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#35973 09/06/10 08:16 AM
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Quantum theory and Reality.
==========.
" Physicists have traditionally expected that science should give
an account of reality as it would be in our absence. . . . . . . . .
It cannot be that reality depends on our existence,
. . . . .
Philosophers call this view realism.
. . . the real world . . . must exist independently of us. It follows that
the terms by which science describes reality cannot involve in any
essential way what we choose to measure or not measure."
/ The trouble with physics. page 6 - 7.
Lee Smolin. /

It cannot be that reality depends on our existence and or on our measurement
What was before the man began its measure?
What was in the beginning ?
Socratus.

Quantum mechanics, at least in the form it was first proposed,
did not fit easily with realism. This is because the theory
presupposed a division of nature into two parts.
On one side of the division is the system to be observed. . . . . . .
.. . on the other side . . . .
/ The trouble with physics. page 7.
Lee Smolin. /

Quantum mechanics, at least in the form it was first proposed,
did not fit easily with realism. This is because the theory
presupposed a division of nature into two parts.
These two parts are Material and Vacuum worlds.
On one side of the Material system we can observe.
On the other side . . . . quantum theory tells us that the
Vacuum world exist even in our absence.
Can my opinion be right?
It is right because QED says when electron interacts with Vacuum all its parameters
became infinite. But this is forbidden by the law of energy conservation and transformation.
So, what is Vacuum?
It is new Physical Reality.
So, what is problem?
The problem is that we know the law of electron conservation,
but we don't know the law of electron transformation?
==========================.
Israel Socratus.

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Originally Posted By: Socratus
What was before the man began its measure?
What was in the beginning ?


Perhaps quantum theory gives us a small window into infinity. It may not be meaningful to ask what happened before we started to measure things(i.e. to make observations). In infinity (=eternity) nothing can happen, because there can be no change. It could be that what we perceive as time, stretching back to the Big Bang, or whatever, is simply a feature of our limited perception.


There never was nothing.
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In the measurement process, a chain of events is created in which 'something out there' gets interfered with and through the mediation of scientific measuring instruments and indeed, our nervous system, a 'measurement' is deemed to have been made. In the absence of the forgoing how would 'reality be the same when undisturbed? In my view, we and all other living things are 'participants' in creating new patterns in nature, and if you think about it a little, this is really equivalent to saying that we, as a conscious part of the universe, is the universe redefining itself via consciousness.

The old question of whether a tree makes a sound in a forest when there are no 'ears' about seems pertinent here.

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Originally Posted By: Socratus
It cannot be that reality depends on our existence,
. Were you asking, here, who/what did the observing before we were around to do it? If so, abacus9900's response to the question "how would 'reality be the same when undisturbed?" addresses the same point, but still does not answer the original question.

Originally Posted By: abacus9900
The old question of whether a tree makes a sound in a forest when there are no 'ears' about seems pertinent here
.

As long as one interprets the “no-ears” as meaning no creature capable of hearing, then the answer must be “no”. Sound waves are vibrations; they become sound only when interpreted by the appropriate auditory organs. No ears, no sound


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Quote:
Were you asking, here, who/what did the observing before we were around to do it? If so, abacus9900's response to the question "how would 'reality be the same when undisturbed?" addresses the same point, but still does not answer the original question.



It may be the case that reality does not have the same meaning for all observers. For example, could we really say that reality for, say, an earthworm is to be considered the same as it is for us? I don't think so and it seems to be closely related to the complexity of the observer. I'm not saying there is no reality in the absence of observers (more specifically us) but what kind of reality? It seems nonsense to me to assert that reality is always fixed and unchanging regardless of who or what is observing it, or, if you like, 'measuring' it.

Quote:


As long as one interprets the “no-ears” as meaning no creature capable of hearing, then the answer must be “no”. Sound waves are vibrations; they become sound only when interpreted by the appropriate auditory organs. No ears, no sound



Yes, sound waves are a form of energy, however, can we really say that sound waves alone, without interacting with the delicate structures of a human ear and the central nervous system, constitute sound?

The same energy, when interacting with a piece of rock, cannot be compared to the same 'experience' as a person has.

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Originally Posted By: abacus9900
we really say that reality for, say, an earthworm is to be considered the same as it is for us? I don't think so and

Sure, why not? We certainly each perceive reality differently but that doesn't change what it is. It just means we aren't all omniscient.


I used to have an idea about different realities a bit like Schrodinger's cat. When you have some random event, like an atomic decay, any 'stuff' that recieved information about that event would count as an observer, and would cause the wave function collapse for just that observer. Other 'observers' who had no information exchange with the first one, would experience their own version of reality - maybe one observer sees the dead cat an the other a living cat.

Well haha maybe it's not my idea at all but just Schrodinger's one. Tho my spin on it was that for two different observers to see different realities, they have to be unable to share information. Say the decay bumps a neighboring atom, that atom bumps its neighbors, etc. All those atoms have to experience the same reality. And if they're all part of the same macroscopic machine/lab/room then eventually they'll all communicate the event to each other, so they must all agree. If we ever try to seperate them, and take measurements from different observers. That act of reading the dials will communicate information between the two observers and force them to have agreed all along.

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Quote:


Tho my spin on it was that for two different observers to see different realities, they have to be unable to share information.



Well, there are animals that can sense certain information that humans cannot. Certain frequencies of light and sound aren't available to human senses but are to some animals. True, we can measure these frequencies but is that the same as really 'sharing' direct information?

Also, how could we possibly share scientific information with an earthworm? This is what I meant by different realities.

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Originally Posted By: abacus9900
however, can we really say that sound waves alone, without interacting with the delicate structures of a human ear and the central nervous system, constitute sound?


I feel sure we cannot say that, but I would not agree that the human ear etc. is a necessity, there are plenty of other creatures that must be able to convert sound waves into sound.

This is a bit of a diversion, though, as is sharing information with earthworms. The central question seems to be something like this:

Is there an objective reality "out there", or is it all in the minds of observers? Whichever side of that fence one comes down on, one must land on a multitude of other questions.


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Originally Posted By: Bill S.
Is there an objective reality "out there", or is it all in the minds of observers? Whichever side of that fence one comes down on, one must land on a multitude of other questions.

Bill, maybe you could rephrase your question as: "Is there a reality 'out there', or is there only (my) mind?". Does it make a difference to you? I think not. Either way you are aware of a self-consistent universe.


"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler
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Quote:
I feel sure we cannot say that, but I would not agree that the human ear etc. is a necessity, there are plenty of other creatures that must be able to convert sound waves into sound.



Yes, but all you're doing here is posing the question of whether living things with ears are a necessity for sound.
It seems to me it is a question of how 'simple' you want to make an 'observer' to test whether reality is very different for them in comparison to us and other higher animals.




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Quote:
Bill, maybe you could rephrase your question as: "Is there a reality 'out there', or is there only (my) mind?". Does it make a difference to you? I think not. Either way you are aware of a self-consistent universe.



I think the most reasonable position to take is that there is a reality out there but that we are compelled to interpret it in terms of our mental 'lens'; we have no choice. Our species has evolved over time to deal with the everyday world of 'big' objects and this is reflected in our psychological make-up. We use concepts in science which originate from our set of mental skills shaped by evolution but the problem is we will always be constrained by our limited ability to 'map' reality. Even maths is a kind of analogy, when you think about it.

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Originally Posted By: abacus9900
Yes, sound waves are a form of energy, however, can we really say that sound waves alone, without interacting with the delicate structures of a human ear and the central nervous system, constitute sound?

The same energy, when interacting with a piece of rock, cannot be compared to the same 'experience' as a person has.

Just a quick review this, for the sake of adding my two cents worth. Certain ranges of frequencies of compression and sheer waves, occurring in various transmitting media, can be detected by the auditory apparatus of living organisms. We call these waves 'sound waves' simply because when they are thus detected, they create a sensation that we call 'sound'. In the absence of suitable detection apparatus there is, of course, no perceived sound. In other words, in the absence of ears, or the equivalent, there is no sound, since sound is the subjective sensory interpretation of sound waves, not the actual waves themselves.

Originally Posted By: abacus9900
I think the most reasonable position to take is that there is a reality out there but that we are compelled to interpret it in terms of our mental 'lens'...

That's a conclusion hard to refute.


"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
maybe you could rephrase your question as: "Is there a reality 'out there', or is there only (my) mind?".


I deliberately avoided saying "my" mind, as I thought this might lead to a digression into solipsism.

Originally Posted By: abacus9900
Even maths is a kind of analogy, when you think about it.


This is a fact that is all too easily overlooked. Such is the power of maths that it is easy to mistake it for reality.


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Quote:

Originally Posted By: abacus9900
Even maths is a kind of analogy, when you think about it.


This is a fact that is all too easily overlooked. Such is the power of maths that it is easy to mistake it for reality.



Yes, if you think about it, where did maths originally come from? It came from attempts to keep track of things in our four dimension spacetime world. So, whatever kind of maths is employed with which to try to understand the quantum world it will be like using a spanner to loosen a screw; it is simply incompatible with the strange world of quantum mechanics. The fundamental problem is maths is a symbolic reflection of the way the mind works (OK, some very clever minds, I grant you) but, nevertheless, if you look upon maths and indeed language as a kind of 'mind stuff' then it will always be struggling to describe a world that might even exist in other dimensions. Who can experience other dimensions? Nobody that I know of!

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Originally Posted By: abacus9900
will always be struggling to describe a world that might even exist in other dimensions. Who can experience other dimensions? Nobody that I know of!


That's a perfect example of where math can easily describe things that our minds can't do directly. I don't think it's fair to say math is limited too much by our minds.

I think too many people say "oh it's just math you can use it to prove anything, it's not the real world".

But if the real world follows some mathematical description, then it doesn't matter what clever math tricks you use, you'll always still be describing the real world.

The problem comes when it turns out the real world never perfectly followed that mathematical description in the first place, and using extreme extrapolations led to big errors. But that's not a problem with math, it's a problem with not knowing the true behavior of nature in the first place.

One example might be black holes. They say, oh when you have very dense matter it's constrained from collapsing by the chemical bonds. Then if you make it denser it's bashes through them and is constrained again by nuclear forces, then you make it denser still it overcomes those and is now constrained by the Pauli exclusion principle or something. Then you increase the density more and it overcomes that but now there's nothing to constrain it so it collapses all the way to a singularity.

It may turn out that there really is something to catch it again and prevent a true singularity. If we find that, it'd be wrong to say "we were misled by out limited math". We would only have been misled by not knowing about that extra 'force' holding it apart.

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I'm no mathematician, but I do know some of them have made geometric models which are supposed to incorporate extra dimensions into them but nobody can actually 'see' extra dimensions - we evolved in a three dimensional world so our brains are designed that way. I think we would need a brain that existed in extra dimensions to appreciate them.

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Originally Posted By: k
I don't think it's fair to say math is limited too much by our minds.


In some ways this is true, but maths, as we use it, is a tool created by the human mind, and its use, if not its potential, is limited by our minds. It might be argued that because maths describes the universe so well, the universe must be mathematical, but this can be a circular argument. One could say that Constable's paintings depicted the Suffolk countryside extremely well, but I think it would require a particular degree of madness to extrapolate from that that the Suffolk countryside was composed of canvass and paint.

I accept that maths can be used to produce representations of more dimensions than our minds can readily visualise, so to that extent maths is not restricted by the limitations of our minds, but what we do with those representations, and how we interpret them is strictly limited by our mental capabilities.


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Bill, I like to think of it as the universe that has attained consciousness (us) on a quest to define itself. I cannot offer any scientific validation of this but I feel that mind has a central role in the definition of reality. Roger Penrose has hinted at this but has been guarded about his views due to the negative reactions of the scientific establishment. I believe Roger has suggested a study of human consciousness as a legitimate field of study and I think this might be the way forward to gaining a deeper understanding of our relationship with 'reality.' Perhaps if and when we do attain a better knowledge of the ways our brain and mind work we might be in a better position to move on and reconcile our relationship with the universe.

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Yes, consciousness gives meaning to the cosmos.

So, abacus, are you saying that you believe the universe was programmed to attain consciousness for the specific purpose of defining itself? If it is a 'quest', then that requires a pre-existing intelligence/consciousness, right?


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Originally Posted By: redewnur
consciousness gives meaning to the cosmos.


Presumably this would indicate that there was consciousness in the cosmos before life as we know it appeared. Perhaps even the suggestion that the cosmos itself is a conscious entity.


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