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Anonymous

Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan?
    #805386 - 08/08/02 07:34 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Here is another area where I think philosophy has something meaningful to say.

Consider this:

In the first place, let us note Niels Bohr's principle of complimentarity, which amounts to saying that conceiving the electron as a wave and conceiving it as a particle were not only alternative ways of conceiving it but complimentary ways of doing so.

As Werner Heisenberg pointed out, these are "two complimentary descriptions of the same reality.... These descriptions can only partially true, there must be limitations to the use of the particle concept as well as the wave concept, else one could not avoid contradictions. If one takes into account those limitations which can be expressed by uncertainty relations, the contradictions disappear."

In other words, Bohr's principle affirms the principle of non-contradiction as governing our thought, and it is a correct rule of thought only if non-contradiction is an ontological principle governing reality also.

In the second place, let us observe the extraordinary difference between experimental measurements performed by scientists in the realm of classical or macroscopic physics, the realm of objects larger that the atom. Here the properties of the object being measured by the physicists are properties that inhere in the objects themselves, and would exist in reality as such whether measured by physicists or not. In other words, the physical properties of the object and the object itself are not in any way affected by their scientific measurement.

The difference between quantum theory and classical physics lies in the fact that when we try to measure what is happening inside the atom our experimental measurements are intrusive; they affect the object being studied and confer upon the sub-atomic entities or events the properties attributed to them. Supra-atomic physical entities or events, on the other hand, are affected by our measurements to a negligible degree. The properties assigned to subatomic objects or events are conferred upon them by the experimental measurements that quantum physicists make.

The crucial problem to be solved, which Einstein tried but failed to solve, can be formulated by two alternative questions as follows:

1. Is the physical reality of objects and the events within the interior of the atom in itself indeterminate in character; or

2. Is reality at the level of subatomic objects and events indeterminate in itself?

The question was not answered satisfactorily by the thought experiment called the "Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox." The later thinking and experimental work that led to the confirmation of the Bell theorem favors the second answer. Almost all quantum physicists today accept the answer as correct. They think they know that subatomic reality is indeterminate in character. The regularities observed at the supra-atomic level, they say, arise solely from the statistical predictability of large aggregates of atoms. The indeterminacy attributed to subatomic objects and events by Heisenberg's uncertainty principles is not just their indeterminability by us; it is intrinsic to subatomic reality.

Now we can ask the question, "Are the cosmic principles of uncertainty, both in the subatomic and in the supra-atomic levels, epistemic of ontological?" That is to say, do they indicate:

1. Values that are indeterminate by us; or

2. Values that are in themselves indeterminate?

The two questions to which the quantum physicists think they know the right answers are philosophical, not scientific, questions. Questions that, if they can be answered at all, can only be answered by thought, not by research. Unfortunately for its effect on our thought, the quantum physicists presume to answer the questions as if the questions were answerable only by them in the light of their research findings. That is a serious mistake on their part. It is an egregious example of the presumption that scientists in many fields have made again and again in the current times.

Atoms really existed in all the centuries before the scientific work that established their real existence. Atoms had interiors in which physical entities existed and physical events occurred in all the centuries before these facts were 'scientifically established'. It is certainly fair to ask what the subatomic reality was during all those centuries. Was it like the subatomic reality described by the current quantum theory? Was it a physical reality having all the intrinsic character of indeterminacy, or was it an intrinsically determinate physical reality like the supra-atomic reality of classical physics?

To answer that question philosophically, it is logically necessary to bear in mind one point that the quantum physicists appear to forget or overlook. At the same time that the Heisenberg uncertainty principles were established, quantum physicists acknowledged that the intrusive experimental measurements that provided the data used in the mathematical formulations of quantum theory conferred on subatomic objects and events their indeterminate character.

The foregoing italicized words imply that the indeterminate character of subatomic objects and events is not intrinsic to them, not properties they have quite apart from their being affected in any way by the measurements made by intrusive experimental devices.

If the cause of the indeterminate values attributed to subatomic objects and events in quantum theory is the intrusive and disturbing measurement of those objects and events, then does not the elimination of that cause also eliminate its effect?

In other words, was not the physical reality of subatomic objects determinate in all those earlier centuries when the atom existed and had an interior that the experimental measurements of quantum mechanics did not intrude upon and disturb? Can quantum mechanics through its experimentally performed measurements be a disturbing and intrusive influence that affects the character of subatomic reality and, at the same time, can its exponents be certain that subatomic reality has the intrinsic indeterminacy that quantum theory attributes to it? Is the unexamined interior of the atom intrinsically indeterminate or is it like the determinate character of supra-atomic reality?

God knows the answer, as Einstein at the beginning of his controversy with Bohr declared when he said that God does not throw dice, which implied that the unexamined subatomic reality is a determinate reality. Whether or not God knows the answer, experimental science does not know it. Nor does philosophy know it with certitude. But philosophy can give a good reason for thinking that the subatomic reality is intrinsically determinate. The reason is that quantum theorists repeatedly acknowledge that their intrusive and disturbing measurements are the cause of the indeterminacy they attribute to subatomic objects and events. It follows, therefore, that that indeterminacy cannot be intrinsic to subatomic reality.

Unfortunately quantum theory has inadvertently given undue comfort to the worst tendency in contemporary thought, philosophical idealism or constructivism, which denies a reality that exists in complete independence of the human mind and that has whatever intrinsic character it has without being affected by how the human mind knows it or thinks about it.

To sum up:

Quantum theory is a theory of the examined interior of the atom. The scientific examination of that interior is, according to quantum theory, an intrusive disturbance of what is going on there. It follows that further development of quantum and additional scientific investigation cannot tell us about the character of the unexamined atomic interior.

Einstein was right that quantum theory is an incomplete account of subatomic reality. But he was wrong in thinking that that incompleteness could be remedied by means at the disposal of science. Why? Because the question that quantum theory and subatomic research cannot answer is a question for philosophy, not for science.

Cheers,


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InvisibleRebelSteve33
Amateur Mycologist
Male

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 3,774
Loc: Arizona
Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? [Re: ]
    #805398 - 08/08/02 07:43 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quantum theory is a theory of the examined interior of the atom. The scientific examination of that interior is, according to quantum theory, an intrusive disturbance of what is going on there. It follows that further development of quantum and additional scientific investigation cannot tell us about the character of the unexamined atomic interior.

I would definitely think this were true... If I believed in atoms, that is.

Einstein was right that quantum theory is an incomplete account of subatomic reality. But he was wrong in thinking that that incompleteness could be remedied by means at the disposal of science. Why? Because the question that quantum theory and subatomic research cannot answer is a question for philosophy, not for science.

So is anything that can't be explained by science a question for philosophy, then?


--------------------
Namaste.


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Anonymous

Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? [Re: RebelSteve33]
    #805429 - 08/08/02 07:54 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

What do you believe in, monads?

There are quite a few things where philosophy has the floor but tonight is late and I must flee.

Until then, my friend.

Cheers,


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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

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Registered: 07/13/99
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Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? hehehehe [Re: ]
    #806336 - 08/09/02 07:16 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Well, sir, that was a damn fine read.
Since you only hint at and allude to your real feelings on the matter (thanks, I hate it when people are shoving their perspective of an unknown down my throat), I have little to say. One thing I've noticed is that scientism seems unable to escape the infinitude of material layers (galaxies, solar systems, planets, continents, mountains, rocks, molecules, atoms, protons, quarks....) on its quest for a determinate universe (i.e. Superstring theory). What should that mean?

The other thing...
Determinism does not rule this universe.
Patterns emerge everyday long enough for us to ascribe meaning to them and then they disappear. A word in a cloud, a symphony of brake lights that cues up to the symphony playing on the radio, or a face on the side of a tree. Or maybe the pattern stays for a bit longer like the image of a religious figure on the side of a hardwater-stained building. We are pattern-seeking organisms, that's why we're always looking for meaning. We even anthropomorphize an intention behind a meaning that we find in a particular pattern... and then we worship it. I?m getting off-track here?

My point is that maybe the universe is only rational from a non-reductionist perspective. Maybe Einstein was wrong. Maybe there is true randomness in this universe. Maybe there is still hope. maybe


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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Anonymous

Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? hehehehe [Re: Sclorch]
    #806655 - 08/09/02 10:00 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Thank you Sclorch. A compliment from a peer is well received.

Your post was a beautiful explanation of what I think to be true. Well said.

Also thank you for taking the time and having the patience to read it.

Scientism? :

I am not a fan of scientism because of the subjective element in science. There are rules in philosophy that can properly be described as laws. There are three that are of utmost importance to philosophy, the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of excluded middle. These laws bind philosophy just as the laws of chemistry bind empirical science. Philosophy is also sometimes based on observations of physical evidence. A rock falling to the ground is a general observation of physical evidence. It does not require special equipment to observe it. General observations are as much the field of philosophy as they are of science. Where the two differ is what conclusions can be reached by the observation. Science might come out of the experience and propose that we try the same observation in a different environment, say outer space, and see what happens. Philosophy on the other hand might see the falling rock as proof of causation or the determinate nature of reality. When you say, "which would be a subjective speculation or interpretation" I find that the subject of subjectivity to be hazy at best. That is why I introduced the terms 'public' and 'private'. Do you see philosophy as 'highly speculative, subjective, and impossible to test'?

It's clear that there isn't a sharp line of demarcation in all areas of science or philosophy. However, in general, though philosophy and science interact in certain areas, today I would say the line is more clearly drawn than it was four or five centuries ago. It seems to me that science investigates the "what" questions of physical reality, and philosophy investigates the "why" questions of human existence. Human beings can turn to both science and philosophy (and a few other things) for a fuller understanding of life's mysteries. Science alone is not going to answer the questions of human existence, such as how to live most harmoniously, how we should treat others, what is the purpose of life, etc. Those are questions for philosophy, ethics or theology. And I believe the answers to those questions are necessarily subjective.

Let me try to draw a clearer line of demarcation between the two disciplines and see if it is helpful. Philosophy is a public enterprise. In other words, how it contains elements that are purely objective. Perhaps now is the time to define science and show how it contains elements that are purely subjective.

Science as most of us define it includes the disciplines ranging from astronomy to zoology. We don't need to list all of the sciences here for the purpose of explaining what science is; a cursory glance should be enough. Not all branches of science are experimental but that is not to say that they are not empirical. In fact, history, which is a completely separate discipline apart from the sciences, can be empirical as well by testing its theories or drawing its conclusions by reference to experience. So we can see that although every discipline that is scientific is empirical not every empirical discipline is science. Of course introducing such a distinction debars us from calling mathematics a science. To help us there we can call it a formal science.

Now with all those lines drawn, what, can we ask, is science? What is common to all forms of science? All the empirical sciences include within their respective domains investigation. By investigation I mean the process of deliberately making observations either for the express purpose of answering certain questions or solving certain problems or for the purpose of testing hypotheses, theories, conclusions, or conjectures. Accordingly, I call a discipline investigative in method if it proceeds to answer its questions, solve its problems, or test its answers and solutions by means of investigation as defined.

Now that we have introduced the concept of investigation it is now possible to introduce a further distinction in order to clarify the matter even more. It is necessary at this time to address a component that runs through all of the branches of empirical science and to some degree, life itself. Experience. Experience is not assertions; it is neither true nor false. It simply is. Unless we make a distinction between experience and knowledge we cannot say that our knowledge is based on experience just as we cannot demarcate the line between empirical and non-empirical disciplines without making a distinction between experience and investigation. For our purposes there are two kinds of experience, special and general. Special experience consists of the experiences that we have as a result of deliberate investigation whether it be watching an apple fall to the ground or gene splicing. Common experience, on the other hand, is all the other experiences we have without any investigation on our part. That means without asking any questions, without trying to test anything.

Common experience is the same for all men at all places at all times.

Theorizing and the very best that the human mind can accomplish, could not by itself produce a single shred of science without investigation and the data of special experience that it obtains.

The reason that I use the terms 'public' and 'private' is because some seem to use the word 'subjective' in the pejorative sense. That is to say they dismiss out of hand certain facts by saying they are merely 'subjective'. Notice I am not saying that anyone here does that. I just want to make sure that that doesn't happen.

Science itself contains a fair amount of 'subjective' interpretation and at times it seems to lead certain scientists into what I would call, error. Notice here a prima facie example:



"Despite widespread public belief in the ability of Koko to communicate with humans through sign language, linguistic researchers question the claims. Jim Swanson, professor of linguistics at Dakota State University, told ABC News On-line that Koko's trainers probably see what they want to see. "If a gorilla makes a gesture, the trainers see a postive response that they were looking for."
Koko's sign language communication may be the mimicking of trainers or a response to innnocent cueing. Over-interpretation of Koko's signs may also occur. Some signs produced at random by the gorilla might be counted as successes and recorded by researchers, while irrelevant signs are overlooked and unreported.
Time magazine dubbed Koko's internet chat session a "Dada exercise" noting that Penny Patterson as interpreter used "some pretty impressive logic to expand her simian friend's limited communication skills." A partial transcript from the session is revealing:

Question: Koko are you going to have a baby in the future?
Koko signs: Pink
Patterson explains: We had earlier discussion about colors today.
Question: Do you like to chat with people?
Koko signs: Fine nipple.
Patterson explains: Nipple rhymes with people, she doesn't sign people per se, she was trying to do a "sounds like..."
Question: Does she have hair? Or is it like fur?
Koko signs: Fine.
Patterson explains: She has fine hair.
Question: Koko, do you feel love from the humans who have raised you?
Koko signs: Lips, apple give me.
Patterson explains: People give her her favorite foods."

Yeah, Koko, "lips, apple give me" I completely understand.

Cheers,




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InvisibleSclorch
Clyster

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 07/13/99
Posts: 4,805
Loc: On the Brink of Madness
Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? hehehehe [Re: ]
    #807101 - 08/09/02 01:19 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Sounds like Penny has a degree in Dipshitology (an obscure Harvard degree). She's no scientist. She should try to get hooked up with that pet psychic bitch.

Interesting that you note this 'public' and 'private' subjectivity. Is this your invention?
I think it's great. I feel I'm often misinterpreted as dismissing subjectivity in the pejorative sense. Knocking subjective experience just to knock it is out of line. Knocking it for other reasons... that's my bag. I think you should come up with clearer definitions for 'public' and 'private' subjective experiences. I want to be sure I'm hearing you right. Thanks.


--------------------
Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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InvisibleMystical_Craven
mentally illpsychonaught

Registered: 06/16/02
Posts: 439
Loc: Earth
Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? hehehehe [Re: ]
    #807342 - 08/09/02 03:59 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Ooooh...my head hurts
Damn you Mr Mushrooms for making me think like that

Seriously though, I think both of those gargantuan posts of yours went right over my head. I kept finding myself getting to the end of each one going "now what was it I just read?" And then I'd re-read it and everything seemed to make sense as a went - but it was like I just couldn't absorb any of it. I'm guessing I need to read through it and make replies as I go...but for now, that's just too much like work. I'll try to get around to doing that later on tonight though (when I have more time) cause I can't help but feel like there's something I want to say about it - I just can't quite put it into words at the moment.

Good post though (I think)


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"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot


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Anonymous

Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? hehehehe [Re: Sclorch]
    #807416 - 08/09/02 04:52 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I started using the terms, public and private, because I had the same problem you did.

I'll give my complete explanation of each term in a little bit.

Jeez, I am surprised anyone tried to read all that. I generally do not write long posts because they bore me to tears and by the responses they usually get they probably bore others too.

If a post is too long my eyes glass over.

I'm kinda a one liner man myself.

Cheers,


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Anonymous

Re: Quantum Mechanics, tool of Satan? hehehehe [Re: Mystical_Craven]
    #807422 - 08/09/02 04:56 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Sorry to put you through that.

How's this:

Did you hear the one about the virgin and the pickle?

Seriously, take your time and ignore it if you want to. I am completely without ego and do not take anything the wrong way, ever.

Cheers,


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