Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I've studied physics in university.
I almost double majored in physics as it came pretty easy to me.
So I’d like to take a few quantum leaps back and investigate from where the new age wu wu originates. Before QM gets conflated with Eastern mysticism. Let’s start by looking at the validity of the domain of the respective disciplines from within physics. Just understanding this will clear up half the wu wu.
As you can see, the domain of quantum phenomena is found at sub-atomic distances. To say that machines don’t exist because they don’t exist at a quantum level is bogus as living organisms don’t exist their either, etc. etc. and yet you don’t deny the evolution of species. Quantum mechanics is not our future but the distant past…coming into existence shortly after the big bang. That we are integrating the insights from these ancient phenomena is just beginning i.e. they have recently developed quantum machines (you can call them quantum thingies if you like Tom). So what in your every day experience is a quantum phenomenon? When you misplace your car keys do you see that as evidence of quantum non-locality or quantum indeterminism?
The quote below from Lakoff and Johnson’s Philosophy of the Flesh – the Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought describes the diagram above. In particular the last line… “Quantum mechanics and general relativity [and Classical Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory] may be locally optimal, globally incommensurable theories.”
Each branch of physics has its own validity claims in each of its respective domains and none is able to speak for all the domains i.e. globally incommensurable. So QM does not replace or usurp any of the other branches of physics. The validity of Quantum Mechanics does not do away with Newtonian physics or Einstein’s relativity because it is not addressing those domains. Before QM particle physicists were trying to use the laws of classical physics to address the phenomena of sub-atomic particles when “strange things” started to happen to challenge the assumptions of classical physics. So new theorems were created for this subatomic domain to address the incongruence with the laws of classical physics. Now Tom likes to falsely claim that QM replaced Classical physics but that is only true below 10 -9 meters (we don’t live there). For anything above that size (just about 99.999% of where each and every one of us lives out our lives) classical physics applies and remains valid. What Tom is doing is a form of quadrant absolutism. So he will say things like ‘machines don’t exist’ (the irony is you need machines to see quantum phenomena and validate the math models that underlies QM theorems!) and other such nonsense because he is trying to force the “laws” and theorems of the local domain of QM globally onto domains it is not valid in. Now this does not mean we can’t take the word quantum as METAPHORE and use it within the domain of classical physics or in other human knowledge domains, etc.
PS Edward...thanks for bring up L&J in various threads...I am really enjoying their book referenced above.
Still around, e? I've been hesitant to answer this because I don't know a lot about physics. I'm wondering though: relativity replaces classical mechanics theoretically, but not practically. When physicists can get away with it (i.e. when dealing with macroscopic objects at non-relativistic speeds), they often use the mathematics of classical mechanics because they find it easier than using the more-complicated equations of relativity.
As I understand it, however, QM has not similarly displaced relativity (or vice-versa), because QM cannot handle gravity (and relativity can't handle some of the things that QM does well). Moreover, QM and relativity differ in some of their predictions, so not only can one not be reduced to the other, but they must both be understood as only approximately true -- useful models in their respective domains, but not theories of everything. Given this, I think we should be cautious about extending the implications of either one theory more generally. Do you mean something like this?
Tom: If relativity exists in a different dimension (the realm of the large), it must have its own rules. Why?
It is not a different dimension but a different scale of the same spatial dimensions (I thought you studied physics?). The “laws” remain valid and are dependent on the scale you are looking at (yes there are grey areas, etc.). Newton’s laws are still considered laws and describe the phenomena at the scale they were discovered in. QM has not changed that. Newton’s laws start to break down at small scales because the weight of the particles at those scales is miniscule i.e. gravity has less of an overriding effect at those scales and other forces come into play with greater relevance.
Because the realm of the large is asymmetrical to the realm of the small. The realm of the large is comprised of the realm of the small. The realm of the small is not "comprised." Qm is therefore the base for understanding any movement in the universe. Up from that base, statistical calculations get what we want by way prediction. We can't call those statistical happenings "causal" because, again, all movement is of the quantum type.
QM is the base for investigating scales below 10 -9 m. Greater than that scale Classical Mechanics and Relativity prevail. It may be helpful to think less in terms of containers with regard to the small/large. As each scale has its own “ontology” and “epistemology” which cannot be made absolute across all scales.
Yeah Infimitas, I’m still around. I’m glad you posted as this was my intent with the thread…to look at QM before the wu wu arises. I figured most here don’t have a physics background. I was hoping to show that there are other interpretations and understandings that can be gleaned from looking at the experiments themselves as not everyone is compelled to conflate eastern mysticism with QM theories.
Infimitas: Moreover, QM and relativity differ in some of their predictions, so not only can one not be reduced to the other, but they must both be understood as only approximately true -- useful models in their respective domains, but not theories of everything. Given this, I think we should be cautious about extending the implications of either one theory more generally. Do you mean something like this?
Yes this is what I meant and what the wiki graphic of Speed vs Size simply shows.
Thomas: Yes, each scale has its own ontology and epistemology, but the resulting dual ontologies/epistemologies are radically interconnected...
I see them simply connected as both are based on a scientific materialist reductionist worldview.
Check out what Stenger said in the 90's regarding non-locality (it's towards the end... Fig 2). Has anyone been able to prove that any particle moves superluminally yet?
Stenger has a blog on Huffington Post. You may want to check out his post No Cause to Dispute Einstein on Sept 27th. Seems he was right to question the superluminal neutrino but for astronomical reasons. I bet you were all over superluminal neutrinos with an explosion of premature exuberation. Kinda deflating that all the excitement was over a loose wire huh? :-)