Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and vitual particles.

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and vitual particles.
wuliheron
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Posted Apr 16, 2011 - 3:57 AM:

nimzo256 wrote:


Then I think we are basically in agreement. The point of my original post was to say that science doesn't indicate that something can arise from nothing. Too many seem to say that HUP implies this - it doesn't. And yes it isn't possible to disprove ex nihilo creation, but it is possible to deny this partcular example where some people claim it is happening.



Since you haven't defined "nothing" there is nothing anyone can say on the subject. You might as well say science doesn't indicate that something can arise from X.
nimzo256
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Posted Apr 16, 2011 - 4:21 AM:

wuliheron wrote:



Since you haven't defined "nothing" there is nothing anyone can say on the subject. You might as well say science doesn't indicate that something can arise from X.


To enable us to have a dialogue which isn't riddled with issues of semantics we need to hold to some common assumptions about what certain words mean. I'm assuming that people here have a good grasp what is meant by nothing (and understand the word in the same way that I do), and I don't propose to try and define it here. Nor am I interested here in a discussion about linguistics - interesting though that may be.
wuliheron
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Posted Apr 16, 2011 - 5:09 AM:

nimzo256 wrote:


To enable us to have a dialogue which isn't riddled with issues of semantics we need to hold to some common assumptions about what certain words mean. I'm assuming that people here have a good grasp what is meant by nothing (and understand the word in the same way that I do), and I don't propose to try and define it here. Nor am I interested here in a discussion about linguistics - interesting though that may be.



Science deals in well defined observable quantities and qualities. If you cannot even define your metaphysics then it might as well be mysticism, no matter how popular or unpopular, and neither philosophy nor science have anything to say on the issue.
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Posted Apr 16, 2011 - 7:23 AM:

wuliheron wrote:



Science deals in well defined observable quantities and qualities. If you cannot even define your metaphysics then it might as well be mysticism, no matter how popular or unpopular, and neither philosophy nor science have anything to say on the issue.


OK if you insist, then let's run along with this. You've asked me to define 'nothing'. Well, before I can do this I need to know what 'define' means. Over to you.
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Posted Apr 18, 2011 - 11:43 AM:

nimzo256 wrote:
Then I think we are basically in agreement. The point of my original post was to say that science doesn't indicate that something can arise from nothing. Too many seem to say that HUP implies this - it doesn't. And yes it isn't possible to disprove ex nihilo creation, but it is possible to deny this partcular example where some people claim it is happening.

Yes a vacuum, space, the fabric of space-time, any part of the universe we inhabit is not nothing. Even a vacuum is a dirac sea of virtual particles, seething with quantum foam, and fluctuating around the zero-energy potential required by Heisenberg's uncertaintly principle. Virtual particles do not arise from "nothing". They are not an example of "creation from nothing", They are an example of the fact that space time is an energy field and of the equivalency of matter and energy. In fact in some respects "matter" can be seen as standing energy waves in the potential energy field which comprises the fabric of space-time.
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Posted Apr 18, 2011 - 11:49 AM:

jeeprs wrote:
I am experimenting with the idea that this realm is actually not intelligible. Of course it is science, there is no question about that. But it is pushing science beyond the limits of the human intellect to understand and assimilate. Hence, 'unintelligible'. I was reading a good, old school philosopher just last week, who was saying (this was about 1982) we might have to 'revise our standards of intelligibility' in light of QM.

Imagine that. There may be aspects of reality which the categories of our mind have not evolved to allow us to conceive of in any intelligible way or perhaps even to detect with sense perception and scientific instrumentation. Perhaps a little humility is called for.
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Posted Apr 19, 2011 - 3:30 AM:

Yes! Beginners' mind and all that.

If we take philosophy seriously the the logical absurdity of ex nihilo creation renders it an impossibility. Physicists have not entirely ruled it out as in general they do not take philosophy seriously. I think it best to trust ones intellect than do the same.

As Wuliheron notes, physics has no metaphysical foundation at present so has nothing to say about these things. How theoretical physics can create a fundamental theory while continuing to avoid metaphysics is a mystery, and I do not hold out any hope, but this seems to be the preferred strategy at the moment. It is one of the weirdest facts about physics that it treats metaphysics as if it does not need it, thus consigning itself to eternal nonreductiveness. Imho Paul Davies shows the way forward with his two books on physics and metaphysics, but few physicists seem to take much notice of them. I sometimes gain the impression that physicists are hoping that metaphysical questions are decidable in physics, but this is such a daft idea that I presume it's a false impression.

My own view would be that in metaphysics 'Nothing' is an absurd concept and not a possible state for the universe or any part of it. A vacuum is an extended space so is nothing like Nothing even if it isn't buzzing with radiation.

Hi Jeeprs - Whether this realm is intelligible is an interesting question. Perhaps it depends on what we mean by intelligible. I'm in two minds. This is because I'm not sure that the idea of a phenomenon that defies the categories of thought renders the universe intelligible or unintelligible. To me it renders the universe more intelligible than it would be otherwise, (and it would certainly be unintelligible without it), but perhaps it also places a limit on its intelligibility. At any rate Kant and Hegel couldn't make sense of this realm without such an idea.







Edited by PeteX on Apr 19, 2011 - 3:49 AM
wuliheron
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Posted Apr 19, 2011 - 3:37 AM:

nimzo256 wrote:


OK if you insist, then let's run along with this. You've asked me to define 'nothing'. Well, before I can do this I need to know what 'define' means. Over to you.



Dictionary.com wrote:
Define
–verb (used with object)
1. to state or set forth the meaning of (a word, phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”
2. to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of; describe: to define judicial functions.


Since we are talking about defining something in a scientific or philosophical context we need to identify the essential qualities or nature of "nothing".
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Posted Apr 19, 2011 - 3:41 AM:

you'll need more minds than that, I'm afraid. I was reading in today's New Scientist about the fact that the Higgs is now under threat from a completely different model called Technicolor (I kid you not).

I do wonder if in fact we have become completely disconnected from reality altogether in all of this. We have this massive machine, the most expensive single apparatus in history, conducting these experiments which only a few specialists in the world can understand. Is reality only what we see in the LHC or through the Hubble Telescope?

I do really wonder whether we have gone beyond the realm of intelligibility. What if you had a culture that didn't believe that 'the most real thing' was 'the particle from which everything is made'? Where would they look? What science would they pursue. God knows there's enough large-scale problems that need urgent help from science. The planet is basically facing environmental and economic collapse. I hope the guys in white coats some up with something useful.
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Posted Apr 19, 2011 - 3:48 AM:

wuliheron wrote:
The LHC is merely a brute force approach to the problem which cheaper alternatives might take longer to solve. The only reason to invest in such things is that the payoff can be enormous. . . .
As I understand it, atom smashers never have and probably never will produce useful results.
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