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Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #25 on: 11/08/2010 22:32:33 »
Greetings again Peppercorn,

Null hypotheses: 

1. Everything in your life today is certain.

2. So is everything in the life of everyone you know.

3. The future is entirely certain.

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #26 on: 12/08/2010 04:47:51 »
Greetings Geezer,

Thank you for that observation.  Uncertainty can exist in relation to time or space.  Indeed, as I'm sure you know, the uncertainty principle is based on the fact that it is impossible to measure the position and momentum of an atomic object accurately at the same time.  For example, the position of an electron may be measured using short wavelength radiation but, in doing so, the high energy imparted makes measurement of momentum more difficult.  If longer wavelength radiation is used, the energy imparted is less, making the meaurement of momentum more accurate, but the position of the electron is less easily determined.  Heisenberg was foced to conclude: We cannot know as a matter of principle the present in all its details.

In this analysis, five dimensions are evident ~ position (space), momentum (time and space) and uncertainty.   

It is also important to note that dimensions are not just about physics.  They relate to all life and phenomena, and in particular human behaviour, which has many scientific streams.  Could we even exist without space, time and uncertainty?

Until recently, religion played the role of 'managing' uncertainty for humankind.  The emergence of science based on evidence and critical analysis has removed much of the superstition from our thinking.  But the fact remains we still have to deal with the uncertainty in our lives and, for that reason alone, we need to come to terms with it in a more open and constructive manner.

Behavioural scientists have struggled with uncertainty because it is difficult for behavioural research to attain the level of precision available to the so-called hard sciences.  Quantum mechanics changed all that for physicists.  As Neils Bohr expressed it, with words to the effect that if you are not shocked by quantum mechanics, you don't understand it.

This topic is vitally important to human development and endeavour.  We need to let go of four-dimensional space-time and embrace five-dimensional space-change, where the dimensions of change are time and uncertainty.

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline peppercorn

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #27 on: 12/08/2010 11:54:41 »
Greetings again Peppercorn,   Null hypotheses:   1. Everything in your life today is certain.   2. So is everything in the life of everyone you know.   3. The future is entirely certain.Regards, Sandstone.
Thanks  ???  That's clarified everything  :-\

So what evidence is there for a macroscopic fifth dimension, ie. not one wrapped up to a sub-atomic diameter?

And what has this theoretical additional dimension got to do with understanding the reasons behind the uncertainty principle?  Are you saying that we would loose all the fuzziness of individual particles if we were 'standing' in four dims of space?
If so I would say the idea has some aesthetic merit, but it would need a mathematically-consistent theory that could be tested against observations.
Can you respond to these questions, please?  After all, what use is a 'new theory' without testable predictions?
« Last Edit: 12/08/2010 11:56:12 by peppercorn »
 

Offline imatfaal

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #28 on: 12/08/2010 14:10:55 »
Sandstone - your knowledge of uncertainty seems a little weird for someone propounding a theory based upon it.  Uncertainty isn't merely a failure of accuracy in measurement as the heisenberg microscope gedankan might imply; it's the resolution of a mathematical commutivity paradox that is inherent in quantum mechanical matrices.  the precision may be limited but this is not a measuring inaccuracy but an essential quality of the particle.  it is not just that one cannot measure position/momentum accurately, it is that one cannot know these quantities to arbitrary accuracy.   Indeterminacy is hijacked by many social scientists and theorists to claim that the physical sciences are as subjective as any endeavour and have lost their rigour; this is just not the case.

You say that we need to embrace 5 dimension of space-time-uncertainty but you are yet to explain why; we need one unexplained observation that is understandable through the new theory.  I would also love to see your answers to peppercorns questions. 

 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #29 on: 12/08/2010 14:31:44 »
Peppercorn,

Thank you for persevering.  The evidence of uncertainty at the macroscopic level is overwhelming.  But it is not just about physics.  Our very lives require us to be conscious of space, time and uncertainty.  Indeed, without space, time and uncertainty, we would not exist.  

As I'm sure you realised, the intention of the null hypotheses was to invite you to disprove them and, in doing so, to find your own evidence.  

Any form of risk involves value, exposure and the uncertainty associated with that exposure.  In engineering, the elements of risk identified by engineers are hazard and probability, where probability is a measure of uncertainty.  In engineering design, allowance is made for contingencies.  

In human behaviour, the intensity of emotion depends on the degree of uncertainty associated with an emotion-evoking  stimulus.

The state of the economy is heavily influenced by uncertainty.  Tolerance of uncertainty is inversely related to perceived stakes and consequences.

As you would know, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle arises from the difficulties of attempting to measure the location and momentum of a quantum object at the same time.  Uncertainty is a consequence.  Have you looked at Capra's discussion on wave packets?

When you talk about prediction, you are acknowledging the presence of uncertainty.  The future is always uncertain. Prediction is one way to address it.  Identifying the possibilities in a given situation and having a contingency plan for each one is another, but keep an eye out for the 'black swans'.  

To quote Stephen Toulmin ('Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity', 1990):

... we need to balance the hope for certainty and clarity in theory with the impossibility of avoiding uncertainty and ambiguity in practice.



  




  
 

Offline peppercorn

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #30 on: 12/08/2010 15:39:07 »
Peppercorn,

Thank you for persevering.  ....
[followed by a lot of avoidance and irrelevance]  

As imatfaal expresses I not the only one struggling with your constant tangential statements that fail to move the discussion forward.  I agree with him that you appear to have perverse view of what QM together with the Uncertainty Principle mean and even at what scale it applies.
You now appear to have shifted sideways (once again) into issues of understanding macroscale risks and your (wrong) ideas on their relevance to uncertainty in the very small.

Imatfaal has put the key issue more concisely than me, so I will ask (once more before I give up) in his words:
"You say that we need to embrace 5 dimension of space-time-uncertainty but you are yet to explain why; we need one unexplained observation that is understandable through the new theory."
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #31 on: 12/08/2010 19:48:22 »
Greetings Peppercorn,

The point is science is already using a five-dimensional paradigm, but is refusing to admit that it is. 

The fifth dimension is a concept in denial, which you have demonstrated with great vigour.  The last time this was done on such a grand scale was Western society's denial of zero, and we know what happened after it got past that perceptual block. 

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #32 on: 13/08/2010 07:21:23 »
Surely movement in one spatial dimension can avoid any movement in another spatial dimension - we can move on the x axis and have y and z stay as zero.  to me this is fairly axiomatic for spatial dimensions.  you cannot give a value of x in terms of the y unit vector etc - but for every movement in the x axis there must be uncertainty (which is quantifiable).  it still strikes me that uncertainty is much clearer and works as a mathematical tool when considered within the standard 3 spatial dimensions.

Matthew, No problem with that except that the quantification of uncertainty is a measure and the point we seem to be struggling with is that in measuring uncertainty you are treating it as a dimension. 

Dynamic systems require five measures in order to provide adequate description.  Dimensions are the instruments of measurement, not the phenomena being measured.

In this context, you might appreciate a quote from Henry Margenau: 'The central recognition of the theory of relativity is that geometry... is a construct of the intellect.'  The Greek mathematicians had assumed that geometry WAS reality, not a mental construct of reality.  Philosophically, you could argue that geometry is a form of representational reality.  Similarly, the 'dimension' of uncertainty is a mental construct of the inability to attain precise measurement in four dimensions, due to the nature of Nature. 

This is not a scientific failing necessarily; rather it is a fact of life.  But it is not about to go away any time soon.  On the contrary, the evidence suggests it is here for the duration, and that in itself is uncertain.   

Mathematicians seem to grasp the concept of the fifth dimension more readily than others.  Your statement above is based on coordinate geometry.  Are we now talking semantics?

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline JP

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #33 on: 13/08/2010 08:49:30 »
Dynamic systems require five measures in order to provide adequate description. 

Can you tell me five measures that are sufficient to describe a spinless particle moving in a vacuum?
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #34 on: 13/08/2010 09:29:10 »
No JP, but a cursory look at the literature seems to suggest that corrections are involved, which might indicate that curved space-time does not quite do it.

A specific question of that nature suggests that you either have the answer or an informed view of what the answer should be.  How does that line up against the following statement?

"With the advent of quantum mechanics, we have come to recognize that events cannot be predicted with complete accuracy but that there is always a degree of uncertainty."

Stephen Hawking, 'A Brief History of Time'.
 

Offline JP

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #35 on: 13/08/2010 09:43:28 »
I do have an answer that does it in four measures: three components of momentum, and one of energy.  Then you have a plane wave describing the particle's state exactly*, which also includes its uncertainty relations.  What do you find wrong with this description?

*: When I say exactly, what I mean is that the state is determined to the fullest extent that quantum mechanics allows.  This automatically includes the uncertainty relations, since they're built into the rules of quantum mechanics.  That's exactly what Hawking's quote is saying--that quantum mechanics builds uncertainty into the laws of physics--not that uncertainty requires an additional measurement to be made.
« Last Edit: 13/08/2010 09:52:52 by JP »
 

Offline imatfaal

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #36 on: 13/08/2010 12:16:25 »
Sandstone, I think the problem is that you are approaching this from a philosophical rather than scientific point of view.  No one here has argued that dimensions are not a construct - but part of the idea of dimensions is their independence from each other.  One dimension can uniquely determine any point on a line, two any point on a plane, three any point in our perceived space, four a point in space and time.  What I was saying above and you misconstrued is that we do not treat uncertainty as a dimension and we do not need to.  a dimension provides a unit base that cannot be provided in the other dimensions - uncertainty is not free from other dimensions it is ultimately bound with them. 

There are strict mathematical inequalities that bind the uncertainty (as a standard deviation) of the position of a quantum state, with the uncertainty of the momentum with a fraction of plancks constant (h bar over 2).  This is why i was trying to explain to you the simplified idea of the x unit vector and the y unit.  on a plane, any point, vector, or shape can be uniquely defined in terms of x-hat and y-hat; but no point off the plane (eg above or below the plane) can be defined in terms of x-hat and y-hat - for this we need to introduce the idea of the third dimension z-axis and z unit vector.  The different dimensions describe different qualities of an object.   uncertainty can be and is defined in terms of the current dimensional model  - I do not need a z unit vector to describe a point on the 2 dimensional xy plane and I do not need a new dimension to describe the uncertainty of a quantum state within the three spatial dimensions and the time dimension.

Matthew
 

Offline peppercorn

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #37 on: 13/08/2010 12:31:43 »
I can't believe I'm going to get on this round-a-bout again, but, well here-goes:

The point is science is already using a five-dimensional paradigm, but is refusing to admit that it is.
Where is it used (ref, please!)? It would be by far the smartest move you have made if you were to actually reference a paper explaining (or even rationally outlining) anything about what advantages 5-dim. space-time would offer the scientific community!

The fifth [dimensional space-time] is a concept in denial, which you have demonstrated with great vigour.
Only in the same way as 'in denial' about the concept of tooth fairy!

For pity's sake will you answer this or not?
You say that we need to embrace 5 dimension of space-time-uncertainty but you are yet to explain why; we need one unexplained observation that is understandable through the new theory.

Sandstone, I really would like remain involved in advancing this thread to some logical conclusion, but will not post again unless you can supplying a competent response (or reference - not another quote!) to at least one of the perfectly fair questions that people here have expressed.
« Last Edit: 13/08/2010 12:34:51 by peppercorn »
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #38 on: 13/08/2010 13:57:41 »
Peppercorn,

Thank you going round one more time, but I suspect we may have reached an impasse.

If this were just a case of presenting a new theory for testing, the questions might be plausible.  But actually what is being proposed here is much broader than that. 

Over the last century, it has become apparent that the scientific understanding of Nature has changed markedly.  The question is: Has scientific thought, or philosophy of science, kept pace?  Is the gap between new scientific discovery and the old scientific paradigm reaching breaking point?

The uncertainty chestnut is not just about measurement imprecision; it is about a new understanding of Nature. Hawking describes the progression rather well.   

Perhaps the simplest solution at this point might be to ask the philosophers of science to review advancements in scientific discovery with respect to the prevailing paradigm and see what adaptations, rather than adjustments, are required, to make the New Science more meaningful. 

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #39 on: 13/08/2010 17:14:04 »
Sandy,  

the philosophy of science is not science; any judgment of science through philosophical tests is flawed.  science cannot exist without a tacit understanding of the meta-science by which science judges itself; but that discipline (at present peer review/ double blind controls/theory prediction confirmation etc) is not science per se.  the paradigm of science has changed from deterministic to a more probabalistic turn; but this is because the observations, scientific method, and the maths demands it.  your ideas are appealing and have a strangeness that works; but they also need mathematical rigour and observational evidence.  The reason Einstein's groundbreaking ideas were accepted was that they worked - they explained observations that previous theories couldnt, and led to predictions that were subsequently validated. 

In a sentence - what doesn't work at the moment which will do once we accept that uncertainty is the fifth dimension?  Please give a substantive answer and not just another vague quotation.

Matthew
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #40 on: 13/08/2010 18:57:14 »
Matthew,

I appreciate the effort you have expended to explain this to me.  You acknowledge that the paradigm has changed, but you retain the old terminology.  Would it be fair to distinguish between the old and the new paradigms by now descibing them as 'deterministic space-time' and 'probabilistic space-time' respectively?

An independent review might be more objective than science reviewing itself.  But you say that philosophical tests are flawed.  So science can assess philosophical methods, but philosophy cannot assess scientific thought? 

Interesting!

Regards, 'Sandy'.
 

Offline imatfaal

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« Reply #41 on: 13/08/2010 20:38:20 »
Sandy, I never said philosophy can be judged or deemed with or without merit by science - please re-read.  I said there is a separation - that philosophy cannot be used to assess correctness of science; I would also say that science has no place in assessing philosophical or artistic merit. 

You seem to be under the misapprehension that because the idea of strict mechanistic determinism has been transcended that the tools, mathematics, and terminology that under-pinned physics have been jettisoned.  This is simply not true.   Now more than ever before the technical detail that provides the foundation of physics is crucial; we have arrived at energies so high, particles so small, distances so profound that sometimes all we have left is the formal mathematics.

An independent review, by which I am forced to think you mean a non-mathematical, non-empirical, and non-technical discursive review is unfortunately worthless.  many more appealing formulations of physical laws can be posited in a hand-waving fashion - however consistency with reality needs application of mathematics and experimental evidence must have a bearing on the argument. 

Quote
In a sentence - what doesn't work at the moment which will do once we accept that uncertainty is the fifth dimension?  Please give a substantive answer and not just another vague quotation.

Matthew
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #42 on: 13/08/2010 23:14:20 »
Matthew,

There is no issue with the need for evidence and maths, but if the scientific paradigm has changed, why is that not reflected in a title change? 

It could provide a useful step in the shift from modernity to post-modernity. 

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline Geezer

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #43 on: 14/08/2010 18:45:59 »
It could provide a useful step in the shift from modernity to post-modernity. 


I vote we skip post-modernity and move on to post-post-modernity. Post-modernity is soooo passé don't you think?
 

Offline imatfaal

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #44 on: 14/08/2010 22:57:37 »
Sandstone
What you call physical theories does not impact on their validity - apart from perhaps leading to confusion amongst those who have scant real understanding; dark energy is a good example of a name that inspires crazy ideas.   

The fact that you are under the impression that modernity and post modernity have some form of connection with the turn away from mechanical determinism proves you know next to nothing about this subject.

Philosophy cannot sensibly review science (nor vice versa).  Whilst much of physics (and science in general) is often spoken of in vague and discursive terms; there is an underlying bedrock of seriously rigorous mathematics, nowhere more so than in quantum mechanics.  You cannot understand, comment sensibly upon, or truly interact with a new physical theory until you comprehend this fact and are willing to engage with the underlying tough equations.

Quote
In a sentence - what doesn't work at the moment which will do once we accept that uncertainty is the fifth dimension?


I have asked this a few times already - ready for an answer now

Matthew
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #45 on: 15/08/2010 08:17:44 »
Matthew,

1.  According to eminent scientists, QM theory relies heavily on the mathematics of probability.  Do you agree with them?

2.  Probability is a recognised measure of uncertainty.  Do you agree with that statement?

3.  The bone of contention is whether that measurement, or any other measure of uncertainty, constitutes a fifth dimension?

Accepting uncertainty as the fifth dimension may not change contemporary science in itself, but it may highlight the current worldview that uncertainty is an inherent part of Nature.  What is the most accurate description of the paradigm currently in use?   From your ealier comments it might be 'probabilistic space-time'.  However, I note that you avoided responding to a question on that at the time.

Why? What are you uncertain about?

Regards, Sandstone.
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #46 on: 16/08/2010 15:23:21 »
Greetings Viewers,

Uncertainty has a profound influence on human behaviour. 

It is a critical life dimension.  We may not always find it comfortable, but try to imagine a life without uncertainty. 

There are many references in the literature to the search for certainty.  In understanding uncertainty, it is most important to draw a distinction between environmental and psychological uncertainty.  Attempts to create environmental certainty tend to inhibit creativity and freedom of action. The more promising avenue for seeking certainty is in terms of generating psychological certainty in its many forms. 

The Boyer Model of Integrated Scholarship advocates integration of knowledge across the disciplines.  The combination of physics and psychology poses an interesting challenge and, yet, if we are really to understand uncertainty that may be a challenge worth pursuing. 

It would help a great deal to appreciate the benefits of uncertainty, rather than see it as a scientific gremlin.
The frustrations that have been apparent in the dialogue to date are understandable. However, in the context of the question posed, getting down and dirty with the statistics of QM is irrelevant.  The hard work there has already been done. 

The question now is: What do the results really mean?   

The answer is to embrace the inherent uncertainty of Nature and work with it in a constructive manner.

Thank you for the opportunity to pose this question.

Clem Molloy (aka Sandstone).
 

Offline sandstone

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #47 on: 21/08/2010 08:06:37 »
I do have an answer that does it in four measures: three components of momentum, and one of energy.  Then you have a plane wave describing the particle's state exactly*, which also includes its uncertainty relations.  What do you find wrong with this description?

*: When I say exactly, what I mean is that the state is determined to the fullest extent that quantum mechanics allows.  This automatically includes the uncertainty relations, since they're built into the rules of quantum mechanics.  That's exactly what Hawking's quote is saying--that quantum mechanics builds uncertainty into the laws of physics--not that uncertainty requires an additional measurement to be made.

JP I have only just seen this reply.  Not sure why it did not come up before.

So you are saying that there are four dimensions plus a plane wave.  And the plane wave, which includes uncertainty relations, is not a fifth measure? 

With due respect that does not sound very convincing.  It has all the hallmarks of trying to provide adequate desciptors without challenging the 4D paradigm.  Just sweep uncertainty under the scientific carpet.

Little wonder some people are averse to having philosophers take a close look at scientific thought. 

Thank for the question and the explanation.

Regards, Clem.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Is uncertainty the fifth dimension?
« Reply #48 on: 21/08/2010 12:41:01 »
Clem,

Your perceived instances of lack of knowledge and insight within the science community are understandable - they come from your lack of comprehension of the subject not from others refusal to accept change. 

Could you try answering a few questions?  How are you defining Dimension?  And how are you defining Uncertainty?  I ask because I have re-read your posts and it seems clear that you are using notions that I do recognize.  Please do not respond with another set of questions about my beliefs/definitions - I am fed up with the recursive nature of that form of argument, I have clearly explained why my definition of dimension and uncertainty would rule out your hypothesis.

Matthew
 

Offline sandstone

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« Reply #49 on: 21/08/2010 13:53:20 »
Matthew,

It is fairly clear that we come from rather different orientations.  You are obviously determined to hold on to your point of view, which is your prerogative. 

The bottom line is that without space, time and uncertainty we would not exist.  They are critical life dimensions and they are measurable at all levels. 

The problem at the moment is that science has not given uncertainty the recognition it deserves and, accordingly, that inhibits understanding and adaptation.  Time will tell.

Regards, Clem.






 
 

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