Saturday, February 17, 2007

THE POWER OF WORDS

Guest Blog by Carl

I've been thinking lately about society and how it is composed and how communities are formed. To do this, I've been trying to think like a physicist (admittedly, not my strong suit. I barely got a 90 in high school.)

To understand a complex material, scientists will break it down to the smallest logical component: its atoms. We can do the same for societies, to a degree.

Obviously, the smallest component of a society is the individual. All of us have some things in common: we're born, and we die. It is only by dint of circumstance that you're sitting there reading this, rather than being dead, just as it's only by dint of circumstance (and the good work of teams of doctors) that I'm alive to type this.

Each of us walks around in our own universe, in which we are comfortably in charge. In this universe, things go pretty much as we want them to: we work where we want, we buy what we want, we do what we want, we eat what we want, we hear what we want, we comprehend that which we want to be comprehended. For most of us on this planet, that's more than enough. We call these "Republicans".

Kidding! On the square. For most of us, the sense that there's a bigger world out there simply doesn't exist. Even when we deal with other people, we're still in our own little bubble: these are the people we want to deal with. Our bubbles bump together only when we want them to. These tenuous bumps are what create our communities, however. A shared experience, joint vision, communal values.

So the sense that there are other people out there whom we don't interact with is an abstract concept, and to think about how they live their lives requires the use of our imaginations. In concept, I can imagine life on a farm in Russia: it gets very cold in the winter, it can be very isolated, you have a very short growing season, the ground in the spring requires back-breaking effort to till. Families spend a lot of time indoors. They probably get pretty good at card games, and so on.

But do I really know how these people live? No. Of course not. Anymore than I truly understand what it's like to grow up in Appalachia with a single mom who makes a poverty level wage when she can work and yet manages to feed and clothe me and put a roof over my head. Or Harlem. Or the Dominican Republic. Or Africa.

And yet, like the electrons of an atom, I share values with all of these people too. The difference between me and many people in this country and on this planet is I'm aware and bother to think about these things. Doesn't make me superior to anyone else (because this is where liberals get smeared with the "elitist" charge), it merely makes me someone who has a bit more compassion in his heart than someone else, who probably has some other quality I lack (like humility!).

So how do we communicate this information? How do we get our community to care?

Atoms do this using a quantum concept called action at a distance, one of the creepier concepts of particle physics dealing with the immediate transfer of information at speeds apparently faster than light. Read up on it Fascinating stuff. Einstein even called it "spooky" and he should know from spooky.

Societies, however, apparently don't have this available to them (although one suspects that two teenagers in malls miles away who buy the same T shirt thus starting a fad probably qualifies). So we use words, which, as Sting put it "poets, priests, and politicians" have to thank for their positions.

Which raises another point. It's not just information. We get information from the television all the time: what to buy, who to watch, who died. But you'll note that, for this information to be effective, it not only has to be passed along, it has to be passed along by someone who can create an image with it to influence the receiver. Raw data is insufficient for the masses of folks who sit on the couch and absorb without thinking (cf. Republicans)

Which is why I blog. Which is why Lydia blogs. Which is why we are trying to shape the world, one bubble at a time.

66 comments:

  1. Carl, this is truly excellent, and why I blog as well. A few weeks back an 'Anonymous' posted a skeptical comment one of my editorial articles. Last weekend, he came back, identifies himself as the author of that comment, and said that following up had not only cured his skepticism, but even inspired him to start a blog of his own. {{{extreme blush}}} That was the high point in my blogging experience. Knowing that what I said touched someone's world made all the research and hard work worthwhile.

    I'm not sure how Lydia found Politics Plus (I think it was Larry), but she commented there and I followed her back here (and love it), where I found Kay's and your excellent blogs. Trying to shape the world one bubble at a time is a superior paradigm for this most worthy goal.

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  2. Congrats Carl! I just knew you were a bubble head....

    BTW, when trying to get bubbles to stick together, have you tried bubblegum?

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  3. Carl, I really love your post. You are an excellent writer, and I agree one bubble at a time really connects the world.

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  4. Tomorrow this website and blog may be down for awhile as we are moving. But it's only temporary. It will be back up as soon as possible.

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  5. Great post, Carl. If only everyone were as willing to communicate! Reaching out, whether via internet or another medium, is the first step. Some of those bubbles are hard plastic; they just aren't open to receiving information. Some are sponges, and open to absorbing both the good and the bad.

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  6. Being comfortably in charge of your own universe is a relatively recent luxury, especially if you aren't white, male, and live in a free country.

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  7. Carl, I know you're watching THE SECRET but the forefunner to this is "WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW" starring Marlee Matlin — about quantum physics and the power of our thoughts, God and the unified field.. (I believe science proves God, Life, Love)

    It's about the infinite field of possibilities, thought, molecular energy and the Heidelberg Theory (our observation of an object changes the object.)

    Everyone, please see this film. My kids and I have watched it 7 times, and now there's a more elaborate version DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE.

    Charlie, thank you for sending this to me! Just got it today. It's go great to finally have my own copy of the new updated version.

    One of the ideas in this film is how "religion" causes us to stay stuck in archaic belief systems that prevent us from seeing our true potential.

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  8. That's not to say religion isn't a wonderful comfort and safe haven, but when belief systems cause us to divide into "us versus them" camps, and we judge our fellow man, inventing all sorts of bizarre afterlife scenarios we are off the track.

    God is the energy of love and "miracles" are activated by our faith in our own divinity. Miracles are actually natural occurrences.

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  9. Anonymous10:09 PM

    Where is Worf?

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  10. Lydia, I caught that on Encore. Fascinating. I loved how they weaved the scientists' discussion in and out of the story.

    I see you already used the snowflake theme. :-)

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  11. reVolting,

    I used santorum.

    Go google it.

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  12. *psst, Lydia...it's the Heisenberg theory...*

    Actually, Lydia, it was Schroedinger's Cat that was the inspiration for this post.

    And thank you all for your kind words about it.

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  13. Carl, no, I meant The Heidelberg Principle: the act of observing changes the results.

    I heard this on WHAT THE BLEEP, then the same day heard it twice more from two different sources. In any case, we have the power to change our own "reality" of any situation by what we focus on. Together, with prayer (good intentions) we can change the world. But we have to stop focusing on what we don't want. That's the catch.

    here on this blog and everywhere in the news, we are focused on only the terror, the horror and the bad things in life. This actually keeps us bound to the bad. Our sights need to be raised.

    Instead of protesting AGAINST the war, we should be FOR peace. As Viktor Frankl, my favorite concentration camp survivor said: "What you focus on grows."

    "Consider Wydra's belief that intention alone can be enough to produce change. In Look Before you Love (1998:v) she declares that in science this is called the Heidelberg Principle, a "phenomenon" that asserts "the mere fact of being observed changes … results."

    Her confusion about quantum mechanics is based on a misunderstanding of the Heisenberg Principle (also known as the uncertainty principle), named after Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976).
    Some people, including Wydra, think the uncertainty principle means the world is unpredictable when actually the opposite is true. The uncertainty (Heisenberg) principle is a recipe for making measurements with a precision that would be unimaginable with classical physics.
    Quantum mechanics, the centerpiece of modern physics, is misinterpreted as implying that the human mind controls reality and that the universe is one connected whole that cannot be understood by the usual reduction to parts.
    However, no compelling argument or evidence requires that quantum mechanics plays a central role in human consciousness or provides instantaneous, holistic connections across the universe. Modern physics, including quantum mechanics, remains completely materialistic and reductionistic while being consistent with all scientific observations.
    — Victor J. Stenger: "Quantum Quackery"
    Besides the malapropism, Wydra confused the uncertainty principle with the participatory anthropic principle, which is used by people like Deepak Chopra to suggest humans can create molecules by thinking.
    Robert Park in his excellent book Voodoo Science (2000) notes this concept suggests that psychic healing and casting spells rely on chaos theory, and quantum mechanics supplies the summoned spirits. It gives a new spin to The Tempest, in which Shakespeare tackled the thorny issues of colonialism and racism.

    Now it makes perfect sense that according to Designing Your Happiness (1995:17), Wydra's school accepts theories "that have either scientific proof or are supported by a belief system."

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  14. One of the lines in Venus Conspiracy, the black comedy film I wrote is, "you can be attractive even if you're not good looking, because if you radiate love, you attract people."

    And: "Enthusiasm and courage actually change your brain waves, changing the molecular structure around you...."

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  15. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Hindenburg theory you mean.

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  16. Anonymous12:40 PM

    you dems can't stand the heat, so get out of the kitchen

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  17. On Carl's blog the other day he noted that the co-inventor of the TV remote control died, Robert Adler. This inventor was responsible for creating the couch potato.

    Miss Cellania commented: "If we didn't have remote controls, we would spend five seconds getting up to change a channel, instead of half an hour searching for the remote!"

    Very funny!!!

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  18. I love the film "What the Bleep Do we Know" A friend of mine is a physicist they interviewed. There is no solid matter. I love thinking about this.

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  19. This means we are not solid matter. when a basketball hits the ground it doesn't touch the ground; it is two electrons bouncing off each other.

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  20. Forgot to register my url properly on the new google

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  21. Nice article Carl.

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  22. Lydia, that article you quote was criticizing Wydra, hence the first part of the second paragraph...

    "Her confusion about quantum mechanics is based on a misunderstanding of the Heisenberg Principle (also known as the uncertainty principle), named after Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976)."

    Farther down in the same article:

    "This theorizing establishes Wydra's crackpot theories as originating in contemporary American popular culture, for the facts about brain function are altogether different from those she relates."

    The Full Article

    Note that it's titled " The Tempest and the Crackpot"...

    nuff said.

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  23. Thanks Volt. Yeah that article does say Wydra was a crackpot, but nevertheless, the Heidelberg Theory exists, and I have firsthand evidence to prove it.

    In fact, the ideas that may seem wacky to materialists, cannot be accessed by those with closed minds.

    Once you begin to experience the magic firsthand, you open the door and keep seeking.

    I love Herbert Spencer's quote, to paraphrase: "Nothing will keep a man in everlasting ignorance so much as CONTEMPT PRIOR TO INVESTIGATION."

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  24. Here's the exact quote, regarding a spiritual experience.

    AN ARTIST'S CONCEPT
    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
    --HERBERT SPENCER

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  25. Great post, Carl.

    It's amazing to think of the world the internet connects us all to. Blogging is only one tool used as an opportunity to reach others in such a positive way, communicating with people from across the country and around the world, sharing ideals and finding fresh new perspectives. My life has truly been enhanced through the experience.

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  26. Nicely done!

    Since the Corporate Media is now owned by 3 (or 5, can't remember) down from 13 over 15 yrs ago, the "internets" helps to see others around the World, yearning for the same things.

    Materialism has taken over the US, which is why the media is in the state it is in. ; (

    Besides, advertising is how they make their money anyway! ; (

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  27. Volt said

    "Congrats Carl! I just knew you were a bubble head...."


    Absolutely Volt, I strongly suggest Carl ease's up on his pot smoking before pouring half the bottle of Mr. Bubble in his tub.

    And, for that truly fun bubble experience, Carl enjoys a few cans of spicy chili the evening before thus enhancing the bubble philosophy; of course, it is a this point that Thumper jumps out of the tub.


    :D

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  28. She may have gotten the name wrong, Lydia, but the Heisenberg Principle covers that ground, and more thoroughly.

    What the Heisenberg theory states is that the mere act of observing a subatomic particle changes the results of that observation.

    How? Well, as you pointed out, Heisenberg said that a particle has two components to observe: position or velocity. In order to measure one precisely, you immediately cancel the other.

    If it helps, you can think of it this way: you're driving a car. You want to know the precise speed you're driving and the precise location.

    You have a speedometer and a GPS. You can look at one and absorb that information but cannot look at both and record them simultaneously.

    In the case of subatomic particles, in order to record velocity, you have to measure a known distance. By the time the particle has covered that distance, it's position has changed.

    Similarly, to measure its precise position, you have to stop it dead in its tracks.

    Now, you can narrow the precision of one measurement down, but you lose precision in the other value. Widen the precision of one value, and you can more precisely measure the other. There is an upper limit to the precision with which you can measure both.

    And I'm fairly sure the precision of my physics knowledge runs out at von Neumann limits... :-)

    What does this mean?

    Well, as applied to Schroedinger's Cat, it means that all probable states exist simultaneously until a measurement is made.

    In Schroedinger's Cat, it is theorized that a cat is placed in a box with...well, let me focus on the cat. In the closed box, the cat is either alive or dead. So the cat is said to be both, because we cannot observe it's state.

    Doesn't matter that it's inside playing with it's tail or dead from starvation. Both states are equally probable so it is in both states simultaneously.

    Once you open the box, you collapse the probability "smear" to one, and whatever the cat is, the cat is.

    Now, it is possible to apply to theory of intention to this experiment, and pray the cat is alive and surprise! It will be.

    But here's the kicker, the stuff that will make you sit up at night pondering: is intention what we think it is, or a form of measurement?

    Good luck!

    See, the world is generally predictable. However, as Steven Hawking points out, there's just enogh uncertainty in the universe that all the molecules that make up your desk could suddenly shift three feet to the right simultaneously.

    This might happen every hundred billion years, but keep in mind that space is infinite, so it's happening SOMEWHERE every second....

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  29. Johnny moo moo said...
    ...something fairly irrelevant and possibly the result of being stoned all night


    GooGoo! How many underage women have you raped this week?

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  30. Thanks Carl. Of course you must be right, it's the Heisenberg not Heidelberg Theory... but I knew I wasn't crazy. I thought I heard the term "Heidelberg" (being a synesthete, we remember words in color, so the hard "d" stayed with me.)

    I have to get to the bottom of this.

    #1. On that particular day, the first place I heard the term was in the film "What the Bleep." I had an accident in which there was a gash on my face. I been going through a terrible time of pain and worry (and vanity) that it would be permanent. Two of my girlfriends took me to this film. When I heard about the H. theory I immediately stopped focusing on the anger, fear, pain.... and all my symptoms of anger, fear, worry vanished.

    That afternoon the gash literally disappeared. (I often practice "healing" like this, by praying in the exact way JC did, by viewing it from the Source. It's our perception that needs to change.)

    #2 That afternoon I came home and turned on the TV. Flipping channels, I came upon the silliest movie "perfect" starring John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. At the moment I turned on that channel, Jamie Lee was stating the Heisenberg Theory, the exact same thing I heard in the other movie. But for some reason I remember her saying "Heidelberg".

    There is s 3rd one, which occurred in the same time frame. I'll figure it out.

    Something to think about in any case...

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  31. "Doesn't matter that it's inside playing with it's tail or dead from starvation. Both states are equally probable so it is in both states simultaneously."

    Knowing more about statistical probability than I do physics, I am confused by this statement. If you just put the cat in the box a minute ago, the probability that its still alive is way more than the probability it is dead. If you put it in three weeks ago, the probability overwhelingly leans the other way. How can it be equal?

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  32. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Break out the tin foil hats.

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  33. Miss C and Carl,

    I believe the answer is in another portion of the article quoted by Lydia:

    "Quantum mechanics, the centerpiece of modern physics, is misinterpreted as implying that the human mind controls reality and that the universe is one connected whole that cannot be understood by the usual reduction to parts.

    However, no compelling argument or evidence requires that quantum mechanics plays a central role in human consciousness or provides instantaneous, holistic connections across the universe. Modern physics, including quantum mechanics, remains completely materialistic and reductionistic while being consistent with all scientific observations."

    — Victor J. Stenger: "Quantum Quackery"

    Miss C, you are clearly correct. One must take into consideration ALL the factors accordingly, not just theres a cat in a box.

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. Now IF you found that box locked at the bottom of the sea, encrusted with barnacles and tarnished with age, the probability that the cat is dead is reduced to pretty much certainty.

    And all Carl's prayers will most likely be for naught.

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  36. Personally I think Heisenberg had a lot of nerve to suggest that a cat be boxed and relegated to a state of neither dead nor alive, or both. Therefore, I semply refuse to get into the box at all. ;-)

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  37. Voltron said...
    Miss C and Carl,

    I believe the answer is in another portion of the article quoted by Lydia:

    "Quantum mechanics, the centerpiece of modern physics, is misinterpreted as implying that the human mind controls reality and that the universe is one connected whole that cannot be understood by the usual reduction to parts.


    Oh. But it can. At least it can for me, reVolting.

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  38. Voltron said...
    Now IF you found that box locked at the bottom of the sea, encrusted with barnacles and tarnished with age, the probability that the cat is dead is reduced to pretty much certainty.


    Because you would have observed the box, stupid.

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  39. Carl said...

    Voltron said...
    Now IF you found that box locked at the bottom of the sea, encrusted with barnacles and tarnished with age, the probability that the cat is dead is reduced to pretty much certainty.

    "Because you would have observed the box, stupid."

    OK, how about this,

    Somewhere at the bottom of the sea is a locked barnacle encrusted box tarnished with age. A cat is inside.

    IF there is such a box, without knowing, or ever having seen it, when it's eventually found and opened, THAT CATS DEAD.

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  40. And in all seriousness, the "Schroedinger's Cat" story is being badly misrepresented here by all sides.

    In his original stipulation the cat was put into the box with a radioactive atom and a geiger counter and a vial of prussic acid. IF the atom decayed, the geiger counter would trigger a hammer to smash the vial of acid thereby killing the cat.

    So it's not simply is a cat in a box alive or dead, but has the atom decayed within a given time. (1 hour)


    "Quantum mechanics only describes how probabilities change with time. For example, if the particle in the cat example has a 50% probability of decaying in one hour, then in one minute it will have only a slight chance of having decayed. After 10 hours it will have a probability very close to one of having decayed. Quantum mechanics gives an exact model of how that probability changes over time. It says nothing at all about the state of the cat as these probabilities change. Science tells us what the probabilities are, but is completely silent on what (if anything) happens between observations. That is why there is no scientific answer to your questions. There is not even a scientific definition of what an observation is.

    In the quantum mechanical model nothing ever happens! The particle never has to decay. The probability just keeps getting closer and closer to one. There is nothing to force a real event to happen."


    http://www.mtnmath.com/cat.html

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  41. Just for fun, a nice poem from:

    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_122.html
    (credit: Cecil Adams...)

    The story of Schroedinger's cat

    Dear Cecil:

    Cecil, you're my final hope
    Of finding out the true Straight Dope
    For I have been reading of Schroedinger's cat
    But none of my cats are at all like that.
    This unusual animal (so it is said)
    Is simultaneously live and dead!
    What I don't understand is just why he
    Can't be one or other, unquestionably.
    My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
    In one I'm enlightened, the other I ain't.
    If you understand, Cecil, then show me the way
    And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
    But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
    Then I will and won't see you in Schroedinger's zoo.
    --Randy F., Chicago

    Dear Randy:

    Schroedinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!
    Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!
    (Not bad, eh? Don't worry. This part of the verse
    Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)
    Win saw that the theory that Newton'd invented
    By Einstein's discov'ries had been badly dented.
    What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, "Don't panic,
    No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.
    Consider electrons. Now, these teeny articles
    Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like particles.
    If that's not confusing, the nuclear dance
    Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!
    No sweat, though--my theory permits us to judge
    Where some of 'em is and the rest of 'em was."
    Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck
    The comforting linkage of cause and effect.
    E'en Einstein had doubts, and so Schroedinger tried
    To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.
    Said Win to Al, "Brother, suppose we've a cat,
    And inside a tube we have put that cat at--
    Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,
    A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes
    (Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got 'em,
    One vial prussic acid, one decaying ottom
    Or atom--whatever--but when it emits,
    A trigger device blasts the vial into bits
    Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime
    Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.
    The cylinder's sealed. The hour's passed away. Is
    Our pussy still purring--or pushing up daisies?
    Now, you'd say the cat either lives or it don't
    But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won't.
    Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),
    Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.
    To some this may seem a ridiculous split,
    But quantum mechanics must answer, "Tough @#&!
    We may not know much, but one thing's fo' sho':
    There's things in the cosmos that we cannot know.
    Shine light on electrons--you'll cause them to swerve.
    The act of observing disturbs the observed--
    Which ruins your test. But then if there's no testing
    To see if a particle's moving or resting
    Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavor!
    We know probability--certainty, never.'
    The effect of this notion? I very much fear
    'Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly clear.
    Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,
    "We've just flipped a coin and we've learned he's a corpse."'
    So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, "You're nuts.
    God doesn't play dice with the universe, putz.
    I'll prove it!" he said, and the Lord knows he tried--
    In vain--until fin'ly he more or less died.
    Win spoke at the funeral: "Listen, dear friends,
    Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.
    Though he doubted my theory, I'll say of this saint:
    Ten-to-one he's in heaven--but five bucks says he ain't."

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  42. So in effect, it's not that the cat is both alive AND dead until it's observed. It's merely a way to gauge the PROBABILITY that it is alive or dead.

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  43. The real problem with The story of Schroedinger's cat is the simple fact that NO one accepts a cat as an observer, thus the cat knows if it is living or dead even if WE do not.

    Thus with the cat inside the box there is an observer who has knowledge of the cats condition.

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  44. Anonymous4:53 PM

    yawn! I grow weary of you loser trolls and your pathetic troll games.

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  45. True, but it's not about wether the cat's actually dead or not. It's merely a way to gauge the PROBABILITY of the cat's existence.

    Think of it as starting out the first hour the cat has a 50% chance of survival. Every hour add 50% of the remaining amount to the probability the cat has ceased to be, (1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 15/16, 31/32, 63/64...etc.) you keep getting closer to the fact that the cat is indeed dead, but you never quite get there. Even though the figures allow a certain probability for the cat's continued existence, when you get to 99.9999999 ad infinitum%,
    You can pretty much rest assured that's a dead cat.

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  46. I guess the simplest way to say it is thus:

    It's not that the cat is BOTH alive AND dead until he's observed by someone on the outside. He IS either one or the other.

    It's about gauging the PROBABILITY of his state WITHOUT observing.

    Ok, I'm done....LOL

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  47. "How do we define ‘real’ - attach meaning to the term - except by linking it to something in our minds? There’s no way. And what else do we have in our minds but ideas? Nothing. So, if ‘real’ means anything at all, it can only mean some sort of construction of ideas. And once we realise that we must define ‘reality’ as we must define everything else, namely in terms of our ideas, then we realise that we can’t make sense of ‘reality existing independently of our ideas’.

    As soon as we allow the possibility of illusion and explain it in terms of an idea failing to resemble something, we have to allow that, for all we know from looking at our ideas, all of our ideas might be illusions. Is there any way forward?"

    T.J. Mawson

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  48. Cofee Messiah said "Nicely done!

    Since the Corporate Media is now owned by 3 (or 5, can't remember) down from 13 over 15 yrs ago, the "internets" helps to see others around the World, yearning for the same things.

    Materialism has taken over the US, which is why the media is in the state it is in. ; (

    Besides, advertising is how they make their money "anyway! ; "

    Excellent post, your right on the money coffee!

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  49. Lydia said "Carl, I know you're watching THE SECRET but the forefunner to this is "WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW" starring Marlee Matlin — about quantum physics and the power of our thoughts, God and the unified field.. (I believe science proves God, Life, Love)

    It's about the infinite field of possibilities, thought, molecular energy and the Heidelberg Theory (our observation of an object changes the object.)

    Everyone, please see this film. My kids and I have watched it 7 times,"

    That just sold me right there, i'm gonna have to go out and get that in the next week or two, if somethings good enough to watch 7 times, particularly for kids, I want to see it LOL.

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  50. Lydia said "Thanks Carl. Of course you must be right, it's the Heisenberg not Heidelberg Theory... but I knew I wasn't crazy. I thought I heard the term "Heidelberg" (being a synesthete, we remember words in color, so the hard "d" stayed with me.)

    I have to get to the bottom of this."


    I think Heidelberg is that hoax about a caveman in Germany, the name sounded familiar to me as well, and it took me a little while to remember what it was, thats probably why it popped into your head too.

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  51. I think Heidelburg was a town near Stalag 13 on Hogans Heroes.

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  52. I think Hogan and the boys blew up a rocket factory or two there.

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  53. It was, it was a town in Germany famous for a hoax about a caveman.

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  54. I think Klink dated a girl there once too.

    Until Hogan snatched her away.

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  55. I almost bought a Hogan's Hero's DVD around Christmas, I havent seen that show in like 30 years.

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  56. Any idea what happened to those loser trolls Troll Tex and Moo Moo, Worf must have scared the halfwits off .

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  57. TT must have got tired of postinmg ignorance I guess, interesting though how he is spewing his Coulter or Rush BS at the Pink Pajama Party.

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  58. Johnny moo moo said...
    And what else do we have in our minds but ideas? Nothing.


    And since you've run out of ideas, GooGoo...

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  59. Voltron said...
    I guess the simplest way to say it is thus:

    It's not that the cat is BOTH alive AND dead until he's observed by someone on the outside. He IS either one or the other.


    Sorry, reVolting. The cat IS physically, both dead AND alive until his status is measured.

    That's an absolute truth.

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  60. clif said...
    The real problem with The story of Schroedinger's cat is the simple fact that NO one accepts a cat as an observer, thus the cat knows if it is living or dead even if WE do not.


    Since it's a theoretical construct, we assume for the sake of this exercise the cat has no consciousness.

    Here, let me post the entire, filled-with-technical-jargon, Schroedinger's Cat experiment:

    "Schrödinger's cat is a seemingly paradoxical thought experiment devised by Erwin Schrödinger that attempts to illustrate the incompleteness of an early interpretation of quantum mechanics when going from subatomic to macroscopic systems. Schrödinger proposed his "cat" after debates with Albert Einstein over the Copenhagen interpretation, which Schrödinger defended, stating in essence that if a scenario existed where a cat could be so isolated from external interference (decoherence), the state of the cat can only be known as a superposition (combination) of possible rest states (eigenstates), because finding out (measuring the state) cannot be done without the observer interfering with the experiment — the measurement system (the observer) is entangled with the experiment.

    The thought experiment serves to illustrate the strangeness of quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states. The idea of a particle existing in a superposition of possible states, while a fact of quantum mechanics, is a concept that does not scale to large systems (like cats), which are not indeterminably probabilistic in nature. Philosophically, these positions which emphasise either probability or determined outcomes are called (respectively) positivism and determinism.

    (ed note: meaning that this experiment would never work in reality, but the conceptualization is what's important here. We're not talking about a real cat stuck in a real box)

    Schrödinger wrote:

    One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

    It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality. In itself it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks."

    OK, Carl again: so what the scenario posits is, because his life is dependent on a wholly random event, the cat is presumed to be, at any moment, both alive and dead.

    Like I said, I wanted to stay away from the technical aspects of this thought experiment, but it became apparent that many were taking my simplistic extrapolation a little too literally.

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  61. Voltron said...
    IF there is such a box, without knowing, or ever having seen it, when it's eventually found and opened, THAT CATS DEAD.


    No. You can't know that. You say the box is barnacle encrusted, but how do you know it wasn't just dropped there, already encrusted?

    What's that? You've seen it there before?

    What's that called again? Oh...an observation? Which as Schrodinger shows, collapses all probabilities to one.

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  62. Mike said...
    TT must have got tired of postinmg ignorance I guess, interesting though how he is spewing his Coulter or Rush BS at the Pink Pajama Party.


    Always trying to get laid, that one...

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  63. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Pink Pajama Party? All girls?

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  64. A new thread is up about veterans.

    The blog is experiencing some technical difficulties, sorry.

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  65. Anonymous12:31 PM

    screw you Mike

    ReplyDelete