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Quantum Theory Question


par4dcourse

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In layman's terms quarks combine to form atoms which combine to form molecules which in a developing human body combine to form cells, some of which are in the brain and form ganglia and develop chemical/electric connections.

Here's the part that I'm pondering lately: how do those cells "seeing" an event change it? The "observer effect" is what convinced me to put this question in science vs. religion.

Theories?

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There's definitely a segment of xtians who try to use quantum theory as proof of xtianity. They say "see, they are just proving the unseen world that we know is jesus". Our last pastor's wife is a scientist by education, and she is really big on that. She is constantly saying that "the more we observe the kingdom, the more it manifests". It was really cool to believe that, but the problem is that it simply doesn't work (in xtianity).

 

I do love the quantum topics though from a scientific perspective. In case you haven't read about it, the double slit experiment is a great explanation of the observer effect. Also, quantum entanglement is an interesting topic (and what I think may explain premonitions, especially in identical twins).

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There's definitely a segment of xtians who try to use quantum theory as proof of xtianity. They say "see, they are just proving the unseen world that we know is jesus". Our last pastor's wife is a scientist by education, and she is really big on that. She is constantly saying that "the more we observe the kingdom, the more it manifests".

 

Some Aboriginal leaders in North America are also claiming quantum physics as an explanation for their beliefs.

 

Sounds like quantum physics is a 10-way tool for just about anybody. Handy as hell!

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In layman's terms quarks combine to form atoms which combine to form molecules which in a developing human body combine to form cells, some of which are in the brain and form ganglia and develop chemical/electric connections.

Here's the part that I'm pondering lately: how do those cells "seeing" an event change it? The "observer effect" is what convinced me to put this question in science vs. religion.

Theories?

I think (not sure though) that "observing" really means "interacting." When a light wave or particle interact with another particle, that's where the superposition really collapses, not when someone (person) is mentally realizing by consciousness that he or she observed something.

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In layman's terms quarks combine to form atoms which combine to form molecules which in a developing human body combine to form cells, some of which are in the brain and form ganglia and develop chemical/electric connections.

Here's the part that I'm pondering lately: how do those cells "seeing" an event change it? The "observer effect" is what convinced me to put this question in science vs. religion.

Theories?

I think (not sure though) that "observing" really means "interacting." When a light wave or particle interact with another particle, that's where the superposition really collapses, not when someone (person) is mentally realizing by consciousness that he or she observed something.

 

Hans is correct. When you observe something you also interact with it. When you "observe" a subatomic particle, you can't simply look at it through a microscope. A single photon has a wavelength many orders of magnitude larger than the particle you are trying to look at, it wouldn't even bounce off. You typically have to strike it with something like an electron, or absorb it. Both are drastic interactions that alter what it will do.

 

Imagine you are playing billiards in the dark. The only way you can detect the position of the balls is to fire the Q-ball in some direction and listen for the "clack" sound they make when pool balls hit. You could use this method to determine where all the balls USED to be because the process of finding them also moves them.

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As I understand it, the double slit experiment works with single photons fired in a sealed environment. No light necessary.

 

From Wiki:

This is demonstrated in a common thought experiment using the double slit setup. Imagine a double slit experiment where quantum particles are fired towards the two slits. The quantum particles pass through the slits and hit a momentum sensor a distance of D behind the slits. The momentum sensor has the ability to be turned off and on via a pin which stops the movement of the sensor when it is hit by a quantum particle. When the pin is in place, no measurement of the momentum can take place. When the pin is removed, the sensor can recoil when struck by a quantum particle and by measuring the recoil determine from which slit the quantum particle came. If the pin is removed and we can detect from which slit the particle came, then the wave-like passage through both slits cannot occur and no interference pattern will develop. However if we put the pin in place, and can no longer determine from which slit the particle passes through, then an interference pattern can develop.[3] This can be taken a step further using the delayed choice experiment.

This thought experiment was proved correct experimentally. The people conducting the experiment found that when the sensor was turned off, an interference pattern developed, but when it was turned on, the interference pattern was destroyed. It was even found that the level of detection could affect the result. [4]

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As I understand it, the double slit experiment works with single photons fired in a sealed environment. No light necessary.

 

One photon is still light ;-)

 

The cool thing about the double slit experiment is that it shows that a machine counts as an "observer" and that it's not just intelligent observers that count. So a single photon is all spread out and will go through both slits, interfere with itself on the other side, then only collapse to a point when it hits the detector. But if you've got a machine "just watching" to see which slit it goes through, the watching itself will force the photon to collapse earlier, so that it only goes through one of the slits and there's nothing to interfere with.

 

I think on the level of human neurons there's enough of a "two slit" type of stuff going on that quantum might affect our thoughts. I've heard that used as an argument for free will. But anything much bigger than that, like the size of a cell, there's so many particles there that they're collapsing each other all the time and acting a whole lot more classical than quantum.

 

In layman's terms quarks combine to form atoms...

 

Nitpick: quarks combine to form protons and neutrons, which combine to form the nucleus of an atom. The electrons orbiting that nucleus are themselves fundamental particles and are not made out of quarks.

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Guest wester

Toss a random particle into the vacuum.

 

In order to observe it, you have to fire a photon of light at it. If the photon hits the particle hard enough to give you some kind of reading, it will alter that particle's trajectory, thus changing something fundamental about the particle such as its location, direction and/or speed. Since everything in the universe is interconnected, by making your observations, you have just altered the whole universe. Congratulations.

 

Another reference is quantum fluctuation which means that most aspects of existent physical matter are constantly "in flux" or in a suspended state of probability waves (rather than actual material stuff). When matter is observed, the probability wave collapses into "solid" or "real" physical substance. Absent observation some people have asked whether anything actually exists.

In other words, if the probability wave is not, does not or cannot be collapsed, then what the hell is actually going on?

 

Schrodingers cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened. Or maybe the cat simply doesn't exist at all (in the sense that we use the verb "to exist") until something with eyeballs looks at it.

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Another reference is quantum fluctuation which means that most aspects of existent physical matter are constantly "in flux" or in a suspended state of probability waves (rather than actual material stuff). When matter is observed, the probability wave collapses into "solid" or "real" physical substance. Absent observation some people have asked whether anything actually exists.

In other words, if the probability wave is not, does not or cannot be collapsed, then what the hell is actually going on?

 

I prefer to conceptualize it as waves being the fundamental nature of reality, and all particles are an illusion. A quantum waveform doesn't become more real when it collapses, it just becomes so localized that it acts like what we think of as a particle. But it is still a wave, just shoved into a small area, and will return to a more diffuse state if left unobserved for a while. The universe is made out of force fields!

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This reminded me of a clip from Through the Wormhole...

 

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Ya know when my cat was not using her litter box for about a week. I was tempted to prove that Schrodinger's cat was indeed dead without observation. :)

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I'm betting physicists sometime in the future will be reading and thinking "I can't believe those idiots back in 2012 didn't understand the (insert quantum phenomena here) force. It's sooooooo obvious.

We're still working on gravity and electro-magnetism. Maybe they're all intertwined. So much to learn.

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