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Offline angst

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« on: 13/09/2008 12:44:22 »
I was thinking about what quantum physics tells us about the indeterminacy of matter....and thinking about Einstein's words and I had a thought. Perhaps it is not down, purely to chance, as to the outcome of a measurement. Maybe it is when looked upon dryly, without any intention but to find the 'particle' in question's velocity or position. But what if that indeterminacy is the realm of intention?

We are lead to believe that in a spiritual setting intention behind an action is more important than the action itself. As the Buddhists would say, the path taken will lead to different fruits.

Just a thought for discussion...


 

Offline stevewillie

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« Reply #1 on: 14/09/2008 23:03:42 »
I wrote a book on intention, purpose and choice in the universe. It simply recognizes WE are part of the equation and our technology is part of nature. It seems obvious, but dualism is deeply seated in our consciousness. However, our intention has nothing to do with the results that are obtained in particle physics. In any proper scientific experiment, the whole point is that our human intentions DO NOT interfer with the results.   





 

Offline angst

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« Reply #2 on: 15/09/2008 00:16:38 »
I wrote a book on intention, purpose and choice in the universe. It simply recognizes WE are part of the equation and our technology is part of nature. It seems obvious, but dualism is deeply seated in our consciousness. However, our intention has nothing to do with the results that are obtained in particle physics. In any proper scientific experiment, the whole point is that our human intentions DO NOT interfer with the results.  







That is what I was trying to say when I wrote; Maybe it is when looked upon dryly, without any intention but to find the 'particle' in question's velocity or position.

Obviously there is no intention, other than to find a particle's velocity or position....
 

Offline Grant Silver

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« Reply #3 on: 02/10/2008 19:15:52 »
In the quantum world God not only plays dice, he cheats
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #4 on: 03/10/2008 00:12:48 »
I don't think you need to look in to spirituality to resolve this issue.

It's impossible to know whether Einstein really misunderstood indeterminacy or was deliberately choosing not to do so, but indeterminacy doesn't directly equate to chance.  There are logical problems where the only solutions are indeterminate by definition but chance plays no role at all.
 

Offline peppercorn

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« Reply #5 on: 03/10/2008 16:11:28 »
As an atheist, with a machine-view of conciousness I'm disturbed by having the observer impacting on the observed; as I believe Einstein was also (although he was a theist).

I have never been particularly comfortable with the 'many worlds' theorem for quantum-level outcomes, however...

I do think that this 'model' of the strangeness of quantum-mechanics is one that, on one hand gives us a simple to understand analogy:
      i.e. every observation determines which actual universe we find
      ourselves in afterwards - one for every possible quantum outcome.

On the other hand, the human mind is unable to truly deal with the concept of that many universes existing (infinite for all intents & purposes).  And doesn't it strike you as somehow messy?
 

lyner

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« Reply #6 on: 03/10/2008 23:51:33 »
The idea of ever increasing numbers of alternative universes is very unsatisfactory. It's along the lines of the "Turtles all the way down" explanation  used by flat Earth believers.
It, literally, opens more doors than it closes so it doesn't help my brain one little bit.
 

Offline angst

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« Reply #7 on: 05/10/2008 02:05:15 »
The idea of ever increasing numbers of alternative universes is very unsatisfactory. It's along the lines of the "Turtles all the way down" explanation  used by flat Earth believers.
It, literally, opens more doors than it closes so it doesn't help my brain one little bit.

Yes, I've never understood why theories are put together that ask more questions than they answer... except that they then keep the subject in question within the realms of 'science' - though it is untestable.

And, before anybody jumps on me for doing the same, I was not offering a theory, but rather a question.

There is clearly a level of indeterminacy and it is explained within current understanding by 'chance' in the form of probability - in response to LeeE's point.

Many phycisists don't like this model, and say things like 'I've always felt there was something not right about quantum physics'... Is it possible that this is because this indeterminacy may very well be beyond the realm of science to decode?
« Last Edit: 05/10/2008 02:06:52 by angst »
 

Offline ...lets split up...

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« Reply #8 on: 05/10/2008 17:49:24 »
I am also left wanting with the idea of many universes.

And this may be off the topic, but you ever feel that chance and probability only exist to us because we experience time as a constant moving forward? I'm very tired, so apologies if this sounds a bit stupid.
 

lyner

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« Reply #9 on: 05/10/2008 22:50:08 »
However, our intention has nothing to do with the results that are obtained in particle physics.


This is a dodgey area. I think it has been more or less accepted that  our choice / decision between options is carried out a fraction of a second before we are aware of it. How or even whether we actually make a decision is probably governed by the same sort of random processes that we observe (in simpler form) in fundamental particle experiments.
Our decisions are obviously not all 50 50 but based on a complicated set of weightings but, in the end "shall I go for the red shirt or the green shirt?" results in an arbitrary / random choice which we rationalise and reinforce after the event. This positive feedback mechanism is there to stabilise the system - rather like a Schmidt Trigger is / was used in electronic control systems.
Now why did I write that? Creepy ain't it?
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #10 on: 06/10/2008 16:45:07 »
And this may be off the topic, but you ever feel that chance and probability only exist to us because we experience time as a constant moving forward? I'm very tired, so apologies if this sounds a bit stupid.

It depends upon whether you believe that the future already exists, and we're just passing through it, or whether the future is created and the 'now' we occupy is on the leading edge of it.

If the time dimension is finite in extent, and after all, we have one end-point of it - at the BB 13.4 billion years ago, we could just be passing along a pre-existing time-line.  If however, the time dimension is not finite in extent and is expanding, we could be on the boundary of that expansion and constantly moving into 'new' time.

It's interesting to compare this possible extending of time with the extension of space due to the expansion of the universe:  with universal expansion, new space is created within an existing space environment that appears to have no boundaries whereas in an expanding time scenario there appear to be clear boundaries, one at the origin and the other at the 'now', and the expansion only occurs at the 'now' boundary.

In the context of people asking "what's outside the universe?, I think that the expanding time scenario illustrates quite nicely how you can have a boundary where nothing needs to exist outside it.
 

lyner

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« Reply #11 on: 06/10/2008 19:21:06 »
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It depends upon whether you believe that the future already exists, and we're just passing through it, or whether the future is created and the 'now' we occupy is on the leading edge of it.

Whether or not the future 'exists' in some way 'before' we get to it, doesn't stop it being random. A random sequence of numbers on a page in front of you are still random although you can see the first and last one in the sequence. The definition of a truly random process is one for which the autocorrelation function is a delta function- i.e. the only time the sequence matches itself at all is when it is laid over itself 'in phase'. (Mathematicians - please don't jump on me for that one.)

I think it is fascinating how our brains try to make sense of it all by having conversations like the present one. It's a sort of 'bootstrap' situation. Could we ever suss it out completely? I don't think so. It wouldn't be good for us in any case.
 

Offline angst

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« Reply #12 on: 07/10/2008 11:27:34 »
However, our intention has nothing to do with the results that are obtained in particle physics.


This is a dodgey area. I think it has been more or less accepted that  our choice / decision between options is carried out a fraction of a second before we are aware of it. How or even whether we actually make a decision is probably governed by the same sort of random processes that we observe (in simpler form) in fundamental particle experiments.
Our decisions are obviously not all 50 50 but based on a complicated set of weightings but, in the end "shall I go for the red shirt or the green shirt?" results in an arbitrary / random choice which we rationalise and reinforce after the event. This positive feedback mechanism is there to stabilise the system - rather like a Schmidt Trigger is / was used in electronic control systems.
Now why did I write that? Creepy ain't it?

Hmmm... you say this is a "dodgy idea", and then go on to extrapolate some random, pointless and ultimately meaningless choice as if they were the only choices that we make. Do you really consider that real choices that we make are made "a fraction of a second" before we act on them?

It is a "dodgy area" because it deals with a question that cannot and will not be faced by science. And that, I would suggest, is why quantum physcis, what it evidences, will continue to be looked upon by science as 'somehow wrong'.

What is truly a "dodgy idea" is this, that our choices are simply a random collection of 'switches' which we then justify as a choice. We become, then, mere drones, subject to electrical impulses, with no real will at all. That is the ultimate corollary of science without context - of materialism unbounded and ungrounded.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2008 11:33:40 by angst »
 

Offline angst

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« Reply #13 on: 07/10/2008 11:30:48 »
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It depends upon whether you believe that the future already exists, and we're just passing through it, or whether the future is created and the 'now' we occupy is on the leading edge of it.

Whether or not the future 'exists' in some way 'before' we get to it, doesn't stop it being random. A random sequence of numbers on a page in front of you are still random although you can see the first and last one in the sequence. The definition of a truly random process is one for which the autocorrelation function is a delta function- i.e. the only time the sequence matches itself at all is when it is laid over itself 'in phase'. (Mathematicians - please don't jump on me for that one.)

I think it is fascinating how our brains try to make sense of it all by having conversations like the present one. It's a sort of 'bootstrap' situation. Could we ever suss it out completely? I don't think so. It wouldn't be good for us in any case.


The fact that quantum physics shows us indeterminacy is, as I see it, a great sign that the future is created - it does not already exist
 

lyner

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« Reply #14 on: 07/10/2008 12:02:52 »
Indeterminacy is not, per se, a proof or disproof of whether the future is 'really there' before we get to it.
All that indeterminacy really says is that the 'next step' can't be inferred exactly from the present conditions. The same could be said for a list of (truly) random numbers or a recording of a past event.
If you were walking down a dark tunnel you would not know that the tunnel in front of you was there all the time or that it was being dug just to keep up with your forward motion.
And one must remember that we are only aware of the past, not even the present; our consciousness takes a  finite time to be aware of anything - even our decisions.
But, as far as we were concerned, it would make no difference.
This is yet another of the "what is really happening" questions to which there can't be an answer. Good fun to discuss but I think that's all.

 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #15 on: 07/10/2008 15:03:27 »
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It depends upon whether you believe that the future already exists, and we're just passing through it, or whether the future is created and the 'now' we occupy is on the leading edge of it.

Whether or not the future 'exists' in some way 'before' we get to it, doesn't stop it being random.

Well, in a pre-existing future, it doesn't stop the specific events in the sequence from being random but both each individual event and the sequence of those events will always be the same and therefore certain.  For example, if you take an existing sequence of random numbers, such as the lottery numbers for last year, although the values of the numbers are random, neither their sequence or their values will ever change - that sequence has become 100% certain.  If the future pre-exists, then that sequence of lottery numbers was always going to be what it turned out to be, even if we didn't know it at the time.
 

lyner

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« Reply #16 on: 07/10/2008 21:36:49 »
But would we know one way or the other?
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #17 on: 08/10/2008 04:43:32 »
Difficult to see how right now, so possibly not, although if we can figure out some of the other stuff i.e. mass, inertia via the HB and gravitons etc. then it might strongly suggest a non-pre-existing and expanding future.  Even if it can't be proved, it would be a more consistent solution - sort of more in fitting with the rest of the universe, if you see what I mean.  Arguably, it might be more probable.  ;D
« Last Edit: 08/10/2008 04:50:02 by LeeE »
 

lyner

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« Reply #18 on: 08/10/2008 09:01:57 »
I think we are suffering from our brain-limitation here. If we assume that time is some sort of dimension through which we are moving then our experience will show us things 'as they happen' (i.e. as we move along the path). But the expression 'as they happen' only refers to the variation of events along the timeline. Just like a graph of y = x2, which we can see on a page, we can trace out the parabola with our finger to the point (3,9) or we can predict where it will end up because we can see it all.

Basically I'm saying there is no distinction between the two views. If both models give the same answer then they are equivalent. It's just the way we choose to look at it - coloured by our usual subjective human approach to everything.
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #19 on: 08/10/2008 17:55:57 »
I don't think it's a brain-limitation problem, but rather one of our viewpoint.  Our brains can quite happily consider the two alternatives discussed so far, and see how they are fundamentally different - it's obtaining proof of one or the other that's the problem.

In view of the fundamental differences between the two alternatives, and even though they may appear to be equivalent to us, from our viewpoint, I think it's unwise to declare that they actually are equivalent without adding the viewpoint qualification.

Furthermore, I don't think that this problem is actually unsolvable.  While most people tend to split time from space and treat it differently, this is questionable.  For example, one of the seemingly obvious differences between space and time is that we can return to locations in space but we can't return to locations in time.  However, if we return to a previously visited location, the place itself will not be the same as it was on the previous visit because it will have changed over time, so although we can move back and forth spatially, we always end up at a new place.  Moreover, the idea of returning to a location, or just walking back and forth across a room, while implying both positive and negative movement through a spatial dimension, can be argued to be exclusively forward motion - we never walk backwards when we want to return to a spatial location, or get back to the other side of the room.  With no universal reference point, any displacement between two positions can only be regarded as positive - we never consider something to be a negative distance away - it's always a positive distance.

The idea that we can move freely in three dimensions is also a bit misleading in that any movement we make is only ever one-dimensional - if we really moved in two or three dimensions simultaneously, it would mean that we were actually getting bigger - movement results in a line, not an area or a volume.
 

lyner

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« Reply #20 on: 08/10/2008 23:09:12 »
I'm not sure I agree with your spacial dimension ideas. The fact is that you can move in any of three spacial dimensions. Forward, turn right then turn up. The overall effect may be a simple translation but you got there without going in a straight line. Three dimensions (whether in cartesian, polar or intrinsic coordinates) all involve three possible changes of parameter and the parameters are independent. For example, a straight line, in polar coordinates cannot be achieved by changing only one dimension except when the line passes through the origin.
Also, in front or behind you corresponds to two signs of displacement.

Where time is concerned, we have no option about where we are going or in which direction.
All this stuff is the basis of cartesian geometry and it is true that, in the wider view (GR and ~Cosmological considerations) the system ceases to be linear and the rate at which we are traveling through time may vary.
However, the principles involved still hold.
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #21 on: 12/10/2008 15:18:56 »
Although we can move freely through three dimensions we do so only one dimensionally, regardless of whether we move in a straight line or not.

For example, imagine looking down on someone walking from above: they can move forwards, backwards, left or right but because there's no universal reference, and regardless of which direction they are moving in, at any point on their journey they will only be moving in one direction and their course will be a line.  It doesn't matter if the line is straight or not - it's a line and it has no area.  For a person to move two dimensionally though, their course would have to result in an area, not a line, and the result would be that they'd end up occupying two locations at the same time (and possibly every other location in between) - both the one in front and the one to the side.

If there's a problem, it lies with assigning arbitrary +ve & -ve signs to the displacements - this is just a mathematical abstraction and doesn't work at all well in this instance.  If you assign +ve to forward and -ve to backwards are you then a -ve distance away from where you were if you take a step backwards?  Furthermore, how far away would you be if you took a step sideways instead of forward or backward?  As there's no forward or backwards displacement in this arbitrary measurement system you wouldn't have moved at all.

Think about something in orbit.  Regardless of whether it's following a circular or a highly elliptical path, at any point on the orbit it'll only ever be moving in one direction.  It's then easy to extend this to non-closed and irregular paths.
 

lyner

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« Reply #22 on: 12/10/2008 18:17:15 »
We're down to the definition of what a dimension is. It is necessary to use three spatial dimensions in order to describe the layout of things. We have a choice of how we travel in this frame. Yes, you can describe motion as infinitessimal steps 'in a straight line' but that's not relevant to the existence of three spacial dimensions.
Vectors 'work' and they involve (any number of) dimensions and signs (+/-). Pythagoras and other methods will tell you how far you have  moved if you can describe how you have displaced  in a set of steps where  you have changed the x,y and z coordinates - including the use of positive and negative motions - this is all well established stuff. You can, of course, travel a long way but achieve a small displacement. Round in a circle or 10 forwards and 10 backwards.

I don't think your description of someone's experience of moving through space is sufficient to allow you to discount the existence of three dimensions as not relevant.
I don't see how you  can argue that moving through time (whether you want to or not - etc) is just the same as moving 'at will' through the three dimensions we know and love.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2008 21:01:25 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #23 on: 12/10/2008 23:53:26 »
I don't think this comes down to the definition of a dimension and neither is it about infinitessimal steps in a straight line.  The direction of movement along any course that an object may take, in one, two or three dimensions, is the tangent to the curve at that point - this is a one dimensional vector.  Now if you apply a co-ordinate scheme to the space you are working with, you could indeed say that the vector is going in a +ve or -ve direction, but that co-ordinate scheme is arbitrary and could be aligned in any direction - just as 'up' to us here in the U.K. is 'down' to the folks in Australia and at an arbitrary angle to everyone else on the Earth.  What actually makes the most sense is to align the co-ordinate system with the tangent and then it's clear that you are only moving in one direction.

Vectors do indeed work - and when when you sum vectors using Pythagoras you get a single vector result.  Interestingly, Pythagoras uses squares 'internally' but still produces a one-dimensional answer.

Well, the argument for movement through space being similar to movement through time (and I only said that the difference between them is questionable, not that they were the same) comes down to the displacement resulting from movement always being a +ve value.  Stand a bunch of people in a circle, all facing in, and ask them how far away they are from the center - they'll just give an absolute value because there is no universal reference frame.  Turn them around so they're facing out and they'll still give the same answer.  Direction isn't the same as distance.
 

lyner

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« Reply #24 on: 13/10/2008 08:56:43 »
Quote
Interestingly, Pythagoras uses squares 'internally' but still produces a one-dimensional answer.
That's because the answer is a Scalar and not a vector. Half the information has been lost. Your people in a circle would need to specify actual direction, as a bearing (which implies sign) if they wanted to arrange to meet each other in the centre. Displacement and distance are, of course, not the same thing.

They could not, however, decide to part company in time; nor could they arrange to meet last Tuesday.

Quote
What actually makes the most sense is to align the co-ordinate system with the tangent and then it's clear that you are only moving in one direction.
That would mean that, for two people to arrange to meet somewhere, one of them would have to change his local coordinate system to coincide with the other guy's or they would have no idea how to do it.
I still think that you haven't really thought through what dimensions are all about. If you can't move in three independent spatial dimensions then the majority of space is not accessible to you. All you could do is to move along a line or a long curly wurly piece of string.
Time is one such straight line and we know that we are limited to traveling along one path, without choice.
 

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