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Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics (is there a general consensus?)

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Ken G
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Feb29-12, 09:13 PM
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I see what you mean, though I don't think the biggest problem comes from quantum mysticism. If people even know the word "quantum" in relation to science, even if only science fiction, they are well ahead of a lot of the people who are doing that voting. Is the problem with people who want their own religious beliefs in schools that they think physics is too mystical, or not mystical enough?
jambaugh
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Feb29-12, 10:45 PM
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Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
I see what you mean, though I don't think the biggest problem comes from quantum mysticism. If people even know the word "quantum" in relation to science, even if only science fiction, they are well ahead of a lot of the people who are doing that voting.
Ahead? as in "lost but I'm making good time!"? I don't know. I'm just venting my spleen. Bad science in popular culture is to me worse than rising mystic fantasy.

Is the problem with people who want their own religious beliefs in schools that they think physics is too mystical, or not mystical enough?
I think they can't appreciate the distinction between mysticism and science. They take either on authority and they (by my ranting reckoning) don't get a valid picture of scientific authority with which to compare to the televangelists and colonic irrigation quacks. You have people dying who might not because they put their trust in the wrong authority (e.g. Steve Jobs). You have government healthcare paying for pseudo-scientific crap-for-treatments. You have... [nipping rant in the bud...] other stuff I don't need to get my blood pressure up about. Anyway, it gets my dander up and I can go on and on. But that's another thread.
Ken G
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Mar1-12, 09:08 AM
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Quote Quote by jambaugh View Post
Ahead? as in "lost but I'm making good time!"? I don't know. I'm just venting my spleen. Bad science in popular culture is to me worse than rising mystic fantasy.
I hear you. And I agree that recognizing the human role in physics is not the same thing as saying every person can have their own physics. The problem is in the term "subjective"-- it has two very different possible meanings. One is "up to each person, with no requirement to agree", and that is what most people mean. But that isn't subjectivity in physics, the latter is more like "depending in some way on the subject rather than just the object". Since all humans are more or less the same, in regard to physics observation anyway, subjectivity does not imply we all have our own physics, in the way that we all have our own subjective beliefs.
I think they can't appreciate the distinction between mysticism and science. They take either on authority and they (by my ranting reckoning) don't get a valid picture of scientific authority with which to compare to the televangelists and colonic irrigation quacks. You have people dying who might not because they put their trust in the wrong authority (e.g. Steve Jobs). You have government healthcare paying for pseudo-scientific crap-for-treatments. You have... [nipping rant in the bud...] other stuff I don't need to get my blood pressure up about.
Yes, I think there are two very separate issues here-- one is alternative medicine, and there the "mystical" elements of science are most problematic, and the other is education around things like evolution, which is more about whether people pay any attention to science in the first place. Science needs to distinguish itself from both of those, which forces science to sometimes mischaracterize itself as "an exact science." Then on the other hand you have people like Feynman who understand science much better and define it as maintaining a constant state of skepticism and higher regard for evidence than authority. So what do we do, be honest about what science is, and risk people misappropriating it, or lie about what science is, and violate one of the most central principles of science itself? It's clear what Feynman thought-- always say what's true, and to heck with the consequences! But he could get away with that, having a reputation as a bit of an eccentric...


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