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Thread: The LHC and Schroedinger's Cat.

  1. #9
    swords's Avatar
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    Aw, I saw "Schrodinger's Cat" and I thought you wanted to talk about the quantum mechanics sci-fi novel of the same name by Robert Anton Wilson! Since you're into this stuff (Botanica) I think you may enjoy that book immensely if you can locate a copy.

    The multiverse mentioned would be the Everett Wheeler and Graham model no? This model of the multiverse is not actually infinite but "only" something like 10 to the 100th power (or so they claim) so there is a limit out there somewhere in space-time. Even if the basic idea is that "everything that can happen does".

    Since most seem to approve the Copenhagen Interpretation (those who aren't damn dirty heretics with ideas like the EWG model) which says (essentially) that we can't say anything definite about "truth" or "reality". I don't think you could find an equation that would actually prove existence since Copenhagen says we can't say anything definite about anything. It's hard for me not to inject mysticism into QM. There seems to be no proof I can find that says we're not all phantasms created in the pineal gland of a sleeping giant, sorry!

    I personally like to think of existence as a combination of Copenhagen being the "external universe" (you folks and everything outside my head) and the EWG or multiverse model as the "internal universe" (human consciousness imagined as a whole). Even if the universe is reportedly "non-simultaneous apprehended" when I do attempt to think of it "all" that's how I think of it. As an uncertain and highly changeable place because everyone (and everything) operates its own way and may very well do damn near anything at any time because of what's happening in their internal universes or mental eigenstates. Which led me to my own axiom: "No man is an island but every man is at least one universe."

    Though, following Copenhagen for the time being, I hesitate a great deal to use the word "is" which along with "they are" denotes "knowing" with "absolute certainty". Since we don't "know" anything for "certain". Because we are not everyone else even if we like to think "everyone thinks the way "I" do so this is true for all since it's true for me". I try to avoid these linguistic spooks and use E-Prime as much as possible so that my description of things apply to me alone. If I were to E-Prime my axiom it would go: "I've heard it said that No man is an island, but to me it appears that every man seems to be at least one universe." It adds extra words but notice it's not as confrontational (commandment like) and makes it apply exclusively to my relativistic way of thinking?

  2. #10
    Nooblet Botanicadenta's Avatar
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    So that's the Copenhagen interpretation! I have to say I'm a huge MWI fan So my vehement bias kept me from looking it up, but that makes sense as well.

    I see it as "turtles all the way down" vs. "turtle parfait" if you catch the Hindu drift. I've toyed with the Copenhagen part a bit, and it seems to account for things like memory loss and lapses in consciousness better. I've thought of that as well bu if we're looking for an Occam's Razor, MWI would be a bit more efficient, wouldn't you think? Damn, now I've got to look up that quote, although I think it was Occam who actually said something to the effect of "The existance of a single, arbitrary timeline is unlikely, therefore all timelines exist", basically saying 'why exist if you can have it all?", It seems counter-intuitive to the principle of the Razor, but if things need not be multiplied needlessly, how do we fathom that which is necessary for existence?

    Damn, need to find that. Gotta get hopped up off coffee and look for it.

  3. #11
    swords's Avatar
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    The main problem I have with the Razor theory is that it doesn't take into account that any and all results are read & interpreted by the human nervous system (my "internal universe" or mini-EWG, MWI, "collective consciousness", etc) each of which has it's own bias based on belief (faith) and expectations. Which leads to the classical idea that "you see what you wanna see / you hear what you wanna hear" (yeah, a thinly veiled allusion to Copenhagenism again). Occam's razor essentially says the "The simplest solution to any problem is the best." I shall add on to this and create "Simplest solution to any problem, is to answer it from your own bias which makes it the best solution for you". Just like I'm doing right now! Presenting the most simple solution (to me) I don't believe we can ever escape the bias of the domesticated primate mind much as we may try because we can't get anything written by a cat or boxelder bug that we can interpret for a totally different worldview on our mammalian theories. So far a completely non-biased / infallible person has never been found - other than the pope and GWBush of course!

    Quick, example there were two men (I forget their names) one was a flat earther and one believed in a round earth. The Flat earther offered a reward to anyone who could prove otherwise. They each setup and each took measurements from one bridge to the next some 6 miles apart. Wouldn't you know it they both found what they wanted to find. The first saw that the earth IS flat (coin shaped he thought) and the other measured curvature. The round earther was awarded the prize by the independent observers present at the testing but the flat earther took the man to court 3 times and 3 times no judge would confirm or deny either man's test and ordered the prize money to remain unawarded. I'm a bit more inclined to the round earth theory myself but then there are folks who say the video I based my round earth belief on IS based on faked video.... so it goes!

  4. #12
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    Occam's Razor is a great rule of thumb, but that's all it is. I couldn't stand on an Atlantic beach and, based on what I see, conclude that there's a mid-oceanic ridge out there and that North America and Europe are rushing away from each other a few cm/yr. What I'd see at the beach doesn't need such a complicated explanation. But it's the best explanation for the available geologic, bathymetric and magnetic information. Geologists working where it was most obvious accepted it first, while those working elsewhere were slower to come around. It's a strong science that does that.

    As for the flat earth vs. round earth thing, most of us couldn't prove either idea to anyone based on personal observations. Eratosthenes even calculated the earth's diameter ~250 BC and the flat earthers weren't daunted. It's darned hard to prove something to someone who doesn't want to believe and it's too easy to prove it to someone who wants to believe. The simplest answer to our existence is that people are born, they live and they die. One of each. Most of us hope there's more to it, but we want it too much to be objective.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

  5. #13
    swords's Avatar
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    I would go a step further and say that there's no way to prove anything to anyone who's got some idea in their head. I've noticed that there seem to be some people you can't even simply discuss ideas with because ideas new to them really seem to make them angry. As if they've worked so hard to decide that "this is the way the world, those people, that country.... is and that's that", Any ideas to the contrary (even a tad) are just plainly heresy. I've worked with a few of these types and trying to discuss anything with them can be quite the adventure! I was merely reading a book (on evolution) one night and this guy saw it and took off like a rocket and set off a few other people in the area. Whether any position you proffer can be backed by reams of data or stated as simple personal observation, fundamentalist or imprinted beliefs are almost impossible to change (and highly charged) unless the person wants to learn something new. There have been cases reported where someone gets shocked into a new way of viewing the world (or a problem at hand). But I think these instances seem to be getting rarer and rarer in our information age when one can find data to support almost any wild idea somewhere on the web. Not that it's bad to have differing data but I think it creates a need for people (who like to think about these kinds of things) to develop a generalized agnosticism about everything. Such as the wonderful Fortean quote in your signature indicating the great struggle of fundamentalist religion VS fundamentalist materialism. But then again there are people who have all the answers and know exactly what's right for me. They usually knock on my door about 7 am on saturdays, since I don't answer they usually leave a little magazine and move on to the neighbors house...

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    Nooblet Botanicadenta's Avatar
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    That's definitely something I blame my escapist tendencies on. You would figure the very nature of reason alone would be enough to convert most people overnight, and yet everyone has a say on whether or not the Earth is round. I never have professed myself to be an expert on much, although, if I were to measure that based on the length and number of lectures I could give on a subject, there's a few I get close to. I like to delve into speculative topics, such as the topic of this thread. To me, however, there are solid facts that are incontrivable.

    Evolution, for example. There is enough evidence in the fossil record and within agents such as bacteria and the AIDS virus that proves that seemingly insignificant genetic changes can have dramatic effects. Now, thanks to the idea of ID and creationism we hear things like "not change on a macro level, but a shift within the created kind" in regards to salmonella that builds a resistant to antibacterial treatments. This drives me up a wall on all fronts, because not only is there a denial of something that we have all the data in the world on, but are indeed inventing a psuedo-science to back up fallacious claims. I was once a stout Christian too, but I never once questioned evolution and took the opinion that it was a tool of God, something so magnificent and ingenious that it would do nothing but strengthen the glorification of His name. And yet people have problems with that too.

    Now that I'm an atheist With residual 'Clockwork Universe'(forgot the actual name for the thing) tendancies, all I can do is stutter in horror every time I hear creationism is being taught in another school.

    The entire principle of science is built on the idea that if 1+1 = 2, then... And build up to engineering skyscrapers and monuments out of dirt and rocks and determine photon wave patterns and the makup of stars. Now, I can fully respect the unease it can create when a world has been upturned by honest truth, having been there multiple times myself, but I do have a problem with outright self-delusion.

    But as Descartes said, it may be very possible that everything we know to be true may very well be false.

  7. #15
    Whats it to ya? Finch's Avatar
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    “no fair! You changed the outcome by observing it!”


    I tip my hat to anyone who has any real understanding of quantum mechanics. Most of it is above my head. Things as they are seen on the quantum scale are so counter-intuitive to what we think we observe in the macroscopic word that several people, one of my old roommates included, simply said that therefore quantum mechanics cannot be real. It works but the standard model cannot be broken down into the quantum scale, although vice-versa is true.

    I know that the physicists at the LHC hope to be able to break the standard model, but if they were successful that would mean I have to learn a new model later on down the line, something I would not be too enthusiastic about honestly. I hope they do break it, though. Makes things more interesting.

    Has anyone else heard the ideas of Copenhagen Interpretation re-interpreted by may people as proof that scientists do not really know anything at all? These people may not know it by name but I have heard on several occasions the comment “scientists do not know anything, they say so themselves”. Science and scientists may not have a complete understanding on how truth or reality works and will never but nevertheless they come a crap load closer than the average lay person.

    Consider this: in America out of the 535 members of congress, only 8 list themselves as engineers or scientists. Compare that to China where 8 out of the 9 senior leaders hold such degrees.
    that makes no logic

  8. #16
    Nooblet Botanicadenta's Avatar
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    And thus is the rub! Although, I believe the "scientists just don't know" argument only applies once you break a certain level of understanding. It's almost Cthulian, it seems, that once scientific research reaches a certain point, it breaks all previous research. A part of me sees no problem with halting research beyond a certain point (QM, for example) and figure out everything before that in its entirety before blasting away at a topic we may have no practical use for at the time.

    I've felt recently that the LHC has been a little excessive, especially given that if we really wanted to do something with it, say, travel faster than light or open wormholes to new dimensions or trip about time and turn the building of the pyramids into a recreational activity, we'd need to be able to generate more energy than is contained in the known universe. Kind of a tall order.

    Inversely, discoveries at the LHC could uncover particle interactions that would allow us to devise methods of, say, preserving antimatter for longer than a quadrillionth of a second and actually make use of it a la' Star Trek, or muss about with quantum entanglement so that we have instantaneous communications that have no transmission times no matter where you happen to be in the universe. The prior less likely than the latter, but any shred of information would more than likely push advancement forward by 20 years or so.

    Or so they say. I'm more interested in Bio-engineering, really. Prosthetics that accurately interface with a biological nervous system(See March(or scurry) of the cyborgs). The problem is indeed that once you get to quantum scale, reality gets all the more complicated(so it seems) and unless the LHC turns up the big ToE, then there's not a lot for us to look forward to for particle physics until we start making megalithic testing centers somewhere between here and mars. That's not to say that we won't find something neat, but I wonder what would come about from it if we took the minds and funding in theoretical physics and put them to task on virus, or even cancer research.

    Irregardless, it does have its pluses. Assuming we can see the building blocks of existence without unraveling reality in the process, it may lead to very interesting times ahead. There's still some very solid questions, such as the nature of the observer and its ability to change reality by the act of observation alone. The very idea that there's a panophony of possibility in the first place staggers the mind when you think about it long enough. Curving back to Occam, the entire idea is bunk when you realize that the most stable state of being is that of nonbeing, and yet, undetected forces are at play. What inspired the first electron to jump from it's original atom to an alien nucleus? Why is it that life grows at such an incredible rate, covering a planet as it has almost completely out of an infinitude of ill-odds? Heinlein called it an inverse of entropy, I feel similarly.

    Of course, to go any further would be to plunge this into a furthermore so philosophical topic. Although I do believe that there's a few more detected realms to reality that have yet to be found. Gravity doesn't have a particle, even though the standard model demands one. What other invisible forces of cosmic nature could there be, then?

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