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Tom Green says I'm wrong about Quantum Physics

  1. Apr 26, 2007 #1
    Heads up . . . I have not formally studied quantum physics, but I do read about it and watch videos by some of the greats. I understand the conflict between the "micro" and "macro" physics, but I do no understand most of the details of quantum physics. Now, Tom Green enters the picture. He has a daily TV show on tomgreen.com, and for a while he was talking about The Secret and how he was trying to live by it. After a while, I got fed up and sent him an e-mail. He stopped for a while, then he was talking about it again. I sent him the following message:


    “I just watched the Lance Bass episode. You mentioned The Secret again. I have seen The Secret, What the bleep do we know, and Down the rabbit hole. Tom, you seem to be a fan. They portray a positive message, but the science is not valid. I'm not looking to get technical, but quantum mechanics only takes place in an atom. It can not make things appear or disappear. Quantum physics takes place within the atom, and Newtonian physics governs the collection of atoms. Einstein and Hawking are well known for trying to coordinate the two types of physics (which still has not been done). What the bleep do we know was funded by Judy Zebra Knight (the woman who channels Ramtha), and it was created, filmed, produced, by her students. So . . . read/watch this stuff skeptically. The science does not work, but it is ALWAYS good to think positively. If you want to get tripped out, read about string theory and the multiverse. I don’t really want to bash Oprah, so . . . Tom, great job with the show. I love how pure it is."


    "wrong actually. It's more complicated than that. keep reading."


    This frustrated me . . . what did he know that I didn't?

    I sent him this message (in short)


    "I have bashed The Secret twice now in your e-mail section. After the first time, you went a while without mentioning The Secret, then when I saw it you mention it again, I felt compelled to send you another message. I am a fan of physics and have studied physics, read physics, seen lectures, and watched videos by famous physicists. I feel I have a better grasp than most people on quantum mechanics (excluding of course practicing quantum physicists). I do not feel you can say that I am wrong about quantum mechanics. If you do know more, I would be thoroughly impressed, and then I would like a response as to what you have read that shows me that I am wrong. I also have a better understanding than most about string theory. On television and in movies, they like to use a bastardization of quantum mechanics to explain all sorts of spiritual claims. I used a fairly dumbed down explanation of the physics of Newtonian physics and quantum physics, but I stick to my claim that I am right. If you are saying that I am wrong about the statements made about physics, I feel you are mistaken. If you are defending The Secret, you may find some interesting points, but the scientific points will be unfounded. I have only seen the Oprah episode on it and have seen the movie. I have not read the book, but what I have seen, and what I know of it, it seems very unimpressive and wrong scientifically. This will be my last post about the secret. I’m sorry about this, but I hate when the media eats up this stuff. I still love the show and watch it everyday . . .”


    "No hard feelings. But I know more about Quantum Physics than you do. Sorry."


    My only real claim about this was:

    "I'm not looking to get technical, but quantum mechanics only takes place in an atom. It can not make things appear or disappear. Quantum physics takes place within the atom, and Newtonian physics governs the collection of atoms. Einstein and Hawking are well known for trying to coordinate the two types of physics (which still has not been done)."


    I hope you have so far found this entertaining . . .

    My question is . . . am I wrong? Is there a fundamental I am missing? Can things appear and disappear (I assume not, in our "experience" of said multiverse)? Based on my understanding, quantum physics only takes place in the atom. If I am right, I'm not really looking to rub it in Tom Green's face necessarily, I just want to know how or why I am wrong to better my understanding. Either he is messing with me, or he is much much smarter than I give him credit.

    Also, I have watched "The Elegant Universe" documentary by Brian Green. He made a mention of the possibility of walking through a wall if you tried for a long, long, long time. I can't recall the number of times, let's say it is between a billion, and something a little short of infinity. How can this work with string theory or quantum mechanics? He didn't do a very good job of explaining this in the documentary.

    I am glad there is a forum for this since no one I know is into physics.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2007 #2


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    1. The movie "What the [bleep] Do We Knnow" is a bastardization of quantum mechanics.

    2. If things appear and disappear out of nowhere THAT easily, we would have seen it in our everyday lives. The effect that is predicted within QM is not applicable to normal human activities and should NOT be extrapolated to such absurd scale before we have evidence.

    3. Quantum mechanics is highly apparent in "coherent" systems. The SIZE has nothing to do with it. You can have a gazillion coherent particles and have quantum mechanical effects being manifested. Example: superconductivity, which is a macroscopic manifestation of quantum effects. So you are wrong to insist that quantum effects is only valid at a single atom scale. A gazillion atoms can certain behave quantum mechanically. That's what Bose-Einstein condensate is.

  4. Apr 27, 2007 #3
    1: "the secret" is hooey

    2: but it not hooey from a vacuum- there is something to it- it resembles something real about the nature of observers and their reality- this has been more rigorously researched and explained by people like Carl Jung/ David Bohm/ Timothy leary ["in the future what is now called luck will be called skill."] Freeman Dyson/ Stuart Hameroff http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/ Dean Radin http://www.deanradin.com/NewWeb/EMindex.html/ [Broken] etc

    3: wishful thinking about vague human events is not going to yield the effect that "the secret" claims- but there are disciplined methods that can accomplish more subtle and realistic interpersonal effects in your [even our] reality- there is a reason why throughout history many scientists /philosophers/mathematicians have personally explored meditation/magick- instead of "the secret" you should pick up a copy of Crowley's "Magick Without Tears"

    this thread will probably get locked/moved [and it probably ought to be]- nevertheless these ideas are legitimate consequences of QM when the observer is rightly treated as a quantum system- the fact that a conscious observer is an interacting network of binary synaptic signals complicates the traditional concepts about the fundamental nature of reality and the relationship of consciousness with observations- "the secret" and 'what the bleep" are just examples where pop culture has misinterpreted and misrepresented something deep in the nature humanity and reality- trying to turn it into a quick fix for all your problems- anyone who has honestly explored methods of attainment will tell you that you are dealing with a sharp two-edged sword and nothing is 'free'
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Apr 27, 2007 #4


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    AGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH "Why do people keep bringing this movie up!!!!"

    Why the bleep can't people stop talking about "What the bleep" :rolleyes:
  6. Apr 27, 2007 #5

    Whenever someone mentions Bleep- I always tell them to see Mindwalk- that film is very-- vast

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Apr 27, 2007 #6
    This is the same Tom Green who used to hump dead animals on public tv?
  8. Apr 28, 2007 #7
    And why are you wasting time trying to discuss quantum physics with the guy who made the movie, "Freddie Got Fingered"? (ranked as the worst movie ever created by some sources).

    I haven't seen "what the bleep do we know", but I'm guessing it's one of those popular representations of some aspect of science, mutated in a way to spread some propaganda...and "the secret" I also haven't read, but it sounds like that same great plan of "If you wish it, it will come true" kind of thing...interestingly I was reading some old 70's physics book, and there was a chapter discussing exactly that kind of life-plan that had also been popularized back then, and then went on to criticize it. I guess it has reappeared under a different title.
  9. Apr 29, 2007 #8
    It is a bit weird that the times in my life I had a very positive goal specific attitude, the outcomes I wanted came about. Conversely, when I'm negative (the current state of affairs) everything goes down the sh*tter.

    While I have deep respect for science, I also have a deep respect for the fact that, despite all these equations and theories, ya'll are pretty much as far from knowing whatever the hell is really going on around here as is feasibly possible.
  10. Apr 29, 2007 #9
    Yea...you'll be better off if you "just think happy thoughts". Then all of your dreams will come true. :rolleyes:
  11. Apr 29, 2007 #10
    Anything you say Einstein! :)
  12. Apr 29, 2007 #11
    Hmmm, I'd quibble with the OP's statement that QM only takes place within the atom. It would be better to say that its effects are most important at the atomic scale. There are definitely quantum effects that take place on the molecular scale and beyond.

    I think Tom Green is poking fun at the OP. Either that, or he's supremely arrogant. If he really does know a lot about QM then ask him to derive the energy levels of the H atom. That should keep him busy.
  13. Apr 29, 2007 #12
    BTW, there's an almost precisely zero chance of walking through a wall through quantum diffusion. I wouldn't expect that to happen even once during the lifetime of the universe.

    It is true that a quantum particle has a greater than zero chance of escaping a barrier that it would classically have a zero chance of overcoming. But to compare that probability with walking through walls is ridiculous. Even if your constituent particles all hopped over in one go- who's to say that they would reassemble themselves in a human configuration?

    Not the best way to escape from prison.
  14. Apr 30, 2007 #13
    Well yes, bearing in mind that Tom Green is a moron, why does this concern you so?
  15. Apr 30, 2007 #14


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    I don't doubt that for one bit, and you're really not the only one to experience that. I`m willing to go as far as saying that a law of the world, but a human law, not a physical law in a scientific sense. While focusing on the outcome of what you want with a positive attitude may increase your success greatly (though not without REAL action, i.e. more than just thinking about it), the explanation is really not to be found in quantum physics, but psychology. On multiple levels.

    Fact is that from all signals your mind receives from the outside world, it largely filters out stuff that does not fit with your convictions/beliefs. People who are convinced they will be successful aren't bothered by setbacks, they hardly notice them, while they focus heavily on every success towards their larger goal, not matter how small. Conversely, there are people who only see the downside of things, give up all the more easily and don't reach their goals.
    Furthermore, a highly motivated person simply radiates his attidude towards other, right? Your state of mind affects your whole body. Your personality strongly compels other people to give what you want.

    We must be aware of this when we conduct research involving the human mindset. About all pseudoscience sets humans or the human mind (conciousness) on a pedestal, with a special relation to the universe. Because of this, we must be careful not to 'fool ourselves' (which is really more difficult than it might seem) when doing experiments related to pseudo-scientific claims.

    End of preach.

    I believe the absense of critical thinking skills is what makes any and all pseudo-scientific claims so real and convincing for the 'nonscientist' (it's not meant derogatory in any way, but I can't think of the right word). I've been to seminars and workshops about 'The Bleep' and 'The Secret'-like, ehm, stuff, because I wanted to understand how these people think and how they come to believe it so strongly. Anyway, I've experienced firsthand how easily people are fooled into believing the Bleepy-claims. All nice and intelligent people you meet on the street! More intelligent than average maybe, since they do wonder about the deeper aspects of life.

    I think pseudo-scientists really think in a different way. My theory is that scientists are predominantly 'left-brained' (use of the left hemisphere) while pseudoscientists are 'right-brained'. :tongue2:
    I haven't found out how to reason with the people claiming they can influence
    quantum random number generators with their mind and, justfully, the only way to settle the matter would be the experiment. However, there was a 40 or so euro entry fee (expensive equipment, see?) for a Lynn McTaggart workshop where they had this, which I didn't want to pay, but I'd sure like to see what that is all about.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2007
  16. Apr 30, 2007 #15
    Galileo, I agree a 100% with what you said. It also certainly is a function of animal behaviour that putting out the right "vibe" to others will garner favor from them.
    Physically working hard towards a purpose can give positive results.

    However, there is a small amount of oppurtunities that present themselves that have nothing to do with influencing others or working at it in the usual sense.

    What twists my knot, without getting into the philosophy of science, is the attitude of some in the scientific community that they've got it all figured out. All it is (albeit a seemingly big IS) is a set tools for humans to function in the world. Thats all it can speak to. Its self referential, if thats the right term, in that the questions it asks is the answers it gets.

    The only thing that one can know for certain is that noone knows for certain.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2007
  17. Apr 30, 2007 #16
    It's called "the placebo effect". You *think* that this miracle pill/"secret"/[insert any pop-psych key to life seminar here] is going to solve all of your problems. You convince yourself of this, and it does in fact seem to help. This is because you might be slightly more motivated to realize the "good things" that are happening to you all the time, even though you didn't notice them before. And of course, you can now attribute these good things to your pill/"secret" book/ or positive living seminar. Send them a check for more materials because you now need them for the perceived help that they give you...
  18. May 12, 2007 #17
    I'm sorry to re-surface this muck, but I can't help myself...

    YES! CERTAINLY, Tom Green knows something about which you are clearly ignorant concerning Quantum Physics!

    He knows it sells, and you're trying to tell him how it shouldn't, so he knows YOU ARE WRONG! It's a stone cold fact.

    The only thing *I* find disappointing about your OP is that you earnestly tried to explain stuff, instead of trying to bait him into replying with more than one-liners, and pontificate on QM. Now *that* would be entertainment :biggrin: :biggrin:

    Ok, now move this thread to

    Physics Help and Math Help - Physics Forums
    -> Philosophy & Social Science
    -> Philosophy > Philosophy of Science, Math, Logic
    -> Oh_please_stop_it_hurts_to_laugh
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