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Theory question

  1. Apr 18, 2006 #1
    hey, i don't have any background in physics but understand enough to get some of the ideas behind the principles of QM, or at least theory. i know this is a physics forum but i figured why not post the question anyway. what i was thinking was that if you could entertain the concept of two realities at the same time, then ostensibly is it possible to control some sort of physiological process by not observing it? there are a million examples of what i'm talking about, but for instance:
    if you (as a sort of twisted backwoods type of experiment) raised a child from birth without teaching or acknowledging the fact that every human periodically has to go pee, could that process be eliminated by the fact that it isnt observed or recognized?

    i'm assuming this is a stupid question and that physiological processes are just naturally implied or something, but thoguht i'd throw it out there anyway

    thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2006 #2

    Pengwuino

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    I'm a bit confused... because a 2 day year old child will start peeing no matter what someone tells them (and they won't even be able to understand what they're saying).
     
  4. Apr 18, 2006 #3
    yeah thats what i'm saying... what is the explanation for involuntary processes like that in quantum theory? it doesnt seem to really go along with it, as in what would compel the actual physical process to get underway if you dont realize that it exhists?
     
  5. Apr 18, 2006 #4

    dav2008

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    Are you creating parallels between humans peeing and, say, alpha decay?
     
  6. Apr 18, 2006 #5

    ZapperZ

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    Please note that quantum processes are the properties of quantum particles and quantum systems. You and I and a gazillion of other macroscopic objects obey classical descriptions. It is why quantum mechanics is SO weird, because it is NOT something that we observe normally at the classical scale.

    So to apply quantum rules to a scale where it doesn't manifest itself is misusing it. It's like applying tennis rules to a football game.

    Zz.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2006 #6
    thanks. my problem about reading quantum theory stuff is understanding the laws of sub-atomic particles while remembering that the same laws dont apply on a macro level. its difficult not to assume that micro is anything more than a component of macro
     
  8. Apr 19, 2006 #7

    ZapperZ

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    Some physicists think that there is a smooth continuation of the microscopic QM descriptions into the macroscopic classical descriptions, while others think that there may be an abrupt transition between the two, much like a phase transition in thermodynamics.

    Regardless of which one one adopts, there are two important observations to keep in mind:

    1. QM descriptions of microscopic world is VERY DIFFERENT (we're not talking about something even close here) than the classical description of the macroscopic, incoherent world.

    2. When we tried to apply classical laws to microscopic system, they FAIL!

    3. When we try to apply QM laws to macroscopic systems, they produce absurd scenarios.

    Most people who try to apply QM description into our everyday world (and this includes a number of quacks, mystics, and other riff-raffs) somehow ignored those three points, especially the first. It is as of Newton's laws never existed, and they are given a license to freely impose QM's view on a scale that we have never observed! Again, if QM can be imposed at that scale, its properties would have been VERY common, and not weird to us.

    Let your observation be your first guide, and not to divorce yourself from that reality when looking and considering theoretical aspects of anything.

    Zz.
     
  9. Apr 19, 2006 #8

    vanesch

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    I'd object to "absurd" but I'd negociate "very weird", or "strangely unfamiliar" :smile:

    In fact, it is a personal matter to make the following choice: do you, at all price, want to have a unified picture of nature (meaning, the laws are the laws, and there is no fundamental difference between the laws for an electron or the laws for a baseball, though of course they are applied in hugely different contexts) - or, do you, at all price, want to keep your perceptions for real, and if that means that nature's laws are "layered" (meaning, there are layers of complexity in nature, and the laws that apply to one layer have a priori not much to do with what applies in another (higher or lower) layer), well, then so be it.

    You understood it, I'm a member of the former class, ZapperZ is a member of the latter class.

    That said, it is *entirely possible* to have a view where quantum theory is universal and applies everywhere, and people have been elaborating such things in the last 50 years. This view explains you WHY you think that you see stuff the way you actually see it, while things are in fact totally different. As such, you have to sacrifice the "what I see is what there is" viewpoint. As I said, it is a matter of personal taste what you prefer.
     
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