Reality (General)

by dhw, Thursday, August 08, 2019, 13:06 (123 days ago)

A review in The Sunday Times has prompted me to write this post. The book is called
The Case Against Reality - How Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes

The author is Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California.
It is unfair to judge a book when you’ve only read the review, and so my comments only concern remarks made in the review.

QUOTE: “Consider a tomato. One right in front of you. Hoffmann argues that we usually believe the tomato is there because we can see, smell, taste and touch it. But if you test that belief, he says [……] you will realise you are wrong. “Something is there”, but it is certainly not a tomato, and indeed “not any object in space time”. This idea, Hoffman says, “sounds faintly mad…”

I disagree. I think it sounds totally mad. So too does the claim that “your very sense that you are living inside space and moving through time…is an evolved illusion. Space and time are not underlying realities, they are “simply the format of our interface” with whatever reality is.” This to me is all a reductio ad absurdum of the indisputable fact that perception is a subjective process. Let us take that for granted, and let us by all means conclude that we cannot know what constitutes objective reality. But firstly, that does not mean there is no such thing as objective reality: it simply means that we can never be sure that our perception of something corresponds to that reality. Secondly, the word “tomato” has been invented by us English-speaking humans to denote a particular object. The tomato could have been called peach or banana or hoffman, but we have settled on “tomato” and there is a general consensus among us that the word denotes this particular object. It most emphatically does NOT mean that the object itself does not exist, and yes indeed, all our senses and experiences tell us that it does – or did, until we’ve eaten it. Is there really some superior criterion to these that can establish the non-existence of the object, and indeed of ourselves?

Thirdly, “space” and “time” are also human terms invented to describe what we move through. If someone tells me that moving from one place to another and that movement from cause to effect are both illusions, my stock answer is to invite him/her to step in front of a bus. The fact that in time (I choose the expression deliberately) neither I nor the bus will exist does not alter the objective reality of our both having existed in the past. It simply means that objective reality is not only subjectively perceived but is also constantly changing as it moves through the phases which we humans have called past, present and future, and cause and effect.

QUOTE: “All this time we have been wondering how consciousness emerges from physical reality, he says, when the real problem is how reality emerges from consciousness.”

Does he truly believe that the sun and stars and Planet Earth did not exist until we humans arrived to perceive them? If consciousness is “real”, then is the being who has consciousness unreal, and do all the things that consciousness is conscious of have no reality? His answer is presumably yes. So why the heck did he write his unreal book to be read by unreal readers sitting in unreal armchairs and subsequently writing unreal comments about it? Sadly, this is not tongue-in-cheek philosophy. I recently went to a funeral, and after the palpable and all-too-real emotions of the occasion, I met a student who is writing a thesis on this very subject, and was wildly enthusiastic about the theory that even my proverbial bus, let alone the widow’s grief, was not real. She regaled me with computer images and technical terminology to illustrate the point that although we agreed that she was lecturing me, she was not even there to lecture me, and I was not there to listen to her.

To sum it all up, I propose that there IS such a thing as objective reality, we can never be sure of its true nature, but anyone who claims that reality is created by consciousness and has no existence outside our consciousness should step...But no, I shan’t repeat the invitation. I can only hope they won’t accept it.

Reality

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 08, 2019, 15:31 (123 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: A review in The Sunday Times has prompted me to write this post. The book is called
The Case Against Reality - How Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes

The author is Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California.
It is unfair to judge a book when you’ve only read the review, and so my comments only concern remarks made in the review.

QUOTE: “Consider a tomato. One right in front of you. Hoffmann argues that we usually believe the tomato is there because we can see, smell, taste and touch it. But if you test that belief, he says [……] you will realise you are wrong. “Something is there”, but it is certainly not a tomato, and indeed “not any object in space time”. This idea, Hoffman says, “sounds faintly mad…”

I disagree. I think it sounds totally mad. So too does the claim that “your very sense that you are living inside space and moving through time…is an evolved illusion. Space and time are not underlying realities, they are “simply the format of our interface” with whatever reality is.” This to me is all a reductio ad absurdum of the indisputable fact that perception is a subjective process. Let us take that for granted, and let us by all means conclude that we cannot know what constitutes objective reality. But firstly, that does not mean there is no such thing as objective reality: it simply means that we can never be sure that our perception of something corresponds to that reality. Secondly, the word “tomato” has been invented by us English-speaking humans to denote a particular object. The tomato could have been called peach or banana or hoffman, but we have settled on “tomato” and there is a general consensus among us that the word denotes this particular object. It most emphatically does NOT mean that the object itself does not exist, and yes indeed, all our senses and experiences tell us that it does – or did, until we’ve eaten it. Is there really some superior criterion to these that can establish the non-existence of the object, and indeed of ourselves?

Thirdly, “space” and “time” are also human terms invented to describe what we move through. If someone tells me that moving from one place to another and that movement from cause to effect are both illusions, my stock answer is to invite him/her to step in front of a bus. The fact that in time (I choose the expression deliberately) neither I nor the bus will exist does not alter the objective reality of our both having existed in the past. It simply means that objective reality is not only subjectively perceived but is also constantly changing as it moves through the phases which we humans have called past, present and future, and cause and effect.

QUOTE: “All this time we have been wondering how consciousness emerges from physical reality, he says, when the real problem is how reality emerges from consciousness.”

Does he truly believe that the sun and stars and Planet Earth did not exist until we humans arrived to perceive them? If consciousness is “real”, then is the being who has consciousness unreal, and do all the things that consciousness is conscious of have no reality? His answer is presumably yes. So why the heck did he write his unreal book to be read by unreal readers sitting in unreal armchairs and subsequently writing unreal comments about it? Sadly, this is not tongue-in-cheek philosophy. I recently went to a funeral, and after the palpable and all-too-real emotions of the occasion, I met a student who is writing a thesis on this very subject, and was wildly enthusiastic about the theory that even my proverbial bus, let alone the widow’s grief, was not real. She regaled me with computer images and technical terminology to illustrate the point that although we agreed that she was lecturing me, she was not even there to lecture me, and I was not there to listen to her.

To sum it all up, I propose that there IS such a thing as objective reality, we can never be sure of its true nature, but anyone who claims that reality is created by consciousness and has no existence outside our consciousness should step...But no, I shan’t repeat the invitation. I can only hope they won’t accept it.

A brilliant rejection of the point of the book. Reality does not require our existence, but our brain certainly helps us in appreciating it. And no computer will ever have consciousness, although some computer simulations do advance scientific findings. The young student is filled with the exuberance of youthful discovery.

As for the title of the book, the author seems to feel that evolution evolved a brain with which to fool us? Evil evolution!

Reality

by dhw, Friday, August 09, 2019, 12:40 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: To sum it all up, I propose that there IS such a thing as objective reality, we can never be sure of its true nature, but anyone who claims that reality is created by consciousness and has no existence outside our consciousness should step...But no, I shan’t repeat the invitation. I can only hope they won’t accept it.

DAVID: A brilliant rejection of the point of the book. Reality does not require our existence, but our brain certainly helps us in appreciating it. And no computer will ever have consciousness, although some computer simulations do advance scientific findings. The young student is filled with the exuberance of youthful discovery.
As for the title of the book, the author seems to feel that evolution evolved a brain with which to fool us? Evil evolution!

Thank you for your support. It’s always a great pleasure when we agree on something!

Reality

by David Turell @, Friday, August 09, 2019, 15:43 (122 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: To sum it all up, I propose that there IS such a thing as objective reality, we can never be sure of its true nature, but anyone who claims that reality is created by consciousness and has no existence outside our consciousness should step...But no, I shan’t repeat the invitation. I can only hope they won’t accept it.

DAVID: A brilliant rejection of the point of the book. Reality does not require our existence, but our brain certainly helps us in appreciating it. And no computer will ever have consciousness, although some computer simulations do advance scientific findings. The young student is filled with the exuberance of youthful discovery.
As for the title of the book, the author seems to feel that evolution evolved a brain with which to fool us? Evil evolution!

dhw: Thank you for your support. It’s always a great pleasure when we agree on something!

We agree lots of the time

Reality

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, August 11, 2019, 07:31 (121 days ago) @ dhw

DHW (Perception is a subjective process and we cannot know what constitutes objective reality) that does not mean there is no such thing as objective reality: it simply means that we can never be sure that our perception of something corresponds to that reality.

This statement feels off to me...not wrong necessarily, just incomplete, and I'd like to pick this apart a bit before I tackle the other. I work through it as I write, though, which is why my arguments seem a bit....fuzzy sometimes.

Agreed - Perception is a subjective process.
Agreed - There is such a thing as objective reality.
Agreed - We can never be sure that our perception agrees with objective reality. (Being partially color-blind and aware of it, this is consciously embodied in my every day life.)

And this is where it feels incomplete. We can never be 100% certain that our perception agrees with objective reality or any other perceived reality. This would mean that objective reality and perceived reality are separate AND unequally valid realities. Objective reality differs in the fact that it can operate absent OUR mind, which means that the mind behind it is on a different, higher in terms of complexity, level of existence. It is different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type.

We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar. We know that they both have complex physical structures of deeply complex relationships and nested hierarchies of scale and influence.

Universe > Galaxy > Solar System > Planet > Geological Scale > Human Scale > Cell > Molecule > Atom > Sub-Atomic Particles.

Body > Brain > Hemisphere > Region > Neuron/Synapses > Cell Bodies >

I am certain I am missing some scales and this is a gross oversimplification. Feel free to add/reclassify. The interesting thing is that these nested structures exist both internal and external to what we would classify as living creatures AND in non-living system. It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain.

In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?


Despite what you might think, this is not a call for God. But rather, a call to look at the similarities between the systems and see if any avenues for research could be inferred.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Reality

by dhw, Sunday, August 11, 2019, 11:30 (120 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

This is a really stimulating post – as ever – and I shall cherry-pick for the sake of brevity and clarity.

TONY: We can never be 100% certain that our perception agrees with objective reality or any other perceived reality.

I don’t know why “objective reality” cannot include all the realities that we perceive.

TONY: This would mean that objective reality and perceived reality are separate AND unequally valid realities. Objective reality differs in the fact that it can operate absent OUR mind…[dhw: fine with me up to this point]… which means that the mind behind it is on a different, higher in terms of complexity, level of existence. It is different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type.

You say later that “this is not a call for God”, but what else could it be if you say there is a mind behind it? We simply do not know if there is a mind behind it. Objective reality might simply be the materials that make up the universe and operate just as we see them operating. However, if there is a mind, I have no objections at all to it being different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type. It makes perfect sense to me that a God would have attributes in common with the humans he has been instrumental in creating – though this is anathema to David.

TONY: We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar. We know that they both have complex physical structures of deeply complex relationships and nested hierarchies of scale and influence.

Universe > Galaxy > Solar System > Planet > Geological Scale > Human Scale > Cell > Molecule > Atom > Sub-Atomic Particles.
Body > Brain > Hemisphere > Region > Neuron/Synapses > Cell Bodies >

I love this. I also see the body as a microcosm of the universe, in which all individual parts combine to form a functioning whole.

TONY: It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain. (dhw’s bold. See below.)

In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?

This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”. Communication as you have described it requires a conscious effort on both sides (use of some kind of language, as you say), but influence doesn’t. A rock falling on my head may have a profound influence on me, but in all honesty, I do not believe the rock is making any attempt at communication. You can expand this to universal proportions. An atheist will no doubt claim that the combination of materials of which we are composed has come about through mindless mixing, and the sun is not deliberately and consciously giving us life and threatening us with death, and the wind doesn’t use any form of language when it blows down the tree. The vagueness of your conclusion below suggests to me that you are just as aware of this as I am:

TONY: Despite what you might think, this is not a call for God. But rather, a call to look at the similarities between the systems and see if any avenues for research could be inferred.

I don’t think the type of similarity you are looking for can dispense with God, unless perhaps you are considering some form of panpsychism (i.e. all matter has a degree of…let’s call it quasi-consciousness), but I’ll be very interested to read your response to this, as I’m not convinced that I’ve grasped the whole of your argument.

Reality

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 11, 2019, 15:09 (120 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: We can never be 100% certain that our perception agrees with objective reality or any other perceived reality.

dhw: I don’t know why “objective reality” cannot include all the realities that we perceive.

What we perceive may not be all of the reality that really exists. we have to accept what our brain gives us.


TONY: This would mean that objective reality and perceived reality are separate AND unequally valid realities. Objective reality differs in the fact that it can operate absent OUR mind…[dhw: fine with me up to this point]… which means that the mind behind it is on a different, higher in terms of complexity, level of existence. It is different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type.

dhw: You say later that “this is not a call for God”, but what else could it be if you say there is a mind behind it? We simply do not know if there is a mind behind it. Objective reality might simply be the materials that make up the universe and operate just as we see them operating. However, if there is a mind, I have no objections at all to it being different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type. It makes perfect sense to me that a God would have attributes in common with the humans he has been instrumental in creating – though this is anathema to David.

Not 'anathema' to me. What is anathema is trying to attribute human mental traits to God. Some or all may exist, but all we can do is guess.


TONY: It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain. (dhw’s bold. See below.)

In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?

dhw: This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”.

I agree about the physical world not communicating, but in the biological world information is communicated.

Reality

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, August 11, 2019, 23:59 (120 days ago) @ dhw

This is a really stimulating post – as ever – and I shall cherry-pick for the sake of brevity and clarity.

TONY: We can never be 100% certain that our perception agrees with objective reality or any other perceived reality.

I don’t know why “objective reality” cannot include all the realities that we perceive.

It is different because it exists independent of us and is not subject to our subjective interpretations. Our personal realities are objective reality overlayed with our own filters and perceptions.

TONY: This would mean that objective reality and perceived reality are separate AND unequally valid realities. Objective reality differs in the fact that it can operate absent OUR mind…[dhw: fine with me up to this point]… which means that the mind behind it is on a different, higher in terms of complexity, level of existence. It is different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type.

You say later that “this is not a call for God”, but what else could it be if you say there is a mind behind it?

I am asking the question "Could physical reality be the manifestation of a 'mind', and if so, can we look at our own consciousness and infer questions to ask and avenues to research. It does not exclude God, but does not focus on God either.


TONY: We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar. We know that they both have complex physical structures of deeply complex relationships and nested hierarchies of scale and influence.

Universe > Galaxy > Solar System > Planet > Geological Scale > Human Scale > Cell > Molecule > Atom > Sub-Atomic Particles.
Body > Brain > Hemisphere > Region > Neuron/Synapses > Cell Bodies >

I love this. I also see the body as a microcosm of the universe, in which all individual parts combine to form a functioning whole.

TONY: It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain. (dhw’s bold. See below.)

In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?

DHW This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”. Communication as you have described it requires a conscious effort on both sides (use of some kind of language, as you say), but influence doesn’t.

Well, not precisely. Chemical communication does not require a consciousness, just something that can interpret the signal. If non-biological communication does exist, it certainly varies in degree, just as biological signalling does.

DHW The vagueness of your conclusion below suggests to me that you are just as aware of this as I am:

TONY: Despite what you might think, this is not a call for God. But rather, a call to look at the similarities between the systems and see if any avenues for research could be inferred.

DHW I don’t think the type of similarity you are looking for can dispense with God, unless perhaps you are considering some form of panpsychism (i.e. all matter has a degree of…let’s call it quasi-consciousness), but I’ll be very interested to read your response to this, as I’m not convinced that I’ve grasped the whole of your argument.

I'm not sure I grasp it all right now. So often these things sit on the edge of my ability to articulate for quite some time. I think in some way, I am questioning our way of looking at the universe. We have it clumped as organic and inorganic, living and non-living, and everything non-living is just big dumb dirt. But our dumb dirt is, in its own way, just as rich and complex as living creatures. I am still trying to work through it. I will try to argue it more clearly later.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Reality

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 01:40 (120 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: I am asking the question "Could physical reality be the manifestation of a 'mind', and if so, can we look at our own consciousness and infer questions to ask and avenues to research. It does not exclude God, but does not focus on God either.


TONY: We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar. We know that they both have complex physical structures of deeply complex relationships and nested hierarchies of scale and influence.

Universe > Galaxy > Solar System > Planet > Geological Scale > Human Scale > Cell > Molecule > Atom > Sub-Atomic Particles.
Body > Brain > Hemisphere > Region > Neuron/Synapses > Cell Bodies >

dhw: I love this. I also see the body as a microcosm of the universe, in which all individual parts combine to form a functioning whole.

TONY: It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain. (dhw’s bold. See below.)

Tony: In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?

DHW This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”. Communication as you have described it requires a conscious effort on both sides (use of some kind of language, as you say), but influence doesn’t.


dhw: Well, not precisely. Chemical communication does not require a consciousness, just something that can interpret the signal. If non-biological communication does exist, it certainly varies in degree, just as biological signalling does.

This is the point I keep making: cells make chemical signals which do not require a conscious interpretation, but just an automatic chemical response.

DHW The vagueness of your conclusion below suggests to me that you are just as aware of this as I am:

TONY: Despite what you might think, this is not a call for God. But rather, a call to look at the similarities between the systems and see if any avenues for research could be inferred.

DHW I don’t think the type of similarity you are looking for can dispense with God, unless perhaps you are considering some form of panpsychism (i.e. all matter has a degree of…let’s call it quasi-consciousness), but I’ll be very interested to read your response to this, as I’m not convinced that I’ve grasped the whole of your argument.


Tony: I'm not sure I grasp it all right now. So often these things sit on the edge of my ability to articulate for quite some time. I think in some way, I am questioning our way of looking at the universe. We have it clumped as organic and inorganic, living and non-living, and everything non-living is just big dumb dirt. But our dumb dirt is, in its own way, just as rich and complex as living creatures. I am still trying to work through it. I will try to argue it more clearly later.

I strongly doubt dumb dirt is in any way conscious.

Reality

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, August 12, 2019, 01:43 (120 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: I'm not sure I grasp it all right now. So often these things sit on the edge of my ability to articulate for quite some time. I think in some way, I am questioning our way of looking at the universe. We have it clumped as organic and inorganic, living and non-living, and everything non-living is just big dumb dirt. But our dumb dirt is, in its own way, just as rich and complex as living creatures. I am still trying to work through it. I will try to argue it more clearly later.


I strongly doubt dumb dirt is in any way conscious.

And I am not claiming that it is, any more than we claim that our cells are. However, our dumb unconscious cells somehow work together to produce, or at least support, consciousness. If it is possible that our dumb cells do it, why is it impossible on a higher level?

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Reality

by dhw, Monday, August 12, 2019, 13:06 (119 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

TONY: We can never be 100% certain that our perception agrees with objective reality or any other perceived reality.

dhw: I don’t know why “objective reality” cannot include all the realities that we perceive.

DAVID: What we perceive may not be all of the reality that really exists. we have to accept what our brain gives us.

TONY: It is different because it exists independent of us and is not subject to our subjective interpretations. Our personal realities are objective reality overlayed with our own filters and perceptions.

Yes, of course. We are all agreed that our perception is subjective and limited. I was simply pointing out that Tony’s original comment doesn’t quite make sense: “we can’t be certain that our perception agrees with...any other perceived reality.” There are realities that we perceive and realities that we do not perceive. “Objective reality” must include all the realities that we do perceive, even though we perceive them subjectively. Or are you referring to imagined "realities" which we think we perceive but may be figments of our imagination? That = we can't be certain that our perception agrees with things that might not have any objective reality. (God would be an example.) It's all getting too complicated!

TONY: This would mean that objective reality and perceived reality are separate AND unequally valid realities. Objective reality differs in the fact that it can operate absent OUR mind…[dhw: fine with me up to this point]… which means that the mind behind it is on a different, higher in terms of complexity, level of existence. It is different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type.

dhw: You say later that “this is not a call for God”, but what else could it be if you say there is a mind behind it? We simply do not know if there is a mind behind it. Objective reality might simply be the materials that make up the universe and operate just as we see them operating.

TONY: I am asking the question "Could physical reality be the manifestation of a 'mind', and if so, can we look at our own consciousness and infer questions to ask and avenues to research. It does not exclude God, but does not focus on God either.

But you didn’t ask a question in your original post. You simply referred to “the mind behind it”, which is “on a different..level of existence”. The question you are now asking gets to the nub of the matter: Is there a mind behind it (e.g. God, or some kind(s) of panpsychist consciousness) or is physical reality nothing but mindless materials swirling around in mindless space?

dhw: However, if there is a mind, I have no objections at all to it being different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type. It makes perfect sense to me that a God would have attributes in common with the humans he has been instrumental in creating – though this is anathema to David.

DAVID: Not 'anathema' to me. What is anathema is trying to attribute human mental traits to God. Some or all may exist, but all we can do is guess.

Of course we can only guess at his nature and his purposes (not to mention his existence), but it is anathema to you if someone guesses at either of these unless it is your guess, which is that he is always in control and is purposeful, and his one and only purpose in creating life was to produce H. sapiens, and he specially designed billions of non-human life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders (like the remarkable jumping larva of the golden rod gall midge) only so that they could eat or be eaten by one another until he could specially design the only thing he wanted to design: H. sapiens. You even guessed yourself once that his purpose in specially designing all these wonders (if he did design them) could have been to enjoy his own work, like a painter enjoying his paintings. But for some reason you have a fixed belief in the "eat or be eaten" guess.

END OF PART ONE

Reality

by dhw, Monday, August 12, 2019, 13:23 (119 days ago) @ dhw

PART TWO

TONY: It is also interesting that the relationship structure is bi-directional. Each structure spreads influence up and down the chain. This, of course, suggest communication up and down the chain. (dhw’s bold. See below.)
In molecular biology, we see this in chemical and electrical signaling between cells. In the physical world, we see this in terms of energy and motion, but, and here is the point, we never look at it in terms of communication. What is being communicated, and is it being communicated in a language we can comprehend? If we could comprehend it, could we communicate with it?

dhw: This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”. Communication as you have described it requires a conscious effort on both sides (use of some kind of language, as you say), but influence doesn’t.

TONY: Well, not precisely. Chemical communication does not require a consciousness, just something that can interpret the signal. If non-biological communication does exist, it certainly varies in degree, just as biological signalling does.

DAVID: This is the point I keep making: cells make chemical signals which do not require a conscious interpretation, but just an automatic chemical response.

David wrongly attributed Tony’s comment to me. We are talking about molecular biology, and lots of organisms use chemical signals to communicate. These include bacteria, which are single cells. Many scientists agree that they are sentient, communicative, cooperative, decision-making, and therefore intelligent. Of course their “consciousness” is not comparable to ours, but David’s theory that 3.8 billion years ago his God preprogrammed every single bacterial response to every single new problem for the rest of time seems to me less likely than the (theistic) theory that his God gave them the intelligence to work out their own solutions. This would also apply to our own cell communities which at some time in the past cooperated to produce every individual organ in our bodies, and which continue (now mainly automatically) to cooperate in enabling those organs to function. (See also below.)

dhw: I don’t think the type of similarity you are looking for can dispense with God, unless perhaps you are considering some form of panpsychism (i.e. all matter has a degree of…let’s call it quasi-consciousness), but I’ll be very interested to read your response to this, as I’m not convinced that I’ve grasped the whole of your argument.

TONY: I'm not sure I grasp it all right now. So often these things sit on the edge of my ability to articulate for quite some time. I think in some way, I am questioning our way of looking at the universe. We have it clumped as organic and inorganic, living and non-living, and everything non-living is just big dumb dirt. But our dumb dirt is, in its own way, just as rich and complex as living creatures. I am still trying to work through it. I will try to argue it more clearly later.

Then you are clearly thinking your way into some kind of panpsychism (which of course does not exclude a God).

DAVID: I strongly doubt dumb dirt is in any way conscious.

TONY: And I am not claiming that it is, any more than we claim that our cells are. However, our dumb unconscious cells somehow work together to produce, or at least support, consciousness. If it is possible that our dumb cells do it, why is it impossible on a higher level?

I object to the assumption that our cells are dumb and unconscious (see above), although no one knows the source of consciousness. Clearly there are different levels of consciousness, but I share David’s doubts about dumb dirt, and even about rocks and waters and stars and gases having any level of consciousness. However, life and consciousness are either the result of top-down creation (God) or bottom-up evolution (the most rudimentary consciousness, formed by chance and evolving to higher levels). I myself am unable to choose between the two. Whatever may be the objective reality is beyond the reach of my subjective perception - and also of my subjective powers of interpretation!

Reality

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 17:21 (119 days ago) @ dhw

PART TWO

dhw: This is where I become partially sceptical. Of course I agree that molecular biology requires communication, but I’m far from convinced that the physical world of energy and motion “communicates”. Communication as you have described it requires a conscious effort on both sides (use of some kind of language, as you say), but influence doesn’t.

TONY: Well, not precisely. Chemical communication does not require a consciousness, just something that can interpret the signal. If non-biological communication does exist, it certainly varies in degree, just as biological signalling does.

DAVID: This is the point I keep making: cells make chemical signals which do not require a conscious interpretation, but just an automatic chemical response.

dhw: David wrongly attributed Tony’s comment to me. We are talking about molecular biology, and lots of organisms use chemical signals to communicate. These include bacteria, which are single cells. Many scientists agree that they are sentient, communicative, cooperative, decision-making, and therefore intelligent. Of course their “consciousness” is not comparable to ours, but David’s theory that 3.8 billion years ago his God preprogrammed every single bacterial response to every single new problem for the rest of time seems to me less likely than the (theistic) theory that his God gave them the intelligence to work out their own solutions. This would also apply to our own cell communities which at some time in the past cooperated to produce every individual organ in our bodies, and which continue (now mainly automatically) to cooperate in enabling those organs to function. (See also below.)

And I reply it all can be automatic, based on instructions the organisms or cells carry.


dhw: I don’t think the type of similarity you are looking for can dispense with God, unless perhaps you are considering some form of panpsychism (i.e. all matter has a degree of…let’s call it quasi-consciousness), but I’ll be very interested to read your response to this, as I’m not convinced that I’ve grasped the whole of your argument.

TONY: I'm not sure I grasp it all right now. So often these things sit on the edge of my ability to articulate for quite some time. I think in some way, I am questioning our way of looking at the universe. We have it clumped as organic and inorganic, living and non-living, and everything non-living is just big dumb dirt. But our dumb dirt is, in its own way, just as rich and complex as living creatures. I am still trying to work through it. I will try to argue it more clearly later.

Then you are clearly thinking your way into some kind of panpsychism (which of course does not exclude a God).

DAVID: I strongly doubt dumb dirt is in any way conscious.

TONY: And I am not claiming that it is, any more than we claim that our cells are. However, our dumb unconscious cells somehow work together to produce, or at least support, consciousness. If it is possible that our dumb cells do it, why is it impossible on a higher level?

dhw: I object to the assumption that our cells are dumb and unconscious (see above), although no one knows the source of consciousness. Clearly there are different levels of consciousness, but I share David’s doubts about dumb dirt, and even about rocks and waters and stars and gases having any level of consciousness. However, life and consciousness are either the result of top-down creation (God) or bottom-up evolution (the most rudimentary consciousness, formed by chance and evolving to higher levels). I myself am unable to choose between the two. Whatever may be the objective reality is beyond the reach of my subjective perception - and also of my subjective powers of interpretation!

I'm not surprised, since our reality is based on counterintuative quantum mechanics.

Reality

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 17:17 (119 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: However, if there is a mind, I have no objections at all to it being different in degree and magnitude but NOT by type. It makes perfect sense to me that a God would have attributes in common with the humans he has been instrumental in creating – though this is anathema to David.

DAVID: Not 'anathema' to me. What is anathema is trying to attribute human mental traits to God. Some or all may exist, but all we can do is guess.

dhw: Of course we can only guess at his nature and his purposes (not to mention his existence), but it is anathema to you if someone guesses at either of these unless it is your guess, which is that he is always in control and is purposeful, and his one and only purpose in creating life was to produce H. sapiens, and he specially designed billions of non-human life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders (like the remarkable jumping larva of the golden rod gall midge) only so that they could eat or be eaten by one another until he could specially design the only thing he wanted to design: H. sapiens. You even guessed yourself once that his purpose in specially designing all these wonders (if he did design them) could have been to enjoy his own work, like a painter enjoying his paintings. But for some reason you have a fixed belief in the "eat or be eaten" guess.

My fixed belief is supported by the history we have uncovered. Humans are the current and possibly the last endpoint, and everyone has eaten or been eaten since the beginning. My fixed reason is entirely based on fact and logic.


END OF PART ONE

Reality

by David Turell @, Monday, August 12, 2019, 15:24 (119 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: I'm not sure I grasp it all right now. So often these things sit on the edge of my ability to articulate for quite some time. I think in some way, I am questioning our way of looking at the universe. We have it clumped as organic and inorganic, living and non-living, and everything non-living is just big dumb dirt. But our dumb dirt is, in its own way, just as rich and complex as living creatures. I am still trying to work through it. I will try to argue it more clearly later.


David: I strongly doubt dumb dirt is in any way conscious.


Tony: And I am not claiming that it is, any more than we claim that our cells are. However, our dumb unconscious cells somehow work together to produce, or at least support, consciousness. If it is possible that our dumb cells do it, why is it impossible on a higher level?

It is not impossible if one assumes we exist in God's consciousness.

Reality

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, Crewe, Tuesday, November 05, 2019, 14:47 (34 days ago) @ dhw

I agree with most of DHWs comments here (though not having read either the book or the review). Where I differ slightly is in the nature of "objective reality". The evidence from modern quantum science appears to be that on the smallest scales reality becomes rather "fuzzy". So any objectivity can only be of a probabilistic or statistical kind.

In a later comment DM suggests "We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar". However, the only similarity I can see is that they can both be regarded as complex systems, but they are systems of very different kinds. The structure of a brain is like a network of linkages, whereas the universe is a distribution of bodies (from subatomic particles to clumps of galaxies) rather loosely held together by various forces.

--
GPJ

Reality

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 05, 2019, 15:30 (34 days ago) @ George Jelliss

George: I agree with most of DHWs comments here (though not having read either the book or the review). Where I differ slightly is in the nature of "objective reality". The evidence from modern quantum science appears to be that on the smallest scales reality becomes rather "fuzzy". So any objectivity can only be of a probabilistic or statistical kind.

In a later comment DM suggests "We know that the structure of the brain and the universe are very similar". However, the only similarity I can see is that they can both be regarded as complex systems, but they are systems of very different kinds. The structure of a brain is like a network of linkages, whereas the universe is a distribution of bodies (from subatomic particles to clumps of galaxies) rather loosely held together by various forces.

The universe is absolutely 'loosely' flying apart at high speed, which ever Hubble constant you choose.

Reality

by dhw, Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 08:18 (33 days ago) @ George Jelliss

GEORGE: I agree with most of DHWs comments here (though not having read either the book or the review). Where I differ slightly is in the nature of "objective reality". The evidence from modern quantum science appears to be that on the smallest scales reality becomes rather "fuzzy". So any objectivity can only be of a probabilistic or statistical kind.

My argument is that we have no way of knowing what is “objective reality”, but that does not mean there is no such thing. Consequently, it is absurd to suggest that the reality we think we know is actually unreal – and that is my quarrel with some quantum theorists, whom I always invite to test their theory by stepping in front of a moving bus.

Reality

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, Crewe, Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 14:15 (33 days ago) @ dhw

The quantum fuzziness of buses and of humans is not sufficient to annul the reality of a collision between them. It's something to do with the De Broglie frequency or wavelength I seem to recall.

--
GPJ

Reality

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 00:21 (33 days ago) @ George Jelliss

George: The quantum fuzziness of buses and of humans is not sufficient to annul the reality of a collision between them. It's something to do with the De Broglie frequency or wavelength I seem to recall.

I agree

Reality

by dhw, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 11:26 (32 days ago) @ David Turell

Transferred from "Dawkins' new book":

GEORGE: I agree with most of DHWs comments here (though not having read either the book or the review). Where I differ slightly is in the nature of "objective reality". The evidence from modern quantum science appears to be that on the smallest scales reality becomes rather "fuzzy". So any objectivity can only be of a probabilistic or statistical kind.

dhw: My argument is that we have no way of knowing what is “objective reality”, but that does not mean there is no such thing. Consequently, it is absurd to suggest that the reality we think we know is actually unreal – and that is my quarrel with some quantum theorists, whom I always invite to test their theory by stepping in front of a moving bus.

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality. We need to understand it better than we do.

Let us know when you find out.

GEORGE: The quantum fuzziness of buses and of humans is not sufficient to annul the reality of a collision between them. It's something to do with the De Broglie frequency or wavelength I seem to recall.

DAVID: I agree.

A strange combination of Davidian beliefs. Firstly, if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality? Secondly, you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial God made of “pure energy”, and our consciousness is an immaterial blob of his consciousness. I find this bewildering.

Under “consciousness

dhw: We are discussing the origin of consciousness and your proposal that “everything is material at the basis of the universe”, whereas in fact you believe that the basis of the universe and of consciousness is immaterial, in the form of “pure energy”. I went on to say I found both concepts equally difficult to believe in as the source of life, consciousness and the ability to reproduce and evolve. You asked if there was a third option, and I said this was panpsychism, but this can be used to support atheism as well as theism. I do not support or “look to” any of these three options as credible solutions to life’s mysteries, which is why I remain agnostic, while acknowledging that at least one of them must be nearer the truth than the others.

DAVID: I think my supposition of an eternal pure energy as the source of everything is a reasonable possibility. we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty.

I suspect that George will find it even more reasonable to argue that the source of everything is material, but I eagerly await his own comment. I will stick to the fact that material reality is the only reality we would all agree on (bus smashes into quantum theorist and splatters him all over the road), and since we don’t know what is on the other side of all the things we are uncertain about, the most “reasonable” approach is that of the agnostic, who candidly admits that he doesn’t know and therefore can’t choose between the different theories.

GEORGE: I don't think I've heard of this theory that "intelligent cells or cell communities" have "their own special form of consciousness" that guides their evolution before, but it sounds rather like reviving elan vital or a form of pan-psychism. It seems to me that postulating such things without proof is unnecessary, since natural selection is adequate.

Answered under "David's theory of evolution".

Reality

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 15:10 (32 days ago) @ dhw

Transferred from "Dawkins' new book":

GEORGE: I agree with most of DHWs comments here (though not having read either the book or the review). Where I differ slightly is in the nature of "objective reality". The evidence from modern quantum science appears to be that on the smallest scales reality becomes rather "fuzzy". So any objectivity can only be of a probabilistic or statistical kind.

dhw: My argument is that we have no way of knowing what is “objective reality”, but that does not mean there is no such thing. Consequently, it is absurd to suggest that the reality we think we know is actually unreal – and that is my quarrel with some quantum theorists, whom I always invite to test their theory by stepping in front of a moving bus.

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality. We need to understand it better than we do.

dhw: Let us know when you find out.

Not likely in the near future


GEORGE: The quantum fuzziness of buses and of humans is not sufficient to annul the reality of a collision between them. It's something to do with the De Broglie frequency or wavelength I seem to recall.

DAVID: I agree.

dhw
dhw: A strange combination of Davidian beliefs. Firstly, if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality? Secondly, you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial God made of “pure energy”, and our consciousness is an immaterial blob of his consciousness. I find this bewildering.

Simple: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.


Under “consciousness

dhw: We are discussing the origin of consciousness and your proposal that “everything is material at the basis of the universe”, whereas in fact you believe that the basis of the universe and of consciousness is immaterial, in the form of “pure energy”. I went on to say I found both concepts equally difficult to believe in as the source of life, consciousness and the ability to reproduce and evolve. You asked if there was a third option, and I said this was panpsychism, but this can be used to support atheism as well as theism. I do not support or “look to” any of these three options as credible solutions to life’s mysteries, which is why I remain agnostic, while acknowledging that at least one of them must be nearer the truth than the others.

DAVID: I think my supposition of an eternal pure energy as the source of everything is a reasonable possibility. we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty.

dhw: I suspect that George will find it even more reasonable to argue that the source of everything is material, but I eagerly await his own comment. I will stick to the fact that material reality is the only reality we would all agree on (bus smashes into quantum theorist and splatters him all over the road), and since we don’t know what is on the other side of all the things we are uncertain about, the most “reasonable” approach is that of the agnostic, who candidly admits that he doesn’t know and therefore can’t choose between the different theories.

The bus is no equivalent to quantum experiments such as late choice. We are not touting multiple worlds or other nonsense.


GEORGE: I don't think I've heard of this theory that "intelligent cells or cell communities" have "their own special form of consciousness" that guides their evolution before, but it sounds rather like reviving elan vital or a form of pan-psychism. It seems to me that postulating such things without proof is unnecessary, since natural selection is adequate.

Answered under "David's theory of evolution".

Reality

by dhw, Friday, November 08, 2019, 08:35 (31 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

dhw: …if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality? Secondly, you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial God made of “pure energy”, and our consciousness is an immaterial blob of his consciousness. I find this bewildering.

DAVID: Simple: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

In which case, you do not think that fuzzy quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

DAVID: I think my supposition of an eternal pure energy as the source of everything is a reasonable possibility. we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty.

dhw: I suspect that George will find it even more reasonable to argue that the source of everything is material, but I eagerly await his own comment. I will stick to the fact that material reality is the only reality we would all agree on (bus smashes into quantum theorist and splatters him all over the road), and since we don’t know what is on the other side of all the things we are uncertain about, the most “reasonable” approach is that of the agnostic, who candidly admits that he doesn’t know and therefore can’t choose between the different theories.

DAVID: The bus is no equivalent to quantum experiments such as late choice. We are not touting multiple worlds or other nonsense.

I never even mentioned multiple worlds or other nonsense, and I would suggest to you that quantum experiments such as late choice are no equivalent to the solid material reality of the bus. And I would repeat that since, in your own words, “we don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, it is more reasonable to admit that we don’t know than to adopt the fixed beliefs of theists and materialists. But I hasten to add that I respect such beliefs so long as their champions admit that their beliefs demand a leap of faith.

Reality

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, Crewe, Friday, November 08, 2019, 10:24 (31 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: "... if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality?"

The fuzziness only becomes significant on very small, molecular and sub-atomic scales. On the scale of humans and buses it is negligible.

DHW: "... you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial ... energy ...”.

This is a response to DT's ideas. I would just point out that according to Einstein Energy and Matter are inter-convertible, just different forms of the same thing.

--
GPJ

Reality

by David Turell @, Friday, November 08, 2019, 14:38 (31 days ago) @ George Jelliss

DHW: "... if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality?"

George: The fuzziness only becomes significant on very small, molecular and sub-atomic scales. On the scale of humans and buses it is negligible.

DHW: "... you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial ... energy ...”.

George: This is a response to DT's ideas. I would just point out that according to Einstein Energy and Matter are inter-convertible, just different forms of the same thing.

I know that is true for our universe. I consider a primordial energy exists before the Big Bang.

Reality

by dhw, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 10:13 (30 days ago) @ George Jelliss

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

dhw (to David:) "... if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality?"

GEORGE: The fuzziness only becomes significant on very small, molecular and sub-atomic scales. On the scale of humans and buses it is negligible.

Which is why I consider it absurd to assert that quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

DHW: "... you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial ... energy ...”.

GEORGE: This is a response to DT's ideas. I would just point out that according to Einstein Energy and Matter are inter-convertible, just different forms of the same thing.

DAVID: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

dhw: In which case, you do not think that fuzzy quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

DAVID: Wrong: our reality is an invention by God from that primordial energy with quantum mechanics as the first step.

So we come back to the idea that there are two forms of reality: one immaterial, which is your God’s reality, and one material, which is “our reality". According to you, then, the basis of "our reality" is material – hence the bus – but there is another reality, as follows:

DAVID: I think my supposition of an eternal pure energy as the source of everything is a reasonable possibility. we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty.

dhw: I suspect that George will find it even more reasonable to argue that the source of everything is material, but I eagerly await his own comment.

Sadly, George has not commented on this.

dhw: I will stick to the fact that material reality is the only reality we would all agree on (bus smashes into quantum theorist and splatters him all over the road), and since we don’t know what is on the other side of all the things we are uncertain about, the most “reasonable” approach is that of the agnostic, who candidly admits that he doesn’t know and therefore can’t choose between the different theories.

DAVID: The bus is no equivalent to quantum experiments such as late choice. We are not touting multiple worlds or other nonsense.

dhw: I never even mentioned multiple worlds or other nonsense, and I would suggest to you that quantum experiments such as late choice are no equivalent to the solid material reality of the bus. And I would repeat that since, in your own words, “we don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, it is more reasonable to admit that we don’t know than to adopt the fixed beliefs of theists and materialists. But I hasten to add that I respect such beliefs so long as their champions admit that their beliefs demand a leap of faith.

DAVID: The bus is not quantum mechanics, and is a very poor example of a refutation. Our consciousness plays a role in the strange results.

A refutation of what? Do you or do you not agree that the bus is an example of the only reality you, George and I will certainly accept as being as close to objective as we can get? The fact that our consciousness plays a role in the strange results of quantum mechanics is a very poor example of a refutation of the reality of the bus. And while we’re at it, are you now arguing that quantum mechanics is the basis of our consciousness, i.e. that it is NOT immaterial but arises from material particles? Or is our consciousness not part of “our” reality?

Reality

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 18:42 (30 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

dhw (to David:) "... if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality?"

GEORGE: The fuzziness only becomes significant on very small, molecular and sub-atomic scales. On the scale of humans and buses it is negligible.

dhw: Which is why I consider it absurd to assert that quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

But what is everything made of at the smallest levels?


DHW: "... you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial ... energy ...”.

GEORGE: This is a response to DT's ideas. I would just point out that according to Einstein Energy and Matter are inter-convertible, just different forms of the same thing.

DAVID: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

dhw: In which case, you do not think that fuzzy quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

DAVID: Wrong: our reality is an invention by God from that primordial energy with quantum mechanics as the first step.

So we come back to the idea that there are two forms of reality: one immaterial, which is your God’s reality, and one material, which is “our reality". According to you, then, the basis of "our reality" is material – hence the bus – but there is another reality, as follows:

DAVID: I think my supposition of an eternal pure energy as the source of everything is a reasonable possibility. we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty.

dhw: I suspect that George will find it even more reasonable to argue that the source of everything is material, but I eagerly await his own comment.

dhw: Sadly, George has not commented on this.

dhw: I will stick to the fact that material reality is the only reality we would all agree on (bus smashes into quantum theorist and splatters him all over the road), and since we don’t know what is on the other side of all the things we are uncertain about, the most “reasonable” approach is that of the agnostic, who candidly admits that he doesn’t know and therefore can’t choose between the different theories.

DAVID: The bus is no equivalent to quantum experiments such as late choice. We are not touting multiple worlds or other nonsense.

dhw: I never even mentioned multiple worlds or other nonsense, and I would suggest to you that quantum experiments such as late choice are no equivalent to the solid material reality of the bus. And I would repeat that since, in your own words, “we don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, it is more reasonable to admit that we don’t know than to adopt the fixed beliefs of theists and materialists. But I hasten to add that I respect such beliefs so long as their champions admit that their beliefs demand a leap of faith.

DAVID: The bus is not quantum mechanics, and is a very poor example of a refutation. Our consciousness plays a role in the strange results.

dhw: A refutation of what? Do you or do you not agree that the bus is an example of the only reality you, George and I will certainly accept as being as close to objective as we can get? The fact that our consciousness plays a role in the strange results of quantum mechanics is a very poor example of a refutation of the reality of the bus. And while we’re at it, are you now arguing that quantum mechanics is the basis of our consciousness, i.e. that it is NOT immaterial but arises from material particles? Or is our consciousness not part of “our” reality?

I repeat that the basis of everything we consider matter is quantum particles at the tiniest level. Consciousness is immaterial as we know, but it plays a large role in quantum experiments. I conceive of it as pure energy, not in material form.

Reality

by dhw, Sunday, November 10, 2019, 13:07 (29 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

dhw (to David:) "... if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality?"

GEORGE: The fuzziness only becomes significant on very small, molecular and sub-atomic scales. On the scale of humans and buses it is negligible.

dhw: Which is why I consider it absurd to assert that quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

DAVID: But what is everything made of at the smallest levels?

Particles, but we do not understand the behaviour of individual particles, which is why quantum mechanics is fuzzy. We do understand the behaviour of particles combined into one solid mass such as a bus or a quantum theorist who steps in front of the bus. Why then do you consider material behaviour you don’t understand as “the basis of reality”, and material behaviour you do understand as somehow not being the basis of reality? But then you take the whole discussion one step further:

DAVID: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

So now we have two forms of reality: one immaterial, which is your God’s reality, and one material, which is “our reality", but according to you the basis of our material reality is fuzzy, despite the unfuzzy and undisputed reality of the bus. Furthermore, you say “we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, which leaves your immaterialism as open to refutation as materialism (good grounds for agnosticism).

DAVID: The bus is not quantum mechanics, and is a very poor example of a refutation. Our consciousness plays a role in the strange results.

dhw: A refutation of what? Do you or do you not agree that the bus is an example of the only reality you, George and I will certainly accept as being as close to objective as we can get? The fact that our consciousness plays a role in the strange results of quantum mechanics is a very poor example of a refutation of the reality of the bus. And while we’re at it, are you now arguing that quantum mechanics is the basis of our consciousness, i.e. that it is NOT immaterial but arises from material particles? Or is our consciousness not part of “our” reality?

DAVID: I repeat that the basis of everything we consider matter is quantum particles at the tiniest level. Consciousness is immaterial as we know, but it plays a large role in quantum experiments. I conceive of it as pure energy, not in material form.

Of course everything we consider as matter consists of tiny particles, and materialists will tell you that they and their behaviour constitute reality. However, firstly that does not mean that the fuzzy behaviour of individual particles when observed by conscious minds is more objectively “real” than the anything-but-fuzzy behaviour of particle communities such as a bus when observed (or even unobserved) by conscious minds. Secondly, although of course consciousness, ideas, thoughts, dreams, the will, aesthetics, philosophy etc. are immaterial, the issue is whether they are produced by particles or by some unknown reality “on the other side of quantum uncertainty”. You opt for an unknown reality, and so you argue on two levels, which amounts to saying that the basis of material reality is particles (which no one will dispute) but the basis of the behaviour of material reality is immaterial reality, which is wide open to dispute.

Reality

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 10, 2019, 19:18 (29 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

dhw (to David:) "... if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality?"

GEORGE: The fuzziness only becomes significant on very small, molecular and sub-atomic scales. On the scale of humans and buses it is negligible.

dhw: Which is why I consider it absurd to assert that quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

DAVID: But what is everything made of at the smallest levels?

d hw: Particles, but we do not understand the behaviour of individual particles, which is why quantum mechanics is fuzzy. We do understand the behaviour of particles combined into one solid mass such as a bus or a quantum theorist who steps in front of the bus. Why then do you consider material behaviour you don’t understand as “the basis of reality”, and material behaviour you do understand as somehow not being the basis of reality? But then you take the whole discussion one step further:

DAVID: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

dhw: So now we have two forms of reality: one immaterial, which is your God’s reality, and one material, which is “our reality", but according to you the basis of our material reality is fuzzy, despite the unfuzzy and undisputed reality of the bus. Furthermore, you say “we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, which leaves your immaterialism as open to refutation as materialism (good grounds for agnosticism).

And neither you nor I know what is on the other side of the wall of uncertainty, so how do you refute what might be over there? You squabbled with Ruth Kastner as you didn't understand what she was trying to do. Remember Feynman told us no one understands quantum theory.


DAVID: The bus is not quantum mechanics, and is a very poor example of a refutation. Our consciousness plays a role in the strange results.

dhw: A refutation of what? Do you or do you not agree that the bus is an example of the only reality you, George and I will certainly accept as being as close to objective as we can get? The fact that our consciousness plays a role in the strange results of quantum mechanics is a very poor example of a refutation of the reality of the bus. And while we’re at it, are you now arguing that quantum mechanics is the basis of our consciousness, i.e. that it is NOT immaterial but arises from material particles? Or is our consciousness not part of “our” reality?

DAVID: I repeat that the basis of everything we consider matter is quantum particles at the tiniest level. Consciousness is immaterial as we know, but it plays a large role in quantum experiments. I conceive of it as pure energy, not in material form.

dhw: Of course everything we consider as matter consists of tiny particles, and materialists will tell you that they and their behaviour constitute reality. However, firstly that does not mean that the fuzzy behaviour of individual particles when observed by conscious minds is more objectively “real” than the anything-but-fuzzy behaviour of particle communities such as a bus when observed (or even unobserved) by conscious minds. Secondly, although of course consciousness, ideas, thoughts, dreams, the will, aesthetics, philosophy etc. are immaterial, the issue is whether they are produced by particles or by some unknown reality “on the other side of quantum uncertainty”. You opt for an unknown reality, and so you argue on two levels, which amounts to saying that the basis of material reality is particles (which no one will dispute) but the basis of the behaviour of material reality is immaterial reality, which is wide open to dispute.

The dispute is really your problem. The more we dig down into tiny particles the more confusing it gets. But we cannot ignore what we do not understand as you keep trying to imply.

Reality

by dhw, Monday, November 11, 2019, 10:37 (28 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.
And:
DAVID: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

dhw: So now we have two forms of reality: one immaterial, which is your God’s reality, and one material, which is “our reality", but according to you the basis of our material reality is fuzzy, despite the unfuzzy and undisputed reality of the bus. Furthermore, you say “we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, which leaves your immaterialism as open to refutation as materialism (good grounds for agnosticism).

DAVID: And neither you nor I know what is on the other side of the wall of uncertainty, so how do you refute what might be over there?

I don’t refute what might be over there! You simply don’t understand the nature of agnosticism! I wrote: “And I would repeat that since, in your own words, “we don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, it is more reasonable to admit that we don’t know than to adopt the fixed beliefs of theists and materialists."

DAVID: You squabbled with Ruth Kastner as you didn't understand what she was trying to do. Remember Feynman told us no one understands quantum theory.

And since no one understands it, and no one knows what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty, I squabbled with Ruth Kastner over the claim that quantum reality is more real than the reality we think we know.

dhw: Of course everything we consider as matter consists of tiny particles, and materialists will tell you that they and their behaviour constitute reality. However, firstly that does not mean that the fuzzy behaviour of individual particles when observed by conscious minds is more objectively “real” than the anything-but-fuzzy behaviour of particle communities such as a bus when observed (or even unobserved) by conscious minds. Secondly, although of course consciousness, ideas, thoughts, dreams, the will, aesthetics, philosophy etc. are immaterial, the issue is whether they are produced by particles or by some unknown reality “on the other side of quantum uncertainty”. You opt for an unknown reality, and so you argue on two levels, which amounts to saying that the basis of material reality is particles (which no one will dispute) but the basis of the behaviour of material reality is immaterial reality, which is wide open to dispute.

DAVID: The dispute is really your problem. The more we dig down into tiny particles the more confusing it gets. But we cannot ignore what we do not understand as you keep trying to imply.

The dispute concerning the nature of reality is the problem we are all discussing. And you have a topsy-turvy view of our positions! Since nobody knows the answers, it is you with your fixed beliefs who ignore what we do not understand. I sit on the fence because I cannot ignore what I do not understand.

Reality

by David Turell @, Monday, November 11, 2019, 15:49 (28 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.
And:
DAVID: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

dhw: So now we have two forms of reality: one immaterial, which is your God’s reality, and one material, which is “our reality", but according to you the basis of our material reality is fuzzy, despite the unfuzzy and undisputed reality of the bus. Furthermore, you say “we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, which leaves your immaterialism as open to refutation as materialism (good grounds for agnosticism).

DAVID: And neither you nor I know what is on the other side of the wall of uncertainty, so how do you refute what might be over there?

dhw: I don’t refute what might be over there! You simply don’t understand the nature of agnosticism! I wrote: “And I would repeat that since, in your own words, “we don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, it is more reasonable to admit that we don’t know than to adopt the fixed beliefs of theists and materialists."

You do not understand me. My point is that what we do not know what is on the other side of the wall, but it is obviously the basis of our reality.


DAVID: You squabbled with Ruth Kastner as you didn't understand what she was trying to do. Remember Feynman told us no one understands quantum theory.

dhw: And since no one understands it, and no one knows what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty, I squabbled with Ruth Kastner over the claim that quantum reality is more real than the reality we think we know.

I am on Kastner's side, in view of my statement above. Our reality is not the reality of the creation through quantum mechanics..


dhw: Of course everything we consider as matter consists of tiny particles, and materialists will tell you that they and their behaviour constitute reality. However, firstly that does not mean that the fuzzy behaviour of individual particles when observed by conscious minds is more objectively “real” than the anything-but-fuzzy behaviour of particle communities such as a bus when observed (or even unobserved) by conscious minds. Secondly, although of course consciousness, ideas, thoughts, dreams, the will, aesthetics, philosophy etc. are immaterial, the issue is whether they are produced by particles or by some unknown reality “on the other side of quantum uncertainty”. You opt for an unknown reality, and so you argue on two levels, which amounts to saying that the basis of material reality is particles (which no one will dispute) but the basis of the behaviour of material reality is immaterial reality, which is wide open to dispute.

DAVID: The dispute is really your problem. The more we dig down into tiny particles the more confusing it gets. But we cannot ignore what we do not understand as you keep trying to imply.

dhw: The dispute concerning the nature of reality is the problem we are all discussing. And you have a topsy-turvy view of our positions! Since nobody knows the answers, it is you with your fixed beliefs who ignore what we do not understand. I sit on the fence because I cannot ignore what I do not understand.

You poo-poo the quantum theorists who propose strange theories by using a bus analogy that is totally off point. The bus is real, but the problem is the unreal nature of the particles that help create the bus. Feynman admitted no one understood quantum theory, which is still the case. Sitting on the fence does not solve the problem of our confusion , which is further confused by the discoveries that our consciousness influences various results. One cannot avoid the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality, strange as that may seem.

Reality

by dhw, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 08:24 (27 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You do not understand me. My point is that what we do not know what is on the other side of the wall, but it is obviously the basis of our reality.

You do not understand me. My point is that you are proposing two forms of reality: one material and one immaterial. Quantum mechanics can only deal with material reality, and the behaviour of material particles appears to contradict the material reality represented by the bus. In my view, it is absurd to argue that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles of matter is more real than the comprehensible behaviour of the masses of particles that make up the bus. You have added a different form of reality: an immaterial God in the form of pure energy, hiding behind the quantum wall of uncertainty. My point is that I find it impossible to draw any such conclusions concerning a subject about which we know nothing.

DAVID: You squabbled with Ruth Kastner as you didn't understand what she was trying to do. Remember Feynman told us no one understands quantum theory.

dhw: And since no one understands it, and no one knows what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty, I squabbled with Ruth Kastner over the claim that quantum reality is more real than the reality we think we know.

DAVID: I am on Kastner's side, in view of my statement above. Our reality is not the reality of the creation through quantum mechanics.

So you believe that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles is more real than the bus. I shan’t invite you to take the usual test.

DAVID: The dispute is really your problem. The more we dig down into tiny particles the more confusing it gets. But we cannot ignore what we do not understand as you keep trying to imply.

dhw: The dispute concerning the nature of reality is the problem we are all discussing. And you have a topsy-turvy view of our positions! Since nobody knows the answers, it is you with your fixed beliefs who ignore what we do not understand. I sit on the fence because I cannot ignore what I do not understand.

DAVID: You poo-poo the quantum theorists who propose strange theories by using a bus analogy that is totally off point. The bus is real, but the problem is the unreal nature of the particles that help create the bus. Feynman admitted no one understood quantum theory, which is still the case. Sitting on the fence does not solve the problem of our confusion , which is further confused by the discoveries that our consciousness influences various results. One cannot avoid the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality, strange as that may seem.

Thank you for repeating my argument: the bus is real, and the problem is the incomprehensible behaviour of the individual particles. But you regard the incomprehensible behaviour of the particles as being more real than the bus. Of course sitting on the fence does not solve the problem: I sit on the fence BECAUSE the problem has not been solved! I have absolutely no problem, however, with the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality: we agreed long ago that we cannot “know” what objective reality is because all our perceptions of it are subjective, i.e. images created by our consciousness. But as I keep saying, the fact that our perceptions are subjective does not mean that what we perceive is not objectively real. Hence the bus test.

Reality

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 15:41 (27 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You do not understand me. My point is that what we do not know what is on the other side of the wall, but it is obviously the basis of our reality.

dhw: You do not understand me. My point is that you are proposing two forms of reality: one material and one immaterial. Quantum mechanics can only deal with material reality, and the behaviour of material particles appears to contradict the material reality represented by the bus. In my view, it is absurd to argue that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles of matter is more real than the comprehensible behaviour of the masses of particles that make up the bus. You have added a different form of reality: an immaterial God in the form of pure energy, hiding behind the quantum wall of uncertainty. My point is that I find it impossible to draw any such conclusions concerning a subject about which we know nothing.

When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do. You are simply refusing to accept what quantum scientists discover. Why do you try to ignore it and call it a separate reality? We live in one reality even if we cannot interpret what we study contained in one universe.


DAVID: You squabbled with Ruth Kastner as you didn't understand what she was trying to do. Remember Feynman told us no one understands quantum theory.

dhw: And since no one understands it, and no one knows what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty, I squabbled with Ruth Kastner over the claim that quantum reality is more real than the reality we think we know.

DAVID: I am on Kastner's side, in view of my statement above. Our reality is not the reality of the creation through quantum mechanics.

dhw: So you believe that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles is more real than the bus. I shan’t invite you to take the usual test.

See my comment above. Feynman said shut up and calculate. Accept it is there without understanding it, because the calculations work!


DAVID: You poo-poo the quantum theorists who propose strange theories by using a bus analogy that is totally off point. The bus is real, but the problem is the unreal nature of the particles that help create the bus. Feynman admitted no one understood quantum theory, which is still the case. Sitting on the fence does not solve the problem of our confusion , which is further confused by the discoveries that our consciousness influences various results. One cannot avoid the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality, strange as that may seem.

dhw: Thank you for repeating my argument: the bus is real, and the problem is the incomprehensible behaviour of the individual particles. But you regard the incomprehensible behaviour of the particles as being more real than the bus. Of course sitting on the fence does not solve the problem: I sit on the fence BECAUSE the problem has not been solved! I have absolutely no problem, however, with the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality: we agreed long ago that we cannot “know” what objective reality is because all our perceptions of it are subjective, i.e. images created by our consciousness. But as I keep saying, the fact that our perceptions are subjective does not mean that what we perceive is not objectively real. Hence the bus test.

And I object to the bus which is simply in our reality, and the analogy explains nothing. The particles create our reality, but as humans we are driven to try to understand how that happens. Why shut your mind to the problem of incomprehensibility? Perhaps understanding God's method will help us understand God.

Reality

by dhw, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 11:07 (26 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do. You are simply refusing to accept what quantum scientists discover. Why do you try to ignore it and call it a separate reality? We live in one reality even if we cannot interpret what we study contained in one universe.

Why are you now calling quantum actions unreal? They are part of the material world, and I accept the scientists’ discoveries, but since science cannot explain these actions, I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! The current state of our knowledge does not invalidate the reality of the bus! And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”.

DAVID: You poo-poo the quantum theorists who propose strange theories by using a bus analogy that is totally off point. The bus is real, but the problem is the unreal nature of the particles that help create the bus. Feynman admitted no one understood quantum theory, which is still the case. Sitting on the fence does not solve the problem of our confusion , which is further confused by the discoveries that our consciousness influences various results. One cannot avoid the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality, strange as that may seem.

dhw: Thank you for repeating my argument: the bus is real, and the problem is the incomprehensible behaviour of the individual particles. But you regard the incomprehensible behaviour of the particles as being more real than the bus. Of course sitting on the fence does not solve the problem: I sit on the fence BECAUSE the problem has not been solved! I have absolutely no problem, however, with the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality: we agreed long ago that we cannot “know” what objective reality is because all our perceptions of it are subjective, i.e. images created by our consciousness. But as I keep saying, the fact that our perceptions are subjective does not mean that what we perceive is not objectively real. Hence the bus test.

DAVID: And I object to the bus which is simply in our reality, and the analogy explains nothing. The particles create our reality, but as humans we are driven to try to understand how that happens. Why shut your mind to the problem of incomprehensibility? Perhaps understanding God's method will help us understand God.

What analogy? The individual particles are also “in our reality”, though I’d hesitate to say “simply” since we cannot understand their behaviour. And of course we humans try to understand this reality. But how can anyone possibly argue that the incomprehensible behaviour of the individual particles is more real than the behaviour of the bus? This is not “shutting the mind to the problem of incomprehensibility” – it is a refusal to draw conclusions until the incomprehensible has been made comprehensible, which is the essence of agnosticism. Understanding God’s method presupposes that there is a God. An atheist can say that maybe understanding how quantum physics works will convince us that there is no God.

Reality

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 19:26 (26 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do. You are simply refusing to accept what quantum scientists discover. Why do you try to ignore it and call it a separate reality? We live in one reality even if we cannot interpret what we study contained in one universe.

dhw: Why are you now calling quantum actions unreal? They are part of the material world, and I accept the scientists’ discoveries, but since science cannot explain these actions, I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! The current state of our knowledge does not invalidate the reality of the bus! And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”.

You argued with Kastner, because she was trying a new approach to figure out what is going on across the wall of uncertainty. Our confusion about quantum mechanics is real and per Feynman, we shut up and calculate by ignoring all the infinities that pop up, and it works! And we don't know why! There is an other reality across the wall that is the basis of our reality. That is why we have the Copenhagen convention and other approaches.


DAVID: You poo-poo the quantum theorists who propose strange theories by using a bus analogy that is totally off point. The bus is real, but the problem is the unreal nature of the particles that help create the bus. Feynman admitted no one understood quantum theory, which is still the case. Sitting on the fence does not solve the problem of our confusion , which is further confused by the discoveries that our consciousness influences various results. One cannot avoid the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality, strange as that may seem.

dhw: Thank you for repeating my argument: the bus is real, and the problem is the incomprehensible behaviour of the individual particles. But you regard the incomprehensible behaviour of the particles as being more real than the bus. Of course sitting on the fence does not solve the problem: I sit on the fence BECAUSE the problem has not been solved! I have absolutely no problem, however, with the conclusion that consciousness is at play in our reality: we agreed long ago that we cannot “know” what objective reality is because all our perceptions of it are subjective, i.e. images created by our consciousness. But as I keep saying, the fact that our perceptions are subjective does not mean that what we perceive is not objectively real. Hence the bus test.

The bus is not the quanta particles. It is only the real result of them to us as you rightly point out. But quantum mechanics is the basis of the reality we perceive, not the real reality behind what we appreciate. I'm playing Kastner's role with you.


DAVID: And I object to the bus which is simply in our reality, and the analogy explains nothing. The particles create our reality, but as humans we are driven to try to understand how that happens. Why shut your mind to the problem of incomprehensibility? Perhaps understanding God's method will help us understand God.

dhw: What analogy? The individual particles are also “in our reality”, though I’d hesitate to say “simply” since we cannot understand their behaviour. And of course we humans try to understand this reality. But how can anyone possibly argue that the incomprehensible behaviour of the individual particles is more real than the behaviour of the bus? This is not “shutting the mind to the problem of incomprehensibility” – it is a refusal to draw conclusions until the incomprehensible has been made comprehensible, which is the essence of agnosticism. Understanding God’s method presupposes that there is a God. An atheist can say that maybe understanding how quantum physics works will convince us that there is no God.

Our reality is created by quantum reality, which is not ours. That is why we do not understand it. That is why the cat is both alive and dead. Your bus is not the cat.

Reality

by dhw, Thursday, November 14, 2019, 12:25 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do. You are simply refusing to accept what quantum scientists discover. Why do you try to ignore it and call it a separate reality? We live in one reality even if we cannot interpret what we study contained in one universe.

dhw: Why are you now calling quantum actions unreal? They are part of the material world, and I accept the scientists’ discoveries, but since science cannot explain these actions, I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! The current state of our knowledge does not invalidate the reality of the bus! And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”.

DAVID: You argued with Kastner, because she was trying a new approach to figure out what is going on across the wall of uncertainty. Our confusion about quantum mechanics is real and per Feynman, we shut up and calculate by ignoring all the infinities that pop up, and it works! And we don't know why! There is an other reality across the wall that is the basis of our reality. That is why we have the Copenhagen convention and other approaches.

I argued with Kastner because she insisted that the weird behaviour of particles denoted a more real reality than the reality of the bus. Yes indeed, our confusion about quantum mechanics is real – so how does that prove Kastner’s point? You are glossing over the very different reality which you keep proposing: namely, an immaterial one you call “pure energy” or God which lies hidden behind the wall. Quantum physics does not deal with any immaterial “reality”. Until scientists can reconcile the behaviour of individual particles with the behaviour of particles en masse (the bus), we are left with an unsolved mystery. In the meantime, I will trust to my own experience of reality and will refrain from stepping in front of the bus, and will refuse to accept that the unexplained behaviour of individual particles is more real than the explicable and even predictable behaviour of particles en masse.

DAVID: The bus is not the quanta particles. It is only the real result of them to us as you rightly point out. But quantum mechanics is the basis of the reality we perceive, not the real reality behind what we appreciate. I'm playing Kastner's role with you.

I’m not sure what you mean, but this may be the result of my poor grasp of physics. I thought the bus was made of particles. And I thought the reality of what we perceive (the bus) was as close to objective reality as we can get and was explicable and comprehensible, whereas quantum mechanics studies particle behaviour which is also real but which is neither explicable nor comprehensible. So how do we know that quantum mechanics is the basis of the reality we perceive?


dhw: This is not “shutting the mind to the problem of incomprehensibility” – it is a refusal to draw conclusions until the incomprehensible has been made comprehensible, which is the essence of agnosticism. Understanding God’s method presupposes that there is a God. An atheist can say that maybe understanding how quantum physics works will convince us that there is no God.

DAVID: Our reality is created by quantum reality, which is not ours. That is why we do not understand it. That is why the cat is both alive and dead. Your bus is not the cat.

And the cat is not my bus. How does that prove that the theoretical dead-or-alive cat (which I believe would also be made of particles if it existed) is more real than the bus?

Reality

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 14, 2019, 15:22 (25 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do. You are simply refusing to accept what quantum scientists discover. Why do you try to ignore it and call it a separate reality? We live in one reality even if we cannot interpret what we study contained in one universe.

dhw: Why are you now calling quantum actions unreal? They are part of the material world, and I accept the scientists’ discoveries, but since science cannot explain these actions, I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! The current state of our knowledge does not invalidate the reality of the bus! And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”.

DAVID: You argued with Kastner, because she was trying a new approach to figure out what is going on across the wall of uncertainty. Our confusion about quantum mechanics is real and per Feynman, we shut up and calculate by ignoring all the infinities that pop up, and it works! And we don't know why! There is an other reality across the wall that is the basis of our reality. That is why we have the Copenhagen convention and other approaches.

dhw: I argued with Kastner because she insisted that the weird behaviour of particles denoted a more real reality than the reality of the bus. Yes indeed, our confusion about quantum mechanics is real – so how does that prove Kastner’s point? You are glossing over the very different reality which you keep proposing: namely, an immaterial one you call “pure energy” or God which lies hidden behind the wall. Quantum physics does not deal with any immaterial “reality”. Until scientists can reconcile the behaviour of individual particles with the behaviour of particles en masse (the bus), we are left with an unsolved mystery. In the meantime, I will trust to my own experience of reality and will refrain from stepping in front of the bus, and will refuse to accept that the unexplained behaviour of individual particles is more real than the explicable and even predictable behaviour of particles en masse.

DAVID: The bus is not the quanta particles. It is only the real result of them to us as you rightly point out. But quantum mechanics is the basis of the reality we perceive, not the real reality behind what we appreciate. I'm playing Kastner's role with you.

dhw: I’m not sure what you mean, but this may be the result of my poor grasp of physics. I thought the bus was made of particles. And I thought the reality of what we perceive (the bus) was as close to objective reality as we can get and was explicable and comprehensible, whereas quantum mechanics studies particle behaviour which is also real but which is neither explicable nor comprehensible. So how do we know that quantum mechanics is the basis of the reality we perceive?

See below

dhw: This is not “shutting the mind to the problem of incomprehensibility” – it is a refusal to draw conclusions until the incomprehensible has been made comprehensible, which is the essence of agnosticism. Understanding God’s method presupposes that there is a God. An atheist can say that maybe understanding how quantum physics works will convince us that there is no God.

DAVID: Our reality is created by quantum reality, which is not ours. That is why we do not understand it. That is why the cat is both alive and dead. Your bus is not the cat.

dhw: And the cat is not my bus. How does that prove that the theoretical dead-or-alive cat (which I believe would also be made of particles if it existed) is more real than the bus?

My view of quantum reality is not your view. When we study basic real particles that make up, and underlie our reality (the bus), we find they do strange things we do not understand. We both agree on this. What Kastner and I am trying to tell you is simply that the physics of the quantum particles is a different form of reality than we appreciate in our 'Big" world. And that different form of reality creates our reality. An example: tickling a particle in Madrid makes a particle in the Azores change in the same way. Another example: late choice experiments change the result of an experiment after the event, meaning consciousness is part of the process!!! The same particles make up your bus. There are obviously two realities, one the basis of the other. Both real with one responding to consciousness. I can suggest books to read, but I know you do not have the time. Like Feynman said, shut up and calculate, because hat is all you can do. Accept what I (and Kastner) have told you, because that is all you can do, or read the books and learn. The bus is fooling you.

Reality

by dhw, Friday, November 15, 2019, 10:59 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Our reality is created by quantum reality, which is not ours. That is why we do not understand it. That is why the cat is both alive and dead. Your bus is not the cat.

dhw: And the cat is not my bus. How does that prove that the theoretical dead-or-alive cat (which I believe would also be made of particles if it existed) is more real than the bus?

DAVID: My view of quantum reality is not your view. When we study basic real particles that make up, and underlie our reality (the bus), we find they do strange things we do not understand. We both agree on this. What Kastner and I am trying to tell you is simply that the physics of the quantum particles is a different form of reality than we appreciate in our 'Big" world.

That is obvious since, unlike the bus, individual particles behave in a manner we do not understand. You wrote: “When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do.” I replied: "Why are you now calling quantum actions unreal? They are part of the material world, and I accept the scientists’ discoveries, but since science cannot explain these actions, I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! [...] And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”.
You have ignored the latter hypothesis, and continue to focus on what I have already accepted, but you brush aside the whole basis of my disagreement with Kastner over the claim that quantum reality, which we do not understand, is more real than the bus reality we know.

DAVID: And that different form of reality creates our reality. An example: tickling a particle in Madrid makes a particle in the Azores change in the same way. Another example: late choice experiments change the result of an experiment after the event, meaning consciousness is part of the process!!! The same particles make up your bus. There are obviously two realities, one the basis of the other. Both real with one responding to consciousness.

I have not disputed any of this, except that I jib at the argument that quantum mechanics is the basis of or creates our reality, since the combined particles that make up the bus behave in a totally predictable manner. I have even expanded your last remark by pointing out that all forms of our reality are dependent on the subjectivity of our conscious perception. The nearest any of us can come to objective reality is by consensus, and consensus has it that the behaviour of the combined particles of the bus and of the quantum theorist who steps in front of it denotes an explicable and predictable reality. That is why I dispute the claim that the inexplicable, unpredictable reality of quanta is more real than that of the bus. You have encapsulated the whole dispute with your very last comment:

DAVID: The bus is fooling you.

More fool you if you think so. And, dear friend, I beg you not to step in front of it.

Reality

by David Turell @, Friday, November 15, 2019, 18:50 (24 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My view of quantum reality is not your view. When we study basic real particles that make up, and underlie our reality (the bus), we find they do strange things we do not understand. We both agree on this. What Kastner and I am trying to tell you is simply that the physics of the quantum particles is a different form of reality than we appreciate in our 'Big" world.

dhw: That is obvious since, unlike the bus, individual particles behave in a manner we do not understand. You wrote: “When we get down to the basis of reality we bump into the unreality of quantum actions by the weirdness of what the particles do.” I replied: "Why are you now calling quantum actions unreal? They are part of the material world, and I accept the scientists’ discoveries, but since science cannot explain these actions, I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! [...] And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”.
You have ignored the latter hypothesis, and continue to focus on what I have already accepted, but you brush aside the whole basis of my disagreement with Kastner over the claim that quantum reality, which we do not understand, is more real than the bus reality we know.

Note my bold above. Both the weird particle activity and the bus are obviously real, but the unreal activity of the particles create the bus that can crush you. The particles we are discussing are not represented by the bus. They are the bus but in a different form. They are part of our reality while we don't understand as to how they create our recognizable reality. Your bus is a terrible analogy in view of the difference.


DAVID: And that different form of reality creates our reality. An example: tickling a particle in Madrid makes a particle in the Azores change in the same way. Another example: late choice experiments change the result of an experiment after the event, meaning consciousness is part of the process!!! The same particles make up your bus. There are obviously two realities, one the basis of the other. Both real with one responding to consciousness.

dhw:I have not disputed any of this, except that I jib at the argument that quantum mechanics is the basis of or creates our reality, since the combined particles that make up the bus behave in a totally predictable manner. I have even expanded your last remark by pointing out that all forms of our reality are dependent on the subjectivity of our conscious perception. The nearest any of us can come to objective reality is by consensus, and consensus has it that the behaviour of the combined particles of the bus and of the quantum theorist who steps in front of it denotes an explicable and predictable reality. That is why I dispute the claim that the inexplicable, unpredictable reality of quanta is more real than that of the bus. You have encapsulated the whole dispute with your very last comment:

DAVID: The bus is fooling you.

dhw: More fool you if you think so. And, dear friend, I beg you not to step in front of it.

Your bus is dangerous. but does not represent the quantum research that you have trouble with. Note the bold above. When we beat up the materials that makes the bus, what we left with are particle and their behavior we do not understand. Those particles are the raw materials that create the materials that make up the bus. They are the basis of the bus, but in dealing with the bus we are in our reality while the creating particles are part of our reality we do not understand and therefore may not operate in our realm (portion) of reality. I am comfortable compartmentalizing the two regions, as Kastner was. Both regions are just as real as you want, but vastly different.

Reality

by dhw, Saturday, November 16, 2019, 13:40 (23 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! [...] And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”. (David’s bold)

DAVID: Note my bold above. Both the weird particle activity and the bus are obviously real, but the unreal activity of the particles create the bus that can crush you. The particles we are discussing are not represented by the bus. They are the bus but in a different form. They are part of our reality while we don't understand as to how they create our recognizable reality. Your bus is a terrible analogy in view of the difference.

You have bolded and then ignored the argument that I keep disputing! There is no “analogy”. The combined particles and predictable activity of the bus are real. They do not “represent” anything. Why do you say the activity of the individual particles is unreal? It is real, but we don’t understand it. What I do not accept is that the latter activity is MORE REAL than the activity of the combination that makes up the bus. You also continue to ignore the additional and separate reality which you believe exists beyond the wall of quantum uncertainty, namely the “pure energy” you call God.

dhw: […] I jib at the argument that quantum mechanics is the basis of or creates our reality, since the combined particles that make up the bus behave in a totally predictable manner. […]

DAVID: Your bus is dangerous. but does not represent the quantum research that you have trouble with. Note the bold above. When we beat up the materials that makes the bus, what we left with are particle and their behavior we do not understand. Those particles are the raw materials that create the materials that make up the bus. They are the basis of the bus, but in dealing with the bus we are in our reality while the creating particles are part of our reality we do not understand and therefore may not operate in our realm (portion) of reality. I am comfortable compartmentalizing the two regions, as Kastner was. Both regions are just as real as you want, but vastly different. (dhw’s bold)

All perfectly acceptable, and I agree with your conclusion (bolded). My disagreement with Kastner was over the claim that the behaviour of the “raw materials” was MORE real than that of the combined materials. My disagreement with you was over your statement that “quantum mechanics is the basis of reality”. Of course the particles are the “raw materials”, but (a) I don’t see how this means that quantum behaviour (“mechanics”) is MORE REAL than the behaviour (“mechanics”) of their combined form. And (b) I don’t see how anyone can claim that the unpredictable and inexplicable behaviour (“mechanics”) of individual quanta “creates” or is even the basis of the predictable and explicable behaviour (“mechanics”) of combined quanta. All we can agree on, as you so rightly say, is that the two forms of behaviour are real and vastly different, and nobody has yet found an explanatory link.

Reality

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 16, 2019, 15:14 (23 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I refuse to accept that they are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! [...] And quantum reality is not a separate reality because it is an incomprehensible part of the material world. It is you who have introduced and believe in a separate reality in the immaterial form of “pure energy”, i.e. God, although we “don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”. (David’s bold)

DAVID: Note my bold above. Both the weird particle activity and the bus are obviously real, but the unreal activity of the particles create the bus that can crush you. The particles we are discussing are not represented by the bus. They are the bus but in a different form. They are part of our reality while we don't understand as to how they create our recognizable reality. Your bus is a terrible analogy in view of the difference.

dhw: You have bolded and then ignored the argument that I keep disputing! There is no “analogy”. The combined particles and predictable activity of the bus are real. They do not “represent” anything. Why do you say the activity of the individual particles is unreal? It is real, but we don’t understand it. What I do not accept is that the latter activity is MORE REAL than the activity of the combination that makes up the bus. You also continue to ignore the additional and separate reality which you believe exists beyond the wall of quantum uncertainty, namely the “pure energy” you call God.

I bolded a side issue that has no place here. And I won't bother to comment on it as you know full well I believe God is pure energy..


dhw: […] I jib at the argument that quantum mechanics is the basis of or creates our reality, since the combined particles that make up the bus behave in a totally predictable manner. […]

DAVID: Your bus is dangerous. but does not represent the quantum research that you have trouble with. Note the bold above. When we beat up the materials that makes the bus, what we left with are particle and their behavior we do not understand. Those particles are the raw materials that create the materials that make up the bus. They are the basis of the bus, but in dealing with the bus we are in our reality while the creating particles are part of our reality we do not understand and therefore may not operate in our realm (portion) of reality. I am comfortable compartmentalizing the two regions, as Kastner was. Both regions are just as real as you want, but vastly different. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: All perfectly acceptable, and I agree with your conclusion (bolded). My disagreement with Kastner was over the claim that the behaviour of the “raw materials” was MORE real than that of the combined materials. My disagreement with you was over your statement that “quantum mechanics is the basis of reality”. Of course the particles are the “raw materials”, but (a) I don’t see how this means that quantum behaviour (“mechanics”) is MORE REAL than the behaviour (“mechanics”) of their combined form. And (b) I don’t see how anyone can claim that the unpredictable and inexplicable behaviour (“mechanics”) of individual quanta “creates” or is even the basis of the predictable and explicable behaviour (“mechanics”) of combined quanta. All we can agree on, as you so rightly say, is that the two forms of behaviour are real and vastly different, and nobody has yet found an explanatory link.

I sense we are in a degree of agreement. As an example of quantum experiments read the following brief summary of a quantum experiment:

https://theconversation.com/quantum-physics-our-study-suggests-objective-reality-doesnt...

"But in a paper recently published in Science Advances, we show that, in the micro-world of atoms and particles that is governed by the strange rules of quantum mechanics, two different observers are entitled to their own facts. In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective."

Comment: And as you read the rest you will understand the confusion everyone feels about the particles that create our reality.

Reality

by dhw, Sunday, November 17, 2019, 11:34 (22 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I refuse to accept that they [the actions of individual particles] are more real than the explicable behaviour of the combined particles of the bus! [...]

DAVID: […] Both the weird particle activity and the bus are obviously real, but the unreal activity of the particles create the bus that can crush you. The particles we are discussing are not represented by the bus. They are the bus but in a different form. They are part of our reality while we don't understand as to how they create our recognizable reality. Your bus is a terrible analogy in view of the difference.

dhw: You have bolded and then ignored the argument that I keep disputing! There is no “analogy”. The combined particles and predictable activity of the bus are real. They do not “represent” anything. Why do you say the activity of the individual particles is unreal? It is real, but we don’t understand it. What I do not accept is that the latter activity is MORE REAL than the activity of the combination that makes up the bus.

You also mentioned your God as an immaterial reality, but I agree that we should drop that subject as it only complicates matters still further.

DAVID: Both regions [i.e. individual quanta and combined bus quanta] are just as real as you want, but vastly different. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: […] I agree with your conclusion (bolded). My disagreement with Kastner was over the claim that the behaviour of the “raw materials” was MORE real than that of the combined materials. My disagreement with you was over your statement that “quantum mechanics is the basis of reality”. […] All we can agree on, as you so rightly say, is that the two forms of behaviour are real and vastly different, and nobody has yet found an explanatory link.

DAVID: I sense we are in a degree of agreement.

We are indeed. Out with Kastner’s “more real”, and let’s leave a question mark over your claim that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles creates the perfectly comprehensible behaviour of particles en bloc.

DAVID: As an example of quantum experiments read the following brief summary of a quantum experiment:
https://theconversation.com/quantum-physics-our-study-suggests-objective-reality-doesnt...
QUOTE: "[…] In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective."

DAVID: And as you read the rest you will understand the confusion everyone feels about the particles that create our reality.

I know all about the confusion, which is why I object to definitive statements about the basic role played by quantum mechanics in the creation of our everyday reality, and a few days ago I pointed out that nobody knows what “objective” reality consists of because our perception of it is always subjective; the nearest we can come to objectivity is consensus. And consensus has it that the behaviour of the bus and of the quantum theorist it hits is as close to objective reality as we can get.

Reality

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 17, 2019, 19:10 (22 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Both regions [i.e. individual quanta and combined bus quanta] are just as real as you want, but vastly different. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: […] I agree with your conclusion (bolded). My disagreement with Kastner was over the claim that the behaviour of the “raw materials” was MORE real than that of the combined materials. My disagreement with you was over your statement that “quantum mechanics is the basis of reality”. […] All we can agree on, as you so rightly say, is that the two forms of behaviour are real and vastly different, and nobody has yet found an explanatory link.

DAVID: I sense we are in a degree of agreement.

dhw: We are indeed. Out with Kastner’s “more real”, and let’s leave a question mark over your claim that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles creates the perfectly comprehensible behaviour of particles en bloc.

My continuing disagreement with part of your approach is that the incomprehensible particle behavior somehow does create our reality. We may not understand it, but we should recognize the relationship.


DAVID: As an example of quantum experiments read the following brief summary of a quantum experiment:
https://theconversation.com/quantum-physics-our-study-suggests-objective-reality-doesnt...
QUOTE: "[…] In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective."

DAVID: And as you read the rest you will understand the confusion everyone feels about the particles that create our reality.

dhw: I know all about the confusion, which is why I object to definitive statements about the basic role played by quantum mechanics in the creation of our everyday reality, and a few days ago I pointed out that nobody knows what “objective” reality consists of because our perception of it is always subjective; the nearest we can come to objectivity is consensus. And consensus has it that the behaviour of the bus and of the quantum theorist it hits is as close to objective reality as we can get.

I have the same objection as above. Quantum reality underlies our reality. There is no getting around it, but it is true we can make no definitive statements about how it works..

Reality

by dhw, Monday, November 18, 2019, 08:11 (21 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] I agree with your conclusion (bolded). My disagreement with Kastner was over the claim that the behaviour of the “raw materials” was MORE real than that of the combined materials. My disagreement with you was over your statement that “quantum mechanics is the basis of reality”. […] All we can agree on, as you so rightly say, is that the two forms of behaviour are real and vastly different, and nobody has yet found an explanatory link.

DAVID: I sense we are in a degree of agreement.

dhw: We are indeed. Out with Kastner’s “more real”, and let’s leave a question mark over your claim that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles creates the perfectly comprehensible behaviour of particles en bloc.

DAVID: My continuing disagreement with part of your approach is that the incomprehensible particle behavior somehow does create our reality. We may not understand it, but we should recognize the relationship.

I’m very happy that at least we have agreed to reject the idea that quantum reality is MORE real than our everyday reality. That was my dispute with Kastner. I’m on much shakier ground with your own proposition. Perhaps I should accept it, but I am more inclined to think in terms of our reality existing in spite of incomprehensible particle behaviour rather than because of it! The subjectivity of our perception may lie at the heart of the mystery, but like everyone else I am at a loss in the quest for the missing link. Happy to shake hands, though, on this issue.

Reality

by David Turell @, Monday, November 18, 2019, 15:02 (21 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] I agree with your conclusion (bolded). My disagreement with Kastner was over the claim that the behaviour of the “raw materials” was MORE real than that of the combined materials. My disagreement with you was over your statement that “quantum mechanics is the basis of reality”. […] All we can agree on, as you so rightly say, is that the two forms of behaviour are real and vastly different, and nobody has yet found an explanatory link.

DAVID: I sense we are in a degree of agreement.

dhw: We are indeed. Out with Kastner’s “more real”, and let’s leave a question mark over your claim that the incomprehensible behaviour of individual particles creates the perfectly comprehensible behaviour of particles en bloc.

DAVID: My continuing disagreement with part of your approach is that the incomprehensible particle behavior somehow does create our reality. We may not understand it, but we should recognize the relationship.

dhw: I’m very happy that at least we have agreed to reject the idea that quantum reality is MORE real than our everyday reality. That was my dispute with Kastner. I’m on much shakier ground with your own proposition. Perhaps I should accept it, but I am more inclined to think in terms of our reality existing in spite of incomprehensible particle behaviour rather than because of it! The subjectivity of our perception may lie at the heart of the mystery, but like everyone else I am at a loss in the quest for the missing link. Happy to shake hands, though, on this issue.

I always try to educate. The weirdness of the actual experiments on the quantum particles cannot be denied, when it understood their final combinations in real objects are so different, as your bus.

Reality

by dhw, Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 12:10 (20 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My continuing disagreement with part of your approach is that the incomprehensible particle behavior somehow does create our reality. We may not understand it, but we should recognize the relationship.

dhw: I’m very happy that at least we have agreed to reject the idea that quantum reality is MORE real than our everyday reality. That was my dispute with Kastner. I’m on much shakier ground with your own proposition. Perhaps I should accept it, but I am more inclined to think in terms of our reality existing in spite of incomprehensible particle behaviour rather than because of it! The subjectivity of our perception may lie at the heart of the mystery, but like everyone else I am at a loss in the quest for the missing link. Happy to shake hands, though, on this issue.

DAVID: I always try to educate. The weirdness of the actual experiments on the quantum particles cannot be denied, when it understood their final combinations in real objects are so different, as your bus.

I have never denied the weirdness of the experiments, and I keep agreeing that the behaviour of the final combinations is totally different from that of the individuals. I disagree with Kastner that the behaviour of the latter is more real than that of the former. You appear to have accepted this. I remain uncertain as to whether the behaviour of the latter creates the behaviour of the former, but you may be right. You do not ALWAYS try to educate. On controversial subjects such as the existence of God or your extraordinary theory of evolution, you try to persuade others that you are right and they are wrong! In such discussions you cannot be called the teacher, although – just like those whose equally subjective views are the exact opposite of your own – you would like to think you are! ;-)

Reality

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 14:14 (20 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My continuing disagreement with part of your approach is that the incomprehensible particle behavior somehow does create our reality. We may not understand it, but we should recognize the relationship.

dhw: I’m very happy that at least we have agreed to reject the idea that quantum reality is MORE real than our everyday reality. That was my dispute with Kastner. I’m on much shakier ground with your own proposition. Perhaps I should accept it, but I am more inclined to think in terms of our reality existing in spite of incomprehensible particle behaviour rather than because of it! The subjectivity of our perception may lie at the heart of the mystery, but like everyone else I am at a loss in the quest for the missing link. Happy to shake hands, though, on this issue.

DAVID: I always try to educate. The weirdness of the actual experiments on the quantum particles cannot be denied, when it understood their final combinations in real objects are so different, as your bus.

dhw: I have never denied the weirdness of the experiments, and I keep agreeing that the behaviour of the final combinations is totally different from that of the individuals. I disagree with Kastner that the behaviour of the latter is more real than that of the former. You appear to have accepted this. I remain uncertain as to whether the behaviour of the latter creates the behaviour of the former, but you may be right. You do not ALWAYS try to educate. On controversial subjects such as the existence of God or your extraordinary theory of evolution, you try to persuade others that you are right and they are wrong! In such discussions you cannot be called the teacher, although – just like those whose equally subjective views are the exact opposite of your own – you would like to think you are! ;-)

I agree that my subjective views are my own interpretation the the scientific facts I teach. I would add that the quantum level of reality and our level of reality are both equally real and I think Kastner probably viewed it that way.

Reality

by dhw, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 11:17 (19 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I always try to educate. The weirdness of the actual experiments on the quantum particles cannot be denied, when it understood their final combinations in real objects are so different, as your bus.

dhw: I have never denied the weirdness of the experiments, and I keep agreeing that the behaviour of the final combinations is totally different from that of the individuals. I disagree with Kastner that the behaviour of the latter is more real than that of the former. You appear to have accepted this. I remain uncertain as to whether the behaviour of the latter creates the behaviour of the former, but you may be right. You do not ALWAYS try to educate. On controversial subjects such as the existence of God or your extraordinary theory of evolution, you try to persuade others that you are right and they are wrong! In such discussions you cannot be called the teacher, although – just like those whose equally subjective views are the exact opposite of your own – you would like to think you are!

DAVID: I agree that my subjective views are my own interpretation the the scientific facts I teach. I would add that the quantum level of reality and our level of reality are both equally real and I think Kastner probably viewed it that way.

You are a brilliant science teacher, but you are just as aware as I am that science cannot answer any of the major questions we keep discussing. And on these questions, I suggest that our levels of knowledge are equal, since nobody knows the answers! So long as we agree that quantum reality and our own reality are equally real, we can close the discussion.

Reality

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 18:09 (19 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I always try to educate. The weirdness of the actual experiments on the quantum particles cannot be denied, when it understood their final combinations in real objects are so different, as your bus.

dhw: I have never denied the weirdness of the experiments, and I keep agreeing that the behaviour of the final combinations is totally different from that of the individuals. I disagree with Kastner that the behaviour of the latter is more real than that of the former. You appear to have accepted this. I remain uncertain as to whether the behaviour of the latter creates the behaviour of the former, but you may be right. You do not ALWAYS try to educate. On controversial subjects such as the existence of God or your extraordinary theory of evolution, you try to persuade others that you are right and they are wrong! In such discussions you cannot be called the teacher, although – just like those whose equally subjective views are the exact opposite of your own – you would like to think you are!

DAVID: I agree that my subjective views are my own interpretation the the scientific facts I teach. I would add that the quantum level of reality and our level of reality are both equally real and I think Kastner probably viewed it that way.

dhw: You are a brilliant science teacher, but you are just as aware as I am that science cannot answer any of the major questions we keep discussing. And on these questions, I suggest that our levels of knowledge are equal, since nobody knows the answers! So long as we agree that quantum reality and our own reality are equally real, we can close the discussion.

Agreed. closed

Reality

by David Turell @, Friday, November 08, 2019, 14:36 (31 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

dhw: …if you agree that a collision between buses and humans is a genuine form of reality, with all its dire consequences, why do you think that “quantum fuzziness”, a wonderful description of the current state of quantum mechanics, is the basis of reality? Secondly, you cannot escape the fact that quanta are material, and yet you believe that the basis of reality is an immaterial God made of “pure energy”, and our consciousness is an immaterial blob of his consciousness. I find this bewildering.

DAVID: Simple: I think there was primordial energy before quanta appeared as God created the universe.

dhw: In which case, you do not think that fuzzy quantum mechanics is the basis of reality.

Wrong: our reality is an invention by God from that primordial energy with quantum mechanics as the first step


DAVID: I think my supposition of an eternal pure energy as the source of everything is a reasonable possibility. we don't know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty.

dhw: I suspect that George will find it even more reasonable to argue that the source of everything is material, but I eagerly await his own comment. I will stick to the fact that material reality is the only reality we would all agree on (bus smashes into quantum theorist and splatters him all over the road), and since we don’t know what is on the other side of all the things we are uncertain about, the most “reasonable” approach is that of the agnostic, who candidly admits that he doesn’t know and therefore can’t choose between the different theories.

DAVID: The bus is no equivalent to quantum experiments such as late choice. We are not touting multiple worlds or other nonsense.

dhw: I never even mentioned multiple worlds or other nonsense, and I would suggest to you that quantum experiments such as late choice are no equivalent to the solid material reality of the bus. And I would repeat that since, in your own words, “we don’t know what is on the other side of quantum uncertainty”, it is more reasonable to admit that we don’t know than to adopt the fixed beliefs of theists and materialists. But I hasten to add that I respect such beliefs so long as their champions admit that their beliefs demand a leap of faith.

The bus is not quantum mechanics, and is a very poor example of a refutation. Our consciousness plays a role in the strange results.

Reality

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 07, 2019, 00:15 (33 days ago) @ dhw

GEORGE: I agree with most of DHWs comments here (though not having read either the book or the review). Where I differ slightly is in the nature of "objective reality". The evidence from modern quantum science appears to be that on the smallest scales reality becomes rather "fuzzy". So any objectivity can only be of a probabilistic or statistical kind.

dhw: My argument is that we have no way of knowing what is “objective reality”, but that does not mean there is no such thing. Consequently, it is absurd to suggest that the reality we think we know is actually unreal – and that is my quarrel with some quantum theorists, whom I always invite to test their theory by stepping in front of a moving bus.

I think quantum mechanics is the basis of reality. We need to understand it better than we do.

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