I have a science question for our sciencey members.  This relates partly to the OOO thread, but differs enough that it probably deserves to be posted separately.


Anyway, what sense does it make to say that a particle has a property if that property is not currently manifesting, e.g. an electron drifting through space, not encountering other particles and so not “using” its charge?  Is there such a thing?


As I understand it, gravity weakens with distance, but never drops of completely, so a particle at one end of the universe still feels a pull to/with a particle at the other end of the universe, even if—from our perspective—it seems so small as to be negligible.  Do charge and spin, etc. work the same way?


I’m concerned here with the belief that are such things as non-relational properties or qualities in existence somewhere.  My feeling is that there are not, but recent discussions make me want to push that intuition a bit further, specifically with regard to physics (which, unfortunately, I know relatively little about).

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Thanks for that, Tom.  Another quick (maybe) question: is the ZPF the same as the quantum background?  I read one physicist--might have been Feynman--saying that in a vacuum, the energy that apparently appears from nowhere is actually borrowed from the future, thus maintaining the conservation of energy.  Did I hear him right, and do physicists generally agree with that idea today?
I believe Brian Greene discusses the notion of borrowing from the future, in that PBS special on quantum mechanics and string theory ("Fabric of the Universe," as I recall).

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