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Posts posted by bombus

  1. Well, I suppose there is something I'd like to discuss, but it is 'the subject that dare not speak it's name' so I'm not going to discuss it.


    However, I think Geology should be listed as one of the sciences.

  2. Ethdaran


    What you seem to be saying then is that science cannot explain CM either - as it's all based on QM.


    The conclusion of your argument would seem to be that everything is indistinguishable from magic?


    That's quite a bit further than I would be prepared to go:D

  3. actually, we do know what happens in all those cases. it just seems that it is you that is unaware of what happens and extrapolating from that that noone else does either.


    this is called 'arguement from ignorance' and is a logical fallacy


    I know what 'happens' in the double slit experiment - but cannot explain how - so can't really explain anything at all apart from what the results are, which anyone can do.


    It's not really a scientific explanation though is it? It's nothing more than a description of an experiment. We have the Method, Results, but are awaiting the Conclusion.


    I don't want this to become an argument about semantics.


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    That's not what you asked. You asked for the explanation of the double slit, and it's interference. And we still see it with a single photon. Asking how a photon interferes with itself is a different question. But a photon is a quantum of energy, and you only notice this so-called particle property when it interacts with the detector. While in transit, it's still a wave. Waves interfere.


    I think you are deliberately trying to misunderstand me. I think you know precisely what I am getting at - even if photons or electrons are shot one at a time an interference pattern builds up if both slits are open. Can you explain this?


    What are you meaning by "standard" scientific theory? QM is the accepted theory, and incorporates this phenomenon. Therefore, it can be explained by "standard" theory.QM is not, however, synonymous with the interpretations of QM.


    Well obviously I am talking about the interpretations! I find it hard to believe you haven't the intelligence to realise this. What are the Conclusions? All scientific experiments should really have Conclusions - what are yours in this case?

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    The problem seems to be just that we are macroscopic objects whose direct experience is limited to objects within a few orders of magnitude as ourselves - the realm of close-enough predictions by classical physics. So it's natural to insist on thinking of things that way, in which case QM is totally weird. "How does it do that?" Well, how do classical objects do what they do? How do you only walk through one door, and never seem to interfere with yourself? It's just a matter of what seems "normal."


    And I still don't know what definition of "magic" is being used in this discussion.


    Well I know how macroscopic objects act. How sub-atomic particles act seems to defy logic and run counter to much that we understand about reality.


    The problem with the definition of magic is due to this thread being started from the old one. It should have remained in the other thread. See my earlier post in this thread

  4. do you mean 'cannot be understood using classical physics'?


    if so then of course its not. this is like saying the results of gravitation are not understood in the slightest by the theory of ohmic resistance.


    Classical Physics of course breaks down below a certain scale.


    Quantum Mechanics can then be used, which can make predictions about wave/particle behaviour based on statistical probability. However, there is no agreed or proven explanation for what actually occurs. We can make CPU's, lasers, solid state electronics etc. work by using statistical probabilities, but cannot explain what actually happens without resorting to seemingly bizarre explanations (which may or may not be true). Quantum Theory (as opposed to Quantum Mechanics - if a such a distinction is allowed) has come up with a number of possible explanations which I think most would agree are pretty damned wierd and are not universally accepted.


    It might as well be 'magic' for all we actually know about what actually happens, or possibly gives an explanation to some phenomena classed as 'magic'.

  5. As far as I am concerned saying "A" is indistinguishable from "B" is indistingiushable from saying that "A" is the same as "B".


    What's the difference?


    Are you being deliberately obtuse? Is Arthur C Clarke's quote really that impenetrable to you?

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    Almost certainly. I'll bet the bastard didn't even put a moderator note in, linking/explaining where the posts came from.


    And he misquoted me in the thread title.


    If you had explained it this way, perhaps it would have. But you didn't, you said QM was indistinguishable from magic, and followed it up with later statements on QM.



    If people had actually read what I had written there would have been no confusion.


    And yet it doesn't confound science.

    I disagree, but if you insist lets start with a simple one. Can you explain to me how a single photon interferes with itself please.


    "Weird" is subjective. Nature has no obligation to be understandable to you.

    Doesn't every scientist agree that the results are wierd? If not please explain them to me.


    I never said nature did have any obligation to be understandable to me - or anyone for that matter. Are you agreeing that science can't explain the results?


    You fooled several of us. How is one to interpret "not understood in the slightest" as something else?

    I maintain that the results of QM are not understood (as in can be explained according to 'standard' scientific theory) in the slightest.

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  6. Firstly, I didn't say that the double slit experiment is magic - i said it was indistinguishable from magic. I was giving a nod to that famous quote from Arthur C Clarke about technology. Also, this was part of a discussion about magic so is now out of context. (Has a moderator has decided to be mischevious at my expense?) In the original thread I was suggesting a possible scientific explanation for the phenomenon some call 'magic' and therefore challenging the certainty that some have that it does not exist. I am not saying magic DOES exist, but that I am open minded to the idea that some things that could be described as magic might exist in some form and have a scientific explanation.


    I really think this should have stayed in the original thread.


    Now to answer some of the replies...


    Argument from authority aside, the quote is not the same as "nobody understands anything about QM," which is how you are presenting it.


    That's not what I have said nor implied. I am saying (essentially) that the RESULTS of the double slit expt still confound science.

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    The real eye-opener is the evidence that the photon interferes with itself, because you get an interference pattern even if you send in light one photon at a time.


    Indeed. That's the exact thing I am referring to.

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    Your post is a great example of avoiding trying to understand what is ACTUALLY happening. Our inability to undertand what exactly is happening below a certain scale is not a scientific explanation - It's a lack of one. You are simply saying that we should just accept that it's wierd.


    You might as well be saying 'it's just magic - nothing wierd'.


    Can you give me a scientific explanation of what ACTUALLY happens? Why does one superposition become the actual reality over other potential realities?


    There are some explanations emerging that may explain what is happening - i.e., quantum information may be able to travel back in time and so affect the present - but this is by no means agreed and would possibly be considered pseudoscience on this forum (???). You tell me!

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    There are two claims here, and I think they're both pretty clearly false:


    1) We don't understand anything about how QM works.

    2) Things we don't understand are "magic."


    Does that about sum it up?


    No, on both counts. I am not saying either of those things.

  7. Can you explain that? The results of the double slit experiment are pretty well understood.


    Yes I can. The results of the double slit experiment have confounded everyone since their discovery and are not understood in the slightest.


    Anyone who says that they understand Quantum Mechanics does not understand Quantum Mechanics-Richard Feynman


    If you understand the results, would you please explain them to us? I am sure the scientific community would love to hear the answer. You'd get a Nobel Prize for this one ;)

  8. I don't think the republican logo has changed recently- I think he means that the stars on the elephant are (and always have been) placed upside-down.

    Up until now, I had never noticed. It seems to have been intentional, but I have no idea why.

    We'd better ask Alex Jones.


    Good find, iNow. I wasn't able to find a picture of the old logo either, so I had assumed that it'd always been that way.


    The stars were reversed in 2000 alledgedly, when GWB came to power.

  9. We have no objective way to measure subjective reality; if reality is STRICTLY subjective, there's no meaning to "empirical evidence" and science is irrelevant.


    Seeing as we know for a fact that at least some things are objective, because we successfully use them to predict how our reality "behaves", it is quite safe to state that anything subjective can stay the realm of philosophy, and science is safe and sound dealing with the objective, empirical reality.




    The problem is perhaps one of demarcation between philosophy and science. A pretty good article is here:




    and one on the general philosophy of science here:




    Also an article about the existence of objective reality:



  10. Mooeypooey:

    I'll bite, but I must reiterate: Subjectively speaking is a problem when you try to reach an objectively empirical answer.


    Great! But of whose reality do you speak? You subjective perception of reality, or the objective empirical fact of reality? Pick one, and don't mix the two.


    It's not about ignoring something that ahppens, it's about defining it well enough to be able to figure out what REALLY happens. Objectively.


    I think therein lies the problem. Objective reality might not actually exist, and perhaps science will one day have to accept that mind and matter are inextricably linked. Maybe this is where magic (if it exists at all) comes from - if you don't believe in it it will never work, but if you do, maybe it will!


    I have been reading Roger Penrose's Shadows of the Mind. An interesting extract starts here (read the yellow highlighted text onwards):



  11. Many thanks for all the arguments against prayer and the 'prove it' requests. It reminds me much of how I felt when I read Richard Dawkins book 'The God Delusion'. He put up some really good evidence, where I kept thinking 'he's got a point' but at the end of the book I just felt that he still hadn't proved there was no God. In fact by the end all it boiled down to was 'there probably isn't'.


    That's much the same as how i'm feeling reading this thread.


    I know you guys are probably right. There is no logical reason to believe in God or the power of prayer. So as a newbie in the world of science would I be right in thinking that scientists in general discount the idea completely that there just 'might be' ? If not, why don't they ? It has been said above that many scientists (some on this board ?) do believe and i'd like to hear more from them.


    They may not have the proof, they may not be able to pass the tests given and yet they still believe. Why as a scientist would you still do that ?


    I think Dawkins is great, and I totally agree with him that there is no need for God in evolution and science can explain just about everything without the need for intervention from supernatural entities - but ultimately I think he may well be wrong that there is no 'God' (note the inverted commas).


    I think the fact that the universe exists at all HAS to have a spiritual (for want of a better word) reason - and cannot ultimately have an objective scientific one. I think INTENTION had to play a part in its initial existence, and that requires a consciousness.


    I think the big bang (or whatever happened to start it all off) could have been the result of a 'supernatural' entity. Maybe the universe itself is that entity - which makes the whole thing tortological perhaps - but I suspect that's the way it works - everything is contained neatly within itself. I have a feeling mobius strips give us a clue!


    Although I am sure to be accused of pseudoscience or philosophy (and perhaps I can't really argue with that at this stage in developments) it may be worth looking up the theories of Frank Tippler. Very interesting indeed!


    Also look up Stuart Hammeroff and Amit Goswami.

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    I completely agree.



    Science as a whole does not go by beliefs.


    Mmm. Some argue that fundamentally science is very much based on beliefs, although I agree it's not MEANT to, but HAS to. I think the key issue is that they are not unshakeable beliefs as they can usually be proven wrong via experiment (even if only theoretically).


    However, some scientific beliefs may be harder to shake than others as interpretation of results plays a major role.

  12. bombus, I see what you're saying but my only contention with that would be that when something is explainable by science, it is no longer "magic". It's science.


    We tend to define things we don't understand as "magic" but that doesn't mean they're supernatural or out of our realm of knowledge.. when we do explain them, they stop being "magic" and start being science. If that's the case, then the entire thinking of "magic" as a separate entity is flawed, isn't it? If eventually all "magic" turns science, then instead of calling it magic, we can just say it is, indeed explainable by science and actually take the steps to attempt that explanation.




    For the most part I agree with you. This is the argument that if ghosts exist they must be a natural phenomenon therefore not supernatural.


    However, there are things that science can never explain, because they are fundamentally not scientific questions and so a belief in the 'supernatural' is perhaps equally as valid as anything else. One such question is 'why is there anything at all'. Science cannot answer this - and will never be able to unless it becomes totally entwined with subjective personal experience - which is what 'real' magic (as opposed to Dungeons and Dragons magic) is all about. Belief is Everything (and all that).

  13. Maybe, but willpower isn't magic and positive thinking isn't prayer. We need to be specific when we define the claims we want to test, otherwise we're being too broad and subjective, and can easily fall into the trap of confirmation bias.


    Positive thinking may be what is behind the actual effect of (if it has any) prayers, but that does not mean prayers in themselves are the effective thing.


    Willpower and imagination may be the effective source behind some magic practices but that is not to say magic itself is real.


    It's very important to keep the claim itself accurate and concise exactly for this reason. When you test, you want to know the actual underlying reason, and not just to confirm a pre-existing bias for or against the claim you're making.




    Yes, but I am thinking more that if willpower/positive thinking/prayer alone could affect the physical realm (even by tiny amounts) then it would qualify as magic vis-a-vis current scientific thinking.


    Also, if we are living in a grand simulation (c/f Tipler & Bostrom) then magic would also be possible in our reality.

  14. Magic could possibly exist if 'willpower' is able to cause quantum wave function collapse and/or influence which parallel reality one enters. Most practitioners of magic beleive that all the spells/rituals etc are just to cement a thought into the subconscious and that its all just willpower really. They also believe positive (or negative) thinking to be a form of magic.


    They can't do 'Bigby's Interposing Hand' though...


    On another vein, there are the thoughts of Frank Tipler (mathematical physicist and cosmologist). Below from wiki:


    In his controversial 1994 book The Physics of Immortality,[4][5][6] Tipler claims to provide a mechanism for immortality and the resurrection of the dead consistent with the known laws of physics, provided by a computer intelligence he terms the Omega Point and which he identifies with God. The line of argument is that the evolution of intelligent species will enable scientific progress to grow exponentially, eventually enabling control over the universe even on the largest possible scale.


    ...In more recent works, Tipler says that the existence of the Omega Point is required to avoid the violation of the known laws of physics.


    According to George Ellis's review of Tipler's book in the journal Nature, Tipler's book on the Omega Point is "a masterpiece of pseudoscience ... the product of a fertile and creative imagination unhampered by the normal constraints of scientific and philosophical discipline",[5] and Michael Shermer devoted a chapter of Why People Believe Weird Things to enumerating flaws in Tipler's thesis.[7] On the other hand, David Deutsch (who pioneered the field of quantum computers), confirms that Tipler's basic concept of the physics of an Omega Point is correct.

  15. Can anyone answer why the Republican Party has reversed the stars on the elephant logo? Stars that point downward are a symbol of black magic, satanism, anti 'mother-nature' etc. Ssshurely just a coincidence (!!), but why on earth did they do it? Have the US Christian groups complained?

  16. perhaps the US price also includes the cost of the surgery to install it?


    Nope, I don't think so. Listen to the documentary. The implication is (I think) that the makers are able to charge almost what they like because they are in bed with the healthcare providers - or at least because there is too little accountability. It's the citizens that suffer via higher insurance premiums - and taxes as 50% of the US healthcare system is funded by the Government. Sounds like the other 50% is pure profit for private companies!!


    You don't have to listen to the whole thing, go straight to 26:00mins.

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