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H_TeXMeX_H 05-29-2011 05:19 AM

Quantum physics poll
 
I saw a show on TV that prompted me to make this poll. They were talking about quantum physics and they concluded that you have to just accept it and believe in it even if it doesn't make sense to you, because of the all the inventions supposedly impossible without it. So, I want to know what you believe, and whether it makes sense to you, that's all.

catkin 05-29-2011 05:30 AM

The poll is missing ... ?

brianL 05-29-2011 05:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4369952)
you have to just accept it and believe in it even if it doesn't make sense to you

That sounds more like a religious attitude than a scientific one, doesn't it?

H_TeXMeX_H 05-29-2011 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brianL (Post 4369973)
That sounds more like a religious attitude than a scientific one, doesn't it?

That's exactly what I thought when I heard what they said. But, they did tell the truth, you do have to believe in it just like in religion, even if it doesn't make sense.

Quote:

Originally Posted by catkin (Post 4369961)
The poll is missing ... ?

It shouldn't be missing, I was able to vote, brianL also voted. It should be visible.

Nylex 05-29-2011 05:54 AM

I never understood quantum mechanics, because it seemed counter-intuitive to me. As such, I avoided it as much as possible during my undergrad degree. If it works, i.e. it describes physical phenomena accurately, then fair enough.

Richard Feynman said, "I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics" (there's a citation on Wikiquote).

SigTerm 05-29-2011 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4369952)
I saw a show on TV that prompted me to make this poll. They were talking about quantum physics and they concluded that you have to just accept it and believe in it even if it doesn't make sense to you, because of the all the inventions supposedly impossible without it. So, I want to know what you believe, and whether it makes sense to you, that's all.

Quantum physics are not relevant to computer programming or my hobbies, so I don't really care. However, as far as I know, there are widely-used technologies based on quantum physics, so the theory must be correct.
Technologies include transistors, lasers, flash memory, MRI scans and so on. You're free to research relation of quantum mechanics/physics to those technologies on your own - there's plenty of material on the web.

P.S. "Believe" or "not believe" is an incorrect attitude, IMO. "Believing" is not important. What's important is whether it works and have practical uses or not. A correct theory doesn't have to "make sense", but as long as it can be used, it is okay.

H_TeXMeX_H 05-29-2011 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SigTerm (Post 4370021)
Quantum physics are not relevant to computer programming or my hobbies, so I don't really care. However, as far as I know, there are widely-used technologies based on quantum physics, so the theory must be correct.
Technologies include transistors, lasers, flash memory, MRI scans and so on. You're free to research relation of quantum mechanics/physics to those technologies on your own - there's plenty of material on the web.

P.S. "Believe" or "not believe" is an incorrect attitude, IMO. "Believing" is not important. What's important is whether it works and have practical uses or not. A correct theory doesn't have to "make sense", but as long as it can be used, it is okay.

You make an incorrect assumption, and no it is not ok. You assume that if the equations work, the theory is correct. This not a logical statement. The equations can work, within limited bounds, but the theory can be wrong, or there can be alternate theories that lead to better equations and make more sense.

SigTerm 05-29-2011 08:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4370040)
You make an incorrect assumption, and no it is not ok. You assume that if the equations work, the theory is correct. This not a logical statement. The equations can work, within limited bounds, but the theory can be wrong, or there can be alternate theories that lead to better equations and make more sense.

I do not assume that if theory works it is completely correct or complete. I assume that if equations work, the theory can be used for practical purposes. I.e. the theory is correct to some extent but may be incomplete. Once you run into situation when equations no longer work, then you'll have to refine the theory or find different theory. As long as the theory produces expected results, it is okay to use it, even if you don't "believe" in it.

In "religion" thread there were a few decent arguments, and on of them (#1313 , by reed9, who also provided an interesting link("The Relativity of Wrong" by Isaac Asimov) to read) said that the job of science is to provide mathematical models for real-world phenomena. If this is correct, then (with exception of mathematics) you'll always be working with theories that may be incomplete, or may not describe behavior of real world in all possible situations. In this case you'll have to use a theory until you run into situation where theory no longer works, and then you'll have to refine or replace the theory. As far as I know, science has been working this way for centuries (if not thousands of years), and this is perfectly fine. As I understand it, quantum physics is just another model of real world - it is not a "knowledge in its final form", and the model may be improved/replaced many times later. As I understand it, it isn't different from software development - based on specifications you build a model and keep improving it until it meets the specification (which may change over the time) and there are no more noticeable bugs.

As I said before, you seem to be thinking in binary mode - it is either "always correct" or "is BS". I'd suggest to read the "Relativity of Wrong" and apply a bit of fuzziness to your thinking. The whole scientific business seems like an iterative development for me - make a theory, run into problem, refine or replace the theory, repeat forever. So I can't understand what's the big deal with you and quantum mechanics - it is not a religious scripture.

Hangdog42 05-29-2011 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H
You assume that if the equations work, the theory is correct. This not a logical statement. The equations can work, within limited bounds, but the theory can be wrong, or there can be alternate theories that lead to better equations and make more sense.

Then how is quantum theory different from any other theory in science? Gravity isn't well understood yet equations about it have proven useful for a long time.

There is nothing to see here, this is just science doing what science does. So what if quantum theory is difficult/confusing/insane to most people? If it is a valid explanation of the available facts, then it is a valid scientific theory. "Belief" has nothing to do with it.

H_TeXMeX_H 05-29-2011 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hangdog42 (Post 4370080)
Then how is quantum theory different from any other theory in science? Gravity isn't well understood yet equations about it have proven useful for a long time.

There is nothing to see here, this is just science doing what science does. So what if quantum theory is difficult/confusing/insane to most people? If it is a valid explanation of the available facts, then it is a valid scientific theory. "Belief" has nothing to do with it.

Gravity may not be understood well, but at least they don't come up with whacky theories about it.

I don't think it is a valid explanation and contradicts with the rest of physics (they admit this themselves).

Anyway, just vote.

brianL 05-29-2011 08:44 AM

I'm still worried about Schroedinger's cat. How long has it been in that box without food & water now?

catkin 05-29-2011 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4369977)
It shouldn't be missing, I was able to vote, brianL also voted. It should be visible.

OK now. Glitch? User error?

H_TeXMeX_H 05-29-2011 09:20 AM

I don't know, maybe report it to mods or something.

catkin 05-29-2011 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4370110)
I don't know, maybe report it to mods or something.

Will do if it happens again because there's not much can be done about an issue that cannot be reproduced.

Hangdog42 05-29-2011 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H
I don't think it is a valid explanation and contradicts with the rest of physics (they admit this themselves).

So what if it contradicts the rest of physics? It makes valid predictions that can be tested. That means it is a viable scientific theory, just an incomplete one. The contradictions just mean that people don't yet understand the boundaries of quantum physics, which isn't surprising. There are a lot simpler scientific theories that aren't complete. Take gravity again. Scientists have been able to derive equations showing how it works, but the understanding of why it works is still pretty much a mystery. Would you throw out current gravitational theory if the explanation of why it works turns out to be as weird and contradictory as quantum theory?

Or take light? Our current understanding is that it behaves both as a wave and as a particle (and yes, I know this is part of quantum theory). Do we have to make a decision or can we accept that our incomplete understanding of the nature of light means we have to do a little situational thinking?

Now if you have solid, scientific facts that show that quantum theory isn't valid, please put them forward. You'd probably rank up there with the greatest minds in physics if you can completely invalidate quantum physics. However if you just don't "like" it, that puts you in the same camp with non-scientific cranks like the Creationists.


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