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# What does the Uncertainty Principle tell us?

 Posts: 2,440 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 10:45:05 AMPosted: 6 years agoYou reduce the speed of time until nearly 0, at which point matter becomes a sea of chaos.You can reduce size until nearly 0, at which point you you observe a sea of particles annihilating each other and forming out of thin air.You can reduce the temperature of a substance to nearly zero, which turns each atom into a smear instead of a point (most likely, the closer you get to 0, the larger the smear becomes).You can eliminate the ability to view a particle, which allows it to be anything it possibly can.So what philosophical conclusions can we draw?Rob
 Posts: 21,036 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 11:02:25 AMPosted: 6 years agoThe origin of all things is timeless, sizeless, and heatless?
 Posts: 4,509 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 12:59:48 PMPosted: 6 years agoThe uncertainty principal is that both the position of a particle and its momentum (mass x velocity) cannot be specified with arbitrary accuracy. We will alwaysbe uncertain of one or the other.The classic concept of determinism is that the universe plays out deterministically as if it were a pool table with complicated but predetermined collisions. Sine everything is predetermined, free will is an illusion You only thing you can change the future, But you cannot. The uncertainty principal, along with other discoveries of modern physics, destroys the concept of determinism.It is not the case that particles have precise positions and momentum, but we just cannot measure them. The functioning of the universe according to observed physical laws requires that things exist only as probability distributions. The future of the universe is necessarily unpredictable. The concept of determinism is destroyed.If determinism cannot exist, how is free will defined? The problem of free will cannot be considered until a new definition is crafted. It's no good saying that some future will play out, and that we cannot depart from that script even though the script is unknown. The script is inherently undefined and cannot be claimed as conceptually determined.I made a list of inherently unpredictable events described by modern physics. It's in R1 of http://www.debate.org... and includes references.
 Posts: 5,955 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 1:22:10 PMPosted: 6 years agoDude, the universe is like a wave. We are all like overtones of the big note, maaaan.Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
 Posts: 3,667 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 1:37:01 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/19/2011 12:59:48 PM, RoyLatham wrote:The classic concept of determinism is that the universe plays out deterministically as if it were a pool table with complicated but predetermined collisions. Sine everything is predetermined, free will is an illusion You only thing you can change the future, But you cannot.Just because everything is determined (and I get the impression that this is still the case at the macro level even if quantum indeterminacy is correct) doesn't mean you can't change the future. All it means is that the role we play in shaping the future is deterministic in nature - i.e. the changes we make flow from our character along with other predetermined conditions. I'm leaning towards thinking that's all that's required for free will. That and the fact that the alternative (indeterminism about our choices) ultimately boils down to randomness or chance, neither of which are remotely satisfactory accounts of free will.
 Posts: 6,924 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 2:05:14 PMPosted: 6 years agoI am very shaky on QM, but from what I've been told, isn't Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle based on the fact that in order to measure the velocity of a photon, your measuring device will effect the position of that photon? If you want to measure the position of the photon, it will effect the velocity.
 Posts: 2,440 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/19/2011 2:42:33 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/19/2011 2:05:14 PM, Wnope wrote:I am very shaky on QM, but from what I've been told, isn't Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle based on the fact that in order to measure the velocity of a photon, your measuring device will effect the position of that photon? If you want to measure the position of the photon, it will effect the velocity.Yes and no. Yes it is true that the only physically possible way to detect something is to crash something else to it and record where the disturbed particles moved. However, I believe we are finding out now that it is much deeper than that. I saw an awesome documentary recently (I'll try and find it if you want) and they ran an experiment which proved that the only variable of importance was whether or not the universe "knew" about it. IOWs, think of a video game which is created and shipped to you, and you plug it into your Atari machine. There are 8 levels, but you never play past level 6. If the universe was the video game, then levels 7 and 8 aren't just unviewed; they are in a quantum flux (for lack of precise terminology) of some sort and occupy many different possibilities simultaneously.I'll try and describe the experiment the best I can. They had some kind of particles going in through a tube to this chamber, and then exiting on the opposite side. Each time a particle went through, it had a 50% chance of entering one of two states. In the first state, it would phase out and nothing would happen (the energy would be dispersed in some other fashion). In the second state, it would create an arc to the second tube exiting the apparatus. So, as expected, as they fed the particles into the machine, they would get a flash on about 50% of them and blanks for the other half.The remarkable thing about the experiment was that the chamber they were feeding these particles into could be shut off from being viewed by any known means (I would imagine cooling was involved amongst other devices). When they activated this ability, all of a sudden every particle that went through was arcing across. In essence, the particle entered an area where the universe could not detect anything from it (I imagine this meant no other particles interacted with it?). This caused the particle to exist in duel realities, both having the properties that would make it arc and not - it was behaving in both states simultaneously.This phenomenon has been seen before in the two-slit experiment (I've heard different interpretations of it, so I use Hawking's). Hawking says that even if you slow photons down to one at a time, they still create an interference pattern - IOWS each photon travels through both slits simultaneously and interferes with itself. One would otherwise just assume that interference patterns were created by separate photons (quanta) interfering with each other.I think the interesting part to think about is whether this phenomenon exists in the psychological world. If you shuffle some cards and deal me in, and no living being knows what cards I have yet, are the face-down cards frantically fluctuating between all possibilities until I flip it up and lock it in? I believe the documentary mentioned earlier drew this conclusion. If uncertainty can be harnassed and exploited (i.e., I could alter the reality of cards not flipped up and control them somehow), then I can't imagine the technological implications.Rob
 Posts: 21,036 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 4:10:46 AMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/19/2011 1:37:01 PM, Kinesis wrote:At 10/19/2011 12:59:48 PM, RoyLatham wrote:The classic concept of determinism is that the universe plays out deterministically as if it were a pool table with complicated but predetermined collisions. Sine everything is predetermined, free will is an illusion You only thing you can change the future, But you cannot.Just because everything is determined (and I get the impression that this is still the case at the macro level even if quantum indeterminacy is correct) doesn't mean you can't change the future. All it means is that the role we play in shaping the future is deterministic in nature - i.e. the changes we make flow from our character along with other predetermined conditions. I'm leaning towards thinking that's all that's required for free will. That and the fact that the alternative (indeterminism about our choices) ultimately boils down to randomness or chance, neither of which are remotely satisfactory accounts of free will.I thought Roy just showed how determinism is unlikely.
 Posts: 5,171 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 9:48:07 AMPosted: 6 years agoIve taken two university level classes on quantum mechanics- math intensive physics courses required for my engineering degree.The biggest thing I took away from those classes was that almost everyone who has not had formal physics training or has not read at least read a book written by a reputable physicist will misunderstand or misrepresent QM.This is doubly true when someone tries to import results from QM into philosophy. People almost always interpret QM in whatever way best falls in line with their philosophical viewpoints, despite having a generally poor understanding of the intricacies of the science.All of that being said, I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say. Honestly the jury is still out on a lot of the implications of QM or even how to interpret some of the physical results of QMWe gonna pull up like the ice cream truck
 Posts: 2,440 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 10:33:22 AMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 9:48:07 AM, Raisor wrote:Ive taken two university level classes on quantum mechanics- math intensive physics courses required for my engineering degree.The biggest thing I took away from those classes was that almost everyone who has not had formal physics training or has not read at least read a book written by a reputable physicist will misunderstand or misrepresent QM.This is doubly true when someone tries to import results from QM into philosophy. People almost always interpret QM in whatever way best falls in line with their philosophical viewpoints, despite having a generally poor understanding of the intricacies of the science.All of that being said, I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say. Honestly the jury is still out on a lot of the implications of QM or even how to interpret some of the physical results of QM... in which case you put down the mathbooks and just listen to what the physics greats have concluded from their work. Taking the conglomerate of these opinions and sorting them out is a worthy cause.Rob
 Posts: 5,955 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 1:16:30 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 9:48:07 AM, Raisor wrote:Ive taken two university level classes on quantum mechanics- math intensive physics courses required for my engineering degree.The biggest thing I took away from those classes was that almost everyone who has not had formal physics training or has not read at least read a book written by a reputable physicist will misunderstand or misrepresent QM.This is doubly true when someone tries to import results from QM into philosophy. People almost always interpret QM in whatever way best falls in line with their philosophical viewpoints, despite having a generally poor understanding of the intricacies of the science.All of that being said, I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say. Honestly the jury is still out on a lot of the implications of QM or even how to interpret some of the physical results of QMThisOfficial "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
 Posts: 5,171 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 2:15:50 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 10:33:22 AM, Lasagna wrote:At 10/20/2011 9:48:07 AM, Raisor wrote:Ive taken two university level classes on quantum mechanics- math intensive physics courses required for my engineering degree.The biggest thing I took away from those classes was that almost everyone who has not had formal physics training or has not read at least read a book written by a reputable physicist will misunderstand or misrepresent QM.This is doubly true when someone tries to import results from QM into philosophy. People almost always interpret QM in whatever way best falls in line with their philosophical viewpoints, despite having a generally poor understanding of the intricacies of the science.All of that being said, I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say. Honestly the jury is still out on a lot of the implications of QM or even how to interpret some of the physical results of QM... in which case you put down the mathbooks and just listen to what the physics greats have concluded from their work. Taking the conglomerate of these opinions and sorting them out is a worthy cause.Except the math behind QM is often the best description of it. There is a reason physics is described in terms of mathematics. The Uncertainty Principle itself is a mathematical expression- if you dont understand the inequality as it is expressed mathematically, you wont understand it properly.Anyways, Ive never heard any of the "physics greats" express anything like what your OP contained. I can hardly imagine Born saying "You reduce the speed of time until nearly 0, at which point matter becomes a sea of chaos."We gonna pull up like the ice cream truck
 Posts: 18,870 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 2:28:51 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 10:33:22 AM, Lasagna wrote:At 10/20/2011 9:48:07 AM, Raisor wrote:Ive taken two university level classes on quantum mechanics- math intensive physics courses required for my engineering degree.The biggest thing I took away from those classes was that almost everyone who has not had formal physics training or has not read at least read a book written by a reputable physicist will misunderstand or misrepresent QM.This is doubly true when someone tries to import results from QM into philosophy. People almost always interpret QM in whatever way best falls in line with their philosophical viewpoints, despite having a generally poor understanding of the intricacies of the science.All of that being said, I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say. Honestly the jury is still out on a lot of the implications of QM or even how to interpret some of the physical results of QM... in which case you put down the mathbooks and just listen to what the physics greats have concluded from their work. Taking the conglomerate of these opinions and sorting them out is a worthy cause.This seems to be a bit disingenuous. Your initial post asked an open ended question. When someone responded, you come up with "Just listen to what the "physics greats" have concluded." Well, if you know what the physics greats have concluded, then that's the answer to your question.More to the point, listening to the great physicists is precisely what Raisor suggested: "I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say."I think a big issue here is that QM has shown us that nature, on the QM level, is very counter-intuitive. We cannot rely on our intuition to guide us here and even the scenarios using lay-terms (such as Schrodinger's Cat) can only get us so far. That is why we should stick to the math. That is the true description of the world at that level. Unfortunately, these facts have allowed kooks to come in and claim all sorts of nonsense regarding QM, like, the entire movie "What the *bleep* do we know?"
 Posts: 5,171 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 2:47:54 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 2:28:51 PM, drafterman wrote:Unfortunately, these facts have allowed kooks to come in and claim all sorts of nonsense regarding QM, like, the entire movie "What the *bleep* do we know?"This is exactly my point. QM is easily abused in philosophy, so if you intend on doing philosophy in any manner more serious than circle jerking with your smoking/drinking buddies you should either leave it alone or be prepared to do some serious studying.Not that theres anything wrong with circle jerking with your smoking/drinking buddies (whether philosophy is involved or not).We gonna pull up like the ice cream truck
 Posts: 4,740 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 4:00:56 PMPosted: 6 years agoWhat does the Uncertainty Principle tell me? Hmm, I can't be certain.Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
 Posts: 2,440 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 6:43:05 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 2:15:50 PM, Raisor wrote:At 10/20/2011 10:33:22 AM, Lasagna wrote:At 10/20/2011 9:48:07 AM, Raisor wrote:Ive taken two university level classes on quantum mechanics- math intensive physics courses required for my engineering degree.The biggest thing I took away from those classes was that almost everyone who has not had formal physics training or has not read at least read a book written by a reputable physicist will misunderstand or misrepresent QM.This is doubly true when someone tries to import results from QM into philosophy. People almost always interpret QM in whatever way best falls in line with their philosophical viewpoints, despite having a generally poor understanding of the intricacies of the science.All of that being said, I think QM does have philosophical implications and I think it is worth looking at so long as you are committed to actually studying what physicists have to say. Honestly the jury is still out on a lot of the implications of QM or even how to interpret some of the physical results of QM... in which case you put down the mathbooks and just listen to what the physics greats have concluded from their work. Taking the conglomerate of these opinions and sorting them out is a worthy cause.Except the math behind QM is often the best description of it. There is a reason physics is described in terms of mathematics. The Uncertainty Principle itself is a mathematical expression- if you dont understand the inequality as it is expressed mathematically, you wont understand it properly.It is true that you must interpret mathematics to find the truth, but one of the primary goals of science is to translate complexities into simple terms. "Theories" cannot become "laws," for instance, until they meet a standard of simplicity (even if they are as sound as can possibly be in their complex forms). Conclusions can be drawn by the experts and translated into relatively simple terms for us to comprehend.Anyways, Ive never heard any of the "physics greats" express anything like what your OP contained. I can hardly imagine Born saying "You reduce the speed of time until nearly 0, at which point matter becomes a sea of chaos."As time approaches zero, particles no longer have well defined positions - it is pure chaos. If you stopped time, people wouldn't just stand motionless - they would disappear into a haze of chaotic possibilities.Rob
 Posts: 5,171 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 7:09:02 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 6:43:05 PM, Lasagna wrote:It is true that you must interpret mathematics to find the truth, but one of the primary goals of science is to translate complexities into simple terms. "Theories" cannot become "laws," for instance, until they meet a standard of simplicity (even if they are as sound as can possibly be in their complex forms). Conclusions can be drawn by the experts and translated into relatively simple terms for us to comprehend.I actually cannot think of a single law of physics that isnt expressed most fundamentally by a mathematical expression. I am certainly no physics guru, but I have rigorously studied quite a bit of it.As time approaches zero, particles no longer have well defined positions - it is pure chaos. If you stopped time, people wouldn't just stand motionless - they would disappear into a haze of chaotic possibilities.Please note my original point that it is best to not stray from established physics theory. This seems to be your own romantic interpretation of quantum. I do not believe you will find your interpretation of QM espoused by major players in the field.We gonna pull up like the ice cream truck
 Posts: 4,740 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 8:10:50 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 4:00:56 PM, charleslb wrote:What does the Uncertainty Principle tell me? Hmm, I can't be certain.For any prosaic and behind-the-times adherents of a mechanistically materialistic ontology, the above reply was merely my laconic and lighthearted way of saying that the non-tangable ultimate nature of existence allows for an element of uncertainty, variability, and paradoxicality (one instance of which is captured in Herr Doktor Professor Heisenberg's realization that it's impossible to simultaneously measure with precision the position and momentum of a particle). This is not at all to say that reality is excessively loose, so to speak, in or owing to its non-tangibility/experiential nature; nor is it wantonly promiscuous in its uncertainty, variability, and paradoxicality; that would make for a much higher degree of chaos than we typically observe and experience. Rather, what's being said is that at the most fundamental level, being is not any kind of concrete stuff, but rather pure becoming; i.e. creativity-perennially-in-process, charcterized by a high degree of creative freedom, openness of and to its own intrinsic possibilities, and consequently openness to "uncertainty" and choice – "choice", however, meaning not merely capriciousness but intentionality, hence the purposefulness informing much of nature and preventing indeterminism from giving way to total orderlessness. Yep, I was hinting at all that. Ha! So much for me remaining laconic.Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
 Posts: 2,440 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 8:50:05 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 7:09:02 PM, Raisor wrote:At 10/20/2011 6:43:05 PM, Lasagna wrote:It is true that you must interpret mathematics to find the truth, but one of the primary goals of science is to translate complexities into simple terms. "Theories" cannot become "laws," for instance, until they meet a standard of simplicity (even if they are as sound as can possibly be in their complex forms). Conclusions can be drawn by the experts and translated into relatively simple terms for us to comprehend.I actually cannot think of a single law of physics that isnt expressed most fundamentally by a mathematical expression. I am certainly no physics guru, but I have rigorously studied quite a bit of it.As time approaches zero, particles no longer have well defined positions - it is pure chaos. If you stopped time, people wouldn't just stand motionless - they would disappear into a haze of chaotic possibilities.Please note my original point that it is best to not stray from established physics theory. This seems to be your own romantic interpretation of quantum. I do not believe you will find your interpretation of QM espoused by major players in the field.I don't have personal interpretations - they come from "players in the field" already.Rob
 Posts: 5,171 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 9:15:31 PMPosted: 6 years agoAt 10/20/2011 8:50:05 PM, Lasagna wrote:At 10/20/2011 7:09:02 PM, Raisor wrote:At 10/20/2011 6:43:05 PM, Lasagna wrote:It is true that you must interpret mathematics to find the truth, but one of the primary goals of science is to translate complexities into simple terms. "Theories" cannot become "laws," for instance, until they meet a standard of simplicity (even if they are as sound as can possibly be in their complex forms). Conclusions can be drawn by the experts and translated into relatively simple terms for us to comprehend.I actually cannot think of a single law of physics that isnt expressed most fundamentally by a mathematical expression. I am certainly no physics guru, but I have rigorously studied quite a bit of it.As time approaches zero, particles no longer have well defined positions - it is pure chaos. If you stopped time, people wouldn't just stand motionless - they would disappear into a haze of chaotic possibilities.Please note my original point that it is best to not stray from established physics theory. This seems to be your own romantic interpretation of quantum. I do not believe you will find your interpretation of QM espoused by major players in the field.I don't have personal interpretations - they come from "players in the field" already.[citation needed]We gonna pull up like the ice cream truck
 Posts: 18,337 Add as FriendChallenge to a DebateSend a Message 10/20/2011 9:18:19 PMPosted: 6 years agoWhat I don't get is whether the philosophical arguments like ontological and cosmological arguments have any basis in quantum physics. Are they both related? Where does one end and the other begin? I see a lot of people posting string theory etc as a rebuttal to the philosophical arguments.