not cooberated" then one cannot special plead here. Countless experiments have not "refuted hidden variables" without accepting some OTHER unempirical assumption.

      Rightly, more of an agnostic position on hidden variables (local or non-local) is more reasonable.

  8. Hi Dr. Kastrup, I love your work. Would you like to chat with Dr. Michael Huemer? Dr. Huemer has written books in favor of ethical vegetarianism (animal welfare) and some works in political philosophy. Dr. Huemer is ready to chat with you. He is a substance dualist, I think. It would be wonderful seeing two of my favorite philosophers chat with each other.

  9. Hi Dr. Kastrup, I love your work. Would you like to chat with Dr. Michael Huemer. Dr. Huemer has written books in favor of ethical vegetarianism(animal welfare) and some works on political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at University of Colorado Boulder. He is ready to chat with you. It would be wonderful to see two of my favorite philosophers talk to each other. I think the talk would be about Idealism, veganism (animal welfare) and substance dualism.

  10. Bernardo at this point you could write a book on the consistency of the patterns of mental gymnastics displayed by (I don't know what else to call them) the priests of Scientism. The thing that seems to tie them together is that don't seem to be able to see the difference between linguistic coherence and rational or argument coherence. Largely I think this is because they don't seem to able to consistently separate their philosophizing from their scientific thinking. Hence the denial of interest in philosophy, while blatantly doing bad philosophy! The boundary between the abstract/interpretive and the empirical/experienced/data is not acknowledged and as a result continually falls victim to the rationalizing needs of the ego. We all do this until we are trained out of it; and unfortunately to many people like Hossenfelder think invoking the totemic power of Science or The Enlightenment or their own training, experience and mathematical abilities, automatically shields them from even being capable of irrationality.

    Consider that the following may well not be the case. Its probably less about conscious calculation than a kind of ego driven naivete or simple defensiveness. God knows the kind of shit she has had to put up with in an academic career dominated by tactless, head butting hyper competitive men.

    "Hossenfelder, of course, knows it. But just as she did in the debate, she is willing to use dismissiveness, deflection, dissimulated confusion and misleading statements, all for purely rhetorical purposes."

    So though as a big fan of hers I was disappointed, and will now be more skeptical of her videos, my guess is this exchange has increased her self-awareness at least a tiny bit and hopefully opened a few more doors in her head.


    1. Bernardo is spot on . She never ever defined what hidden variable but most of her argument depended on it .

    2. "my guess is this exchange has increased her self-awareness at least a tiny bit and hopefully opened a few more doors in her head."


  11. '... As a small note, I checked the referenced 2011 paper, and the hidden variables for the toy model were defined on page 3: "As hidden variables we use complex numbers that are uniformly distributed inside the complex unit circle..." ...'

    '... That's very obviously not a definition of what the hidden variables are, it's just a loose boundary constraint on their _values_ ... '

    Ok. That's an assertive critic ... but 'idealistically', we can discern that that 'loose boundary constraint on their value ...' could be one of the 'simple' and/or 'agnostic' theoretical setups for giving an open but compactified potential domain to the 'upper layer measurable values' without falling in plus 4 dimensional superhuman sensory existence topologies ...

    The snake eats its tail, Sabine's must to appeal to an elegant and 'beautiful' assumption to hold her materialistic beliefs ... but We enjoy the uglinnes to appeal to simplicity, agnostic, elegant and/or beauty within any sort of Fundamental Axiom for holding a theoretical Framework ... Her task on stopping the investment on the Large LHC was/is/will be something invaluable for All The Europeans ... specially, with Vladimir playing the game as he want it to be played ...

  12. Hello Bernardo, I love your work. I was wondering if you would every write a whole book explicitly discussing Free Will? I would love to read a book by you talking about Free Will.

  13. It is a terrible tragedy to be 'convinced' of ones own views. Bernardo, Sabine is a clear example of someone so neck deep in conflating abstraction with empirical observation (judging by her linguistic presentation -syntactically coherent, semantically meaningless- and appeal to authority) that she can not even begin to self-reflect on her own axioms she takes so thoroughly for granted. And why would she? The ivory tower of academia is as self-affirming and comfortable as any Dictator's throne. And not just any faculty. The high order of venerable Physics which is mightiest on the throne. Coupled by the fact of 'sunken cost' of her life's work, why would her persona give up her only meaning making model?

    Which makes me wonder, how can any individual like this, whose 'ego' is so 'crystalized' be able step outside their own world-view? Would even a heavy shot of Psychedelics have any effect? Years of Meditation? How can a genuine sentiment of sincerity and intellectual fluidity be generated from within such a static whirlpool?

  14. FWIW, John Horgan today over at Scientific American just backed you up, BK:

  15. I agree with the overall sentiment of Hogan's article. It reminds me of Alfred Korzybski's structural differential and of how confusing different levels of description of reality leads to nonsense.

  16. Hi Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, I just discovered you and your pages and I appreciate all of the high level scholarship on your Philosophy of Mind research! I was curious to know if you thought that a teleological argument for God based on biomimetic neuroinformatics, synthetic epistemology/telemetry, & deep learning is valid for both neuroscience & philosophy of mind?

  17. one thing I always find amusing about devout Physicalists is that none of them (literally zero, in my experience) are willing to follow their own dotted lines down the rabbit hole.

    if reductive determinism is an accurate description of reality, at least two insurmountable obstacles remain.

    number one: the situation as we observe it now is the result of a daisy chain of physical-only forces acting upon an initial situation. please describe the initial situation which has accidentally led to the formation of fermions, flint, fungi, fennel, the Fire-Tailed Gudgeon, and Physicists?

    number two: please describe how that initial situation itself came to exist.

    short-cuts such as (an unexplained, pre-existing) quantum vacuum are not relevant, and “from absolutely nothing” is literally impossible, as there would be no components to work with, and no intent to change the situation, so it would endure indefinitely — self-evidently, it does not.

    magick such as an undetectable multiverse does not even address one root cause of the incoherence of the physicalist position: there is no plausible description within it for the spontaneous origin of even one universe, let alone a limitless number of disconnected universes.

    ergo, it is necessary that an uncaused cause has always existed.

    this — for a devout physicalist — is of course both heresy and blasphemy. yet no credible attempt has been made to devise a cause/effect dotted line which leads to the situation we now observe. of course, a causeless/effect dotted line would also be heresy for them, as a cause requires a causative agent.

  18. It's interesting that those who complain about people being convinced of their own views (e.g. see Arya above: "It is a terrible tragedy to be 'convinced' of ones own views) do not look into a mirror and/or do not apply this comment to those people whose beliefs/claims they accept as "true" and are not, (apparently) convinced of their own views. Sad to be stuck in such a vicious circle.