Physics of Dreams

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Dreams are odd and striking phenomena ,similar to waking thought in some ways and dissimilar in others...Is there certain physical laws govern events that seen in dreams?
what are the laws of (waking) physics that hold in Dreams too ?What are those not?
 

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  • #2
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Dreams are odd and striking phenomena ,similar to waking thought in some ways and dissimilar in others...Is there certain physical laws govern events that seen in dreams?
what are the laws of (waking) physics that hold in Dreams too ?What are those not?

I have not a complete answer to this question but I am sure of two laws that do not hold in dreams the second law of thermodynamics and the law of gravity and I think that all the laws of geometry hold in dreams
 
  • #3
DevilsAvocado
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Are you sure you’re not having a nightmare... talking to yourself about the first law of dreamodynamics...?? :bugeye:
 
  • #4
Borg
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All laws of physics hold in Dreams. They just have variable constants. :wink:
 
  • #5
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Dreams are odd and striking phenomena

Seriously? Billions of mammals dream all the time.. it's not odd, it's clearly the norm for mammals, and many other chordates. It's striking in that we reflect on it, but otherwise... how so?

...similar to waking thought in some ways and dissimilar in others...Is there certain physical laws govern events that seen in dreams?
what are the laws of (waking) physics that hold in Dreams too ?What are those not?

That's a meaningless question. Dreams are are the narrative of the mind while memories and experience is organized, and perhaps also just something our brain does to pass time. Nobody really knows for sure, except that when it comes to physical laws and "dreams", you're limited by the capacity of your sleeping brain.

If you're seriously asking what physical laws apply in a dream-world that somehow EXISTS... I'm out.

If you're asking what common themes occur in dreams... google is your friend.
 
  • #6
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I have noticed, that it seams as though time is perceived much differently in my dreams. When hitting the sleeper 5 min button on my alarm clock or getting a few minutes sleep before getting up, I have noticed having dreams which seamed hours long only to wake and realize very little actual time has gone by.

If you have seen the movie inception, the same phenomena is represented in the movie. I wonder how many other people have experienced this, and how it can be explained scientifically?
 
  • #7
FlexGunship
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I have noticed that though my life, as I build a firmer understanding of physics in general, I am more able to recognize when I am dreaming. Not that the physics in my dreams have changed (i.e. I can still fly on occasion), rather, when I do, I understand it's a distorted reality.

Oddly, I sometimes convince myself (in the dream) that I'm on drugs.
 
  • #8
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I have noticed that though my life, as I build a firmer understanding of physics in general, I am more able to recognize when I am dreaming.

You pre-frontal cortex is shut of during REM sleep. It's one the explanations (and perhaps the most convincing one) of why you sometime try doing during dreams things you wouldn't even conceive to do with the PFC online. This also affects moral cognition in dreams. It's a wild place, where anything goes :P
 
  • #9
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You pre-frontal cortex is shut of during REM sleep. It's one the explanations (and perhaps the most convincing one) of why you sometime try doing during dreams things you wouldn't even conceive to do with the PFC online. This also affects moral cognition in dreams. It's a wild place, where anything goes :P

No one part of the brain is ever shut off, you just have degrees of activity. Shut-off = DEAD.
 
  • #10
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I have noticed, that it seams as though time is perceived much differently in my dreams. When hitting the sleeper 5 min button on my alarm clock or getting a few minutes sleep before getting up, I have noticed having dreams which seamed hours long only to wake and realize very little actual time has gone by.

If you have seen the movie inception, the same phenomena is represented in the movie. I wonder how many other people have experienced this, and how it can be explained scientifically?

I can place you in a controlled lab with lights, and make you lose track of time in less than 3 days. It's not a feat... humans STINK at telling time without external references, and inside a dream you're not even conscious.
 
  • #11
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I have noticed that though my life, as I build a firmer understanding of physics in general, I am more able to recognize when I am dreaming. Not that the physics in my dreams have changed (i.e. I can still fly on occasion), rather, when I do, I understand it's a distorted reality.

Oddly, I sometimes convince myself (in the dream) that I'm on drugs.

You're not on drugs?! :wink:

edit: Lucid dreaming can be fun if you practice, but that's another thread, and has nothing to do with physics.
 
  • #12
FlexGunship
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edit: Lucid dreaming can be fun if you practice, but that's another thread, and has nothing to do with physics.

I have practiced lucid dreaming before. Oh... and...

Nothing has nothing to do with physics.
 
  • #13
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I have practiced lucid dreaming before. Oh... and...

Nothing has nothing to do with physics.

Yes.... I know... but lets not confuse the issue if you catch my drift?
 
  • #14
Why cant we just leave dreams alone? Do we have to analyze everything to death? I know math and physics and stats can be fun, but it really irritates me that people try to find the analytical reason behind everything.

There was that study on the chemistry of love. To reduce love to a chemical reaction, doesnt that seem absurd? /rant
 
  • #15
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Why cant we just leave dreams alone? Do we have to analyze everything to death? I know math and physics and stats can be fun, but it really irritates me that people try to find the analytical reason behind everything.

There was that study on the chemistry of love. To reduce love to a chemical reaction, doesnt that seem absurd? /rant

Then why do you even bother to do science? What drives science is precisely the point you are attacking. All the physics you are studying right now are possible because there was once a man who started wondering about why do things work the way they do.

Sure you can find some really good applications of science in the modern world, you can use it to cure peoeple from diseases, to make humans live longer and better, to adapt our environment to our needs, and that's fine if that's your only reason to study science, but I don't think it's valid to simply say: "Hey, that's the way it works. Cool, let's keep moving."

Why even bother to look up in the sky and wonder why the sun shines, or why are those stars so far away? Just because you will get some practical use of it in the future? Perhaps that answer works for some people. It doesn't work for me.

Moreover, love doesn't stop doing what it does because we understand the physics behind it. For me, discovering its very nature adds more passion to the whole thing. Even if it can be explained by a chemical reaction, it still holds people together and makes me do crazy things about girls, just like the moon looks as beautiful even when we can account it is not made of cheese.
 
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  • #16
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Why cant we just leave dreams alone? Do we have to analyze everything to death? I know math and physics and stats can be fun, but it really irritates me that people try to find the analytical reason behind everything.

There was that study on the chemistry of love. To reduce love to a chemical reaction, doesnt that seem absurd? /rant

I'd call you a Luddite, but you represent a valid and very real point of view, called the "anti-reductionist" view.

I don't... science doesn't... hence Siberion's valid observation.
 
  • #17
Then why do you even bother to do science? What drives science is precisely the point you are attacking. All the physics you are studying right now are possible because there was once a man who started wondering about why do things work the way they do.

Sure you can find some really good applications of science in the modern world, you can use it to cure peoeple from diseases, to make humans live longer and better, to adapt our environment to our needs, and that's fine if that's your only reason to study science, but I don't think it's valid to simply say: "Hey, that's the way it works. Cool, let's keep moving."

Why even bother to look up in the sky and wonder why the sun shines, or why are those stars so far away? Just because you will get some practical use of it in the future? Perhaps that answer works for some people. It doesn't work for me.

Moreover, love doesn't stop doing what it does because we understand the physics behind it. For me, discovering its very nature adds more passion to the whole thing. Even if it can be explained by a chemical reaction, it still holds people together and makes me do crazy things about girls, just like the moon looks as beautiful even when we can account it is not made of cheese.

If we're trying to find out the secrets of the universe, I'm fine with it. What is irritating is when scientists/staticians etc try to apply scientific theories/principles to society at large and come up with results which are valid, but pointless.

Does it matter that love is a chemical reaction? What is the origin of that reaction? A feeling, an emotion, triggered by what? Tell me, where does an idea come from? Can you explain creativity, or the functioning of the human brain using science?

Those are questions that interest me, and I appreciate your point of view. It just seems, at times, that just because we can analyze something, we go ahead and do it even if it just doesnt make sense!
 
  • #18
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If we're trying to find out the secrets of the universe, I'm fine with it. What is irritating is when scientists/staticians etc try to apply scientific theories/principles to society at large and come up with results which are valid, but pointless.

Does it matter that love is a chemical reaction? What is the origin of that reaction? A feeling, an emotion, triggered by what? Tell me, where does an idea come from? Can you explain creativity, or the functioning of the human brain using science?

Yes, and it matters because you learn by studying what's broken, and what's not. That knowledge is then applicable in a variety of contexts, such as treating illness where those "chemical reactions" as you put it... as though it were so simple as vinegar and soda. Why examine anything using science?... partly for the sake of knowing, and partly because you can't predict what the journey alone will bring; maybe something entirely unrelated?

Certainly a clear understanding of complex neurological function would allow for an entirely new approach to treating a variety of mental illnesses, and just plain ILLNESS.

The question you should be asking: 'Do MOST researchers set out to find the chemistry of love, or is learning about that a consequence of research into a number of diseases and TBIs?'. You're just ranting without giving a moment's thought to just what is wagging on that dog.

Those are questions that interest me, and I appreciate your point of view. It just seems, at times, that just because we can analyze something, we go ahead and do it even if it just doesnt make sense!

Yeah, it does, welcome to science!
 
  • #19
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If we're trying to find out the secrets of the universe, I'm fine with it. What is irritating is when scientists/staticians etc try to apply scientific theories/principles to society at large and come up with results which are valid, but pointless.

And why do you beleive those results are pointless ?

Does it matter that love is a chemical reaction? What is the origin of that reaction? A feeling, an emotion, triggered by what? Tell me, where does an idea come from? Can you explain creativity, or the functioning of the human brain using science?


Yes you can explain the working of human brain with science. Yes, the big problems of human nature, cooperation, aggression, love, sex , free will, morality, dreams where downgraded the last decades from mysteries to actual problems in science. We are getting there.

Yes, there is enough science out there to tell you what are the releasing stimulus for sexual behavior, cooperation, aggression. Its incredibly complex, but its science.

Those are questions that interest me, and I appreciate your point of view. It just seems, at times, that just because we can analyze something, we go ahead and do it even if it just doesnt make sense!


It makes perfect sense to analyze human nature, and do-it with science, not with empty philosophy. Unraveling the mystery behind the rainbow doesn't ruin it's beauty :P Knowing why & how I get an erection doesn't make sex less appealing :P
 
  • #20
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And why do you beleive those results are pointless ?




Yes you can explain the working of human brain with science. Yes, the big problems of human nature, cooperation, aggression, love, sex , free will, morality, dreams where downgraded the last decades from mysteries to actual problems in science. We are getting there.

Yes, there is enough science out there to tell you what are the releasing stimulus for sexual behavior, cooperation, aggression. Its incredibly complex, but its science.




It makes perfect sense to analyze human nature, and do-it with science, not with empty philosophy. Unraveling the mystery behind the rainbow doesn't ruin it's beauty :P Knowing why & how I get an erection doesn't make sex less appealing :P


re: your last sentence: True. I've never been in the middle of an orgasm and thought, "Gee, I used to like this more before I knew about endorphins!!" No... it's a grim scene with silly faces; knowing about our animal nature will not change it.

I like your post DanP, and your last point is perfect.
 
  • #21
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re: your last sentence: True. I've never been in the middle of an orgasm and thought, "Gee, I used to like this more before I knew about endorphins!!" No... it's a grim scene with silly faces; knowing about our animal nature will not change it.

I like your post DanP, and your last point is perfect.

Most humans are afraid of moral nihilism when you unravel the "mysteries" of human nature. Of a now breed of amoral creatures walking under the sun and pissing over all that it is sacred. This is why they oppose any research which tends to throw light on the contribution of biology as a modulative factor in the human behavior.

How sad is this. To have your morale justified only by the existence of a "soul", a powerful supernatural being, by the belief that humans are "noble savages", or by the belief that it must be a higher purpose to the existence of humans, that we occupy a special place in creation.

This is why books like Dawkin;s "Selfish gene" reportedly caused severe cases of depression in some individuals. Because they where smart enough to believe the evolutionary view, and yet not anchored enough in reality to deal with the loss of faith in the "special" nature of humans.
 
  • #22
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Most humans are afraid of moral nihilism when you unravel the "mysteries" of human nature. Of a now breed of amoral creatures walking under the sun and pissing over all that it is sacred. This is why they oppose any research which tends to throw light on the contribution of biology as a modulative factor in the human behavior.

How sad is this. To have your morale justified only by the existence of a "soul", a powerful supernatural being, by the belief that humans are "noble savages", or by the belief that it must be a higher purpose to the existence of humans, that we occupy a special place in creation.

This is why books like Dawkin;s "Selfish gene" reportedly caused severe cases of depression in some individuals. Because they where smart enough to believe the evolutionary view, and yet not anchored enough in reality to deal with the loss of faith in the "special" nature of humans.

Yep! I'm a moral relativist, but I still choose to act a certain way, in part because it FEELS right and good. I eat some foods because they taste good... and I don't need any more justification than that. In my experience, tasty foods and good behaviour are much the same: very rewarding when taken in sensible proportions.

Then you have the golden rule, in whatever form... reciprocity... a fine principle.
 
  • #23
Again, I understand where the two of you are coming from, and I get what you're saying. In fact, without sounding condescending, I used to adhere to your point of view. It's just that I sort of over analyzed everything to death from relationships to human behaviour to everything around me, and I never really saw the point of it.

To be honest, this is more of a philosophical difference than one that concerns the guiding principles of science. There comes a point, when even though you can analyze something, it is better, holistically, not to. The whole truly is greater than the sum of all its parts.

At most what all your analysis will get you is how one specific function is carried out. As you figure out other parts of the system and understand better how each 'module' functions, you think you have a complete understanding of the human system. What I'm saying is, that at some juncture, the analytical powers of science become useless.

True, at a very fundamental level, you understand the human 'system'; but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

I realise parts of my response sound like trash philosophy in the form a of a pseudo moralistic rant, unfortunately from my limited experience in life, I find it to be true.
 
  • #24
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Again, I understand where the two of you are coming from, and I get what you're saying. In fact, without sounding condescending, I used to adhere to your point of view. It's just that I sort of over analyzed everything to death from relationships to human behaviour to everything around me, and I never really saw the point of it.

To be honest, that is your problem. If you are an over-analyzer, who analyzes everything at the expense of doing, you'll fall in that trap anyway, regardless what you know about X or Y. You'll fall in that trap even if you don't know anything.

To be honest, this is more of a philosophical difference than one that concerns the guiding principles of science. There comes a point, when even though you can analyze something, it is better, holistically, not to. The whole truly is greater than the sum of all its parts.

If we would be so unlucky that this mentality you present here would be representative of humankind, we would still be in stone age, and you would get treated in hospitals by shamans.

Your problem is that you think too much. But at "philosophical luft" instead of specific problems to be solved.

At most what all your analysis will get you is how one specific function is carried out. As you figure out other parts of the system and understand better how each 'module' functions, you think you have a complete understanding of the human system. What I'm saying is, that at some juncture, the analytical powers of science become useless.

Humans are predictable. Even on the basis of simple folk psychology. Anyway, science does not pretend absolute, complete, knowledge of humans.
 
  • #25
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Again, I understand where the two of you are coming from, and I get what you're saying. In fact, without sounding condescending, I used to adhere to your point of view. It's just that I sort of over analyzed everything to death from relationships to human behaviour to everything around me, and I never really saw the point of it.

To be honest, this is more of a philosophical difference than one that concerns the guiding principles of science. There comes a point, when even though you can analyze something, it is better, holistically, not to. The whole truly is greater than the sum of all its parts.

At most what all your analysis will get you is how one specific function is carried out. As you figure out other parts of the system and understand better how each 'module' functions, you think you have a complete understanding of the human system. What I'm saying is, that at some juncture, the analytical powers of science become useless.

True, at a very fundamental level, you understand the human 'system'; but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

I realise parts of my response sound like trash philosophy in the form a of a pseudo moralistic rant, unfortunately from my limited experience in life, I find it to be true.

I think you're expressing your own experience as best you can. Unfortunately I'm not sure if it applies very well to this situation, or serves you well in the long run.
 
  • #26
Unfortunately, as you do not know me in the real world, I cannot really substantiate my claims or refute the points you make. If my ability to apply things in real life and actually do something with the knowledge I have is in question, perhaps this can serve as an indicator:

I just gave the CAT (Common Aptitude Test), which all aspiring MBA's have to give in India for admission into the IIM's and other institutions. I stand in the top 2 percentile of all the people who gave that exam (more than 150,000 this year, I think). I stand a decent chance of getting into a college whose acceptance rate is greater than 500:1.

I'm probably going to finish at the top of my class studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering. I have been doing research projects with my professors since the first year of college in computer graphics and mathematics, although with limited success. Throughout my academic life, I have been in the top one or two percent of students I have ever compteted with. I could go on.

I dont know if all that makes any difference at all our current argument, but I seriously think that you've missed my point. It's not about 'not doing' or not applying your knowledge.

In India, the academic situation is such that you're competing since you're in the 10th grade, and the competition is not very pretty (in fact because of the number of student suicides, several significant changes have been made to the educaiton system in the near past). So, as far as applying my knowledge and my understanding of psychology (more practical than theoretical) is concerned, I'm not really out in the woods.

Perhaps it also has to do with the eastern take on philosophy, which I believe is much more holistic than the western perspective (if you're from the western world). There are concepts like maya and karma that we use to understand the world, which if taken out of context seem like they encourage procrastination of the highest (or lowest) form, but they encourage, in fact, the exact opposite sentiment.
 
  • #27
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Unfortunately, as you do not know me in the real world, I cannot really substantiate my claims or refute the points you make. If my ability to apply things in real life and actually do something with the knowledge I have is in question, perhaps this can serve as an indicator:

I just gave the CAT (Common Aptitude Test), which all aspiring MBA's have to give in India for admission into the IIM's and other institutions. I stand in the top 2 percentile of all the people who gave that exam (more than 150,000 this year, I think). I stand a decent chance of getting into a college whose acceptance rate is greater than 500:1.

I'm probably going to finish at the top of my class studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering. I have been doing research projects with my professors since the first year of college in computer graphics and mathematics, although with limited success. Throughout my academic life, I have been in the top one or two percent of students I have ever compteted with. I could go on.

I dont know if all that makes any difference at all our current argument, but I seriously think that you've missed my point. It's not about 'not doing' or not applying your knowledge.

In India, the academic situation is such that you're competing since you're in the 10th grade, and the competition is not very pretty (in fact because of the number of student suicides, several significant changes have been made to the educaiton system in the near past). So, as far as applying my knowledge and my understanding of psychology (more practical than theoretical) is concerned, I'm not really out in the woods.

Perhaps it also has to do with the eastern take on philosophy, which I believe is much more holistic than the western perspective (if you're from the western world). There are concepts like maya and karma that we use to understand the world, which if taken out of context seem like they encourage procrastination of the highest (or lowest) form, but they encourage, in fact, the exact opposite sentiment.

You may be right: certainly it's folly to fail to recognize culture-bound beliefs and views. There are entire neuroses that are culture bound, but wouldn't be considered problematic if raised to believe X. People in this country, by and large, believe that either a very cranky, or very kindly fellow is looking out for them from a heaven... OOOOK. The Navajo both don't have, and have only; religion; I wouldn't call someone who believes in animism crazy or misguided, I just disagree.

I would add, I don't think that the concept of say, Dharma, leads to laziness! That's a heavy load to live under; the need to follow a purpose, and in failing to do so gaining Karma that has to be worked through "later". I think the issue here is that you're describing your personal faith, which is fine; you've described a life free of complications of clinical significance as a result: i.e. go for it. There's really nothing you've said to agree or disagree with: it's theology. Unfortunately I don't think you're doing yourself any favors by posting it in a thread called, "the physics of dreams".
 
  • #28
It isnt about culture bound beliefs! I cant belive that I cant get the point across to you! Certainly, because of the cultures that I've been exposed to my perspective varies, but the basic principle still holds!

Ok, to boil the argument down to the basic ideas being contested: you're saying that we should analyze everything if we can and to analyze everything is the purpose of science. What I'm saying is that we should analyze the world around us, but beyond a point, specially as applied to human beings, analysis as a tool is, at best, limited!

You cant honestly believe that everything we will learn as the result of analyzing, clinically, the human condition will help us live better lives. Its analogous to 'quants' using the chaos theory to 'predict' the stock market!
 
  • #29
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It isnt about culture bound beliefs! I cant belive that I cant get the point across to you! Certainly, because of the cultures that I've been exposed to my perspective varies, but the basic principle still holds!

Ok, to boil the argument down to the basic ideas being contested: you're saying that we should analyze everything if we can and to analyze everything is the purpose of science. What I'm saying is that we should analyze the world around us, but beyond a point, specially as applied to human beings, analysis as a tool is, at best, limited!

Luft.

So yeah, like I said, we are lucky that humans on average do not think as you do. We take as little as we can to learn more. Some of you seem OK to sit back and relax, convinced of the impotence of our scientific techniques, which, btw, are ever-evolving.

You cant honestly believe that everything we will learn as the result of analyzing, clinically, the human condition will help us live better lives. Its analogous to 'quants' using the chaos theory to 'predict' the stock market!

It already improves our lives. Do you know why we can treat, albeit with limited success, psychiatric disorder ? Because we learned a great deal of how our brain works. Do you know why can we help ppl with sleep disturbances ? Because we started to get an iddea of the neurobiology of sleep. Do you know why we can help ppl with grave cases of depression ? Because we didn't gave up, and wasted time with idiotic philosophical questions, but we unraveled partially the molecular mechanisms involved in it.
 
  • #30
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It isnt about culture bound beliefs! I cant belive that I cant get the point across to you! Certainly, because of the cultures that I've been exposed to my perspective varies, but the basic principle still holds!

I don't believe you understand what "culture-bound" means. It's a specific term of art in psychology/psychiatry.

Ok, to boil the argument down to the basic ideas being contested: you're saying that we should analyze everything if we can and to analyze everything is the purpose of science.

I don't believe I've made that argument, but it seems sound.

What I'm saying is that we should analyze the world around us, but beyond a point, specially as applied to human beings, analysis as a tool is, at best, limited!

Who's arguing otherwise? That doesn't mean there has to be a magical means of exploring beyond that realm. Maybe there are other means, but you need to show what those are and not simply expect others to accept your logic. Just as scientists don't say, "Hey, we're not sure about this gravity thing, but we got together and decided: it's gremlins carrying heavy sacks that mediate gravity within the framework of QM." Find me some gremlins, then we'll talk, until then you sound like a casualty of the recent Philosophy forum crackdown... and I'm sooooo not interested in that.

You cant honestly believe that everything we will learn as the result of analyzing, clinically, the human condition will help us live better lives. Its analogous to 'quants' using the chaos theory to 'predict' the stock market!

Well, you've just conflated the very reasonable view that I do take, with how this improves things. Nobody ever said that what we learn makes life better, but that's not a reason to invent a happier world to live in. Even if you posit a supernatural realm (and I'm not saying you are) it would be open to examination; maybe it would be a fruitless examination if you're trying to predict, but science isn't JUST about prediction.

I think you have a number of wrong ideas about science and scientists, which is fine... lots of people do. It would be a pity if all you learned here was how to reinforce your preconceptions.
 

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