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Ecap

How do you have conversations with people about chemistry?

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This is an odd question, but hear me out.

 

"We could be an atom to an atom to an atom, we could be in a grain of sand."

 

My friend made this philosophical observation when we were hanging out earlier. I said that we couldn't, and we argued about it.

First I asked him if he thought that we would be made out of the same "fundamental stuff"

He said why not, and I made some observations. Quantum particles(?) compose larger particles, particles compose atoms, atoms compose molecules and compounds, and so on and so forth all the way up to biological systems like us. To this he quickly agreed.

So then I made the statement that the universe must progress in regular ways. To this he agreed as well.

Then I described a situation where a scientist was performing experiments on very small pieces of matter. The scientist was splitting the pieces and observing the byproducts. Would you ever expect a scientist to, upon splitting a particle, observe a new universe? Of course you wouldn't. It doesn't make sense. Its not reasonable. Its like trying to describe to someone mathematics through the language of biology. You can't do it. You can only describe biological in the language of mathematics.

He insisted that I was wrong, but his only real counter-point was:

"Why couldnt it?"

 

So how do you apply "sciency" logic in your social situations? Do you avoid it? I find people seem to be repulsed by talking about "science".

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That's more cosmology (and straight up quantum mechanics) than chemistry. We don't have a complete theory to describe black holes, we aren't sure what causes certain anomalies on the cosmic scale (dark matter, accelerating expansion) so there's a lot we don't understand, and thus it is a tricky subject. About the splitting, it isn't exactly a plausible scenario, first of all since we're already (seemingly) down to fundamental particles. Actually, the idea was featured in the recent game Fallout 3, but then again it was the ideology of this sort of crazy doomsday cult. :D

 

However, what I find more interesting and plausible are the theories about there being a new universe at the end of each black hole. For example Lee Smolin has proposed this I recall.

 

As to whether people seem repulsed by talking about science to me it seems more like they're bored. :D I often use scientifical logic (mention some quite rigid and tested laws and principles etc.) as best I can, perhaps more on the philosophical side with people who aren't that science oriented.

Edited by Gilded

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