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Author Topic: Ignorant Physics  (Read 8518 times)

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wuliheron

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Ignorant Physics
« on: June 23, 2013, 11:14:58 AM »
   When I tell people I believe quantum mechanics is all about the comedy they often quote the famous physicist Richard Feynman as saying, "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don't understand quantum mechanics" which, humorously, I have to point out to them is another one of his numerous jokes they obvious did not get. Note that the statement absurdly implies the contradiction that, if you think you do not understand quantum mechanics, then you do. Feynman also once said, "I'm smart enough to know I'm dumb" which, of course, is a variation of Socrates' famous, "The only thing I know is that I know nothing". According to Feynman, "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts and Western civilization stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure the adventure into the unknown, an unknown which must be recognized as being unknown in order to be explored; the demand that the unanswerable mysteries of the universe remain unanswered; the attitude that all is uncertain; to summarize it the humility of the intellect." His child-like sense of humor, naive approach to physics, mischievous grin, and riveting twinkle in his eye were enough to make the Cheshire Cat envious and when asked why he did physics he replied with a wry grin, "Physics is like sex, sure it may give some practical results, but that's not why you do it." 

   All the brouhaha over quantum indeterminacy can make perfect sense to even a naturalist or realist or whatever if you merely assume that the human condition is analogous to ants climbing the Empire State Building and the absurdity is the hubris in insisting the world must make sense to us. Einstein vehemently protested this suggestion insisting that, "God is subtle, but he is not malicious!" to which Allan Watts might have replied, "God is playing peek-a-boo, and she's funny!" Sometimes you just have to lighten up dude and roll with the punch lines because, if you don't, the slapstick merely becomes that much more melodramatic.

   For example, physicists tend to adore what they often refer to as "elegant simplicity" or the beauty they perceive in many of their mathematical models. It's their job to find order in the natural world and a sense of humor is simply not a job requirement. However, this has led to endless strife and confusion among physicists ever since Max Planck first accidently discovered quantum indeterminacy and begged his colleges to explain the joke. For decades after the initial discovery of quantum mechanics a hot topic of discussion among physicists was how to set up experiments to discourage practical jokes. The elegant simplicity or beauty of Einstein's Relativity later led to the development of supersymmetry theory and holographic theories such as the String theories. The unfolding comedy drama, however, is that each new beautiful theory is eventually discovered to be part of an even larger and more beautiful theory or they find it implies an astronomical number of other possibly equally beautiful theories. It is as if the void is mocking and taunting them by giving them more beauty than they can possibly handle and laughing at the slapstick of their stubborn refusal to accept the intrinsic humor of their predicament.

   Since Bell's Theorem a mountain of evidence all says quanta are contextual and as the number of String theory candidates continues to multiply beyond the astronomical some physicists are throwing their hands in the air and abandoning Plato's idealistic pursuit of beauty altogether in favor of more comedic theories. For example, Quantum Darwinism is a theory that just received its first experimental confirmation and suggests everything including the laws of physics themselves all evolve out the apparently random interactions of quanta. Instead of proposing some sort of metaphysical explanation for life, the universe, and everything the author of the theory wryly let it be known he was agnostic on the issue and left it up to others to deal with.

   Alastair Clarke's new universal theory of comedy may be exactly what is required to settle the issue, once and for all, to most people's satisfaction. If the laws of physics themselves can be demonstrated to conform to the laws of humor the circle will at last be complete and it will become possible to demonstrate to the more stubborn physicists determined to find the ultimate beauty of nature that they are wasting their time pointlessly going in circles and, instead, perhaps need to work on their sense of humor. Science investigates anything and everything, but there are practical limitations and, sooner or later, someone has to intervene and tell people enough is enough. After half a century of string theories, for example, the only thing they have ever produced is more compelling mathematics. Lighten up dudes!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 06:20:37 PM by wuliheron »

DigitalBuddha

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 02:47:53 AM »
Good reading; is that some kind of Eastern thing?

Hominid

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 02:58:05 PM »
I was just going to say the same thing; damn wuliheron took the words right out of my mouth.

Vagina.



DigitalBuddha

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 04:01:42 PM »
I was just going to say the same thing; damn wuliheron took the words right out of my mouth.

Vagina.
You mean...vagina? ;D

Hominid

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 04:04:16 PM »
Well, there ARE lips involved I guess...



DigitalBuddha

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 04:10:39 PM »
Well, there ARE lips involved I guess...

LMAO!!!  ;D ;D

Masked Dude

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 04:15:41 PM »
It's kinda bad I get Feynman's joke.

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Hominid

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 04:28:37 PM »
Quote
The unfolding comedy drama, however, is that each new beautiful theory is eventually discovered to be part of an even larger and more beautiful theory or they find it implies an astronomical number of other possibly equally beautiful theories.

"I can get you a TOE by 3 o'clock." said someone, somewhere...



wuliheron

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2013, 04:40:48 PM »
You guys should see the expanded version I just finished. I can't stop cracking up! I point out how academia demands objectivity, yet trains and hires physicists for their ability to discern order and appreciate mathematical beauty. I use the example of my daughter who, from a young age, was constantly pulling stuff out of the trash to make the next exciting artistic masterpiece which, of course we encouraged. However, we had to be careful what we threw in any trash can she could reach because there were some things we simply were not ready to explain and she was not ready to accept. For physicists discovering indeterminacy was about as personal an emotional challenge as many of them ever had.  ;D

P.S.- It isn't so much an Asian thing as merely an ignorant wisdom one which covers everything from the shaman dancing around the fire to Daoism and Socrates. By studying their humor and fuzzy logic I'm learning more about my personal ignorance and stupidity and having a blast.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 04:47:19 PM by wuliheron »

DigitalBuddha

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 06:24:22 PM »
I actually never read your article, I had my computer read it to me while I downed a beer and had a puff on my pipe. My way of practicing dudeism. ;D

wuliheron

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2013, 07:00:08 PM »
I actually never read your article, I had my computer read it to me while I downed a beer and had a puff on my pipe. My way of practicing dudeism. ;D

Over the last few months I've been so busy laughing and pounding away writing getting drunk or high seem like a waste of time, but enjoy dude! :)

DigitalBuddha

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2013, 07:39:50 PM »
I actually never read your article, I had my computer read it to me while I downed a beer and had a puff on my pipe. My way of practicing dudeism. ;D

Over the last few months I've been so busy laughing and pounding away writing getting drunk or high seem like a waste of time, but enjoy dude! :)

Fuckin' eh, man! 8)

Hominid

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 07:50:11 PM »
That's how I got through college...



DigitalBuddha

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Re: Ignorant Physics
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 07:53:19 PM »
That's how I got through college...

Drunk? Hell yeah!! ;D

 

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