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Another Analogy

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Posted by Harvey on May 7, 2002 15:03:27 UTC


My question was what is wrong with the assumption that symmetries are in fact responsible for Dick's results and not any fancy work on his part. I saw analogies in your response, but what I didn't see was a response on how symmetries cannot create the type of physics that Dick's paper produces.

Here, since we are using analogies, let me give one (a long one if you don't mind). Let's say that two inventors invented a game similar to Life but it is called Phys. In Phys all the rules can be shown to result in relatively simple symmetry and symmetry breaking principles. Of course, to keep the game simple the inventors only show you the end rules of the game so that we don't have to be bothered by all the details as to how they came up with the rules. However, when they filed the patent they did so on the method of how they obtained the end rules. They didn't file a patent on the end rules.

By and by, everyone enjoyed Phys. It makes millions for the inventers of the game. Then, unbeknownst to the inventors, a guy named Dr.D comes along and invents a game using simple rules that at first look very different than the symmetry methods used by the inventors, yet it looks just like Phys.

Of course, the inventors take Dr.D to court because he has infringed on their patents to the game of Phys. They go to court and the inventors lay out their case, they show the judge that the end rules of the game are the same and that in fact it is basically the same game (with the exception that Dr.D's game is only a shell of Phys).

Dr.D's case is that the manner in which they came to the rules is different, therefore Dr.D states that the patent on Phys is not valid. He shows the patent application and that Phys is based on symmetry principles whereas his game is based on an elaborate contrived scheme. Dr.D even tells the judge that when he invented his game, he had already read the patent of Phys, and knew that he could create Phys as long as he used a different method to derive the rules of the game (Dr.D might be smart, but he is also opportunistic in his desire to market a competitive game to Phys).

The judge reads the patent more carefully and realizes that Dr.D is correct. He tells the inventors of Phys that unless they can show that Dr.D used the same method to derive the rules of Phys, then he is sorry, but Dr.D has a right to sell his game using the same end rules of Phys. In other words, Dr.D gets to enjoy all the profits that would result in selling a game very similar to Phys (but presumably at a cheaper price).

The inventors are stunned. They don't know what to do. They never imagined that they should have patented the end rules of Phys instead of only the method by which they used to obtain the end rules. They ask for a recess so that they can study Dr.D's method.

Court comes back to session. The judge asks the inventors if they have a reply. They say "we have, your Honor". And, they proceed to show the judge that Dr.D is using symmetry methods and they argue that this is why Dr.D obtains the rules of Phys. They say that all the other stuff in Dr.D's method is pure fluff, and that the judge should rule in their behalf since the symmetry principles are there. The smoking gun is giving smoke signals. They rest their case saying that Dr.D has surely violated the patents of Phys since he has used their methods.

Dr.D, of course, not wanting to lose the case admits that he did use symmetry principles (which are core to the methods used by the inventors), but surely they cannot say that all of his other fancy stuff is all based on symmetry principles. He argues that there is no clear indication that this is the case. Dr.D rests his case saying that the inventors have not shown that the symmetry method is the cause for his reaching the end rules of Phys. Therefore, he should be allowed to market his game (which is incidentally called, Model of Reality).

The judge, being very fair, asks Dr.D if he could construct the end rules of Phys without using symmetry principles. Dr.D looks the judge right in the eye "no, I can't your Honor, but you have no idea what I am doing here. You don't understand the math. You are an idiot".

The judge seeing that Dr.D is obviously not able to construct his game without violating the patent of Phys, decides the case in favor of the plaintiff. Dr.D loses because of the court's decision that he violated the patent of method on how Phys was constructed. He could not show that he could do without symmetries, therefore he is guilty.

So, Paul, do you think the judge was fair?

Warm regards, Harv

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