A portrait of reality

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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uwot
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A portrait of reality

Post by uwot » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:34 pm

All done. You can see the whole thing here http://willijbouwman.blogspot.co.uk Some of your comments have been very helpful; so thank you. Any final thoughts gratefully received, bit of tweeking, (not 'twerking' as spellchecker insists), then it's off to the publishers.

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Noax
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by Noax » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:38 am

Because it's 'tweaking'.

OK, that being out of the way, I have another important one. Superman (original movie, Reeve) reversed time by going around the world faster than light. I counted, and it was about 5 times a second. Fail! The page correctly puts his requirement at 7 per second before everybody says how even superman can't do that.

As for what is beyond the galaxies we can see: My bet is on more of them.

Scientists can measure red/blue shift with enough precision to detect rotation? Didn't know that.

Good to see the whole thing all in one place.

uwot
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by uwot » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:40 am

Noax wrote:Because it's 'tweaking'.
Ah. That'll be it.
Noax wrote:OK, that being out of the way, I have another important one. Superman (original movie, Reeve) reversed time by going around the world faster than light. I counted, and it was about 5 times a second. Fail! The page correctly puts his requirement at 7 per second before everybody says how even superman can't do that.
There's a limit to what even fictional characters can do.
Noax wrote:As for what is beyond the galaxies we can see: My bet is on more of them.
I think your money's safe.
Noax wrote:Scientists can measure red/blue shift with enough precision to detect rotation? Didn't know that.
They're clever so-and-sos.
Noax wrote:Good to see the whole thing all in one place.
Thank you. And thank you for all the advice. Still tweaking.

seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:34 pm

uwot wrote:All done. You can see the whole thing here http://willijbouwman.blogspot.co.uk Some of your comments have been very helpful; so thank you. Any final thoughts gratefully received, bit of tweeking, (not 'twerking' as spellchecker insists), then it's off to the publishers.
Hi uwot, nice job on your "portrait of reality."

In the section titled "Where did the universe come from," six panels down from the title panel is a minor grammatical error underlined below:

"When the light from other galaxies was analysed, scientists could clearly see the fingerprint of hydrogen, but it wasn't were it was supposed to be."

"were" should be "where"

I hope that helps you.

(Proofreading one's own work can be very difficult.)
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uwot
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by uwot » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:43 pm

seeds wrote:Hi uwot, nice job on your "portrait of reality."
Thank you.
seeds wrote:"were" should be "where"

I hope that helps you.
Every little helps. I reckon another month of editing will bring it up to scratch (or at least something I'm either happy with, or sick of.)
seeds wrote:(Proofreading one's own work can be very difficult.)
I've just proofread a 950 page novel for a friend of mine (It's actually very good). I'm sure I missed a couple of things.
I meant to get back to you when you asked whether I had read your posts. I was trying to remember where I'd heard something similar. Seems to me that what you are advancing is a version of preformationism, but that's not exactly what I was thinking of. I chose the Faraday quote, because it sums up the position we're all in; no one knows how the world actually works, and anything that isn't demonstrably false, could be true.

seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:42 pm

uwot wrote:
seeds wrote:Hi uwot, nice job on your "portrait of reality."
Thank you.
seeds wrote:"were" should be "where"

I hope that helps you.
Every little helps. I reckon another month of editing will bring it up to scratch (or at least something I'm either happy with, or sick of.)
If you don't mind me nit-picking, I've noticed some more small issues if you are interested (of course you are).

In the third block of the first panel below the section title "What is the universe made of?" there's something a little confusing in your wording below:

"But even though atoms are incredibly small, they are made up of even smaller things. The bit in the middle is the nucleus, around which buzz one or more electrons. Hydrogen usually has just one of each."

The implication is that an atom can have more than one “nucleus.” Is that what you meant?

Also (and for some serious "anal retentive" nit-picking :D), in the panel just below that where you stated:

"The number of protons determines what element the atom is. Helium has two protons, Lithium has three, and every number of protons corresponds to an element; through aluminium, which has 13 protons and is quite light, to gold which has 79 protons and is very heavy, all the way up to 92 which is uranium, the heaviest element that occurs naturally in any quantity."

...why did you capitalize Lithium, but not aluminium, gold, or uranium? You don't want to give those pesky publishers anything to complain about. :wink:
seeds wrote:(Proofreading one's own work can be very difficult.)
uwot wrote:
I've just proofread a 950 page novel for a friend of mine (It's actually very good). I'm sure I missed a couple of things.
I meant to get back to you when you asked whether I had read your posts.
I don't remember asking that of you. Perhaps you are thinking of someone else?
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Last edited by seeds on Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

uwot
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by uwot » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:25 pm

seeds wrote:The implication is that an atom can have more than one “nucleus.” Is that what you meant?
That's one I spotted myself. It now reads: "Atoms maybe small, but they are made of even smaller things. The nucleus in the middle is surrounded by electrons. Hydrogen usually has one proton and one electron."
It took a ridiculously long time to come up with something as simple as that.
seeds wrote:...why did you capitalize Lithium, but not aluminium, gold, or uranium? You don't what to give those pesky publishers anything to complain about. :wink:
Ah. No reason. Thank you.
seeds wrote:I don't remember asking that of you. Perhaps you are thinking of someone else?
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The mental universe. A week ago.

seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:07 pm

uwot wrote:
seeds wrote:I don't remember asking that of you. Perhaps you are thinking of someone else?
The mental universe. A week ago.
Oh yeah, that.

I just figured (considering your "portrait of reality") that you ignored me because you have no interest in any sort of idealistic take on our situation.

Is that pretty close?

I did think it a little odd though, seeing how you created a thread that explored the possibility of the universe being "mental" in nature, yet ignored the comment of the one member of the forum who is the staunchest advocate of the thread's premise.

Oh well, it's all good.
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uwot
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by uwot » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:23 am

seeds wrote:I just figured (considering your "portrait of reality") that you ignored me because you have no interest in any sort of idealistic take on our situation.

Is that pretty close?
To quote Faraday again, "nothing is too wonderful to be true". For all I know, the universe is mental; it may well be an idea in the mind of some god, a program on a cosmic super-computer, a holographic projection from the surface of a black hole, or any other from a range of wonderful stories. They're fun to discuss, but none is better supported by the evidence than any other. 'A portrait of reality' is just an attempt to explain a few ideas of physics in a way that makes them accessible to non-physicists. You can attach whatever metaphysics you like.
seeds wrote:I did think it a little odd though, seeing how you created a thread that explored the possibility of the universe being "mental" in nature, yet ignored the comment of the one member of the forum who is the staunchest advocate of the thread's premise.

Oh well, it's all good.
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Well, if you have a strong argument for why you think it might be, I'd love to hear it.

seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:38 am

seeds wrote: I did think it a little odd though, seeing how you created a thread that explored the possibility of the universe being "mental" in nature, yet ignored the comment of the one member of the forum who is the staunchest advocate of the thread's premise.

Oh well, it's all good.
uwot wrote: Well, if you have a strong argument for why you think it might be, I'd love to hear it.
I have several, but let’s start with this slightly paraphrased one that I posted in an alternate forum:

Although it is fun and extremely interesting to explore the various theories of “how” quantum mechanics works...

(or in your case, uwot, of naming and describing its various attributes in your beautifully executed “portrait of reality”)

...I personally think that the most salient feature of QM can be realized in what its discovery actually means for us.

In our discovering that the material fabric of the universe has an informationally based foundation that can be manipulated and reconfigured via mathematical formulas, it has thus given us an unprecedented level of control over reality.

Clearly, all of the marvels of our modern age (radio, television, cell phones, computers, laser technology, MRIs, satellites, the Internet, space travel, atomic energy, etc., etc.), would not have been possible without QM.

(Continued in next post)
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seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:39 am

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(Continued from prior post)

In my post in your “mental universe” thread, I alluded to my idealistic belief of how the substance of the universe seems to be “mind-like” in nature.

I say that because as it stands right now, all we have to do is internally manipulate the infinitely malleable substance of our own minds to create “templates” (detailed “imaginings”) of new structures of reality...

...and with time and some serious effort we can now transpose those subjective imaginings into objective phenomena by manipulating the infinitely malleable foundation of the universe via the use of quantum mechanics.

Just look at what we have done in transforming life on earth in a mere 100 years since the formulation of QM, and then imagine our situation if we could continue to move forward for another 10,000 or 100,000 years.

In which case I believe it’s plausible that something in the realm of a Star Trekian “replicator” could eventually be achieved in which the quantum underpinning of reality can be programmed to adjust its attributes in such a way as to cause “matter” to become anything we want it to become at the mere utterance of a desire...

Image

As I stated in your other thread, I believe that as we continue to advance our understanding of the quantum realm, we will eventually be able to control electrons in three-dimensions as easily as the wizards at Pixar or DreamWorks control them now in two-dimensions.

And don’t get hung up on the word “electrons” or any other labels we might apply to the essence that underpins reality, and instead see it as a substance that, again, is capable of being configured into absolutely anything “imaginable” (just like the substance of our dreams).

Hence, the universe is “mind-like” in that respect.

Think of all of reality – both objective and subjective – as being constructed from the same fundamental “light-like” essence, with one portion existing in extremely high resolution (the densely pixelated stuff we call matter), and another portion in low resolution as seen in the phantom-like quality of our thoughts and dreams.

(Just drink the Kool-Aid of idealism and everything will make more sense. :D)
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uwot
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by uwot » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:49 am

seeds wrote:...and with time and some serious effort we can now transpose those subjective imaginings into objective phenomena by manipulating the infinitely malleable foundation of the universe via the use of quantum mechanics.
Is it not just as easy to suppose that the subjective imaginings are 'mind', and the objective phenomena are caused by 'matter'?
seeds wrote:Just look at what we have done in transforming life on earth in a mere 100 years since the formulation of QM, and then imagine our situation if we could continue to move forward for another 10,000 or 100,000 years.
Who knows?
seeds wrote:In which case I believe it’s plausible that something in the realm of a Star Trekian “replicator” could eventually be achieved in which the quantum underpinning of reality can be programmed to adjust its attributes in such a way as to cause “matter” to become anything we want it to become at the mere utterance of a desire...
Well the principle is essentially the same as a 3D printer. Theoretically it's straightforward, but the computing power necessary is some way off yet.
seeds wrote:As I stated in your other thread, I believe that as we continue to advance our understanding of the quantum realm, we will eventually be able to control electrons in three-dimensions as easily as the wizards at Pixar or DreamWorks control them now in two-dimensions.
You can do that already with a cathode-ray tube.
seeds wrote:And don’t get hung up on the word “electrons” or any other labels we might apply to the essence that underpins reality, and instead see it as a substance that, again, is capable of being configured into absolutely anything “imaginable” (just like the substance of our dreams).

Hence, the universe is “mind-like” in that respect.
Insofar as it is plastic, I agree.
seeds wrote:Think of all of reality – both objective and subjective – as being constructed from the same fundamental “light-like” essence, with one portion existing in extremely high resolution (the densely pixelated stuff we call matter), and another portion in low resolution as seen in the phantom-like quality of our thoughts and dreams.
I've no idea how mind works, but I think the place to start looking is in the assumption that it is some state of the same stuff that matter is made of. That is to say, you should only take dualism seriously when all avenues of monism have been exhausted. I suspect that consciousness is a state of Big Bang stuff, to use the term in A portrait of reality. I wouldn't call it "light-like", but it is very different to our everyday experience.
seeds wrote:(Just drink the Kool-Aid of idealism and everything will make more sense. :D)
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Stuffism is my tipple, but it's just as poisonous.

seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:33 pm

seeds wrote: ...and with time and some serious effort we can now transpose those subjective imaginings into objective phenomena by manipulating the infinitely malleable foundation of the universe via the use of quantum mechanics.
uwot wrote: Is it not just as easy to suppose that the subjective imaginings are 'mind', and the objective phenomena are caused by 'matter'?
I personally think it is far more easy to consider that “all” is mind stuff existing in varying levels of order and resolution.

Furthermore, how is it that matter could be the “cause” of phenomena when, according to certain interpretations of quantum mechanics, there is nothing implicit in the underlying wavefunctions of matter that could cause them to “collapse” into something displaying “position” (i.e. 3D “phenomena” suspended in a spatial context)?

And if you invoke “decoherence,” then see my response to that in a subsequent post.
seeds wrote: Just look at what we have done in transforming life on earth in a mere 100 years since the formulation of QM, and then imagine our situation if we could continue to move forward for another 10,000 or 100,000 years.
uwot wrote: Who knows?
Of course no one knows for certain, but speculative extrapolation based on the results of the first 100 years of humans wielding QM does lend itself to some interesting possibilities, no?
seeds wrote: In which case I believe it’s plausible that something in the realm of a Star Trekian “replicator” could eventually be achieved in which the quantum underpinning of reality can be programmed to adjust its attributes in such a way as to cause “matter” to become anything we want it to become at the mere utterance of a desire...
uwot wrote: Well the principle is essentially the same as a 3D printer. Theoretically it's straightforward, but the computing power necessary is some way off yet.
3D printers work in the context of what physicists call “local” reality as they grasp and restructure the pre-existing substances of the universe in the form of polymers and plastics, etc..

Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, deals with the restructuring of reality by reconfiguring that which resides at the “non-local” level.

It’s like reaching in and changing Bohm’s holographic-like “implicate” level of reality (or Kant’s “noumenal” level, to mix metaphors) in such a way that something uniquely new (like lasers, for example) can appear up at the “explicate” (phenomenal) level of reality.

(Continued in next post)
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seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:34 pm

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(Continued from prior post)
seeds wrote: As I stated in your other thread, I believe that as we continue to advance our understanding of the quantum realm, we will eventually be able to control electrons in three-dimensions as easily as the wizards at Pixar or DreamWorks control them now in two-dimensions.
uwot wrote: You can do that already with a cathode-ray tube.
I am talking about 3D structures than one can not only see, but also touch, hear, smell, and taste, or, in other words, something that we consider to be “real.”

Can a cathode-ray tube already do that?

And when I speak of controlling electrons I am also implying having the same control over the other constituents of the atom.
seeds wrote: And don’t get hung up on the word “electrons” or any other labels we might apply to the essence that underpins reality, and instead see it as a substance that, again, is capable of being configured into absolutely anything “imaginable” (just like the substance of our dreams).

Hence, the universe is “mind-like” in that respect.
uwot wrote: Insofar as it is plastic, I agree.
You are missing the point of my suggesting that the informationally based substance that underpins the construction of the universe is simply (and literally) an extremely advanced version of the same substance that underpins the construction of our dreams.

I’m not insisting that you agree with that interpretation, but at least try to envision the parallel being offered.

(Continued in next post)
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Last edited by seeds on Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

seeds
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Re: A portrait of reality

Post by seeds » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:35 pm

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(Continued from prior post)
seeds wrote: Think of all of reality – both objective and subjective – as being constructed from the same fundamental “light-like” essence, with one portion existing in extremely high resolution (the densely pixelated stuff we call matter), and another portion in low resolution as seen in the phantom-like quality of our thoughts and dreams.
uwot wrote: I've no idea how mind works, but I think the place to start looking is in the assumption that it is some state of the same stuff that matter is made of. That is to say, you should only take dualism seriously when all avenues of monism have been exhausted. I suspect that consciousness is a state of Big Bang stuff...
As I stated in an alternate thread:
seeds wrote: I suggest that the absolute “ALL-THAT-IS” (beyond which there is only nothingness) is comprised of a Spinozan-like “oneness substance” that consists of an amalgam of the essence of life and that of the essence through-which life expresses itself.

In other words, the only thing that exists is mind and mindstuff - both working together in tandem to produce reality.
So in that sense, I agree with what you suggested above.

However, and please correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to confer a sort of second class status to life, mind, and consciousness in comparison to matter - in that you appear to lean toward that tired old materialistic idea that life is simply an “emergent property” of a fortuitous arrangement of post Bang substances.

With that in mind I cannot help but ask you the following question:

What possible reason could there be for the existence of matter (in any phenomenal form whatsoever) without the existence of life and mind to impart meaning and purpose to said phenomena?

Especially when considering that, again, according to certain speculative interpretations of QM, that without the presence of consciousness to collapse the quantum wavefunction, matter would simply exist as spread-out waves (fields/correlated patterns) of energy and information that have no (positionally fixed) reality as we understand reality to be.

And in a pre-emptive thwarting of anyone attempting to use “decoherence” to counter the above, according to Wiki:
Wiki wrote: Decoherence does not generate actual wave function collapse. It only provides an explanation for the observation of wave function collapse...A total superposition of the global or universal wavefunction still exists (and remains coherent at the global level), but its ultimate fate remains an interpretational issue.
In other words, decoherence does not account for the collapse of the wavefunction.

So again I ask...

(in the spirit of “philosophical” inquiry aimed at you or anyone else who would like to join the discussion)

...what possible reason or purpose could there be for the existence of matter without the existence of life and mind?
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