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Adam Israel
09-25-2007, 12:16 AM
Parallel universes really do exist (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=paUniverse_sun14_parallel_universes&show_article=1&cat=0), according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists.

Source article is at New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/channel/fundamentals/mg19526223.700-parallel-universes-make-quantum-sense.html), if you have a subscription.

RumpleTumbler
09-25-2007, 12:18 AM
I'm hope I'm getting laid in a parallel universe cause I sure as hell ain't in this one.

totidem_verbis
09-25-2007, 07:18 AM
I was just discussing this with a co-worker earlier today. Synchronicity?


According to quantum mechanics (http://get.lingospot.com/f?url=http%3A//search.breitbart.com/q%3Fs%3D%22quantum+mechanics%22%26sid%3Dbreitbart. com&eid=csl&tid=6fabf9bb5&site=breitbart.com), nothing at the subatomic scale can really be said to exist until it is observed. Until then, particles occupy nebulous "superposition" states, in which they can have simultaneous "up" and "down" spins, or appear to be in different places at the same time.

Observation appears to "nail down" a particular state of reality, in the same way as a spinning coin can only be said to be in a "heads" or "tails" state once it is caught.

If the universes are created at the moment a decision is made, how do you know you're you and which universe you occupy? Am I me or version 1456000033322 of me? LOL

Ziljon
09-25-2007, 07:22 AM
I like the concept of something having to be "observed" before it can be said to exist.

Gives what we do here a bit more meaning; observing life and all.

ChunkyC
09-26-2007, 03:35 AM
I ain't never gonna say "stop looking at me" again.

Rolling Thunder
09-26-2007, 03:44 AM
There has been some speculation in quantum mechanics that the 'big bang' was caused by two parallel dimensions colliding with each other. PBS had a great series 'The Elegant Universe' where much of this was discussed.

Another idea put forth was that living mass, such as us, exists on this parallel universe and when we 'die' the energy passes to another, recreated as a different form of life. Great series. If you haven't seen it, keep an eye open.

ETA: Nerd link - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/

III
09-26-2007, 04:10 AM
I loved that 2 part Nova special on String Theory - The Theory of Everything. If they can make ME understand string theory, they're doing something right!

rugcat
09-26-2007, 04:44 AM
There has been some speculation in quantum mechanics that the 'big bang' was caused by two parallel dimensions colliding with each other. PBS had a great series 'The Elegant Universe' where much of this was discussed.I read the book, by Brian Greene, which went into string theory in much more depth. So much so that I was out of mine (depth, that is) despite being relatively scientifically literate.

It did provide me with the illusion that I understood it, however. Until I attempted to explain it to someone else.

Rolling Thunder
09-26-2007, 04:49 AM
I haven't read the book, just watched the NOVA series. I doubt I'd grasp the concepts by reading them. Not enough blinky lights and stuff to mesmerize me.

Higgins
09-26-2007, 04:53 AM
I read the book, by Brian Greene, which went into string theory in much more depth. So much so that I was out of mine (depth, that is) despite being relatively scientifically literate.

It did provide me with the illusion that I understood it, however. Until I attempted to explain it to someone else.


Skip the "observed" thing...it is absolutely the most misleading explanation ever made. Observed just means "interacted"...and the proof is simply that an infinite regression is created (every observation must also be observed etc) unless you just mean interacted.

BUT the other universe thing has some merit in 'brane theory or so I'm told.

eg:

http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/hep-th/0103239

small axe
10-11-2007, 02:40 AM
Skip the "observed" thing...it is absolutely the most misleading explanation ever made. Observed just means "interacted"...and the proof is simply that an infinite regression is created (every observation must also be observed etc) unless you just mean interacted.

Could you explain that, please?

What about it is 'misleading' ?

And what about it demands 'an infinite regression' ?

One person 'observes' or 'measures' the particle's position or speed, right? The information enters into human consciousness, it is quantified, that's all 'observed' means (or not? Again, please explain)

Where does 'infnite regression' occur? One human awareness is what it takes?

Melisande
10-11-2007, 03:05 AM
I seem to remember reading a book (or was it a short story?) about this guy who entered a parallell universe, and then had some severe trouble finding the one he originated from.

I'm not sure that I believe in it, but the thought is kind of appealing..., i.e. it is rather comforting to think that all the embarassing mistakes I've done in this universe, might not have happened in another. Then again, what a drag it must be for my parallell me, to realize that, in some other universe, there must be a parallell her out there who actually was stupid enough to make all those mistakes....

The very thought makes my head swim. :eek:

JimmyB27
10-16-2007, 12:04 PM
Could you explain that, please?

What about it is 'misleading' ?

And what about it demands 'an infinite regression' ?

One person 'observes' or 'measures' the particle's position or speed, right? The information enters into human consciousness, it is quantified, that's all 'observed' means (or not? Again, please explain)

Where does 'infnite regression' occur? One human awareness is what it takes?
I think he means that in order for the observer to exist, it must also be observed. Then that observer must be observed. Then that observer must be observed. Then that....and so on.

ETA - The observed thing is daft anyway - it would mean that nothing could have existed before we came along to observe it. So where did we come from?

small axe
10-16-2007, 04:35 PM
I think he means that in order for the observer to exist, it must also be observed. Then that observer must be observed. Then that observer must be observed. Then that....and so on.

The observer is observed -- by itself. The suggestion is that existence (other than mere potential) arises from a foundation of Awareness -- 'cogito ergo sum' --

So it seems that what we are NOT discussing is the sort of "the world is supported by an elephant, which is standing upon a turtle, which is standing upon a yak. But what is the yak standing upon? Oh, the yak is standing on a lizard, which is standing on a penquin ... etc" infinite regression.

Awareness doesn't 'regress' infinitely; Awareness arises as the fundamental ground-source of Being (or so the idea suggests).

So, perhaps he could explain what he meant, hisself?



ETA - The observed thing is daft anyway - it would mean that nothing could have existed before we came along to observe it. So where did we come from?


Well, it isn't 'daft' in that it does work within its own model (the same must be said of Physics): We don't 'come' from anywhere, Awareness simply is aware.

"So where did we come from?" is indeed a valid question -- but the answer is an issue of THE BIG BANG. Is that 'daft' too?

Then all Existence must be 'daft' ... and even then there is one thing NOT daft. The AWARENESS that things are daft is not a daft observation, it is a fundamental truth.

*************************

I'd also still like to understand his comment about things being 'misleading' ...

Misleading IN WHAT WAY?

That's a sincere question!

badducky
10-16-2007, 06:34 PM
Where's Al Gore when you need him to make a power point presentation?

JimmyB27
10-16-2007, 08:09 PM
The observer is observed -- by itself. The suggestion is that existence (other than mere potential) arises from a foundation of Awareness -- 'cogito ergo sum' --

So it seems that what we are NOT discussing is the sort of "the world is supported by an elephant, which is standing upon a turtle, which is standing upon a yak. But what is the yak standing upon? Oh, the yak is standing on a lizard, which is standing on a penquin ... etc" infinite regression.

Awareness doesn't 'regress' infinitely; Awareness arises as the fundamental ground-source of Being (or so the idea suggests).

So, perhaps he could explain what he meant, hisself?



Well, it isn't 'daft' in that it does work within its own model (the same must be said of Physics): We don't 'come' from anywhere, Awareness simply is aware.

"So where did we come from?" is indeed a valid question -- but the answer is an issue of THE BIG BANG. Is that 'daft' too?

Then all Existence must be 'daft' ... and even then there is one thing NOT daft. The AWARENESS that things are daft is not a daft observation, it is a fundamental truth.

*************************

I'd also still like to understand his comment about things being 'misleading' ...

Misleading IN WHAT WAY?

That's a sincere question!
Your turn to explain. That just made my head hurt.

oscuridad
10-18-2007, 12:46 AM
this all brings us to the spectacular solipsism that the Universe exiss so that we can observe it...

String Theory is pretty much debunked now, I believe, althogh in anothre Universe I could be wrong( would that be right, quick someone come and observe my indecision so that its probability wave from collapses into a yes or no state, or I collapse into something else..)

small axe
10-20-2007, 08:51 AM
Your turn to explain. That just made my head hurt.

'Explain' what?

My 'turn' nothing; I asked Sokal a question:



Quote:
Skip the "observed" thing...it is absolutely the most misleading explanation ever made. Observed just means "interacted"...and the proof is simply that an infinite regression is created (every observation must also be observed etc) unless you just mean interacted.
Could you explain that, please?

What about it is 'misleading' ?

And what about it demands 'an infinite regression' ?

One person 'observes' or 'measures' the particle's position or speed, right? The information enters into human consciousness, it is quantified, that's all 'observed' means (or not? Again, please explain)

Where does 'infnite regression' occur? One human awareness is what it takes?

Does a question require explanation?

Pat~
10-20-2007, 09:01 AM
Maybe more like a translation. ;)

oscuridad
10-21-2007, 12:10 AM
if my ignorance serves me correctly this whole 'observation' thing got out of hand from the original point, which was that to observe a particle you have to hit it with a photon - now in that interaction something will change - either the particle's speed or position, for example. Therefore, by the nature of the means of observation (hitting the particle with a photon) you can know its position (verified by the collision) but not its speed (changed by the collision). That is what is meant, I believe.

Infinite regression again buys into the Solipsism and is a red herring.

veinglory
10-21-2007, 12:18 AM
Indeed, I think this conflatres a mathematical 'proof' from an it-must-be-true 'proof'. The two are only the same for people who accept all of the starting assumptions of the former.

Pthom
10-23-2007, 10:00 PM
Miles, this is the Science Fact subforum. As such, we try to deal here with, ah, the facts of science and technology. Although your question may have merit for discussion, this isn't the place for it. “What if” questions belong in the main Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum.

Thanks.

Higgins
10-23-2007, 10:17 PM
Could you explain that, please?

What about it is 'misleading' ?

And what about it demands 'an infinite regression' ?

One person 'observes' or 'measures' the particle's position or speed, right? The information enters into human consciousness, it is quantified, that's all 'observed' means (or not? Again, please explain)

Where does 'infnite regression' occur? One human awareness is what it takes?

What is misleading is that "the observation" consists of an immense number of quantum events none of which have anything at all to do with the interaction. The observation is just shorthand for "thing A and thing B have an interaction", which means quite a lot about the states of A and B, but nothing at all about anything else. The interaction can be described in artificial isolation in quantum mechanics...but the event as an event can only be explained within field theory...so the "observation" (which made a nice shorthand at one time in QM and was useful for specifying what aspects of a quantum object can be isolated...before the term was systematically misunderstood) is fantastically misleading in terms of what a observation is in everyday terms and fantastically misleading in terms of the field theoretic explanation of QM interactions, which, by the way are never called observations. It's just the usual urban legend level of bad luck that the word "observation" ever got stuck in the QM world. If you use the term "interaction" you will be fine.

joetrain
10-24-2007, 08:56 AM
The observer is observed -- by itself. The suggestion is that existence (other than mere potential) arises from a foundation of Awareness

i think sokal's correct here on the technical definition of "observation" dealing with physical interactions. i don't think mathematicians and physicists recognize human awareness as the initiator of existence.



Awareness doesn't 'regress' infinitely; Awareness arises as the fundamental ground-source of Being (or so the idea suggests).






Infinite regression again buys into the Solipsism and is a red herring.

a fella named hofstadter wrote an incredible book called godel, esther, bach proposing the theory that consciousness is an infinite regression of awareness. it is what makes human cognition significant: that the human can observe herself observing herself observing herself.... he advanced his theory by combining music and art theory with godel's incompleteness theorem. (and, as i understand it, godel's theorem, possibly the greatest modern advancement in pure mathematics, even pointed to infinite regressions in logic as proof of pervasive mathematical uncertainty.) but it doesn't seem that such "interior" regressions apply appropriately to the infinite universes theory.

Melisande
10-24-2007, 10:41 AM
a fella named hofstadter wrote an incredible book called godel, esther, bach proposing the theory that consciousness is an infinite regression of awareness.

I remember that book! Wow. Guess it's time to go to the bookstore... Thank you so much for the flashback!

oscuridad
10-25-2007, 12:21 AM
a fella named hofstadter wrote an incredible book called godel, esther, bach proposing the theory that consciousness is an infinite regression of awareness. it is what makes human cognition significant: that the human can observe herself observing herself observing herself.... he advanced his theory by combining music and art theory with godel's incompleteness theorem. (and, as i understand it, godel's theorem, possibly the greatest modern advancement in pure mathematics, even pointed to infinite regressions in logic as proof of pervasive mathematical uncertainty.) but it doesn't seem that such "interior" regressions apply appropriately to the infinite universes theory.

I was refering to the idea that observation collapsed probability states and whether that creates parallel universes - my statements refer to the fact that it is not the act of observation that creates the uncertainties in Quantum Mechanics, but the physical interventions that occur to make them.

Mac H.
10-25-2007, 08:12 AM
Quote:
Skip the "observed" thing...it is absolutely the most misleading explanation ever made.

Could you explain that, please?

What about it is 'misleading' ?

...
One person 'observes' or 'measures' the particle's position or speed, right? The information enters into human consciousness, it is quantified, that's all 'observed' means (or not? Again, please explain)
The explanation of 'observed' is misleading, because quantum physics uses the word 'observed' to mean something quite different .. perhaps 'interacts' would be a better phrase.

For example, when you say 'observed' , you mean 'the information enters into human consciousness'. Clearly, that is irrelevant for quantum physics - there is nothing in the formulas about conciousness - human or otherwise.

If you want to understand Quantum Physics - start with the really simple Quantum 101 stuff, such as solving Schrodinger's equation in a one-dimensional box. When you've done that, you can start to see how non-intuitive things like 'quantum tunneling' work.

Mac

Higgins
10-25-2007, 05:26 PM
i think sokal's correct here on the technical definition of "observation" dealing with physical interactions. i don't think mathematicians and physicists recognize human awareness as the initiator of existence.







a fella named hofstadter wrote an incredible book called godel, esther, bach proposing the theory that consciousness is an infinite regression of awareness. it is what makes human cognition significant: that the human can observe herself observing herself observing herself.... he advanced his theory by combining music and art theory with godel's incompleteness theorem. (and, as i understand it, godel's theorem, possibly the greatest modern advancement in pure mathematics, even pointed to infinite regressions in logic as proof of pervasive mathematical uncertainty.) but it doesn't seem that such "interior" regressions apply appropriately to the infinite universes theory.

I was thinking of regression in terms of oberved states. If every state has to be observed to be in a definite state (which is unbelievably absurd and impossible) then all states that constitute the observation (the observer's gigantic number of molecular states for example) also have to be observed by a gigantic number of observers and all of those observers have to be observed and so on. In short, if "observation" means what it means in the urban legends of QM, then nothing in the universe has ever actually happened at all and we are back to Parmedides's non-event model of Perfect Being: just one unchanging and unobservable state.

Higgins
10-25-2007, 08:30 PM
I was refering to the idea that observation collapsed probability states and whether that creates parallel universes - my statements refer to the fact that it is not the act of observation that creates the uncertainties in Quantum Mechanics, but the physical interventions that occur to make them.

The original thought experiment did involve observer intervention, but the actual forms of the "uncertainty" are just ways of small events and waves and Planck's constant. In fact according to Wikipedia, the "observer effect" is only fallaciously associated with the uncertainty forms:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

Pthom
10-25-2007, 10:38 PM
I assume you mean "How could mathematicians tell if there's a parallel universe?"

The flip answer is, obviously, "They use mathematics."

The more useful answer is beyond my capabilities, not being a much of a mathematician. But surely some who stop in here have some inkling about how it might be determined by mathematics that there are parallel universes, if it hasn't already been done.

In the interests of space and time, perhaps those who know, or have an idea of where to look, could paste in a link for MilesZ.

Higgins
10-25-2007, 11:05 PM
I assume you mean "How could mathematicians tell if there's a parallel universe?"

The flip answer is, obviously, "They use mathematics."

The more useful answer is beyond my capabilities, not being a much of a mathematician. But surely some who stop in here have some inkling about how it might be determined by mathematics that there are parallel universes, if it hasn't already been done.

In the interests of space and time, perhaps those who know, or have an idea of where to look, could paste in a link for MilesZ.

Math could flesh out some scenarios such as (as I've cited before):

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20010922/bob9.asp


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brane

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/bigbang_alternative_010413-1.html


http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=30&articleID=000EB657-C6C7-1331-841D83414B7FFE9F


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Randall

oscuridad
10-27-2007, 05:09 PM
The original thought experiment did involve observer intervention, but the actual forms of the "uncertainty" are just ways of small events and waves and Planck's constant. In fact according to Wikipedia, the "observer effect" is only fallaciously associated with the uncertainty forms:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

as I recall, probably wrongly, the uncertainty ame out of the parallel slit experiment

Higgins
10-27-2007, 05:49 PM
as I recall, probably wrongly, the uncertainty ame out of the parallel slit experiment

The Wikipedia article is pretty much perfect on this topic I think. By parallel slit experiment you mean that some patch of electrons keeps the same probability distribution for its states no matter how many times you impose some conditions on it, I guess. That is described in the last paragraph that I quote below from Wikipedia. Apparently Heisenberg started with some gamma ray microscope thought experiment:

(from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle):

The uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics) is sometimes erroneously explained by claiming that the measurement of position necessarily disturbs a particle's momentum, and vice versa—i.e., that the uncertainty principle is a manifestation of the observer effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect). Indeed, Heisenberg himself may have initially offered explanations which suggested this view. Prior to the more modern understanding, a measurement was often visualized as a physical disturbance inflicted directly on the measured system, being sometimes illustrated as a thought experiment called Heisenberg's microscope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heisenberg%27s_microscope). For instance, when measuring the position of an electron, one imagines shining a light on it, thus disturbing the electron and producing the quantum mechanical uncertainties in its position.
Equating the uncertainty principle and the observer effect mischaracterizes the way measurement in quantum mechanics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement_in_quantum_mechanics) is understood. The uncertainty principle is an inequality related to the statistical spreading (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_error) of the wave function whereas the observer effect creates a systematic error (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_error). Because the uncertainty principle is a statistical property of the wave function, it appears most readily in a sequence of several measurements.
Consider a hypothetical experiment in which a physicist prepares an ensemble (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensemble) of 2N particles in the same way (so that each is in precisely the same initial quantum state (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_state)). Suppose further that the physicist is using perfect measuring equipment and that N is sufficiently large so that the net result is statistically significant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistically_significant). For the first N particles of this ensemble, the position would be measured and recorded, giving a probability distribution for position. For the remaining N particles, momentum would be measured, giving a probability distribution for momentum. Finally, the product of the standard deviations would be computed, giving a value of at least http://upload.wikimedia.org/math/4/c/2/4c26ab88796432a38def9af9677dd8c5.png. If the position and momentum had been measured subsequently for the same particle, then the results of the second measurement would not reflect the original state, due to a correct application of the observer effect. But in this experiment, no such claim is made. The physicist never attempts to measure the position and momentum of a single particle but measures them for a different set of N particles from the same initial state. One measurement cannot affect the other. Moreover, although each measurement collapses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function_collapse) the quantum state of the particle, the probability distribution resulting from these measurements will correctly reflect the quantum state as it existed before the measurement. Consequently, the uncertainty principle should be considered an intrinsic smearing of statistical information instead of a limitation on measuring equipment.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle#_note-0)

Dawnstorm
10-27-2007, 09:58 PM
How could math tell if there's a parallel universe?

Core quote from the article:


The Oxford team, led by Dr David Deutsch, showed mathematically that the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes.

Step 1: Visualise the concept of alternate history as a spatial metaphor ("bush", "branch").

Step 2: Find a mathematical function whose representation shows a similar structure.

Step 3: Equate the the two.

At least that's how I read it (and I think that's compatible with Sokal's "fleshing out a scenario".)

***

What's dazzling me a bit in the discussion of "many worlds" vs. "probability collapse" is that I can't tell the philosophy from the empirical content. I'm not sure whether scientists think the two theories lead to different empirical expectations, or whether it's all just quarreling about faith in the "nature of things" (different minds/different ways of thinking).

Ava Jarvis
10-27-2007, 10:11 PM
Usually the theories arrive because the laws we have determined through so much careful experimentation and forulation are, due to further advances in thinking, theory, and technology, found to have an unusual hole in them. And when the math is worked out to make the rule work again (or to disprove the rule and find a different that always holds true with respect to the math, inasmuch as we can tell at this point in history), the interpretation of what the math means is what leads to the seemingly crazy ideas.

Like gravity. Or quantum mechanics. Or alternate universes or tiny dimensions or whatnot.

Math is what makes the universe (and whatever else) go 'round.

Higgins
10-27-2007, 11:21 PM
Usually the theories arrive because the laws we have determined through so much careful experimentation and forulation are, due to further advances in thinking, theory, and technology, found to have an unusual hole in them. And when the math is worked out to make the rule work again (or to disprove the rule and find a different that always holds true with respect to the math, inasmuch as we can tell at this point in history), the interpretation of what the math means is what leads to the seemingly crazy ideas.

Like gravity. Or quantum mechanics. Or alternate universes or tiny dimensions or whatnot.

Math is what makes the universe (and whatever else) go 'round.

Sure. Sometimes, though 'brane theory seems to have developed from simply supposing that "strings" could be extended.

Gravitational theory developed once it was realized that "falling toward the center of the earth" might represent a force that operated on all bodies with mass (and then on all bodies with energy and then on all bodies in a spacetime metric and so on)...but the nutty imaginative leap from "fall toward the center of the earth" to " be a general cosmic force" was perhaps the greatest leap in that particular series.

oscuridad
10-29-2007, 02:37 AM
The Wikipedia article is pretty much perfect on this topic I think.

don't doubt it - what I should have said was I meant uncertainty, not Uncertainty.

In this universe, does that make sense?

Higgins
10-29-2007, 06:03 PM
don't doubt it - what I should have said was I meant uncertainty, not Uncertainty.

In this universe, does that make sense?

Sure, but the two-slit thing is covered under Uncertainty in the Wikipedia because it allows a distinction between what is caused by the wave nature of the phenomena and what is caused by other statistical things.

It's a little confusing because your average probability distribution looks like a single wave thing and if your wave forms are described in that wave form...it can feel a bit odd...which is perhaps why field theories are more satisfying: you can just assign a "Dirac Function" (actually not a function but a distribution) to an interaction and basically just say "that's a type of event that has some probability of happening" (and then put it in a Feynman diagram somewhere)...

lpetrich
11-02-2007, 02:18 AM
I'd be hard-pressed to call that "mathematical proof", since that is still rather speculative.

I'd be willing to take such a thing seriously if it is part of a theory that can successfully predict the Standard Model of elementary particle physics. But even string theory isn't quite there on that one -- it's possible to get the Standard Model of elementary particle physics out of it, but I haven't seen much success in predicting its numerous free parameters, and much success in working out the full spectrum of possible ground states string theory can have.


The Standard Model has a rather complicated particle spectrum; it's expected to be a low-energy limit of some simpler-looking theory, though precisely what is still uncertain.

But the Large Hadron Collider, still under construction, is expected to supply some important pieces of that puzzle.

Oddsocks
11-02-2007, 04:33 AM
So, the idea of conscious observation became associsted with quantum mechanics by accident?

Excuse me while I go away and cry in a corner.

But first - and please forgive my extreme ignorance of quantum mechanics and physics in general - why do you still hear talk of 'the observer' in things dealing with quantum mechanics? What is 'the observeer' supposed to be if 'observation' is just mechanical interaction?

Also, about the position of a paticle being determined by its interactions with other things - what exactly determines that it is in one place? Is it when something interacts with one to of the many positions the particle was in previously, and if so, what would determine its position if interactions were to occur at two such places simultaneously? Would the particle collapse on just one of these, or would it be in both places?

robeiae
11-02-2007, 05:13 AM
I was thinking of regression in terms of oberved states. If every state has to be observed to be in a definite state (which is unbelievably absurd and impossible) then all states that constitute the observation (the observer's gigantic number of molecular states for example) also have to be observed by a gigantic number of observers and all of those observers have to be observed and so on. In short, if "observation" means what it means in the urban legends of QM, then nothing in the universe has ever actually happened at all and we are back to Parmedides's non-event model of Perfect Being: just one unchanging and unobservable state.Well stated, imo.

Also, the reference to Godel, Escher, Bach is a good one, but for a different reason, imo. As much as Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is at play here, so is Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. The "mysteries of quantum mechanics" are not so mysterious, imo, but instead difficult to fathom within a framework of a mathematical system that must be--by definition--incomplete. Parallel universes or holes in the system?

Higgins
11-02-2007, 08:17 PM
So, the idea of conscious observation became associsted with quantum mechanics by accident?

Excuse me while I go away and cry in a corner.

But first - and please forgive my extreme ignorance of quantum mechanics and physics in general - why do you still hear talk of 'the observer' in things dealing with quantum mechanics? What is 'the observeer' supposed to be if 'observation' is just mechanical interaction?

Also, about the position of a paticle being determined by its interactions with other things - what exactly determines that it is in one place? Is it when something interacts with one to of the many positions the particle was in previously, and if so, what would determine its position if interactions were to occur at two such places simultaneously? Would the particle collapse on just one of these, or would it be in both places?

The very misleading "observation" term got into discourse about QM originally because that is one way that the first people to work on the problem (Heisenberg for example) actually pictured what was going on. It was (as would be said later) a "crude handwaving argument"...ie not necessarily wrong (though that one was), but more to suggest solutions than to provide them. Somehow, via really bad popularizations, it entered the strata of urban myths that seem to define how a lot of people think about the universe, ie, via systematically, misunderstood, handwaving arguments that are more than 80 years old.

There are terms that suggest that some idea of an "observer" persists in QM and even QED, but these actually relate to possible (isolate-able)interactions. For example, in classic QED, "real" particles have a lot of definite characteristics (such as being "on the mass shell" in terms of momenturm and energy), BUT they are also by definition "observerable" (ie they have interactions after propagating) while virtual particles are not necessarily "on the mass shell" and they don't propagate.

Oh...two places: sounds bad in QM, but in QED since particles can become virtual fields, if you end up with two, the answer is that you had more than one particle's worth of energy in your event.

lpetrich
11-03-2007, 09:08 AM
The "observer" in quantum mechanics is more properly "the process of observation", but many popularizations are rather careless about that, and the idea of an involved "observer" is easier for nonexperts to relate to.

And it leads to "mystic physics" and "wishing will make it so" notions.


The issue here is the problem of the collapse of the wavefunction and what induces it. I will illustrate this problem with a classic example.

Imagine a two-slit experiment in which light passes through two slits and arrives at some photographic film. There are variations like diffraction gratings, but they do not change the essential principle.

The light from one slit interferes with light from the other slit, making an interference pattern. This interference pattern means that photons (quanta of light) must pass through both slits at once; they are spread out over the distance between the slits and they do not act like little billiard balls.

But the light makes an image on the film by exciting electrons in it, when then cause certain chemical changes. And each photon excites one electron, which causes the chemical changes in a very small spot.

So the photon changes from being the size of the apparatus to not much bigger than an atom when it interacts with the film -- that is the collapse of the wavefunction.


That collapse is from the process of observation, but what does it mean in physical terms? I've seen a speculation that it is the complexity of macroscopic objects that causes the collapse, like the complexity of the photographic film that that photon hits. But although there are some tantalizing theoretical developments that point to this being the case, it is not quite 100% proof.


Quantum mechanics continues to be a puzzle in this respect, because it is (1) VERY successful, sometimes to great accuracy, and (2) it is grossly contrary to our experience with macroscopic objects, where entities are either particlelike or wavelike but not both.

Oddsocks
11-04-2007, 03:38 AM
Ok, thanks for the explanations. Kind of a little bit over my head, but I think I get that there's no mind involved in quantum mechanics after all.

small axe
11-04-2007, 02:48 PM
Ok, thanks for the explanations. Kind of a little bit over my head, but I think I get that there's no mind involved in quantum mechanics after all.

Well, may I suggest to you even without understanding "quantum mechanics" (and I don't either) that one cannot rationally make that claim, because whatever we call "quantum mechanics" has been deciphered or discovered or filtered (if not altered) by numerous human observers' minds as it has been communicated to everyone here? ;)

Does the existence of human awareness AFFECT or NOT AFFECT the workings of the Universe?

We cannot determine that, because we do not have a Universe WITHOUT human awareness to compare ours to (interestingly enough, even if we discovered a parallel Universe, at the moment we discovered it we'd have perhaps altered it; whatever is true of a quantum particle might be true of entire Universes ... ones where randomness doesn't 'average things out' etc.

I read (and 'read' is an interesting word here, because your mind has to decide if I mean 'read' in the Past or in the Present, right?) some article in NEWSWEEK (July 30, 2007 page 49) about the light-as-wave-or-particle experiment ("Putting Time In A Leaky Bottle") and supposedly the physicist Paul Davies ( his book "Cosmic Jackpot") and Jeff Tollaksen are quoted as suggesting that not only does human observation affect the results of the experiment, but that human observation (drum roll please) AFTER THE FACT affect the results.


-- 'something that happens NOW is affected by something that happens IN THE FUTURE,' says physicist Jeff Tollaksen of George Mason University. My emphasis.

Splitting hairs, parsing words ... yes. But just because something is 'unproveable' doesn't mean one should abandon one's questioning or one's observing (or thinking about it)

Otherwise, there is the danger of taking comments like this at face value (when I assume it was meant with irony):


Math is what makes the universe (and whatever else) go 'round.

Math may help us understand how the Universe works.

Math is a construct of human awareness, and may contain the errors or limits of mortal human limitation.

Because we have reached a point where our "math" and our "minds" cannot continue further ... need not mean that the Universe cannot work in ways beyond our Knowing or Understanding!

Nor is it wise to simply decide that "we shouldn't contemplate or discuss things we cannot prove or disprove"

'Man's reach should exceed Man's grasp' as they say, or what is a Heaven for?

But yeah, thanks for the insights into Quantum Physics, I have lots to learn.

I like it when it's spooky ... and I think it may be spookier than some here allow themselves to accept, or speak about.

Mac H.
11-04-2007, 06:03 PM
Does the existence of human awareness AFFECT or NOT AFFECT the workings of the Universe?

We cannot determine that, because we do not have a Universe WITHOUT human awareness to compare ours to ..By that logic, we also can't determine if the sex life of hamsters really affects the formation of distant galaxies.

Sure, there is no sensible reason to think it might, but as you point out, we don't have a universe without hamsters for comparison ...


Nor is it wise to simply decide that "we shouldn't contemplate or discuss things we cannot prove or disprove"Agreed. But there are billions of theories that are totally unprovable (like the hamster theory of galaxy formation) - so how DO we decide which theories are worth spending our time on?

Mac

Oddsocks
11-05-2007, 02:24 AM
Small axe - I absolutely agree with you. When I said 'there's no mind involved in quantum mechanics after all', I really only meant the specific case of observation determining the collapse of the superposition thing, which previously I had thought referred to conscious observation. And yes, in some way, that could also be affected by mind, but outside of a system of philosophical scepticism about epistemology, I just meant that the theory is that there's no mind in quantum mechanics as the science currently stands.

But of course, in pretty much anything, we could always be wrong.

Higgins
11-05-2007, 06:50 AM
Small axe - I absolutely agree with you. When I said 'there's no mind involved in quantum mechanics after all', I really only meant the specific case of observation determining the collapse of the superposition thing, which previously I had thought referred to conscious observation. And yes, in some way, that could also be affected by mind, but outside of a system of philosophical scepticism about epistemology, I just meant that the theory is that there's no mind in quantum mechanics as the science currently stands.

But of course, in pretty much anything, we could always be wrong.

So true. How much "mind" is involved in minding the mind? Probaby not very much. I don't mind if I wonder about that while I'm minding my grammar and somebody else is minding the store, do you?

small axe
11-07-2007, 04:11 AM
By that logic, we also can't determine if the sex life of hamsters really affects the formation of distant galaxies.

Well, can you actually make that claim? Can you actually support your statement? Here in "Science Fact" ... :)

I often get drawn into things, and it's often for this reason: Many peope make claims, or simply express their assumptions or worldviews ... and that's lovely, we all love to share our ideas and feelings.

Some people, however, make a point out of CHALLENGING other's bliss: an example (just one example of many) would be the "angry atheist" who demands that others' FAITH in "God" or an "afterlife" etc (however it's defined) is only ignorance and superstition.

The "angry atheist" puts forth the claim that HIS OWN position is based upon "Science" or "Rational Thought" or ... yada yada ... (Obviously there are "angry believers" available to counterpoint the example, who demand that if a fact isn't in their particular Canon, it isn't a fact. It's Canons or Cannons for them ... which is a sad use of Newtonian ballistics!)

BUT, while challenging OTHERS' positions, they cannot in fact support their OWN position with Science, Rational Thought, Evidence, Experiment, Proof, etc yada yada.

Where others were merely demonstrating their Faith (which isn't even the same issue as Science could grasp, in many ways) ... the attacker is demonstrating their own Hypocrisy and the limitations of their tools of Understanding.

"My yardstick is only 36 inches long .... and so any measurements my yardstick cannot measure are ignorant superstition" etc.

So ... while I wouldn't argue against your grasp of the possible sciences of hamster orgy and its causal relationships to galaxy formation ... one can still ask "What is your scientific support to rule this thing non-scientific?"

If we spent a half trillion dollars and many human lives investigating the vital hamster-galaxy relationship (rather than investing in a war in Iraq, let's say) ... Science might not support your claim!

We must respect the scientific curiousity, here in Science Fact, and rule nothing out that hasn't been duly whacked with our yardstick!



Sure, there is no sensible reason to think it might, but as you point out, we don't have a universe without hamsters for comparison ...

It is GOOD SCIENCE to not force Science to rule upon anything it cannot scientifically rule upon.

Both Faith and Science are better, wiser things ... when they allow their advocates to admit "We just don't know, so we don't make a claim on that issue."

Both are betrayed, when they bluff or lie or cover up ... or persecute ... to disguise innocent not-knowing.


Agreed. But there are billions of theories that are totally unprovable (like the hamster theory of galaxy formation) - so how DO we decide which theories are worth spending our time on?
Mac

1) Science must be careful before it assumes (by faith) that anything IS 'unprovable' ...

2) And you've switched the issue from Science's pursuit of Fact and Truth ... to the "worth" of determining Fact and Truth.

What's troubling is, if one does the second ... one acknowledges that there may be a LIE that is "worth more" than the Truth!

Higgins
11-07-2007, 06:51 AM
Well, can you actually make that claim? Can you actually support your statement? Here in "Science Fact" ... :)

I often get drawn into things, and it's often for this reason: Many peope make claims, or simply express their assumptions or worldviews ... and that's lovely, we all love to share our ideas and feelings.

Some people, however, make a point out of CHALLENGING other's bliss: an example (just one example of many) would be the "angry atheist" who demands that others' FAITH in "God" or an "afterlife" etc (however it's defined) is only ignorance and superstition.

The "angry atheist" puts forth the claim that HIS OWN position is based upon "Science" or "Rational Thought" or ... yada yada ... (Obviously there are "angry believers" available to counterpoint the example, who demand that if a fact isn't in their particular Canon, it isn't a fact. It's Canons or Cannons for them ... which is a sad use of Newtonian ballistics!)

BUT, while challenging OTHERS' positions, they cannot in fact support their OWN position with Science, Rational Thought, Evidence, Experiment, Proof, etc yada yada.

Where others were merely demonstrating their Faith (which isn't even the same issue as Science could grasp, in many ways) ... the attacker is demonstrating their own Hypocrisy and the limitations of their tools of Understanding.

"My yardstick is only 36 inches long .... and so any measurements my yardstick cannot measure are ignorant superstition" etc.

So ... while I wouldn't argue against your grasp of the possible sciences of hamster orgy and its causal relationships to galaxy formation ... one can still ask "What is your scientific support to rule this thing non-scientific?"

If we spent a half trillion dollars and many human lives investigating the vital hamster-galaxy relationship (rather than investing in a war in Iraq, let's say) ... Science might not support your claim!

We must respect the scientific curiousity, here in Science Fact, and rule nothing out that hasn't been duly whacked with our yardstick!




It is GOOD SCIENCE to not force Science to rule upon anything it cannot scientifically rule upon.

Both Faith and Science are better, wiser things ... when they allow their advocates to admit "We just don't know, so we don't make a claim on that issue."

Both are betrayed, when they bluff or lie or cover up ... or persecute ... to disguise innocent not-knowing.



1) Science must be careful before it assumes (by faith) that anything IS 'unprovable' ...

2) And you've switched the issue from Science's pursuit of Fact and Truth ... to the "worth" of determining Fact and Truth.

What's troubling is, if one does the second ... one acknowledges that there may be a LIE that is "worth more" than the Truth!

Actually since the sciences all are based on ordinary human reasoning, we can dispose of the hamster effect postulate with a back of the envelope calculation as follows: for relatively stationary, room temperature body that weighs a lot less than the the galaxy we are in, the effect on a distant galaxy is much less than the effect of the galaxy we are in. The galaxy we are in has no effect on the dynamics of galaxies farther away than the current supergroup and therefore hamsters don't either.

On the other hand if you had a very big, very hot hamster moving at relativistic speeds, it might have some effects on some nearby parameters of a suitably celestial mechanical nature.

I leave it to you to work out the details. And naturally I'm interested in seeing your calculations.

small axe
11-08-2007, 05:28 AM
Actually since the sciences all are based on ordinary human reasoning,

Ah, but so you suggest that the limitations of 'ordinary human reasoning' define actual FACT?

I suggest that there are FACTS which are factually true, regardless of whether any science or human reasoning can explain them.

We may never scientifically explain "What existed before the Big Bang?" and yet something must have, right?

Would you rule out that anything existed before, or that we cannot rationally discuss it even if we cannot prove it?

Thus, we cannot 'ruler out' the FX of hamsters upon galaxies.

'He who plucks a flower, disturbs the farthest star.' :)

we can dispose of the hamster effect postulate with a back of the envelope calculation as follows: for relatively stationary, room temperature body that weighs a lot less than the the galaxy we are in, the effect on a distant galaxy is much less than the effect of the galaxy we are in. The galaxy we are in has no effect on the dynamics of galaxies farther away than the current supergroup and therefore hamsters don't either.

On the other hand if you had a very big, very hot hamster moving at relativistic speeds, it might have some effects on some nearby parameters of a suitably celestial mechanical nature.

I leave it to you to work out the details. And naturally I'm interested in seeing your calculations.

We don't need 'calculations' to accept that something cannot be 'disposed of' prematurely ...

One can keep it in the back of an actually open mind (as opposed to a closed mind, or a hypocritically-claimed 'open mind' so common these days) until there are reasons TO 'dispose' of it.

That time is not upon us yet, comrade Sokol. The hamsters may yet discover the H-bomb.

Higgins
11-08-2007, 07:52 AM
We don't need 'calculations' to accept that something cannot be 'disposed of' prematurely ...

One can keep it in the back of an actually open mind (as opposed to a closed mind, or a hypocritically-claimed 'open mind' so common these days) until there are reasons TO 'dispose' of it.

That time is not upon us yet, comrade Sokol. The hamsters may yet discover the H-bomb.

You'll have to come up with something better than Hamsters inventing Hbombs if you want to make some point about disposing of valuable ideas prematurely.

Any other valuable ideas?

small axe
11-08-2007, 04:38 PM
You'll have to come up with something better than Hamsters inventing Hbombs if you want to make some point about disposing of valuable ideas prematurely.

Any other valuable ideas?

I had already made my point, thank you!

The H-bomb riff was just to ease the penetration! ;)

You spoke of 'disposing' of ideas (a jump, if not a hubris, I'd caution some to avoid making)

I suggested that someone with an actual open mind cannot 'dispose' of a thing without being sure it needs to be (or can be) 'disposed' of without adequate justification.

The burden of proof would be upon the person 'disposing' of the idea (to prove it worthless); me, I say keep strange or challenging ideas around, because from strange or challenging ideas great advances may arise, sometimes unexpectedly!

*shrug*

Higgins
11-08-2007, 06:22 PM
I had already made my point, thank you!

The H-bomb riff was just to ease the penetration! ;)

You spoke of 'disposing' of ideas (a jump, if not a hubris, I'd caution some to avoid making)

I suggested that someone with an actual open mind cannot 'dispose' of a thing without being sure it needs to be (or can be) 'disposed' of without adequate justification.

The burden of proof would be upon the person 'disposing' of the idea (to prove it worthless); me, I say keep strange or challenging ideas around, because from strange or challenging ideas great advances may arise, sometimes unexpectedly!

*shrug*

No, there is no need to demonstrate the disposability of every effectively impossible idea nor is it incumbent on anyone to dispose of impossible ideas. For one thing there are an infinite number of effectively impossible ideas for every workable idea that can be adequately formulated.

Why not just work with good ideas that can be adequately formulated?
Why waste a potentially vast amount of time investigating things that are effectively impossible?

Do you have any examples of seemingly disposable ideas that might actually have some value?

Angelinity
11-08-2007, 07:13 PM
Actually since the sciences all are based on ordinary human reasoning....

as long as we don't forget that human reasoning is ultimately based on human perception.

RTH
11-08-2007, 07:15 PM
I'm still caught on the notion of very hot, heavy hamsters moving at relativistic speed.

Visualize that. :roll:

Higgins
11-08-2007, 07:30 PM
I'm still caught on the notion of very hot, heavy hamsters moving at relativistic speed.

Visualize that. :roll:

With enough energy it seems like relativistic hamsters could have some
effect on something somewhere.

Higgins
11-08-2007, 07:34 PM
as long as we don't forget that human reasoning is ultimately based on human perception.

Or the two are linked so closely as to make it hard to separate them.

For example (as I think another poster was trying to say): you can't see positrons in your cloud chamber until you know what you are looking for.

On the other hand lots of cosmic ray events (and the loss of charge phenomenon) were seen, but not understood.

So the grasping of whatever the thing is can go from observation to theory or theory to observation...contraray to the Popperian view of Science as a lot of ideas waiting to be falsified.

oscuridad
11-08-2007, 11:44 PM
this is interesting in relation to the hamster thing:

http://www.venganza.org/

study the pirates against average global temperature graph - I am sure you are familair with this, but it informs the debate somewhat.

And as for disposability - I wouldn't hang on to the idea of urine flavour chocolate biscuit for long - although I am sure there is bound to be somewhere on the net you can buy them, or at least get the recipe...

small axe
11-09-2007, 04:34 AM
No, there is no need to demonstrate the disposability of every effectively impossible idea nor is it incumbent on anyone to dispose of impossible ideas. For one thing there are an infinite number of effectively impossible ideas for every workable idea that can be adequately formulated.

Why not just work with good ideas that can be adequately formulated?
Why waste a potentially vast amount of time investigating things that are effectively impossible?

Do you have any examples of seemingly disposable ideas that might actually have some value?

Well, I can gladly leave it up to the reader's sense of caution: Is it open minded and wise to accept someone else's label that "Never mind thinking about that, never mind investigating that ... they're all 'impossible' ???"

I wouldn't accept that attitude from the Church (not meaning "Church" as "the Faithful" but rather Church as "a bureaucratic hierarchy of power exercising its control of human thought" etc) ...

I wouldn't accept that attitude from the Scientific community, either (not meaning "Science" as those in pursuit of Facts, but rather " ... bureaucratic hierarchy of power -- funding, research grants, what is acceptable to publish or not, award or not, etc -- exercising its control of human thought" etc)

"Don't Look There" ... not good Science, no. "Everybody look and make sure all avenues have been explored, let's not lose any truth because we didn't bother to look at it" ... that's good.

So, yes Sokol, I don't see why we all should agree and accept your notions of what is or isn't 'impossible' ... 'good ideas' ... 'adequately formulated' ... or 'workable ideas' ...

I say, investigate and find out what's possible.

Newtonian gravity seemed odd before Newton investigated ...
Einstein's freakish distortion of Space/Time etc still freaks out the common sense real world experience of evolved-monkeys (us) ...

I'd hate to be the one who advised them "those are impossible ideas" ... those aren't "workable" ...

They worked.

I argue for a mind open to possibilities, even strange and challenging ones.

You may claim you do the same ... but you wrote about of disposing of ideas (and the other terms you used and I quoted above) ...

That's all I need to point out to the reader.


Do you have any examples of seemingly disposable ideas that might actually have some value?

Well, you won't serve your point by demanding "examples" of things no one has discovered yet, or explored yet ... when your point seems (imo) to be not to do so, and my point is to do so as they arise. :)

I'd put a lot of money and investigation into searching for evidence of contact with alien species here on Earth, as one common example (easy to ridicule, defensively, but a valid avenue of investigation)

Shine the spotlight of Science deeply into ALL approaches to ghosts, the human soul, the ESP or Telekinetics stuff ...

You will say it's already been done, or would be fruitless. I say "do it some more, do it better, do it more fearlessly."

But again: we aren't discussing the things WE can imagine, we're discussing whether to explore (or ignore) things YET TO BE IMAGINED. :D

Yes, it's "spooky"

Higgins
11-09-2007, 07:10 PM
I say, investigate and find out what's possible.

Newtonian gravity seemed odd before Newton investigated ...
Einstein's freakish distortion of Space/Time etc still freaks out the common sense real world experience of evolved-monkeys (us) ...

I'd hate to be the one who advised them "those are impossible ideas" ... those aren't "workable" ...

They worked.

I argue for a mind open to possibilities, even strange and challenging ones.

You may claim you do the same ... but you wrote about of disposing of ideas (and the other terms you used and I quoted above) ...

That's all I need to point out to the reader.



Well, you won't serve your point by demanding "examples" of things no one has discovered yet, or explored yet ... when your point seems (imo) to be not to do so, and my point is to do so as they arise. :)

I'd put a lot of money and investigation into searching for evidence of contact with alien species here on Earth, as one common example (easy to ridicule, defensively, but a valid avenue of investigation)

Shine the spotlight of Science deeply into ALL approaches to ghosts, the human soul, the ESP or Telekinetics stuff ...

You will say it's already been done, or would be fruitless. I say "do it some more, do it better, do it more fearlessly."

But again: we aren't discussing the things WE can imagine, we're discussing whether to explore (or ignore) things YET TO BE IMAGINED. :D

Yes, it's "spooky"

People have looked into spooky stuff for the last 100,000 years. Nobody seems to have found anything except that people like spooky stuff.

If I had to write a research proposal in hopes of funding a systematic look at "spooky" things, I think I would write it as an examination of what type of aesthetic sensibilities like blurry messages about dubious events. Perhaps it would be mostly those people who have never had the pleasure of gettng clear messages about interesting things.

I also don't see how you can refer to the history of science to suggest that science has controlled human thought. It seems to me that either science has progressed in a relatively sensible way (which you seem to accept when you refer to Newton and Einstein) or it has been doing whatever oppressive things you want to imply that it has been doing. How can you suggest that both are true and use the progess of science to suggest there's something wrong with its basic approach?

Moreover, if Einstein and modern physics are even roughly correct, there's no way you can justify looking for ghosts and what not in their terms. So again, you can't suggest the value of Einstein's work and then suggest that science has suppressed research on ghosts. The research hasn't been suppressed, it just doesn't actually make enough scientific sense to qualify as scientific research and as I've said above, maybe you could get it funded as aesthetic research.

small axe
11-13-2007, 08:44 AM
People have looked into spooky stuff for the last 100,000 years. Nobody seems to have found anything except that people like spooky stuff.

You claim 'no one has found anything' for the last 100,000 years?

I suggest that when the cave folks or the modern folks gazed up at the stars and wondered ... and tried to explain what the star were, or did, or meant ... that's ALL 'the spooky stuff' :)

You cannot really successfully win the discussion for Science ... if you limit your position (or your definition) with comments like that.

In the last 100,000 people have done what people do: they've created human cultures and civilizations, and explored and exploited both the spiritual and the spooky and the scientific insights within us.

You think that was 'finding nothing' ???

I fear you have made a self-limiting error (and a segment of our culture makes it too, the only reason worth pointing it out here) ... you imagine there is an either/or choice to be made by the Mind or the Soul: Science or Faith.

There is no choice to be made, because there is no way for any human being (imo) to remove one or the other from their human existence ... and remain a worthwhile human existence.

Yes, a human can kill the emotions and survive as an emotionally dead being.
One can deny one's Soul and render oneself spiritually blindered or dead. One can starve the Mind and have nothing of the intellect, I fear.

*shrug* It is a bad choice to make, and only self-delusion.

Undoubtedly we disagree so deeply on that, that there is no point trying to convince each other of our positions there.

We can gladly agree to disagree yet co-exist, I think.

If I had to write a research proposal in hopes of funding a systematic look at "spooky" things, I think I would write it as an examination of what type of aesthetic sensibilities like blurry messages about dubious events. Perhaps it would be mostly those people who have never had the pleasure of gettng clear messages about interesting things.

Ah, but you will later ask me:

I also don't see how you can refer to the history of science to suggest that science has controlled human thought.

I think if your definition of science did not limit (if not control) your human thought, you would not be reduced to retreat into examining things as merely 'aesthetic' and 'sensibilities' ...

You would be able to obtain your 'research proposal' funding for a better, deeper, truer sort of research than mere 'aesthetics' :)

Those who hold the purse strings to funding ... seem to control avenues of investigation, yes?


It seems to me that either science has progressed in a relatively sensible way (which you seem to accept when you refer to Newton and Einstein) or it has been doing whatever oppressive things you want to imply that it has been doing.

How can you suggest that both are true and use the progess of science to suggest there's something wrong with its basic approach?

Because I can say the same thing about Science as I can about Religion there!

Given the immense and deep insights and approaches Science represents (or COULD represent) ... Science should have progressed MUCH FURTHER! (Or does one fail to progress 'farther' if one imagines progress as a climb up from ignorance to insight ... one never knows)

Science and Religions both have fallen short of their potential success ... due to Man's tendency to put limits on his questioning.

Those with little answers exercise power over those who'd threaten them with bigger questions.

Moreover, if Einstein and modern physics are even roughly correct, there's no way you can justify looking for ghosts and what not in their terms.

I most certainly can justify 'looking for ghosts' ... by whatever 'terms' are available.

Because the only thing that I risk is not finding them according to a certain set of 'terms' ...

And that's GOOD HEALTHY SCIENCE, even if no ghosts are found (good Science will also suggest new terms and new avenues. If you cannot find your mysterious sub-atomic particle one way, you look in other ways)

What YOU risk is far worse, both for Science and the investigation into ghosts: because YOU risk NOT EVEN LOOKING! And that's lousy, bad Science!

tsk ... tsk ...

So again, you can't suggest the value of Einstein's work and then suggest that science has suppressed research on ghosts. The research hasn't been suppressed, it just doesn't actually make enough scientific sense to qualify as scientific research and as I've said above, maybe you could get it funded as aesthetic research.

I can and do suggest the value of Einstein's work ... AND that a scientific bureaucracy which refuses to 'fund research' that is outside its expectations or presumptions (or prejudices, etc) ... is in a way suppressing research on ghosts.

People are narrow-minded about things, y'know.

On a lighter note, I wish the Catholic Church had its own Hubble Telescope, its own Large Hadron Colliders, a couple of cutting edge starship FTL Drive physicist/missionaries ... cool toys like that. :D

Anybody that isn't afraid of exorcising demons wouldn't be quite so stingy with their research grants, I'd hope!

If the Chinese have much ambition, they'll be working with Tibetan lamas to astral project to the Moon, sniff out the Helium 3 they're going to put us back in the Stone Age once they start mining it, etc ...

Maybe some future Nobel Prize wil go to breakthrus in Astral Projection!

awww, I'm just riffin' witcha now ...

White Rabbit down the wormhole, Feed Yer Head, stuff like that! Peace.

Higgins
11-13-2007, 06:22 PM
I can and do suggest the value of Einstein's work ... AND that a scientific bureaucracy which refuses to 'fund research' that is outside its expectations or presumptions (or prejudices, etc) ... is in a way suppressing research on ghosts.

People are narrow-minded about things, y'know.

On a lighter note, I wish the Catholic Church had its own Hubble Telescope, its own Large Hadron Colliders, a couple of cutting edge starship FTL Drive physicist/missionaries ... cool toys like that. :D

Anybody that isn't afraid of exorcising demons wouldn't be quite so stingy with their research grants, I'd hope!


The history of science is a fun topic in itself. You could even start with Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science


Still, I don't think it is fair to characterize the sciences as suppressing research just because research on ghosts doesn't command the attention of the physics community (for example). And for that matter the Catholic Church has always participated in scientific research. I'm not sure about any current active research on demons and ghosts, but that's likely to be undertaken by institutions other than those with a focus on say microbiology or solid state physics.

Oddsocks
11-14-2007, 10:37 AM
Ok, now I'm just confused. The most recent issue of Newscientist (10 november 2007) had an article on the development of quantum computers (pg. 16, written by Zeeya Merali), and apparently one of the problems is that they need particles to remain entangled long enough to do calculations, but that they disentangle too soon. But just putting a photon detector in the environment of the entangled particles delays the disentanglement (the detector allows us to know when the particles have disentangled because a photon is released when this occurs). This is apparently counterintuitive because it's not direct observation.

Can anyone explain what's going on here?

Higgins
11-14-2007, 07:08 PM
Ok, now I'm just confused. The most recent issue of Newscientist (10 november 2007) had an article on the development of quantum computers (pg. 16, written by Zeeya Merali), and apparently one of the problems is that they need particles to remain entangled long enough to do calculations, but that they disentangle too soon. But just putting a photon detector in the environment of the entangled particles delays the disentanglement (the detector allows us to know when the particles have disentangled because a photon is released when this occurs). This is apparently counterintuitive because it's not direct observation.

Can anyone explain what's going on here?

Good question. I will make a guess that they mean given that the standard operators work on states, this event implies some kind of function (rather than an operator on states) is happening or that the state they think they have is not the whole story.

My guess is that they are saying that the emitted photon is revealing a state that is not an "observable" (ie not "Hermitian" at least given what they assume the states are that they are dealing with)

http://people.ccmr.cornell.edu/~muchomas/8.04/Lecs/lec_ave_oper/node13.html

Probably the prior state explains this...but that's a guess.

Oddsocks
11-15-2007, 03:23 AM
Sokal - I'm going to thank you for your explanation, but I have no idea what you just said. And...your link didn't really help either.

I don't have enough maths or physics to know what operators, states, events, and functions refer to in this context.

I don't suppose there's a documentary-level answer to the question?

Higgins
11-15-2007, 06:52 AM
Sokal - I'm going to thank you for your explanation, but I have no idea what you just said. And...your link didn't really help either.

I don't have enough maths or physics to know what operators, states, events, and functions refer to in this context.

I don't suppose there's a documentary-level answer to the question?

The spintronics stuff is all done in the 1930s-style "Bra-Ket" formalism made popular by Dirac. I'm guessing something is happening that requires reformulation in at least a 1940s-style formalism.

Or even later, maybe 1950 or so with John Ward's contributions...whom I mention because I ran across him by accident inventing an H-bomb mechanism that has never been documented (see the Appendix to Lorna Arnold's book on H-Bombs in the bibliography of this site on Ward):

http://www.opticsjournal.com/ward.html

http://www.opticsjournal.com/HBomb.jpg

I'm not sure, but I think that is Castle Bravo on the cover.

And this line in the Hermitian Operator section seems to have at least 2 typos:
the same statement is in the position representation is much harder to prove mathematically, requiring the ``trick'' if integrating by parts at just the right place
It should read:
the same statement in the position representation is much harder to prove mathematically, requiring the ``trick'' of integrating by parts at just the right place

I guess it got scanned in and never proofed

Higgins
11-15-2007, 09:53 PM
http://www.opticsjournal.com/ward.html

http://www.opticsjournal.com/HBomb.jpg

I'm not sure, but I think that is Castle Bravo on the cover.



Obviously that's not Castle Bravo (a ground burst). Maybe its one of the Grapples? A real Brit H-Bomb?

http://www.janeresture.com/christmas_bombs/grapple.htm