Register to reply

How to debunk a quantum mystic?

Share this thread:
QuantumKitty
#19
Jan21-10, 10:16 PM
P: 19
Quote Quote by peteratcam View Post
Yes it occurs all the time. Any interaction between quantum systems will lead those systems to become entangled (i.e if the initial state is a product state, in the presence of interactions between two particles the final state after any finite amount of time will almost invariably be entangled.). In the classical world whenever one thing has an effect on another thing, the quantum description of the same phenonemon will involve entanglement.

I'd probably agree that everything is connected in this sense.

Yes, I can agree that in a vague sense everything is connected at the quantum level, but how does this connectedness carry over to and fit into the classical world? Does it have any practical use or inherent meaning? I'd have to say no to that.
QuantumKitty
#20
Jan21-10, 10:26 PM
P: 19
Quote Quote by peteratcam View Post
Well more I meant that you come to know of things by interacting with them, and in doing so entangle yourself with them. It follows that everything (literally all things which you have become aware of through interaction in someway) are correlated/connected.

I don't really know what the quantum mystic thinks from the brief description we got: "Entanglement-He interprets it as everything being "connected", whatever that means."
I believe what he gets from entanglement is that since everyone is connected we can influence others through happy thoughts or meditation or what have you. Also since everything is connected, we can or do influence or create our own reality.
Frame Dragger
#21
Jan22-10, 05:49 AM
P: 1,540
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Yes. But that is not a conclusion he's come to.

It is the premise he's starting with.
That really is the beginning and end of this. You can't reason with faith, but you can argue until you hate him. Just remember that the reasoning behind his beliefs breaks down at some point, and at that point he'll become VERY defensive. I'd leave this alone.
madness
#22
Jan22-10, 12:33 PM
P: 625
"It's not that what he believes is bad, it's just I think he's assuming too much from far too little.
The problem I see in giving consciousness or observers a central role is that it seems to give us humans too much emphasis, almost like the science wouldn't work were there no one around to observe it. I also prefer to interpret the wavefunction as a physical entity as opposed to knowledge."


I don't have a problem with giving observers a central role, or giving humans emphasis. I've never been satisfied with materialism as a paradigm. And the it has been shown that quantum theory cannot be both local and real, so the standard interpretation is that science really wouldn't work if no one was around to observe it. Most of the quantum physics I'm learning at the moment doesn't even use the idea of a wavefunction, which is one reason I'm skeptical about interpreting it as physical.


"Yes. But that is not a conclusion he's come to.

It is the premise he's starting with."


This is also true about the materialist interpretation. Everyone needs to have something to start from, and unfortunately I think the reasoning behind everyone's beliefs breaks down if you push them far enough. But if I'm being reasonable, I'd have to admit that it sounds like he's taken a bit more than he should from quantum mechanics.
ZapperZ
#23
Jan22-10, 01:05 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
ZapperZ's Avatar
P: 29,238
Quote Quote by madness View Post
"It's not that what he believes is bad, it's just I think he's assuming too much from far too little.
The problem I see in giving consciousness or observers a central role is that it seems to give us humans too much emphasis, almost like the science wouldn't work were there no one around to observe it. I also prefer to interpret the wavefunction as a physical entity as opposed to knowledge."


I don't have a problem with giving observers a central role, or giving humans emphasis. I've never been satisfied with materialism as a paradigm. And the it has been shown that quantum theory cannot be both local and real, so the standard interpretation is that science really wouldn't work if no one was around to observe it. Most of the quantum physics I'm learning at the moment doesn't even use the idea of a wavefunction, which is one reason I'm skeptical about interpreting it as physical.
One needs to be very careful in extrapolating the QM rules into the rules that we observe classically. After all, we know that when we observe something via "coarse-grained" measurement, we get back the classical observation that we know and love in which the role of the observer isn't critical and doesn't affect the object being observed.

Zz.
Frame Dragger
#24
Jan22-10, 04:27 PM
P: 1,540
I hate to be the one on PF to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen... you are overthinking this one," but it has to be said. You're giving the person the OP is talking about WAAAAAY too much benefit of the doubt. "Quantum Mysticism" is the **** the "Secret" people, and Depak Chopra started selling in the late 80's. This is pure ****, that uses maybe a tertiary rendering of the interpreations of QM, feeds it through a jet turbine, and crams it into their brain.

There is nothing about the mindset that has anything to do with QM. The basic assumption is that the observer does not play a role in waveform collapse... they're saying you DETERMINE the collapse and which persists based on PREFERENCE. These are the geniuses who like to eat mushrooms and talk about "Quantum Immortality", but think that Schrodinger IS the cat. :roll:

These are people to be debunked with standard skeptical methods, which don't resort to actually trying to expalin SQM to them. This is no different than arguing with a religious individual about their preconceptions and faith... it's not going to end well.


@madness: True... but this isn't a Physicist wrapped up in a particular interpretation... this is a shmuck using QM the way Scientologists use... well... everything, but especially the term "science" and "medecine"
Frame Dragger
#25
Jan22-10, 04:28 PM
P: 1,540
Oh, am I the only one who thought, "How To Debunk A Quantum Mystic..." ... With a frying pan to the head? :)
Vectronix
#26
Jan22-10, 10:05 PM
P: 30
Hey, I'm sorry if someone has said this already, but I will say this:

I don't have anything personal against mystics because of mysticism, but many of them speak of incomplete theories, especially those which are thought of by them as being complete, as well as bad interpretations of physical theory. How can every thing be "connected" if not everything is entangled? Hence, quantum entanglement is not a good starting point to prove their ideas of connectedness (that's a word, right? haha) If everything were "connected" via entanglement, then all systems would share the same quantum states at the same time as described by the state vector... correct me if I am wrong here.

Also, as far as I know, it is factual that only the measuring apparatus that disturbs a system, not the mind of the observer. Seems like these "quantum mystics," as people are starting to call them, can't find a quantum of solace (:P) in the physical theory that proves their ideas, because it's not accepted by mainstream science, so then they turn to quantum mechanics, or its interpretations, because that's what's "cool." :P

I disagree somewhat with something that was said earlier... QuantumKitty could still mention the facts about quantum mechanics without trying to deny the person his beliefs... I'm not saying that it's good or bad to destroy someone's belief system (heh)... but the facts about QM will set his manager on the right path, and that path is one that does not incorporate myths about quantum mechanics. It's good to have one's belief system utterly destroyed if it is false, and when the time is right, but that's outside the scope of these forums, I guess. :)
Fredrik
#27
Jan22-10, 11:22 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Fredrik's Avatar
P: 9,390
Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
Tell him that you can show him a paper in which in just ONE single interaction, the "connection", i.e. the entanglement, can be completely lost. Tell him that he only learned about one aspect of quantum entanglement, without understanding how DIFFICULT it is to maintain such entanglement. In QM, we call such an effect as decoherence. There have been many experiments that showed that our classical world evolves out of such decoherence. When that occurs, you've essentially lost the original coherent information, such as entanglement.
I don't think this description is entirely accurate. I'm no expert on decoherence, but as I see it, it's the "coherence" of the superposition that is lost, precisely because the system is getting more and more entangled with the environment. So decoherence seems to support the "everything is connected part" of this guy's beliefs.

I would instead focus on the fact that entanglement can't be used to send even one bit of information, unless you send some information by classical means as well.

Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
There have been zero valid evidence for consciousness/thought affecting reality, and no mechanism for it has been proposed and tested.
This is also a good thing to focus on.

Quote Quote by peteratcam View Post
Well more I meant that you come to know of things by interacting with them, and in doing so entangle yourself with them. It follows that everything (literally all things which you have become aware of through interaction in someway) are correlated/connected.

I don't really know what the quantum mystic thinks from the brief description we got: "Entanglement-He interprets it as everything being "connected", whatever that means."
As I see it, the claim that "everything is connected" is essentially true, because it's very hard to isolate a system from its environment. So I wouldn't try to debunk that, and instead explain to him that entanglement can't be used to send information without also sending information by some other means. These things are however difficult to understand, so you may have a hard time learning them yourself, and an even harder time trying to get him to learn them.

If you're going to try to set him straight, you should probably focus on something else. For example, he's probably interested in entanglement because he believes it can explain telepathy and that kind of stuff. Why not just explain that if a person has a paranormal ability, then by definition of "ability", it must be possible to design a test in which a person with such an ability will perform better than people without the ability?

The best way to test an ability is to have the subject answer multiple-choice questions that have been randomized so that all answers are equally likely. You can then calculate the probability to get a certain number of correct answers. Even if the person only claims to be able to answer a certain yes/no question with 60% accuracy, you can make sure that there's a one in a million chance that he will get the required percentage of correct answers by including a large enough number of questions in the test. The number of questions should be decided in advance. The tests should also be performed double blind, i.e. in addition to not telling them the correct answers before they have given you their answers, you also make sure that no one who knows the correct answers is present when the test is done.

The fact that people who claim to have paranormal abilities always fail in tests of this type is a very good reason to believe that they don't have abilities at all. If you can get him to understand that, he should snap out of the nonsense fairly quickly. But my guess is that he will stubbornly refuse to even talk about it. That's how they preserve their beliefs.
QuantumKitty
#28
Jan22-10, 11:37 PM
P: 19
Quote Quote by Frame Dragger View Post
Oh, am I the only one who thought, "How To Debunk A Quantum Mystic..." ... With a frying pan to the head? :)
Now there's an idea!
QuantumKitty
#29
Jan23-10, 12:59 AM
P: 19
Quote Quote by Frame Dragger View Post
I hate to be the one on PF to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen... you are overthinking this one," but it has to be said. You're giving the person the OP is talking about WAAAAAY too much benefit of the doubt. "Quantum Mysticism" is the **** the "Secret" people, and Depak Chopra started selling in the late 80's. This is pure ****, that uses maybe a tertiary rendering of the interpreations of QM, feeds it through a jet turbine, and crams it into their brain.

There is nothing about the mindset that has anything to do with QM. The basic assumption is that the observer does not play a role in waveform collapse... they're saying you DETERMINE the collapse and which persists based on PREFERENCE. These are the geniuses who like to eat mushrooms and talk about "Quantum Immortality", but think that Schrodinger IS the cat. :roll:

These are people to be debunked with standard skeptical methods, which don't resort to actually trying to expalin SQM to them. This is no different than arguing with a religious individual about their preconceptions and faith... it's not going to end well.


@madness: True... but this isn't a Physicist wrapped up in a particular interpretation... this is a shmuck using QM the way Scientologists use... well... everything, but especially the term "science" and "medecine"
It needed to be said.

By the way, have any of you guys ever seen the What the Bleep Do We Know documentary? (and I use the word documentary very loosely) It's full of pseudo-science, mumbo-jumbo crap. It's where he got a lot of fuel for his arguments.
DaveC426913
#30
Jan23-10, 01:23 AM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,319
Quote Quote by QuantumKitty View Post
By the way, have any of you guys ever seen the What the Bleep Do We Know documentary? (and I use the word documentary very loosely) It's full of pseudo-science, mumbo-jumbo crap. It's where he got a lot of fuel for his arguments.
I have not seen it because it is mumbo-jumbo. Though, it occurs to me that perhaps I should see it so I can debunk it to the friends & family that recommended it...
Frame Dragger
#31
Jan23-10, 06:41 AM
P: 1,540
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
I have not seen it because it is mumbo-jumbo. Though, it occurs to me that perhaps I should see it so I can debunk it to the friends & family that recommended it...
Oh man, I tried to watch that and it's not worth it. You'll be so angry and hopless by the end of it, you won't see the POINT in debunking anything. It's Kryptonite for rational people, and Catnip for idiots. It felt a bit like someone was trying to steam-press every ounce of genuine physics out of my head and replace it with... OATMEAL! TA-ta-TUM!!!! *jazz hands*
Count Iblis
#32
Jan23-10, 07:05 AM
P: 2,157
I agree with Fredrik. The best thing is to focus on those paranormal things that the person thinks are supported by QM. I once argued with a believer in astrology and just went along with his reasoning. I only asked questions like "can you determine place and time of birth from certain events in a person's life?" Or how would astrology work for a person born om Mars, in deep space etc. etc.?
Vectronix
#33
Jan23-10, 03:59 PM
P: 30
Quote Quote by QuantumKitty View Post
It needed to be said.

By the way, have any of you guys ever seen the What the Bleep Do We Know documentary? (and I use the word documentary very loosely) It's full of pseudo-science, mumbo-jumbo crap. It's where he got a lot of fuel for his arguments.
I haven't watched it; reading the poor reviews of the movie were enough to turn me off and make me shake my head in disgust. :P

No need to watch it to debunk it, I would just read and/or send them a link of one of the bad reviews, since someone has done the debunking already.

here's one here: http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2...he_bleep_.html

and another: http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/bleep/


Register to reply

Related Discussions
Someone please debunk this General Discussion 3
Need help with a debunk General Discussion 3
Can anyone Debunk this for me? Quantum Physics 3
How much of Pythagoras was scientist, how much was mystic General Discussion 11