My problem with today's physics

  • #1
alex.cordero
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I am not a physicist nor am I a philosopher but I do have a fair understanding of both disciplines. My interests force me to compare the relationship between consciousness, perception and physics.

I have been reading a few books on the lives of famous scientists, (e.g., Pauli, Einstein, etc...) and find it interesting that their initial theories were often scoffed or ridiculed when initially presented. I suppose that there are many reasons for this and most driven by individual motivations.

I find the relationships between quantum mechanics and consciousness laughingly obvious but it is so difficult to find scientists that are willing to engage in serious discussions about it. I ask questions about this relationship at the risk of sneers and snickers. There are few that cover it but not seriously, maybe at the risk of their reputation. I'm not a physicist so I don't care about my reputation, but I can understand one that depends on it to hold a job or tenure.

At the turn of the century, Einstein turned the scientific world upside down with E=mc^2 and so on. It seems to me that the next revolution in physics is the realization of our integration with everything--for lack of a better explanation--and to have a better understand how we relate to the Theory of Everything (TOE). Isn't TOE what Einstein was working on?

Why do physicists--and the scientific communitiy, in general--continue to scoff at this fileld of study? Were I physicist, this is where I would put my attention. Am I being unrealistic? Perhaps. But where would our understanding of science be today if revolutionary scientists gave into the popular opposition?

** if this post is in the wrong forum, please advise. Thank you.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
phyzguy
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Physics is, in my opinion, the use of mathematics to explain the universe we live in. Physicists scoff at the kinds of statements you are referring to because they are just words, not mathematical models that make testable predictions that can be checked with experiments. Einstein's contributions were not just ideas, but concrete mathematical statements. If you can present a sound mathematical "theory of everything", people will definitely listen. If not, they will continue to scoff.
 
  • #3
alex.cordero
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What if mathematical models don't apply? What else is there? (out of the box) There were scientists who dared to venture into the unknown only to invent a "new" method of understanding the universe. I think of people like Michael Faraday who also made significant contributions without formal mathematics training. Although Maxwell helped him later, how did Faraday initiate his ideas?
 
  • #4
Matterwave
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  • #5
xlines
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I am not a physicist nor am I a philosopher but I do have a fair understanding of both disciplines. My interests force me to compare the relationship between consciousness, perception and physics.

I have been reading a few books on the lives of famous scientists, (e.g., Pauli, Einstein, etc...) and find it interesting that their initial theories were often scoffed or ridiculed when initially presented. I suppose that there are many reasons for this and most driven by individual motivations.

I find the relationships between quantum mechanics and consciousness laughingly obvious but it is so difficult to find scientists that are willing to engage in serious discussions about it.

:eek: I love this topic, but there is no one thing about it that is "laughingly obvious". Care to enlighten me?

I ask questions about this relationship at the risk of sneers and snickers. There are few that cover it but not seriously, maybe at the risk of their reputation.

Do you find Roger Penrose's "Emperor's new mind" shy? Cautious because author's afraid for his reputation? C'mon, that's such a cliche! Lonely scientist fighting for the true against evil scientific community? You can for surely do better than that.

I'm not a physicist so I don't care about my reputation, but I can understand one that depends on it to hold a job or tenure.

If this is some kind of offer of forgiveness for our silence, it is hereby declined! :approve:
I am physicist and I do care about my reputation, but I don't see how does this disqualify me from debate. When I have a case, I'm loud as hell!

At the turn of the century, Einstein turned the scientific world upside down with E=mc^2 and so on. It seems to me that the next revolution in physics is the realization of our integration with everything--for lack of a better explanation--and to have a better understand how we relate to the Theory of Everything (TOE). Isn't TOE what Einstein was working on?

And he failed, may I add. Throughout your post you, and I apologize if I'm wrong, you are making subtle parallel that your case is somehow more based if you are "scoffed" on-line. Prof. Dutch noticed that this "Galileo fallacy" is widespread among cranks: they persecuted Galileo and he was right. They persecute me, therefore I am also right.

But like I said, I withdraw this and I apologize should this be wrong. But you are getting mighty defensive way before you stated your case. Just ... don't be that guy :-)

Why do physicists--and the scientific communitiy, in general--continue to scoff at this fileld of study? Were I physicist, this is where I would put my attention. Am I being unrealistic? Perhaps. But where would our understanding of science be today if revolutionary scientists gave into the popular opposition?

You are kidding, for sure. Anthony Leggett, a Nobel prize winner, stated in an interview (which was published in European Journal of Physics) that he thinks that there may be some valuable *scientific* discoveries in extrasensory perception field. The whole point is that there are *no* forbidden topics in physics. All you need to do is to identify genuine physical phenomena and offer good explanation. You, personally, probably know more mathematics than Faraday knew, but he is great physicist because he did some good physics and describe it by words. Not formulae, *words*. You think you got case? I'm all ears.
 
  • #6
alex.cordero
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Xlines, I don't have a case, I'm looking for one. The point I failed to make was that *I feel* that there are relationships between qm and consciousness that should be explored by professionals--such as yourself--with a solid education in physics or a similar discipline. Unless, there really is no relationship, which I would find hard to believe. I suppose that it's just one of those hunches that I've had all my life. I'm tired of reading misrepresented, new age (for lack of a better word) literature--if you can call it that, where one listless theory hazily links to another. I know "that's" not the answer. So, I'm wondering where things would be if "real" scientists examined these relationships? Yeah, whenever I brought this subject up in the past, it has been scoffed at and I can't understand why?

Perhaps writing, "laughingly obvious" was too strong a word for a scientific community and I should rescind. The obvious relationship that I can make is in the transfer of energy and I can't get more specific than that.

You are exactly the type of person who's opinion I'm looking for. You're a physicist and admit that you love this topic, and no, you are obviously not disqualified from having an opinion--I'm looking for it.

But a better question for you is this: what specifically do you love about this topic?

Thank you for the Galileo Fallacy note, I didn't know about it--I see what you're saying.

So, do you think that there is absolutely no connection between qm and consciousness?
 
  • #7
alex.cordero
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There is in fact, a consciousness causes collapse "interpretation" for QM:

For more on the subject, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_causes_collapse#.22Consciousness_causes_collapse.22

This is usually described as philosophy, however, and not physics. No one has made any testable hypotheses with this. If you can come up with some, that would be awesome and can move this idea from the realm of philosophy to physics (or at worst, failed physics).

Thank you for this link, I didn't know about this.
 
  • #8
Gary P
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I don't know if I am addressing your question but physics can now say that the idea of predestination is false. Predestination is based on the idea that if only we had a big enough computer and knew the current position/momentum of every thing we could calculate what will occur in the future. The combination of Chaos theory and quantum electrodynamics addresses this from two directions.

Chaos theory shows that modeled solutions to complex non-linear problems will drift wildly from a repeated run of the same model if the inputs to the model are changed an immeasurable amount. We cannot measure the inputs to everything accurately enough.

Quantum electrodynamics requires the formation virtual particle/anti-particles pairs everywhere and around everything. The product of delta E times delta t for the fleeting existence of these pairs is less than Heisenberg's uncertainty principle so we do not see them directly but the effects of their existence must be calculated for QE to work. I once thought that the only machine that could predict the future would be an exact copy of the universe running someplace else. QE shows that the virtual particle production is completely random and spontaneous so even the exact copy would rapidly deviate from our universe.

Predestination is therefore false and free will and consciousness are allowed.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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What if mathematical models don't apply? What else is there? (out of the box) There were scientists who dared to venture into the unknown only to invent a "new" method of understanding the universe.
Then they wouldn't be "scientists" anymore. Scientists use the scientific method because they are scientists.

You are digging for problem that doesn't exist because you are making a comparison that doesn't apply. Your problem with physics(science) is that it isn't philosophy. Well science doesn't claim to be philosophy, so it is pointless to criticize it for that.

Might that mean that there are times when science doesn't provide the best "method for understanding the universe"? Perhaps. Science may not be the most useful method for understanding love or empathy, for example.

Don't ask science to do something it wasn't designed to do.

[edit] That said, if there is a link between QM and consciousness, I seriously doubt it would be outside the scope of science to examine it.
 
  • #10
Chronos
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I agree there is a connection between quantum phyics and consiousness - afterall we have conciousness and it appears difficult to explain. Quantum tunneling has been proposed to explain brain processes. But, that does not forbid mathematics as a tool to explore that realm. It may require math as we do not yet understand. I prefer Shannon as a starting point.
 
  • #11
ideasrule
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Nothing is known about the physical causes of consciousness. Not the slightest clue or shred of data regarding how a universe following rigorous laws could allow for a conscious mind. How would a physicist even begin to investigate how QM relates to consciousness?
 
  • #12
magpies
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By asking the question how does QM relate to consciousness. How scary huh?
 
  • #13
Vanadium 50
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Einstein and Pauli both received the Nobel prize (at a fairly young age as such things go - in their 40's). If this is getting scoffed at, I wish someone would scoff at me in such a way!

"They laughed at Einstein" is a specious argument anyway. They also laughed at the Three Stooges.

You've provided no evidence for your suppositions - just an assertion that it's "laughingly obvious". That's not how science works. Science requires evidence. Science has developed an authority over the centuries because it works. It works because the final arbiter of what is true and what is not is nature, not an individual. You're trying to have it both ways - having us accept something on your say-so because it is "laughingly obvious", but then calling it science. That won't go anywhere.
 
  • #14
alex.cordero
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All right, all right... let's just forget that I started this post and I'll relegate this sort of stuff to another forum--philosophy or something. Forget I said "laughingly obvious". I was writing and probably got caught up in the moment. It's not obvious and I have nothing except the desire to get people to think about something different.

But I still have a lot of questions about more pragmatic issues in physics and astronomy so I'll stick to that. Thank you for your comments.
 
  • #15
Physics is, in my opinion, the use of mathematics to explain the universe we live in. Physicists scoff at the kinds of statements you are referring to because they are just words, not mathematical models that make testable predictions that can be checked with experiments. Einstein's contributions were not just ideas, but concrete mathematical statements. If you can present a sound mathematical "theory of everything", people will definitely listen. If not, they will continue to scoff.

I have a theory of everything that is based on mathematical equations and yet I cannot get any professor of physics to take the time to see what I found. My equation uses the proton-electron mass ratio, the fine-structure constant, and the Planck units to determine the mass of the proton and electron. One prediction that it makes is a value for the gravitational constant with eight digits of precision. It also unites all 4 forces to equal the Planck force at the beginning of time. The equation is simple, and in my opinion it is elegant. How can I get someone to seriously listen to me, and have a dialogue?
 
  • #16
rewebster
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let me get this straight---

A thought does physical things to happen?

consciousness causes a reaction?

It sounds like witches, wizards, and magical incantations to me...
 
  • #17
Leptos
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All I can say is:
Physical trauma to the head affects consciousness, and QM attracts a lot of crackpots, spiritualists, etc... If you're interested in QM and consciousness, feel free to look up Deepak Chopra.
 
  • #18
DaveC426913
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I find the relationships between quantum mechanics and consciousness laughingly obvious but it is so difficult to find scientists that are willing to engage in serious discussions about it. I ask questions about this relationship at the risk of sneers and snickers.

I guess it depends on what kind of relationship. Seeing analogies between two branches of science does not mean there is a meaningful connection.

As a spurious example: analogies used to be drawn between atomic orbits and planetary systems, but that does not mean there is a correlation between them. Attempts to understand one in terms of the other will quickly go awry.

How can you be sure you're not simply seeing a superfluous similarity?
 
  • #19
Pythagorean
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I'm still not sure of what the argument is for why there should be a "quantum consciousness".

Anyway, I have a degree in physics and I'm going into neuroscience, but QC has no allure to me.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
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I have a theory of everything that is based on mathematical equations and yet I cannot get any professor of physics to take the time to see what I found. My equation uses the proton-electron mass ratio, the fine-structure constant, and the Planck units to determine the mass of the proton and electron. One prediction that it makes is a value for the gravitational constant with eight digits of precision. It also unites all 4 forces to equal the Planck force at the beginning of time. The equation is simple, and in my opinion it is elegant. How can I get someone to seriously listen to me, and have a dialogue?
Write a paper on it in a way that makes it look like a theory.

Frankly, though, what you describe doesn't bear any relation to the concept of a "theory", much less a theory of everything.
 
  • #21
DaveC426913
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Unless you have some evidence that backs up your ideas, what you have is not a theory but a hypothesis.
 
  • #22
Pythagorean
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Here's wikipedia speaking for the scientific community:

The main argument against the quantum mind proposition is that quantum states would decohere too quickly to be relevant to neural processing.

Still not sure what the argument for QC is though.
 
  • #23
NeoDevin
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I have a theory of everything that is based on mathematical equations and yet I cannot get any professor of physics to take the time to see what I found. My equation uses the proton-electron mass ratio, the fine-structure constant, and the Planck units to determine the mass of the proton and electron. One prediction that it makes is a value for the gravitational constant with eight digits of precision. It also unites all 4 forces to equal the Planck force at the beginning of time. The equation is simple, and in my opinion it is elegant. How can I get someone to seriously listen to me, and have a dialogue?

How about you use it to predict something that isn't already known? Anyone can predict what is already known. Without any evidence, why should any physicist waste their time on what is most likely crack-pottery?

Edit: I guess I should have finished reading the thread, Russ and Dave beat me to it.
 
  • #24
ideasrule
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How about you use it to predict something that isn't already known? Anyone can predict what is already known. Without any evidence, why should any physicist waste their time on what is most likely crack-pottery?

Edit: I guess I should have finished reading the thread, Russ and Dave beat me to it.

Have you read his post in detail? He claims that he can predict G to 8 decimal places. As of now G is only known to 4 decimal places.
 
  • #25
Cyrus
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How about you use it to predict something that isn't already known? Anyone can predict what is already known. Without any evidence, why should any physicist waste their time on what is most likely crack-pottery?

Edit: I guess I should have finished reading the thread, Russ and Dave beat me to it.

As a masters student, I would hope that you would know by now that part of any new theory is that it should agree with existing results as part of its validation. I think your comment is a bit harsh for no good reason.
 
  • #26
rewebster
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42.85---One of the 'rules' of this forum is that "you can't 'post' your theory" (or something close to that), but that shouldn't stop you if you want to on some other forum, or submit it to be published, or publish it yourself.

and, I agree with Cyrus, and his wording about "agree with existing results" or data...
 
  • #27
Vanadium 50
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I have a theory of everything ... How can I get someone to seriously listen to me,

You can start by reading the PF Rules, especially those on Overly Speculative Posts, and you should stop hijacking other people's threads.
 
  • #28
i_emanuel
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check out David Bohm's recorded conversations (I forget the name) w/ Jiddu Krishnamurti. Then read up David Bohm's 'On Dialogue' and my favorite, 'On Creativity'.

Have fun!

:)
 
  • #29
JDStupi
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OP, It seems as if you've dropped out of this discussion, I don't know if this is due to catching too much criticism for your idea, but I just want you to answer the question "What makes you believe there is a connection between QM and Consciousness?" I am not asking that in a sarcastic or derogatory tone, but I am extremely curious. I too am, at this point, but a lost layman and I have noticed that many layman seem to notice this "connection". Many seem to come to that conclusion from the way in some popular books the collapse of the wavefunction is treated, sometimes it seems when they say "measurement" causes collapse, I think some people take "measurement" to mean "measurement by sentient being, therefore relation between consciousness and QM" when in reality, you only need to consider the case in a generalized manner to cut away that understanding. What are we? Physical systems. Why do we have to isolate experiments? Because otherwise they may interact with the external environment (aka physical systems) and decohere. So then it seems more plausible that there *is* a physical connection between us and the environment, but not because we are "us; the human species" but simply because we are physical and we are interacting. Don't adopt an ideology this early in the game (not at all haha), but coming to conclusions about the "obvious" relations between conscioussness and QM this early is too strong. And yes, I am aware that you somewhat retracted the statement about "laughlingy obvious" but you most likely didn't do that because you changed your mind, but more likely you were saying that to appease the "precise scientists" in order to get more replies about the connection, but you yourself still believe it to be "laughlingy obvious"
 
  • #30
jimmy is lost
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i guess in a way guys...you have all proved him right
:O
experiment achieved, the mans a physicist lol

he was called out and shoot down, before even asked to further his statements
im not agreeing with the topic...a such
he feals something towards a puzzle he can't understand, and desires to find a connection
the great trait of ALL great physicists
being able to build a mathmatic model or not is not essential for foward thinking thought, and shame on those who shouted him down

i have a keen physics mind...but the numbers are lost on me
my biggest critasim of physics is that its geting lost in numbers

but in regards to the poster
you can't make strong statements like this without any further backup
please further what you were trying to say...in YOUR terms
and try to ignor the 'big-heads' who think they came up with the idear of physics
 
  • #31
DaveC426913
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the great trait of ALL great physicists
being able to build a mathmatic model or not is not essential for foward thinking thought, and shame on those who shouted him down

i have a keen physics mind...but the numbers are lost on me
my biggest critasim of physics is that its geting lost in numbers

Physics without numbers is like a fishtank without fish.

What you're talking about is more akin to Philosophy. But even Philosophy requires a sound knowledge of the subject being philosphized about in order to make a meaningful contribution.

No one is suggesting he - or you - should not be insiped by great ideas in Physics, but you need to be inspired to learn , not to simply invent blissful ideas.
 
  • #32
ZapperZ
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i have a keen physics mind...but the numbers are lost on me
my biggest critasim of physics is that its geting lost in numbers

Then you have no idea what physics is. Physics isn't just saying "what goes up, must come down". It must also say where and when it will come down. This is why it becomes extremely useful. Hand waving arguments are not physics. Don't confuse you getting "lost in the numbers" versus the rest of us who understands those "numbers". That complaint is as silly as saying that you are lost in all the musical notes.

What you're in love with is not physics, but rather the idea of physics. There is a difference. You are seeing only the shadow of an animal and think you know what the animal looks like.

Zz.
 
  • #33
jimmy is lost
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god
step down from your pedistalls mighty scholars, for i am but a humble man

'then you have no idear what physics is'
you believe in your godlyness that you are a gift to physics?
and should divide the people as to who is worthy?

my post intended to give the poster of this thread...whom you are replying to...
the oppotunity to respond
...a sense of kinship
because it would seem you are more concerned in being right...than being enlightened

look...
thanks for the advice guys, but my understanding in physics is sound
im not stupid...i appreciate the need for maths in physics
this is why i have A levels in both physics and maths...but also Philosophy

maybe it takes a moment to step back to dream up idears, before you compute all the data

thats all guys

do not question my ability to understand or learn physics when i have given you no reason to

respond to what i posted
 
  • #34
Agent M27
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I am sure I can speak for the others who have questioned you're ability in that we do not pressume to be "Gods amongst mere mortals" they were replying to a somewhat ignorant statement. When you say I love physics except for the numbers, that sounds like you do not understand the value of mathematics in physics. The OP retracted because he saw that if he was to argue a point, he needed some sort of evidence saying why he was arguing that point. The cliche "outrageous claims require extraordinary evidence" comes to mind. This is the beautiful thing about science, when someone is wrong it is not a personal attack on their intellectual abilities, but the idea is wrong. Even Einstein got things wrong once in a while ( Cosmo Constant) but it does not detract from the validity of science nor does it detract from that scientists abilities. The bottom line is that science can only be right, if it was false, it would therefore not be science. I challenge you to not question the motives of the forum posters here. They are an incredible wealth of knowledge and the fact that they are concerned with being right all the time is to keep the foundation of science as solid as possible, nothing more, nothing less, nothing personal.

Joe
 
  • #35
jimmy is lost
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'the great trait of ALL great physicists
being able to build a mathmatic model or not is not essential for foward thinking thought, and shame on those who shouted him down

i have a keen physics mind...but the numbers are lost on me
my biggest critasim of physics is that its geting lost in numbers'


ok, i did not enter into or ask for a debate of weither or not maths is important to me, physics, the poster or anything...
please read my post again before arriveing at my pov or understanding

what is maths relation to physics?...fetures nowhere
this was not a question i possed
hence my reply, due to the responce i got not being desirable

my statement...the numbers are lost on me...does not compute to 'i love physics exept for the numbers'
perhaps 'its geting lost in numbers' drew this conclusion
how i don't know
the pursuit of a TOE due to numbers, particles and all manner of new sum poping up which are cluttering physics, would argue for this to be true
but its my POV

mathmatics in physics was once described to me as 'a thing of beauty laced in the divine' bye my father
i have a total understanding of this
so can we all please back off, reevaluate what was said..and get back on topic
woop woooop
thanks joe, i value your pov


i believe that QC is a definate possibility
it is just beyond us to understand atm, in the same way mass conciousness is
we do not have the ability to control such conciousness beyond our realm of what we understand to be are own conciousness
 

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