Re: virus: from anon

Alexander Williams (
Thu, 02 Jan 1997 16:52:14 -0500

> Anon wrote:
> I may have read about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and understood
> it
> less than other have. On the other hand, I don't see XYZ's point at
> all. I
> said you cannot ~know~ a particle's velocity and position
> simultaneously.
> XYZ was good enough to improve my statement so that it is clear what the
> word "know" might refer to in this context -- which is precision
> measurement
> if I interpret XYZ correctly. Okay, so far so good, but "wrong, wrong,
> wrong" is overstating the case.
> As far as XYZ's remark that "it won't ever affect me any" is concerned,
> I
> can only say, "so what?" For those who care and take the time to
> wonder, I
> would suggest that understanding the fundamental structure of matter
> would
> be worthwhile.

Hades below knows I don't want to support XYZ, but I have to stand
behind the point made: redefining "know" in this case as much as you
want won't improve your argument any. Any form of knowledge you may
acquire in regards to the particle in question will have come as a
result of a measurement using physical properties, unless its magickal.
Since science explicitly does not cover magick, we've kept our
statements to those that don't involve you bveing telekinetic or

> Why are you so emphatic about this point? Do you care to elaborate?

He's probably irritated because your factual understanding of what
you're talking about is naive in the extreme. I must admit to some of
the same frustration.

> Fine with me. "Obsolete" or "~modified~." Whatever floats your boat.
> Why
> (technically speaking)
> do you make special point about this?

Because "obselescence" has a very particular meaning that "modified"
does not have?

> Correct, and that's just my point. The density diagrams are not a
> "realistic" model in the usual sense of the word. A "probability
> density
> diagram" is contrived and highly abstracted from the actual atom.

Does it convey the reality implied by the formulea that describe the
behaviour observed? Yes? Its a realistic model. See below.

> Anon: I wonder which aspect of my remarks offended XYZ. He doesn't
> say. In
> any case, metaphysics is often discussed in connection with quantum
> mechanics. That is because many quantum mechanical phenomenon are
> difficult
> if not downright impossible to explain in rational terms. For example:
> Solid matter is 90% composed of vacuum, but if I drop a heavy rock on my
> foot, it hurts.
> Bohr's theory of complementarity has a strong metaphysical influence.
> In
> fact, the coat of arms Bohr designed for himself resembles the yin and
> yang
> symbol of eastern religion.

Metaphysics is not physics, its very clearly /very/ seperate from the
entire underpinning of science in its study. Confusing the two is a
fool's errand.

QM phenomenon are perfectly explainable in rational terms, its simply
that they are not /intuitive/ to the lay person that they're so
misunderstood. Both your rock and your foot are 99.999_% empty analog
space ... until you consider tidal fields, EM fields, nuclear force
fields and the other energy componants of matter. When your rock and
foot are close enough, with certain field states, they interact. This
is trivial for even HS physics students to understand /without/
introducing metaphysics.

> Does that have any relation to how an atom actually looks? Perhaps
> Bohr's
> model as well as the contemporary "diagrams" are useful for
> understanding
> the atom's behavior conceptual, but do they reflect the atom's actual
> appearance? I'm not so sure.

Atoms do /not/ `actually look' like anything. For being looked at, they
have to absorb and retransmit photons to your eyes. Some do this with
various traits en masse, but its hard enough to hit a single atom with a
single photon as to be `not lookable.' What's a photon look like?
Isn't it a bit insipid to ask what something looks like that can't be

> and fills the box uniformly. If you then use a membrane to divide the
> box
> in two, the particle must be either on the left or right side of the
> box,
> but the wave is chopped in half, leaving waves on both sides. If the

Note that the wave can be seen to collapse /at the moment the membrane
is inserted/, if only to the point at which the particle must be on one
side or the other. At that point, in the smaller environment, the wave
exists soley on one side or the other of the membrane, from the
box-interior PoV, just as before the wave existed only to the interior
of the box from the experimenter PoV.

> observer then opens the box and finds the particle on the right-hand
> side,
> the wave function collapses in the left-hand side and vice versa.
> In this case when someone says "the act of detection changes it" I'm not
> sure what they mean. No energy was added or removed in this experiment
> when
> the box was opened. In this case detection was pure observation. We
> might
> say that the presence of the conscious experimenter affected the outcome
> of
> the experiment.

Energy /must/ be added to the particle to determine its location, but
this example further exemplifies your naivite. Let me clarify:

When you leave a room, do all the people within cease to exist as people
but become fields of probability, capable of having done everything
possible that those people could do, and /remaining/ in that state until
you open the door again and collapse the wave of their probability
function? In a QM sense, that's exactly what happens. Its
counter-intuitive, because /we/, as people know that the people in the
room weren't rendered to waves at all. QM defines things largely in
information-theoretic senses, /not/ in physical senses, because at the
scale involved physical traits become difficult to detect and analyze.

> Perhaps it would make many of us feel more comfortable to say that we
> might
> affect the outcome of an experiment by setting it up in a certain way
> and
> not in another. In other words, the conscious design of the experiment
> would certainly affect the results.

But /NOT/ in a metaphysical sense. See my `experiment' above. Would it
matter to the people in the room if you looked in the window rather than
opened the door to observe them? Not in a real sense. The physical
behaviour is the same, no matter where you peer from.

> ~If~ the above statement is wrong, it is naively so. Big if, however,
> since
> I'm not convinced by your argument. Why are you so confident about it?

Because that's what four of the physics textbooks I've checked say on
the subject? Yes, appeal to authority argument, but in this case I
pretty secure in doing so.

> destination. I believe that experiments can be designed that do not
> "cause
> the absorption of the photon in question."

How? At some point that photon has to interact with something, and
photons interact by being absorbed and perhaps another photon re-emitted
from the excited target.

> The experimental technique is consciously chosen, n'est pas?

Door. Window. See above.

> How are we making old Heisenberg roll in his grave? Can you clarify
> please?

By not differentiating musings about physics and musings about
metaphysics. There is a vast rift between and rightfully so.

> If you understand them better than I do, please enlighten me. I don't
> know
> what your complaint is.

I think I've stated it fairly succinctly so far.

> Why attempt to keep making this scientific-unscientific distinction?

Now you're off into loony-land, Anon. The distinction is made because
science is very clear about the phenomena it can address. Those at the
feet of metaphysics are not subjects suited for scientific inquiry.
Confusing them is falling to the pseudo-scientific failure to

> complement one another. Before the age of Aristotle, science and
> metaphysics were one. Forces of nature, like the wind, were personified

Before the age of Aristotle people died regularly from Syphilis and they
had no cars. 'Nuff said.

> story you can find. Isn't it possible to separate science from
> pseudoscience without denying the metaphysical evidence that solid
> research
> implies?

Frankly, no. Again, mytaphysics is highly seperate from the scientific.
You can pursue metaphysical thought with scientific methodology, but
that doesn't make it science. It makes it rational humanism, but not

> That's a poor excuse, I believe. Twentieth Century research ~requires~
> multidisciplinary and cooperative work. It calls for us to explore new
> areas which we may not fully understand. If you think you know more
> about a
> particular subject, why not show us why? No one has to worry about
> making
> "a cock up" if we work together. I trust that at a certain point we
> would
> simply agree to correct one another and cooperate to find the best
> possible
> solution. I think that's how we even got as far as we are today,
> despite
> the fact that we sometimes "make a cock up of it" and still have a long
> way
> to go.

The problem with those multidiciplinary work is that unless you can do
it, you have no idea when you're making a buffoon out of yourself in a
public forum pontificating about things you have no idea what you're
talking about. Multidiciplinarians are /single people/, not
multidiciplinary groups that hash things until everyone's competent.
That competency must be brought to the table or the spectre of fallacy
grows flesh on its nasty old bones.

> "Whence philosophers are in some ways painters and poets; poets
> are painters and philosophers; painters are philosophers and poets.
> Whence true poets, true painters, and true philosophers choose
> one another out and admire one another."

This is great as long as they admire them for works in the admired's
field. Its when they step beyond their field that they become fools,
like any other man.

   Alexander Williams { /}
  Prefect of the 8,000,000th Terran Overlord Government Experimental
      Strike Legion, Primary Transport TOG "Bellatores Inquieti"
   You ride in 250 tons of molecularly aligned crystalline titanium
wedded to a ceramic ablative matrix.  You carry a 200mm Gauss
cannon, two massive 10-gigawatt lasers, two SMLM fire-and-forget
missiles, a Vulcan IV point defense anti-missile system, and a
deadly assortment of other equally lethal weapons.
   Your vehicle is the ultimate product of 4,000 years of armored
   Your life expectancy is less than two minutes.