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Author Topic: Could one electron combine with two different protons to produce 2 hydrogens?  (Read 7332 times)

Offline eddysciencefan

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hello guys, first time posting so if my question seems obvious or silly please forgive me, and if i'm incorrect in any way feel free to correct me.

quantum theory allows for fundamental particles to be in 2 places at once as long as we don't know the exact position. so imagine if we had a oxygen atom, 2 protons and one electron locked in a covered container. surely the electron would be able to combine with both protons at once to produce 2 hydrogen atoms, which in turn would be able to combine and produce a water molecule.

would the energy in the water molecule become greater than it originally started (as this is against the laws of thermodynamics as far as i'm aware) or would it be water whilst unobserved and return to its original state as separate protons and electron when we look at it again?
« Last Edit: 21/04/2013 11:01:47 by chris »


 

Offline dlorde

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #1 on: 17/04/2013 23:17:15 »
This sounds like a variation of the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment. As I understand it, the many-places-at-once superposition of a particle is resolved (in some fashion) when it interacts with another particle in any way; in descriptions of QM this is often called a 'measurement', referring to an interaction that enables some observer to detect the event. The observer isn't necessary - any particle interaction will have the same effect. This means that your electron would no longer be in superposition once it made the first proton interaction, so there would be no second proton interaction.

It's actually a bit more complicated than that, in the sense that until we do make some measurement or observation of the system in the box, we don't know which proton, if any, the electron has combined with; so, for us, the whole enclosed system is in a state of superposition (one, the other, and neither of the interactions have all occurred) until we poke our noses in to see - at which point we find ourselves looking at a definite result. The precise interpretation of what actually happens at this point is debatable. One interpretation is that all outcomes actually happen, each in a separate 'universe', and each outcome is observed by separate versions of us in each universe... however, both interactions can't happen in the same universe, because there is only one electron, so thermodynamics is safe in that respect.
« Last Edit: 17/04/2013 23:23:46 by dlorde »
 

Offline flr

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #2 on: 18/04/2013 03:07:46 »
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One interpretation is that all outcomes actually happen, each in a separate 'universe', and each outcome is observed by separate versions of us in each universe...

 This interpretation with multiple universes is complete garbage in my opinion, and show how wrong one can get it if is over-interprets some math in complete disregard with reality.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #3 on: 18/04/2013 10:10:23 »
It seems that only the maths satisfactorily describes what happens in reality. I haven't yet heard an interpretation that sounds reasonable and doesn't lead to contradictions. 'Many worlds' seems to be more consistent with the maths than others, but is correspondingly harder to accept.

You pays yer money and you takes yer choice. Opinion among physicists seems divided; the pragmatic approach is to "shut up and calculate".

 
 

Offline eddysciencefan

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #4 on: 18/04/2013 11:29:16 »
thanks guys, clears it up slightly but i'd still like to know if there ever was a water molecule in the box and if it would be stable or if it would break down.

i've certainly come across the "shut up and calculate" attitude before. and understand that is where theory pulls in a very strong direction. but i feel unless it can be understood and visualized then a proper understanding isn't possible.

say for instance there was a current running through the box and it could only make a full circuit when the water molecule is complete, what results would that show, would we have had a full circuit?
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #5 on: 18/04/2013 12:23:46 »
At some points in time you could certainly end up with a H2+ ion or a H20+ ion. However, these ions may be neutralised if they got too close to the walls of the box, and grabbed an electron from the box wall.

You would not have 2 hydrogen atoms at the same instant in time, or a neutral H2 molecule as there is only 1 electron and 2 protons. Whenever you looked, the electron would be in one place or the other.
 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #6 on: 18/04/2013 13:47:22 »
quantum theory allows for fundamental particles to be in 2 places at once as long as we don't know the exact position. so imagine if we had a oxygen atom, 2 protons and one electron
? You intended 2 hydrogen atoms bound in a ionized molecule of H2+?
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locked in a covered container. surely the electron would be able to combine with both protons at once to produce 2 hydrogen atoms, which in turn would be able to combine and produce a water molecule.
But only if it founds an electron and an oxygen atom. Where are these?
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would the energy in the water molecule become greater than it originally started (as this is against the laws of thermodynamics as far as i'm aware)
But didn't you start with an ionized molecule of H2+? So how can you talk of the water molecule "originally started"? What do you mean?
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or would it be water whilst unobserved and return to its original state as separate protons and electron when we look at it again?
Maybe you intended a water molecule in a superposition of 2 states one of which is the fundamental and the other is an excited one?
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #7 on: 18/04/2013 16:41:47 »
This interpretation with multiple universes is complete garbage in my opinion, and show how wrong one can get it if is over-interprets some math in complete disregard with reality.
Why do you say it's 'complete garbage'?
 

Offline eddysciencefan

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #8 on: 18/04/2013 22:09:25 »
quantum theory allows for fundamental particles to be in 2 places at once as long as we don't know the exact position. so imagine if we had a oxygen atom, 2 protons and one electron
? You intended 2 hydrogen atoms bound in a ionized molecule of H2+?
Quote
locked in a covered container. surely the electron would be able to combine with both protons at once to produce 2 hydrogen atoms, which in turn would be able to combine and produce a water molecule.
But only if it founds an electron and an oxygen atom. Where are these?
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would the energy in the water molecule become greater than it originally started (as this is against the laws of thermodynamics as far as i'm aware)
But didn't you start with an ionized molecule of H2+? So how can you talk of the water molecule "originally started"? What do you mean?
Quote
or would it be water whilst unobserved and return to its original state as separate protons and electron when we look at it again?
Maybe you intended a water molecule in a superposition of 2 states one of which is the fundamental and the other is an excited one?

not quite sure what you mean with your first comment? in the second, my point was the oxygen atom is there to combine with, but only one electron, so i was asking if this could be bonded with both protons (due to QM) at once to complete a water molecule. third point i started with with a single electron, 2 protons and a oxygen atom, if these combine (the protons sharing the electron to become 2 separate H atoms joining with the O atom) i (possible incorrectly) assumed the mass would increase? finally i was hoping to find out on a practical level would be observed afterwards and also if it was anything else whilst unobserved.
 

Offline flr

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #9 on: 18/04/2013 23:41:08 »
This interpretation with multiple universes is complete garbage in my opinion, and show how wrong one can get it if is over-interprets some math in complete disregard with reality.
Why do you say it's 'complete garbage'?

That could be a long story, but let me give you another example from a different field, on why a matematical method shall not be taken as representing a reality but rather simply a method to compute things.

In electrostatics there is so called method of image charges, which is very usefull.
For example let's consider a conductive surface which is grounded. If one bring a charge next to this conductor, the conductor will polarize and there will be generated a certain charge distribution on the conductor surface such that the total electrostatic energy is minimized.
The question is: What is the distribution of charge on the conductive surface(say a plane), sigma=f(x,y,z)?

This could be a difficult problem to solve, however there is a trick which makes the solution amazingly simple: the method of image charges.
Essentially, it put a fictitious charge on the opposite side of the plane and compute the generated electrostatic field  on each point of conductive plane from the interaction of real charge and image charge. The algebra is really high school.

Is this image charge a real thing? No! It is imaginary, if we bring one charge next to a conductor there will be no physical reality of a second charge placed on the other side of conductor, but instead there is generated on conductor a modified charge distribution.

So, if something works mathematically, it does not necessarily means that there is a physical reality of that ad-literam physical  interpretation of math. relationships.

--------------

In my opinion that particular QM interpretation with multiple universes and multiple realities and multiple histories is simply exaggeration.


« Last Edit: 18/04/2013 23:45:22 by flr »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #10 on: 19/04/2013 00:21:04 »
... Is this image charge a real thing? No! It is imaginary, if we bring one charge next to a conductor there will be no physical reality of a second charge placed on the other side of conductor, but instead there is generated on conductor a modified charge distribution.

In my opinion that particular QM interpretation with multiple universes and multiple realities and multiple histories is simply exaggeration.

It seems to me in QM the maths and experiments show that quantum weirdness is not a convenient fiction, and quantum effects are not imaginary. The challenge is to find the most efficient interpretation that fits what the maths and experiment tells us, whether it seems exaggerated (exaggerated, how?) or not. We already accept that the universe behaves as if determined by the evolution of a complex wave function; as I understand it, MW simply suggests that particle interactions can give rise to multiple non-interfering wave fronts in that wave function. QM itself is weird and counter-intuitive; I don't think we can expect an interpretation that fits QM not to be weird and/or counter-intuitive.

What the 'reality' described by the wave function consists of remains unknown in any interpretation; it seems more reasonable to reserve judgement than to reject an interpretation purely out of incredulity.

Having said that, what would your preferred interpretation be?
 

Offline Bill S

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #11 on: 19/04/2013 18:33:06 »
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What the 'reality' described by the wave function consists of remains unknown in any interpretation; it seems more reasonable to reserve judgement than to reject an interpretation purely out of incredulity.

Agreed.

Reality is a difficult concept in QM.  When we state that quantum effects are real, it is important to recognise that it is effects we are talking about.  More specifically, it is the effects of QM on our observable reality.  There is abundant evidence that these effects are real, but they tell us nothing about any underlying reality. 

I believe we are free to theorise about explanations for quantum weirdness, in fact it's fun!  Obviously, if observation and maths support our ideas, they are much more likely to be taken seriously, but where QM is concerned, the question of "reality" seems largely philosophical at our current stage of understanding.

There are instances in the "classical" world in which reality can become a little blurred. 

For example: is infinity real?  Is it really possible to have an infinite amount of anything?

 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #12 on: 19/04/2013 21:08:50 »
not quite sure what you mean with your first comment?
You wrote:
<<surely the electron would be able to combine with both protons at once to produce 2 hydrogen atoms>>. How can a single electron combine with two protons to form 2 hydrogen atoms? Either it forms an ionized molecul of hydrogen: H2+ or you need 2 electrons, not one only.
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in the second, my point was the oxygen atom is there to combine with, but only one electron, so i was asking if this could be bonded with both protons (due to QM) at once to complete a water molecule.
Ah, ok, sorry I misinterpreted your question. The answer is no, it can't form a water molecule, at least a stable one, it would dissociate immediately (and so it means it is energetically unfavoured); but here it depends on how much time you want it to observe it  :)
« Last Edit: 19/04/2013 21:12:48 by lightarrow »
 

Offline JP

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Re: quantum effects in a water molcule
« Reply #13 on: 19/04/2013 21:32:01 »
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What the 'reality' described by the wave function consists of remains unknown in any interpretation; it seems more reasonable to reserve judgement than to reject an interpretation purely out of incredulity.

Agreed.

Reality is a difficult concept in QM.  When we state that quantum effects are real, it is important to recognise that it is effects we are talking about.  More specifically, it is the effects of QM on our observable reality.  There is abundant evidence that these effects are real, but they tell us nothing about any underlying reality. 

I believe we are free to theorise about explanations for quantum weirdness, in fact it's fun!  Obviously, if observation and maths support our ideas, they are much more likely to be taken seriously, but where QM is concerned, the question of "reality" seems largely philosophical at our current stage of understanding.

There are instances in the "classical" world in which reality can become a little blurred. 

For example: is infinity real?  Is it really possible to have an infinite amount of anything?



There's reasons that these are called interpretations of quantum mechanics and not called different theories of quantum mechanics.  They all make the same predictions for what we can measure, so there's no real way to tell them apart so far as we know.  (There are a few folks who claim that we might be able to, but so far their work hasn't convinced the scientific community at large).
 

Offline flr

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What the 'reality' described by the wave function consists of remains unknown in any interpretation; it seems more reasonable to reserve judgement than to reject an interpretation purely out of incredulity.

Having said that, what would your preferred interpretation be?

Interesting and difficult question.
I am pretty sure that I cannot accept the many-worlds interpretation. Where are the other universes? Are they physical universes or some indeterminate states? Do they take the same physical space as ours?
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The in-determinism in QM has to do with the act of measurement and it arises from the fact that when we measure a quantum object we interact with it and alter its state.  The more precise we want to measure it, the stronger we interact with it and the less accurate we can be in determining certain properties. As such, we have to discard classical trajectories and replace them with probabilities. In other words, it is empiric and not analytic. In my opinion there is nothing inherently in-deterministic in physical laws at any level.

The hidden variable deserve some consideration because history of science indicates that no matter how well verified and how well self-contained a theory was at a time, sooner or later additional experiments will find that some pieces were actually missing and a new (more general) theory was required (see Newton vs Einstein relativity). 

----------------
 

Offline Pmb

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Quote from: eddysciencefan
quantum theory allows for fundamental particles to be in 2 places at once as long as we don't know the exact position.
That is incorrect. Quantum theory does not allow that. One can't even speak of a particle being at any particular position unless its position has been measured and when its been measured its localized to single localized location. Uncertainty does not pertain to not knowing the exact position. That is a common misconcpetion. Uncertainty is a statistical quantity which is calculated from repeated measurements of the particle when the system is in particular state and that holds even when the position is known to an arbitrarily precise precission. People often confuse precise and accuracy of measurements with uncertainty.

Quote from: eddysciencefan
so imagine if we had a oxygen atom, 2 protons and one electron locked in a covered container. surely the electron would be able to combine with both protons at once to produce 2 hydrogen atoms, which in turn would be able to combine and produce a water molecule.
If that were true then the system would effectly behave as if it had a net charge, which it doesn't.
 

Offline dlorde

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I am pretty sure that I cannot accept the many-worlds interpretation. Where are the other universes? Are they physical universes or some indeterminate states? Do they take the same physical space as ours?
As I  understand it (I'm sure someone will correct me if I blunder), the MWI takes the universal wavefunction seriously and says that the universe isn't just described by (and evolve according to) the wavefunction, it is entirely equivalent to the wavefunction. You, me, and everything is part of this evolving universal wavefunction. The physical world is what the wavefunction looks like 'from the inside', as it were. Every interaction (e.g. observation) can be seen as causing the combined wavefunctions of the interacting entities (e.g. observer & observed object) to become a quantum superposition of non-interacting branches of the wavefunction, numerically proportional to the probability density of likely outcomes. This branch superposition is the split into many 'worlds'.

It does mean the universal wavefunction becomes exponentially more complex every instant, but because these superposited branches are non-interfering, each path is causal and self-consistent (and is the 'real world' to its observers). I visualise this (somewhat crudely) as the way water waves from different sources can pass (through) each other without interfering, or how multiple streams of data can be encoded in a single beam of light. This analogy may be mistaken.

Anyhoo, MWI does away with the 'collapse' of the wavefunction, making it a purely subjective artefact; it resolves various QM 'paradoxes' (Shrodinger's Cat, wave-particle duality, et al), and makes QM local and deterministic. It also provides a potential explanation for things like 'fine tuning' and the Anthropic Principle. Which suggests to me that every possible universe up to the present is encoded (superposed) in the universal wavefunction according to its probability, observers will (obviously) only find themselves on paths where observers have developed, and an observer is most likely to find him/herself on a high probability path (i.e. in a high probability universe) - although even the most unlikely paths will be represented. So we're highly likely to find ourselves in one of the most highly probable universes that can support observers like us - but no guarantees.

I quite like the idea of being a mass of tiny ripples spreading through a universal probability density wavefunction; but I'm open to any other interesting interpretations.

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The in-determinism in QM has to do with the act of measurement and it arises from the fact that when we measure a quantum object we interact with it and alter its state.  The more precise we want to measure it, the stronger we interact with it and the less accurate we can be in determining certain properties. As such, we have to discard classical trajectories and replace them with probabilities. In other words, it is empiric and not analytic. In my opinion there is nothing inherently in-deterministic in physical laws at any level.
I think Heisenberg would differ. The 'observer effect' is problematic as you say, but the 'uncertainty principle' describes a fundamental property of quantum systems, due to wave-particle duality. Heisenberg did once explain it in terms of the difficulty of measuring position and momentum of an electron using a photon, which probably led to the confusion with the observer effect.

I expect the MWI has an explanation for the HUP too ;)
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The hidden variable deserve some consideration because history of science indicates that no matter how well verified and how well self-contained a theory was at a time, sooner or later additional experiments will find that some pieces were actually missing and a new (more general) theory was required (see Newton vs Einstein relativity).

As I understand it, hidden variable hypotheses have been ruled out experimentally by violations of Bells inequalities. John Bell produced a theorem saying that QM effects can't be explained by local hidden variable hypotheses. He proposed that certain inequalities would need to hold for hidden variables to do the job. A number of experiments (known as 'Bell tests') have demonstrated violations of those inequalities, which means hidden variables don't cut it.
 

Offline flr

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According to MWI all alternatives histories are real in their own universe.
If so, then out there might be a universe (or a branch of the universe) where I am a king. Where is it? I want there.
Can I jump from my branch of the universe to that branch where I might be some kind of  king?
Perhaps the answer is no because branches are non-interacting?.

Can I experimentally measure anything about that branch of universe where I may be a king?
Again, my intuitive guess is that the answer could be no because the branches are non-interacting with each other. Is that so?
 

Offline dlorde

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Again, my intuitive guess is that the answer could be no because the branches are non-interacting with each other. Is that so?

I think so. The other branches aren't physically accessible/real from your branch perspective. Also, there are untold quintillions of far more likely universes, almost indistinguishable from our own, among which the more improbable universes will be like a needle in a haystack.
 

Offline flr

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The other branches aren't physically accessible/real from your branch perspective.

But then I am confused. If the other branches are not physically real and accessible from my branch, why should I believe they exists?
Is it even scientific to believe in something that is not physically real and accessible?

What is the difference between believing in 'ghosts' or 'spirits' and believing in universe branches that are not physically real and not physically accessible?
 

Offline majorminor

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The other branches aren't physically accessible/real from your branch perspective.

But then I am confused. If the other branches are not physically real and accessible from my branch, why should I believe they exists?
Is it even scientific to believe in something that is not physically real and accessible?

What is the difference between believing in 'ghosts' or 'spirits' and believing in universe branches that are not physically real and not physically accessible?

Maybe they are not real and accessible Yet. On a different time arrow only accessible by faster than light travel.(i know not possible in our universe) :)
And with theories, are we really meant to believe in them, are they not just an attempt to explain something with the best guess from the available data?(maybe I am playing with words)
I have thought often about the multi-verse explanation of things and think there is something to it. Is there somewhere a King Flr I ? Do there have to be so many multi-verses  if the universe can be predetermined in many ways- as in, there is a finite number of times it can branch. We all have pivotal moments in out life, are those the small moments of free will we have? Silly Idea maybe and in the wrong topic.
 

Offline flr

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And with theories, are we really meant to believe in them, are they not just an attempt to explain something with the best guess from the available data?

At the foundation of any physical theory should be empirical "available data" from our measurable and observable universe.
A physical theory must explain what we observe here in the word we live and can measure, and not a inaccessible universe branch in which  King Flr I might a butterfly.

A more conservative view would seem to  me to consider both string theory and MWI as mathematical constructions; they would became physical theories when experiments prove the reality of strings and of other universe branches.
 

Offline dlorde

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But then I am confused. If the other branches are not physically real and accessible from my branch, why should I believe they exists?
Belief is a personal prerogative. Science doesn't have anything to say about belief. The MWI provides an interpretation of QM that is the implication of taking the universe to consist of an evolving wavefunction. It conforms with the physics of QM in the most literal sense, and with experiment. If you don't find it useful, try a different interpretation - but you'll find they have other problems. QM is like that - the physics and experimental results don't make intuitive sense.
 
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Is it even scientific to believe in something that is not physically real and accessible?
As I said, science is not about belief. Also, these QM interpretations aren't strictly scientific; they aren't testable or falsifiable, they're just interpretations; attempts to find a way to visualise an unintuitive theory.

If you prefer the Copenhagen interpretation (the collapse of the wavefunction), by all means go with that. Personally, I find the arbitrary nature of wavefunction collapse problematic; and although Hiesenberg's explanation that it represents the state of our knowledge of the system rather than the state of the system itself seems more reasonable, it leaves what's happening in/to the system uninterpreted...

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What is the difference between believing in 'ghosts' or 'spirits' and believing in universe branches that are not physically real and not physically accessible?
Ghosts and spirits have no supporting physical theory, and in fact would contradict fundamental physical and biological principles, not least the laws of thermodynamics. Such evidence as there is is either unsupportably weak, or has reasonable mundane explanations, etc. MWI is based on the physical theory and doesn't contradict any fundamental principles.

As I already mentioned, many physicists find QM interpretations problematic, hence the "shut up and calculate" maxim. Others find them useful for generating new ideas and new experiments. MWI is one of the most popular intepretations because it fits the physics, is generally simpler (once you accept the premise), and has fewer awkward issues than the others.
 

Offline dlorde

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... with theories, are we really meant to believe in them, are they not just an attempt to explain something with the best guess from the available data?(maybe I am playing with words)
That's roughly the way I see it. We have the maths-based physical theories, we have experimental data that supports them, and we try to find useful non-mathematical ways to think about them (visualise them).
 

Offline Pmb

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Quote from: dlorde
Ghosts and spirits have no supporting physical theory, and in fact would contradict fundamental physical and biological principles, not least the laws of thermodynamics.
In what way do you assert that the presence of a ghost would contradict the laws of thermodynamics? Which law? How does it violate it/them?

To a certain extent, I disagree. I.e. in a limited sense there is a "theory" regarding ghosts. They are considered to be the disembodied consciousness of a person who was previously alive. In other words its a consciousness which is decoupled from its original form and matter.

I see no connection to fundamental biological principles so I don't see how their existance would violate them. There is nothing to suggest that a ghost should have any biological nature whatsoever. To say that it contradicts any physical principle is merely a prediction of what will not be observed. It in no way dictates what actually exists in nature. Once its observed then that principle has to either be modified or discarded.

Consider the fish know as the Coelacanth. They were believed to have been extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period. Does that mean that they don't exist? That is merely a prediction. I.e. one should not expect a Coelacanth to be found. Then, wonder of wonders, one was caught in 1938.

It used to be assumed that energy is always conserved. Then came Einstein who created the theory of general relativity. In that theory one cannot even in generaly define the energy in a gravitational field.

Also it should be noted that we might have ideas of what we observe and yet be totally wrong as to its nature.  For example: one day I was standing in the kitchen looking with lust into what we used to call the candy closet when I felt a hand placed firmly on my back. I quickly turned around and nobody was there. It freaked me out of course. Perhaps my mind played a trick on me. Perhaps my mind didn't play a trick on me. I'll never know. But I know that freaky things happen in this world. My old physics advisor told me of something that happened to him a few years ago. It was truly bizarre and I've known him for thirty years now and know that the man doesn't know how to lie.

It's a matter of scinetific philosophy that a law of physics is something which describes what is observed in nature. However whatever is observed is consistent with physical reality whether the laws of nature are what we think they are or not.

Here is a  important comment from the paper which put forward the concept of tachyons, i.e. Possibility of Faster-Than-Light Particles by G. Feinberg, Physical Review, Vol. 159(3), July 25, 1967
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.. no observation can be logically inconsistent.
The author credits someone named Dr. M. Tauser for this remark. The only thing that comes into question is whether these things have actually been observed and whether there was no confusion about what was being seen (i.e. he wasn't drugged and David Copperfield wasn't around etc.).

Just because we don't or can't explain it that doesn't mean we don't have any theories on it. What do I mean by this apparent contradiction? I mean the following: a theory is a the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another. The facts are the laws aka postulates. Laws are not explanations, they are descriptions. Deductions made from the laws of nature are what we commonly known as explanations. A theory is a collection of laws/postulates. E.g. consider the following two postulates

(Postulate 1) The laws of nature in all inertial frames of reference are invariant with respect to a Lorentz transformation.
(Postulate 2) The speed of light is invariant, i.e. has the same value in all inertial frames of reference.

The set consisting of those two postulates is called The special theory of relativity.

Theories or descriptions of nature need not be complete and we need not know the mechanisms behind them. Newton's Law of Gravity is a good example

When Newton first set force his theory of gravity he did not make any attempt to explain any mechanism to explain why one body should influence another, distant, body with no apparent mechanism for affecting it. It was an action at a distance. Just as spooky as a ghost would be. It's influence was invisible to the naked eye. All Newton was able to do was to describe the dynamics according to the relationship dp/dt = GMm/r^2. Beyond that Newton had no idea as to the mechanistm of how gravity works. To be precise Newton said
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I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this philosophy particular propositions are inferred from the phenomena, and afterwards rendered general by induction.

Quote from: dlorde
As I already mentioned, many physicists find QM interpretations problematic, hence the "shut up and calculate" maxim.
Wow! Talk about bringing back some fond memories! :)

When my advisor/professor said this to be a wave of comfort passed over me. It was at that time that I knew I wasn't missing something fundamental and thus knew the theory and was just as confused as they next guy. :)

So, given that do I believe that there is a complete theory of ghosts which lends itself to experimentation? No. I hold that there is a theory and that is all. But I also know that there are things in nature that science is not equipped to handle. Such things are what I call atmospheric anomalies. That is to say phenomena observed by people who are not ignorant and not goofy but are unable to explain what they observe even when they make the effort to explain it in scientific terms. I've had experiences like that myself. Am I saying that its a complete theory which is not problematic on many levels? No.  accept as true that phenomena arise in nature which is so brief and rare in its occurance so as not to lend itself to scientific observation and analysis.

There was a lab at Princeton University which operated for thirty hears called the Princeton Engineering Anomolies Lab whose purpose was the Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena. You can learn more about it at http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/  . I'm sure that you know that this is the university where Einstein worked and is an Ivy Leauge University which is highly respected across the world. Something I believe should not be looked down upon by any stretch of the imagination.

They investigated things that you would never have read in any physics textbook. They have hard data from numerous scientific experiments.

What I found interesting is this http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/experiments.html
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In these studies human operators attempted to bias the output of a variety of mechanical, electronic, optical, acoustical, and fluid devices to conform to pre-stated intentions, without recourse to any known physical influences. In unattended calibrations all of these sophisticated machines produced strictly random data, yet the experimental results display increases in information content that can only be attributed to the consciousness of their human operators.
 

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