On 4/2/2013 3:54 PM, John Mikes wrote:
Dear Stathis,
your lengthy reply to Craig is a bit longer than I can manage to reply in all facets so here is a condensed opinion:

Your position about the 'material' world (atoms, etc.) seems a bit mechanistic: like us, the (call it:) inanimates are also different no matter how identical we think they are in those lines we observe by our instruments and reductionist means. You ask about Na-ions: well, even atoms/ions are different to a wider scrutiny than enclosed in our physical sciences. Just think about the fission-sequence - unpredictable WHICH one will undergo it next. It maybe differential within the atomic nucleus, may be in the circumstances and their so far not established impact on the individual atoms (ions?) leading to a "next one".

That would imply a hidden variable in the atom which determined when it decayed. Local hidden variables have been ruled out by numerous experiments. Non-local hidden variables (as in Bohm's quantum mechanics) are not ruled out in non-relativistic experiments but it doesn't appear possible to extend them to quantum field theory in which the number of particles is not conserved.

We know only a portion of the totality and just think that everything has been 
I am not representing Craig, I make remarks upon your ideas of everything being predictably identical to its similars.

The (so far) "known facts" are neither: not 'known' and not 'facts'. Characteristics are restricted to yesterday's inventory and many potentials are not even dreamed of. We can manipulate a lot of circumstances, but be ready for others that may show up tomorrow - beyond our control.

I agree with Craig (in his response to this same long post):

"...Nothing is absolutely identical to anything else. Nothing is even identical to itself from moment to moment. Identical is a local approximation contingent upon the comprehensiveness of sense capacities. If your senses aren't very discerning, then lots of things seem identical...."

The Schrodinger equation only works if the interchange of two bosons makes no difference - so it is implicit in the success of quantum mechanics that they are identical. Similarly the solution changes sign if fermions are interchanged and that requires that the two fermions be identical. Otherwise bosons wouldn't obey bose-einstein statistics and fermions wouldn't obey fermi-dirac statistics, they would both obey Maxwell-Boltzman statistics - but experiment shows they don't.

I would add: no TWO events have identical circumstances to face,
even if you do no detect inividual differences in the observed data of participating entities, the influencing circumstances are different from instance to instance and call for changes in processes. Bio, or not.

But that becomes an all-purpose excuse for anything-goes. No generalization is possible, no pattern can be extrapolated. Yet the success of empiricism and science is evidence that there are regularities in nature and not every event is unique, replication is possible.


This is one little corner how agnosticism frees up my mind (beware: not 
John Mikes

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