Quantum Activist

Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by AVCortez, Jun 29, 2014.

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  1. AVCortez

    AVCortez Active Member

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    The question being asked is as important as the answer.

    The best analogy for this is that recent cancer research has found that they can combat a certain type of marrow (or blood, i can't quite remember) cancer by destroying the proteins the cancer needs to live. Rather than attacking the cancer head on, they have cut its supply lines and so far the results have been good. This is the kind of thinking I want to see in physics, neuroscience and all sciences really. Not pursuing the "Science will prove god doesn't exist" line but approaching from a "how can physics explain the unknown" perspective

    I am not too worried about it though as a few physicists I've spoken to have a very similar line of thinking to me. It seems to me that the people who deny spirituality work the hardest to validate science. One of the most wonderful things about QM is that we may be able to have our cake and eat it too. Science may one day validate what we presently call spirituality or mysticism.

    My university (and I'm sure thousands more) has recently changed the way they assess coursework. It used to be based on formative understanding - so the internalisation of content and the ability to reference it to its fullest. The highest grade has since been changed to reflect that the highest level of internalisation is the ability to take multiple theories and combine them to make something entirely new. It's appropriation and progress. It's beautiful.

    This sort of ethos will trickle down to the general populace, but at the moment we are sitting in more concreted fields. It will change, just give it time. I just hope we are progressing in the right directions. (As I've said again and again) Asking as many questions as we can, not just the same ones over and over again.

    But how can I know, I'm not a scientist.
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ... and this thread has calmed back down to a 2 or maybe a 3. Excellent. :) If it starts hitting the 5 or 6 mark again, well, it's Tuesday, folks. Tuesday is a 4 day at a maximum. Thank you.
     
  3. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

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    This is precisely how my Uni worked, and it is known world wide for producing above average competent graduates. It was an experimental way of doing it, but it was an incredible experience to go through, and more importantly, it left most of us comfortable with asking questions, having thirst for knowledge and looking deeper and beyond. I hope that it spreads to all other fields as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  4. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Supporter Contributor

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    My bad, then. Looking forward to finding the 'it' out. :)

    I actually have no idea what kind of scientific theories people have proposed when it comes to conciousness. I'd imagine there're some thingemajigs in the brain that allow us to imagine, predict (or "see the future", something that animals can't), philosophize etc. Just one of the many interesting subjects to get acquainted with.

    I'm reminded of one Futurama episode where Farnsworth finds a formula that explains everything in the universe, which marks the end of unanswered questions, knowing and learning more... until he realizes there's still the question why are things working the way they're. :D


    The young know everything, don't they? ;)
    And the older you grow, the less you know.

    But seriously, yeah, it's sad. Knowledge (or what later turns out to be false) is cumulative, so respecting those who've done the groundwork is certainly important. Sure, theories should be challenged, but one doesn't have to be an ass about it.
     
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  5. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm not convinced this is possible given how personal these things are. It's sort of like beauty. What one person may find beautiful another may find ugly. So it's hard for me to imagine that science will be able to actually predict such things.
     
  6. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Supporter Contributor

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    I think we can study the reasons why they're so personal, categorize people based on their experiences, and make some generalizations and predictions of the occurrances of spiritual experiences that people have had, but when it's something based on perception or personal accounts, there's plenty of space for error too.

    I rememember reading from one of my science rags something along the lines that because the human conciousness is so difficult to study, predict, and reliably observe, we will have a very hard time ever making artificial intelligences that can rival human intelligence.
     
  7. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm going to take a look at this movie during my lunch break. That way I'll actually have an idea about what I'm arguing against. :p
     
  8. AVCortez

    AVCortez Active Member

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    I can't remember if I picked this up from this docco, or somewhere else - but the idea that thought is matter, unless I'm mistaken would allow quantum physicists to one day explain these things, but that opens up a whole new kind of philosophy I've barely dipped a toe in. Imagination is key ;).

    I've read through some of your posts and I don't understand a word your saying :p. I'd be very interested to hear what you think of the ideas presented on a QM level. I'd be just as curious about what you think of it on a philosophical level.

    @KaTrian - I am a big fan of neuroscience, but unlike a lot of my colleagues I'm able to see its shortcomings. It's in its infancy so it has incredible potential for the betterment of society, but from what I can gather, conciousness - why and how we think - is still completely unknown. Sure, we can know that if you disable X area of the brain, we can no longer comprehend Y. The problem is that inner voice. Those thoughts, not just their nature but their very origin is completely unknown. Unknown to the point were there isn't even evidence we are progressing towards an understanding of it.

    Bingo.

    I see science as a beautiful method. A method that not only requires, but demands critical thought. It requires reflexive, honest practitioners. It actually scares me to see scientists and atheists acting in fundamentalist ways, not only because it devalues atheism but because it can only lead to stagnation in the various fields. As soon as a theory is denied without reason we enter the realm of organised religion. When you consider the evils exacted and validated by religion with a moral code that is inherently good; I can only imagine the horrors that an organised religion acting without one would inflict.
     
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  9. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The idea that thought is matter seems very strange to me. Matter, by definition, is a material substance that occupies space and is composed of atoms. Thought doesn't fit this definition. So I don't agree with this idea.

    I only know about the very basic things in quantum mechanics. I actually suck at physics. :p Once I watch some clips of Amit Goswami, I'll post my thoughts on the philosophical implications of what he's saying.
     
  10. AVCortez

    AVCortez Active Member

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    Doesn't it? We are able to scan a persons brain and detect variations as their thoughts change, so thought definitely occupies some sort of space. It's somehow tangible. Whether or not that is matter I would have no idea, but it's definitely something to think about.
     
  11. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

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    All that lit up areas on those scans are showing is that certain areas of the brain are activated ie. working more than others. Those areas could be producing waves or even simply changes in 3d shapes of certain molecules, not producing matter that is 'thought'. I'd go as far as assuming thought is connected to energy in some way, it's a functional and dynamic phenomenon, which is why, as the function ceases, the thought disappears with it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
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  12. AVCortez

    AVCortez Active Member

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    You see I'm an ignoramus when it comes to this sort of thing, but as an outsider looking in I see the term matter (especially in quantum mechanics) to mean everything in the universe. So those images on the screen are matter. I also read somewhere (which may have been in a fiction novel) that matter cannot simply disappear. So if matter is created on a screen then disappears, it needs to go somewhere.

    My understanding is that the information contained within my computer is matter. So if a computer reads a brain it creates matter. I may be wrong but (again I can't recall where) I heard that atomic storage was the next frontier in digital data storage. I might have completely misinterpreted the meaning but I thought that meant I would be saving content on an atomic level, rather than... whatever it is now. Disks, SSD, Silicon, copper, gold?
     
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  13. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    But the images on the screen aren't thoughts themselves. At best, they're representations of thought.
     
  14. AVCortez

    AVCortez Active Member

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    I could not agree with you more. But as we refine machines, we can take more complicated readings. Lets imagine for a moment that we can refine it to isolate not only the individual syllables of internal thought but the very reason we go to think them. I am just saying that if we can isolate it to any degree it means that thought is not only internal and ephemeral it's also tangible.

    Keep in mind, I could not agree with you more. One of my pet hates is people who overestimate neuroscience's present capacity. It is in its infancy; neuroscientists have agreed with me. It has potential but even with exponential developments in the field it is a long way from solving the problem of conciousness.
     
  15. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I couldn't find the actual movie on Youtube, so I watched clips of him explaining his theory. There are lots of things I don't quite understand. He seems to be saying that because of the observer effect in quantum mechanics, observation of the universe is somehow linked to consciousness. At least, that's what I think he's saying. I could be way off here. He also mentioned that the human brain is just like any other instrument and is constantly making measurements of its surroundings, thus collapsing the universe's potential (whatever that means) into what we observe.

    It's interesting to note that many of the people who support him know very little about quantum mechanics. This is evident from both the comments on his videos and the reviews of his books on Amazon.
     
  16. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

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    Well, I don't know about atomic storage, however, I think you are mixing things up a bit. The first law of thermodynamics is a part of what you are referring to, have a look at this very simple explanation of matter/energy situation:
    So matter and energy are interchangeable, perhaps two sides of the same coin, but that doesn't mean lit up areas of the brain represent the matter of thought, or that consciousness is in fact matter. I'm not saying it isn't, though, because we don't know. Interestingly, they are suggesting that another thing that can't be destroyed is information, and that has some pretty interesting metaphysical implications.
     
  17. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    @AJC


    Here's something I'm struggling with.

    Let's assume for a minute that the brain, just like a photo detector, can cause collapse, and that many worlds interpretation is right. Other than contrived systems like a particle suspended on an oil bath or a tuning fork at ~ 0 k, how can this assumption lead to altering recognizable states (eg, natural, macroscopic things) in the world, when these miniscule differences in each quantum event will simply average out, anyway, between each other and also between themselves over time? Am I missing something here?

    If my question is poorly worded, another way of phrasing it is, could the cat ever be dead and alive without the use of contrived, man made devices (like the killer gas dependent one one isolated quantum event)?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  18. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's a holiday weekend here, short week. ;)
     
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  19. AJC

    AJC Active Member

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    I don't have time to reply to everyone right now, but I'll get to it later today.

    In undergrad physics, you're taught that when you observe a system, the wavefunction collapses into a single state. That's not true in real life, however. The wavefunction continues to evolve in time. Furthermore, you almost always deal with isolated systems in the classroom. That's why so many people believe the Copenhagen interpretation, even though it's incorrect.

    There are also a bunch of myths that are taught in the classroom. I suppose this is because it makes it easier for students to understand what's going on, but they're never told the truth in upper level classes. Wave-particle duality is a myth, for example. Another myth is that QM is quantized. ;)
     
  20. AJC

    AJC Active Member

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    QM is the most accurate theory out there. It's even more accurate than classical mechanics. Measurements match up very well with theoretical predictions, so it's all based on fundamental laws which have been proven rigorously. There's really not much room for faith in the unknown in QM, unless you're talking about the many interpretations. Speaking of interpretations, that's one of the problems I have with Goswami. He only puts forward the interpretation he believes is correct, and anyone who hasn't studied QM will automatically assume that his is the only interpretation of QM.
     
  21. AJC

    AJC Active Member

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    Anyone who claims they understand QM is lying to you. If you think you understand it, you don't.

    I'm not sure I understand the first sentence. According to the many worlds interpretation, the wavefunction never collapses. It continues to evolve with time.
     
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  22. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Oops, meant to say "is not right."My apologies . I didn't want to say to "if Copenhagen is right" because some of you people are claiming it's definitely incorrect , and I am not too familiar with other interpretations than those two and the ensemble, which I personally would like to believe , given my limited understanding. Does that fx the question?
     
  23. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    @AJC

    My grasp of these things is shaky. I'm sure my initial question to you is poorly worded so feel free to correct. Hopefully the last sentence gives you a better idea of my question.
     
  24. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    That's actually kind of comforting to know.

    I only said the Copenhagen interpretation is wrong based on what AJC and some other member were talking about in another thread. They said it's wrong, and I trust them on this. Their argument even made sense based on what little I could understand.
     
  25. jazzabel

    jazzabel Agent Provocateur Contributor

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    Something interesting regarding consciousness
     
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