What does modern Physics say about reality?

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby hyksos on January 11th, 2018, 4:23 pm 

Does modern physics (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity) tell us anything about reality at all?

I recently had the displeasure of interacting with a community off this website. I had attempted to submit a glossary of jargony words that often appear in articles that touch on the topics of 1.) Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics or 2.) Quantum foundations.

Well apparently that community has been over-run with people who are trained in a very orthodox form of shut-up-and-calculate. At every instance, their complaints would be packaged as "The problems only come in when you try to fit your classical notions into a quantum mechanical situation where they do not fit." But never did any of them ever produce an alternative notion. Instead, they demanded at every turn that every single word, phrase, and "notion" be stated in mathematical equations.

So in an article in Scientific American , the word "superposition" would invariably be used to mean "a situation in which a particle is occupying many states at once". But this was disallowed in their presence. Instead, "superposition" should always and ever be some mathematical procedure or proof. In their little internet cult, "superposition" should only ever mean : "A complex linear combination of states" -- a purely mathematical statement.

As the comment thread drug on, it became increasingly clear that many of the people involved did not believe that any conversation should be happening at all. That there should be no dialog about interpretations of quantum mechanics and the issue of : "what does this tell us about reality?"

There is nothing to say, because there is nothing but equations. So the complaint
"trying to fit classical notions into a QM context"

is not the real complaint. That was a cover-statement for
"attempting to discuss modern physics in any other language other than raw equations and proof procedures."


I understand and fully appreciate the existence of the formal discipline of mathematical physics. There are people who spend years studying its formal procedures in order to ace midterms in courses offered at Princeton. One social rule, (already established by such midterm-taking folk) is that you are not allowed to utilize or hijack any of their rigidly-defined mathematics words for nefarious uses. They recoil from this, for had they mis-defined or mis-understood a single aspect of "superposition" they would have received a C- on their midterm examination. Appropriately, seeing someone misdefine a formal word on the internet must make their hair stand on end.

On top of , and in addition to the above, the presentation of extra-academic phrases are rejected wholesale. So you could for instance, present to them the phrase counterfactual definiteness or perhaps the so-called No conspiracy condition. This will be met by long paragraphs of rejections, describing a personal interpretation of physics which "does not require" any of these notions. Attached to that response is a diatribe about "trying to fit classical notions into a quantum situation" ( or some variation thereof ).

So there will be no discussion or reality. No discussion about what physics says about reality. No discussion of the foundational commitments of a theory. No ontology. No nothing. There are equations, and we manipulate those equations to discover their 'consequences'. End of story. Lights out. Go home.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby someguy1 on January 11th, 2018, 4:32 pm 

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 2:23 pm wrote:As the comment thread drug on ...


I was fascinated by your post. Not the complaints about some unnamed message board, which we can't evaluate since the other participants aren't here to potentially refute your characterization of their comments; nor about the meaning of QM, a subject brilliant people have been debating for decades. Rather, I was fascinated by your use of "drug" as the past tense of drag.

Of course the correct past tense of drag is dragged. I was pretty sure about that but had to go look it up just in case. Here's a nice article about it. Evidently drug is used as the past tense of drag in certain parts of the south and "as far west as Nebraska."

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/educat ... ersus-drug

I'm wondering, are you from the south? And have you ever been as far west as Nebraska, but no farther?
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby Braininvat on January 11th, 2018, 5:27 pm 

Spent many years in Nebraska and sometimes heard the phrase "look what the cat drug in." There was less dialect in the college city where we lived, so dragged was mostly used. I often hear conflicting usages of irregular verbs like stink or drink. Some would say "that movie stank," others "that movie stunk.".

I get the feeling most physicists are SUAC. Probably easier to just do a Wheeler and say the universe is information, bits being crunched, and there's no knowing what the substrate is of the platform it's running on.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby Asparagus on January 11th, 2018, 6:35 pm 

@hyksos
Physics says that if you spend your vacation near a black hole, everybody you know will be dead when you get back home.

What's your opinion about superposition?
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 11th, 2018, 6:50 pm 

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 3:23 pm wrote:Does modern physics (Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity) tell us anything about reality at all?

Of course.

Everything tells us about reality. As an exercise, consider everything that football game tells us about reality. I think it comes to quite bit.

I think we can even go with the idea that modern physics, in particular, tells us rather more about reality than most things.

But do any of these things tell us ALL (everything there is) about reality? No. In fact, it is reasonable to react to such a claim in the following manner: "what an extra-ordinary conceit!"

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 3:23 pm wrote:I recently had the displeasure of interacting with a community off this website. I had attempted to submit a glossary of jargony words that often appear in articles that touch on the topics of 1.) Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics or 2.) Quantum foundations.

Well apparently that community has been over-run with people who are trained in a very orthodox form of shut-up-and-calculate. At every instance, their complaints would be packaged as "The problems only come in when you try to fit your classical notions into a quantum mechanical situation where they do not fit." But never did any of them ever produce an alternative notion. Instead, they demanded at every turn that every single word, phrase, and "notion" be stated in mathematical equations.

What an extra-ordinary conceit!

These people are clearly wearing a kind of rose tinted glasses and thus seeing the world in a single color. Mathematical equations is a superimposed order on reality and thus to look at the world through such mathematical goggles is to narrow ones vision down to a single intellectual color.

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 3:23 pm wrote:So in an article in Scientific American , the word "superposition" would invariably be used to mean "a situation in which a particle is occupying many states at once". But this was disallowed in their presence. Instead, "superposition" should always and ever be some mathematical procedure or proof. In their little internet cult, "superposition" should only ever mean : "A complex linear combination of states" -- a purely mathematical statement.

I must exercise a little skepticism at this point and query whether what you are stating here is something of an interpretation of their words. As you describe, it does seem a little bizarre. But I cannot be sure I would have the same reaction in the actual discussion. And it is not only a matter of interpretation but also context.

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 3:23 pm wrote:As the comment thread drug on, it became increasingly clear that many of the people involved did not believe that any conversation should be happening at all. That there should be no dialog about interpretations of quantum mechanics and the issue of : "what does this tell us about reality?"

So was this a philosophy forum at all? There are, after all, quite a number of forums in which such a discussion would not be appropriate.

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 3:23 pm wrote:There is nothing to say, because there is nothing but equations. So the complaint
"trying to fit classical notions into a QM context"

is not the real complaint. That was a cover-statement for
"attempting to discuss modern physics in any other language other than raw equations and proof procedures."

In a physics forum that could indeed be quite correct. That is after all what physics does -- it looks at the world through these mathematics colored glasses. To take off those glasses is to cease doing physics and to do something quite different.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby hyksos on January 12th, 2018, 12:27 am 

Of course the correct past tense of drag is dragged. I was pretty sure about that but had to go look it up just in case. Here's a nice article about it. Evidently drug is used as the past tense of drag in certain parts of the south and "as far west as Nebraska."

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/educat ... ersus-drug

I'm wondering, are you from the south? And have you ever been as far west as Nebraska, but no farther?

Drug is the past tense of drag in a dialect that exists on the border of Kentucky and Ohio. There is no audible difference in my pronunciation of "pen" (writes with ink) and "pin" (to fasten onto). Apparently, that conflation is very rare.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby hyksos on January 12th, 2018, 12:43 am 

You can approach physics with the narrow goal of getting a B+ or higher on a midterm examination at Cornell. During that exam, if you do not have the rigorous formal definition of "superposition" completely under one's belt, then one will likely score a C- on said exam. And so it's going to be a projection onto an orthonormal basis of a Hilbert space, and if not, you're gonna get problem 8 wrong.

On another forum yet again (this time an IRC chatroom), the participants even went as far as to say that physics is "literally defined" as this. They used the phrase "...literally defined as..." !!

I had to try to tell them that they were adopting a particular kind of philosophy (called instrumentalism) and then elevating one's personal philosophy to some sort of physical fact about the world. It is ridiculous to adopt a philosophical position, and then pretend that your words are "literally defined this way". That would be elevating an opinion to a fact. I had to painfully try to explain to them the difference between Scientific Realism and Instrumentalism.

If anything ---> has not physics told us something about reality? Namely (in their own words) physics has told us that we need not ascribe existence to the objects of study, but we can if we want to? Has it not at least told us that?

That is to say, physics does not demand that electrons are actual extant objects, or whether they be convenient fictions, or whether they be fluctuations in a fundamental field, (or what have you.) You could look at them that way, and be equally as correct as any other posture, provided that posture makes the same mathematical predictions.

It would seem that given what everyone has committed to so far, in all places, IRC, the other forum, this forum, that at the very least we could reach some agreement on that issue?

If we can't get that far, then this will not be a conversation. No discussion is possible or plausible. We will only be doing some sort of social experiment that reveals each other's quirks in our psychology. We would not be discussing any world or universe which we should equally share, but just be staring at each other's psychological nakedness.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 12th, 2018, 4:56 am 

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 11:43 pm wrote:If anything ---> has not physics told us something about reality? Namely (in their own words) physics has told us that we need not ascribe existence to the objects of study, but we can if we want to? Has it not at least told us that?

It tells us something about the human activity called physics and that narrow subject is a rather small part of reality. Going back to our football game it would be like focusing on the evidence of one of the rules of football itself. I suppose you could say this tells us something about football which is after all a part of reality.

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 11:43 pm wrote:It would seem that given what everyone has committed to so far, in all places, IRC, the other forum, this forum, that at the very least we could reach some agreement on that issue?

Why? We can discuss it in a philosophy forum for it is not a subject in physics itself. But without objective evidence it would be unreasonable to expect any agreement, and this is not the sort of thing for which we can expect this.

hyksos » January 11th, 2018, 11:43 pm wrote:If we can't get that far, then this will not be a conversation. No discussion is possible or plausible. We will only be doing some sort of social experiment that reveals each other's quirks in our psychology. We would not be discussing any world or universe which we should equally share, but just be staring at each other's psychological nakedness.

Incorrect. Agreement is not a prerequisite for discussion. And only an ideologue would consider the inability to obtain agreement self-defeating. But just because that is the only purpose for which an ideologue engages in discussion does not mean that others cannot pursue the goal of communication in dialogue without such an expectation.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 12th, 2018, 5:09 am 

Generally speaking Physics tells us nothing. We tell ourselves what the methodology uncovers in as fitting a way as we can and from there we come to understand reality better by way of mistakes and achievements as we aspire toward some idea of "betterment", an idea that seems more real and meaningful than some objectively relatable equation or sensible experience (which is kind of peculiar given that the idea of "betterment" seems to be meaningless without an understanding brought about by way of "sensible experience")

Sorry, that answer probably better slots into the "Philosophy of Science" forum than here. In more "concrete" terms, there is entropy - other than that I don't see what else physics has to say about the physicality of "Reality."
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 12th, 2018, 1:38 pm 

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 4:09 am wrote:Generally speaking Physics tells us nothing. We tell ourselves what the methodology uncovers in as fitting a way as we can and from there we come to understand reality better by way of mistakes and achievements as we aspire toward some idea of "betterment", an idea that seems more real and meaningful than some objectively relatable equation or sensible experience (which is kind of peculiar given that the idea of "betterment" seems to be meaningless without an understanding brought about by way of "sensible experience")

Sorry, that answer probably better slots into the "Philosophy of Science" forum than here. In more "concrete" terms, there is entropy - other than that I don't see what else physics has to say about the physicality of "Reality."


It is more accurate to say that your post tells us nothing.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 12th, 2018, 1:49 pm 

Nah! I just think you're all upset about something, and thought "why not make some pointless comment about something I don't understand."

Physics shows us entropy. That is all. It has no opinion about it, it is just a method of coping with and exploring the world.

Scientists are not exactly well versed in explicating what they mean beyond the math. People should come to the math, but most don't know how or can't be bothered. My favourite is "Quantum Foam"
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 12th, 2018, 2:55 pm 

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 12:49 pm wrote:Nah! I just think you're all upset about something, and thought "why not make some pointless comment about something I don't understand."

Nah! It is simply the case that when I look at the following two statements...
1. Physics tells us nothing.
2. Your post tell us nothing.
I see that number 2 is more accurate for the simple fact that physics tells us a vastly greater number of things about the world than your post does.
If we include the following...
3. All my posts in this forum tells us nothing.
Then I also see that number 3 is also more accurate than number 1.
Thus my comment has absolutely NOTHING to do with being upset about anything. It is just the simple facts of the matter.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 12:49 pm wrote:Physics shows us entropy. That is all. It has no opinion about it, it is just a method of coping with and exploring the world.

Scientists are not exactly well versed in explicating what they mean beyond the math. People should come to the math, but most don't know how or can't be bothered. My favourite is "Quantum Foam"


My comment reflects the subjectivity of yours. Physics may indeed tell you nothing -- except what you choose to hear, like entropy. Thus your comment tells me nothing about the world except the very small part about your limitations and willful ignorance -- and your reduction of physics to entropy is excellent proof of this. Furthermore, I think that I am in the VAST majority, who would agree that physics tells us far far more about the world than your comment does.

You are not exactly well versed in explicating what you mean outside your own invented terminology. But there is nothing insightful in this. Most of the world is not well versed in explicating what they mean outside their own language. And it is not just a matter of ability -- some things simply cannot be translated. Compared to this world-wide reality, physicists are relatively good at explaining what the mathematics means, but the inherent limitations remain, of course. All this means is that if you really want to understand what people mean in their own language then you need to master the language.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 12th, 2018, 5:06 pm 

Mitch -

You talk a lot of shit my friend. I thought my response to the OP was fitting enough. Hyksos was not asking about the applicability of equations to physical reality. I believe the OP was asking about what, beyond the equations, does this mean.

The only clear answer is entropy. It is vague, but it is pretty hard to deny that entropy is a thing and that all the experimentation bears this out.

What willful ignorance? What "invented terminology?"

If I said nothing why comment? I have not noticed you postying imaginary responses to non-existent posts ... not yet anyway.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby hyksos on January 12th, 2018, 7:00 pm 

Albert Einstein, Eugene Wigner, John A. Wheeler, John Stewart Bell, and Max Tegmark.

These men have written extensively on the topic of what physics tells us about the nature of reality. Wigner and Einstein are both Nobel Prize recipients in physics. Wigner invented the entire mathematical backbone of the Standard Model. And not quote-mining. They wrote letters, articles, gave talks, held symposiums, et cetera et cetera about the topic of what physics tells us about reality.

I could fill the entire screen with links and citations to such.

Why is it when I come to places like this, nobody wants to have this conversation? Or worse, they claim the conversation could never be had in the first place -- or that having the conversation at all is a "Waste of time" or some other conversation-stifling talking point.

Whether or not the people on this little forum see a "utility" in talking about the topic, does not effect the fact in the real world that the conversation is happening. The conversation is alive-and-well, particularly if we consider the fact that Ed Witten has taken a recent sudden interest in an article written by Wheeler (the one where he coins It-from-bit). In that article, Wheeler asserts (vociferously asserts) that a real-number continuum cannot physically exist.

That's a pretty sharp statement about reality.

If anyone here is under the lingering impression that if a certain conversant is not a recipient of a Nobel Prize in physics, that therefore they can be dismissed as a "crackpot" , I implore you to quickly examine their achievements.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Archibald_Wheeler

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stewart_Bell

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Tegmark

Wheeler's medals, awards, recognition , and such could fill up a 3-page resume. Grad students that studied under him include Bekenstein, Feynman, and Hugh Everett. For those who missed the memo on WHeeler : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=33989

Eugene Wigner was the Nobel Prize in physics in 1963. He wrote a very long and strong article about the relationship between mathematics and the physical world. https://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Ematc/MathD ... igner.html

What if Wigner himself were to log into this forum and begin starting threads about the relationship between math and the physical world? Would you people be dismissing him and shooting him down and stifling his conversation? I wonder if you would do that to him.

...I really wonder.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby wolfhnd on January 12th, 2018, 7:32 pm 

The conversation is going to happen in the worst possible way if physicists do not take part. I do not think it matters if it takes place here or in a philosophy forum because any discussion on the nature of reality needs some scientific underpinning.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 12th, 2018, 7:35 pm 

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote:You talk a lot of shit my friend.

Back at you. In fact... I just think you're all upset about something, and thought "why not make a nasty comment back and see if I can make him as upset as I am." And if this kind of response bothers you, then perhaps you should wonder if you should be saying such things to other people.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote: I thought my response to the OP was fitting enough.

No. Telling us "physics tells us nothing" is not a fitting response to anything. It is just wrong. Of course if you qualified it in some way, then it would be different.... like... physics tells us nothing about a great many things. Then I would simply have agreed with you.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote: Hyksos was not asking about the applicability of equations to physical reality. I believe the OP was asking about what, beyond the equations, does this mean.

And your response that "physics tells us nothing" is just as incorrect in that context. Again a little work to express what you mean more clearly would help a great deal.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote:The only clear answer is entropy. It is vague, but it is pretty hard to deny that entropy is a thing and that all the experimentation bears this out.

The only question I see in the OP (and title) is "what does modern physics say about reality?" Physics says a great deal more than "entropy" and since that is a mathematical quantity I don't think you have even touched on reality with that word either. But perhaps some examples would help...
What do these tell us about reality (beyond the mathematics)?

Quantum Mechanics: It tells us, for example, that the universe cannot be summed up as particles at particular positions with particular velocities. It tells us that physical determinism doesn't work, i.e. that there are events for which there are no hidden variables to determine their outcome.

General Relativity: It tells us, for example, that there are such things a black holes. It tells us that gravity can alter the direction of light.

But if we want to include findings with regards to entropy into this then we need to add a topic...

Thermodynamics: It tells us, for example, that perpetual motion machines are impossible. It tells us that if the universe is expanding endlessly as evidence suggests then ultimate fate of the universe will be the one described by "heat death."

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote:If I said nothing why comment?

You did not say nothing. You said something which was just wrong. And that is a good reason to respond in order to set the record straight. Perhaps in a bar where everyone is drunk and babbling nonsense anyway, it would not be appropriate to correct someone when they say something wrong. I did not think this was such an environment. By all means, correct me if I am wrong. Because if it is such an environment then I don't want to participate.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 12th, 2018, 7:50 pm 

hyksos » January 12th, 2018, 6:00 pm wrote:Albert Einstein, Eugene Wigner, John A. Wheeler, John Stewart Bell, and Max Tegmark.

These men have written extensively on the topic of what physics tells us about the nature of reality. Wigner and Einstein are both Nobel Prize recipients in physics. Wigner invented the entire mathematical backbone of the Standard Model. And not quote-mining. They wrote letters, articles, gave talks, held symposiums, et cetera et cetera about the topic of what physics tells us about reality.

I could fill the entire screen with links and citations to such.

Just because they are physicists doesn't mean that everything they do is physics. Physicists venture outside the work of physics to do things like philosophy and theology -- applying what we have learned in physics to other things. I suppose this can put other people at a disadvantage when responding to them if don't see the line between physics and non-physics quite so clearly.

hyksos » January 12th, 2018, 6:00 pm wrote:Why is it when I come to places like this, nobody wants to have this conversation? Or worse, they claim the conversation could never be had in the first place -- or that having the conversation at all is a "Waste of time" or some other conversation-stifling talking point.

Like I said there can be at least 2 possible reasons.
1. Extra-ordinary conceit: i.e. they are imposing their own subjective ideology and are only willing to discuss things within the the presumptions of that ideology.
2. It is a physics only venue: In that case, a philosophical discussion can be as inappropriate as a discussion of sex a math class, or a discussion of God's commandments in a history class.

hyksos » January 12th, 2018, 6:00 pm wrote:What if Wigner himself were to log into this forum and begin starting threads about the relationship between math and the physical world? Would you people be dismissing him and shooting him down and stifling his conversation? I wonder if you would do that to him.

This is a science philosophy forum and thus it is an appropriate venue for philosophical discussions of science and its implications for reality. I would expect people to dismiss and shoot Wigner down when he says things which are not supportable. It makes no difference whether it is Wigner, hyskos, Braininvat, BJ, or myself.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 12th, 2018, 7:52 pm 

wolfhnd » January 12th, 2018, 6:32 pm wrote:The conversation is going to happen in the worst possible way if physicists do not take part. I do not think it matters if it takes place here or in a philosophy forum because any discussion on the nature of reality needs some scientific underpinning.

Well at least one physicist is taking part. It probably helps that I have some training in philosophy also.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 12th, 2018, 8:29 pm 

Mitch -

You're being incredibly silly. Nasty comment? No, it is called honesty. You read and repeatedly quote "physics tells us nothing" as if that is all I was saying.

If you think Hyksos was asking for information about gravity and electro-magnetism I am truly baffled. I am also guessing you think I made up the term "quantum foam"? Anyway, enough is enough. I won't partake in your strange behavior anymore.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby hyksos on January 13th, 2018, 12:03 am 

If anyone would take the time (the huge whole 2 minutes) to follow this link,

viewtopic.php?f=51&t=33989

This is the second time I have linked that thread here. That is the intro to Wheeler's multi-page diatribe, that among other things, Wheeler explicitly states : "Quantum Physics requires a new view of reality" Indeed, that is the title of a subheading in the paper.

You don't have to be a regular here at this forum for 2 years. Any passersby to this forum would see that you guys are all incredibly actively posting. Going at each other. Making ultimatums. Getting (apprently) upset and then posting retaliatory responses.

So your presence is here. Check. Your energies are here. Check. You are reading and responding. Check.

Now lets look at how many responses the Wheeler paper elicited from the regulars here. Well, it elicited a whole one response. One. That one response is quoted below, in its entirety.

curiosity » January 3rd, 2018, 12:16 pm wrote:By far the best reading material I've chanced upon for quite some time... Very interesting, many thanks for posting.



So here we are, ladies and gentlemen. What does the discipline of physics tell us about the nature of reality?

There is certainly a huge amount of material as starting points for this discussion -- many which are authored by Nobel-Prize level physicists. "I dont know what material he is talking about" is no longer a valid complaint. I guess you guys need to decide when (or even if) you want to engage the topic.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby BadgerJelly on January 13th, 2018, 12:22 am 

Hyksos -

Maybe the problem is I did look at the link when you originally posted it. I don't think there is much we can say and what I try and say is via phenomenology. We tend to see that atomization of nature only goes so far.

I think I've been saying, ad nauseam, that we things truthfully within set limits. Because this gives us pragmatic application in the world I would say that it is not really physics per se that is "telling" us about reality. I mention "entropy" a lot because I see it as the biggest mystery there is. How is there existence? Because entropy; but like I believe both Bohr and Shannon said, if you don't know what it is and there is no discernable pattern, just call it "entropy."

I admit I need not read that link carefully when you posted it. I read the first few pages and skimmed the rest then read the end. I'll look at it today and see if I can thing of anything more substantial to add (probably not.)
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby wolfhnd on January 13th, 2018, 12:37 am 

I'm afraid I want to know what the practical consequences are. Put another way how does what physics teaches us about the nature of reality potentially reduce human suffering.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby mitchellmckain on January 13th, 2018, 1:52 am 

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 7:29 pm wrote:You're being incredibly silly. Nasty comment? No, it is called honesty.

So I am silly to think anything used for no more purpose than to make someone feel as bad should be called a "nasty comment," even though that is practically the definition of the phrase.

Making up things to attribute to other people as their thoughts and feelings has more to do with fantasy than honesty.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 7:29 pm wrote:You read and repeatedly quote "physics tells us nothing" as if that is all I was saying.

No. I quoted it because you said it, and I explained why it was wrong. The fact that you said more things and the other things you said do not change this. You ignored my suggestion that perhaps it should be qualified in some way and instead decided to make up a bunch of nonsense which you decided to attribute to me as my feeling and thinking -- all demonstrating the bizarre lengths some people will go in order to avoid confronting the mistakes they have made.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 7:29 pm wrote:If you think Hyksos was asking for information about gravity and electro-magnetism I am truly baffled. I am also guessing you think I made up the term "quantum foam"? Anyway, enough is enough. I won't partake in your strange behavior anymore.

If you think Hyksos was asking for information about television shows then I think you are foolish. I am also guessing you think I made up the term "thermodynamics?" Anyway, enough is enough. I will continue to point out your mistakes but ignore the pointless verbal dancing in your replies.

I REPEAT, the only question I see hyskos asking was word for word "what does modern physics say about reality?" I demonstrated how this can be answered in the examples of QM, GR and Thermodynamics.

Honesty? Seriously. I see NO honesty in your replies whatsoever!
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby hyksos on January 13th, 2018, 2:35 am 

There is a subtle, but important distinction between those things that "Einstein said" and those things which Einstein discovered, as a consequence of special relativity. (E.g. the internet crackpot says "Einstein said nothing can travel faster than the speed of light." or "Einstein said that observers moving at high speeds will have slower clocks." Einstein never "said" either thing. Those are consequences of the theory, obtained after a quarter-notebook's worth of mathematical manipulation. )

The consequences of quantum mechanics could fill 2 bookshelves and then some. But was there every any situation in which a developer of the theory actually "said" something? I don't mean derived-as-consequence , but rather, declared as axiomatic?

People will have different answers to that question, and I will provide my own.

All particles in the universe have a wavelength.

This sentiment was first declared by Louis deBroglie. He did not derive it. He did not discover it happening in a lab. He said it. When he first 'declared' this axiom in his doctoral thesis, not a single professor at his uni knew what he was talking about.

So what about that statement, generally? In my opinion it is a commitment of modern physics, and a foundational one at that. Taking a large sweep of people (laymen and professional alike) it seems the statement "All particles have a wavelength" is unassailed and uncontested everywhere now. Not even in the deepest recessed corners of the internet can be found a crock potter denying it.

If that is the case, then could be safely now in 2018 move some of our "reality chips" onto that statement? Can we move our "reality pawns" safely into that next row? While modern physics has been cataclysmic in its reach, it is not as if it has told us zero about reality. Very conservatively, it has told us that all particles have a wavelength. We can rest our head on the fact with confidence and all the chiropractic stability money can buy.

"But Hyksos, look at this dozen links to papers on arxiv written by many physicists in Europe denying the wavelength of particles!" <-- This is not gonna happen. I'm as sure of it as the sun coming up tomorrow.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby dandelion on January 13th, 2018, 3:18 am 

I've read the paper before and like it.

BadgerJelly » January 12th, 2018, 6:49 pm wrote:My favourite is "Quantum Foam"

I've linked to this before- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INxku8Mj0lQ :)
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby phyti on January 13th, 2018, 2:18 pm 

There is something familiar here.

These are observations from 10+ years of participation in various forums.

A newbie asks a question like, "why does a moving clock run slower than one at rest?"
A quick response from 'capt. what the', (the regular members have merit badges),
"the flux vector rotates in Simpson space until it aligns with the axis of evil. If you wanna know more you should get a good book, and study."

Forums acquire a collective attitude (just as individuals), from 'come on in, we'll try to help you', to 'you're asking the wrong question', and then issue a decree for the answer.

The less formal will attempt to impart understanding using concepts familiar to the poster. The more formal will dictate the terms and procedures used to determine the answer. The extremely formal will ban you for non compliance! (Where is freedom of expression?)
To keep things in perspective, there was only one which I considered hostile.

In the field of physics, many of the members believe the theory is the reality, as in Special Relativity. The answers are conveyed in the jargon of a 4-dimensional 'lines on paper' theory as opposed to 'light, matter, motion, and interactions'. Some of those indoctrinated via the formal abstract theory cannot answer the question in terms of fundamental real world physics.
Mathematics is a language and the expressions can be translated to any common language, its advantage being a restricted syntax, with less ambiguity. A reminder here that all ideas/concepts are by definition.

There is one aspect of SR that relates to the original question. Motion alters perception in addition to measurement. Should we say the anaut moving at .5c is high on speed.
To pun or not? You decide.
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Re: Answering your own question.

Postby Faradave on January 13th, 2018, 3:43 pm 

hyksos wrote:a commitment of modern physics, and a foundational one at that. Taking a large sweep of people (laymen and professional alike) ... unassailed and uncontested everywhere

That's it.
Reality is that which is undeniable.
Undeniablity entails (honest) agreement.
Apply Einstein's "invariant" (agreed by all observers).
Reality is invariance.
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Re: Answering your own question.

Postby Asparagus on January 13th, 2018, 4:12 pm 

Faradave » January 13th, 2018, 3:43 pm wrote:
hyksos wrote:a commitment of modern physics, and a foundational one at that. Taking a large sweep of people (laymen and professional alike) ... unassailed and uncontested everywhere

That's it.
Reality is that which is undeniable.
Undeniablity entails (honest) agreement.
Apply Einstein's "invariant" (agreed by all observers).
Reality is invariance.

Multitudes can agree and be wrong.
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Re: What does modern Physics say about reality?

Postby ralfcis on January 13th, 2018, 7:31 pm 

The underlying true reality cannot be experienced in the present and only through post-processing can we know what it was, by then it's moved on. The reality we experience in the present is the delayed information from the true reality. The sun removed from the solar system would be a true reality that would become our reality 8 minutes later. .Relativity shows us speed and distance alters the reality of the observer from his perspective. Instantaneous transfer of information does not yield any usable information from the true reality. The reality of position and motion can't be simultaneously known. That's all that comes to mind for now.
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Re: Check your shoes!

Postby Faradave on January 13th, 2018, 8:37 pm 

It can be painful to have them on backward (a lot worse than just being on the wrong feet.)

Asparagus wrote:Multitudes can agree and be wrong.

Beside the point.

That which is undeniable is necessarily agreeable. (but not necessarily the reverse.)

ralfcis wrote:speed and distance alters the reality of the observer from his perspective.

That's why space and time (being relative rather than invariant), are not a good basis for "reality". Better to stick with invariant spacetime intervals.
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