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A small correction
Posted: 12 February 2013 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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In debate I always maintained that the sun is where it is physically, even when I am not looking. I have seen many others make that claim as well, since it is logically irresistible.

The truth is, that when I am not looking at the sun it does not exist in physical form for me at that time. It is still there, but only as a set of probability wave functions, a probability field, which only collapses into physical reality with interaction or observation.

Then again, can one claim that the sun’s probability field is already in a perpetual collapsed state by its own energetic interaction with gravitational forces?

[ Edited: 13 February 2013 01:05 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 12 February 2013 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Not a physicist but my understanding of quantum physics is that it only applies on very small scales and not on the scale of visible objects.

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Posted: 12 February 2013 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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W4Y, sounds little like that falling tree in the forest argument.  Does it make a sound even if no one is there to hear it.

It makes no sense to me.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 01:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Everything is collection of particles arranged in a collection of atoms, arranged in a collection of elements, arranged in a physical shape.

But if particles are naturally in a state of probability wave, then it would follow that the entire structure is actually a giant collection of probability waves.  If that is true then at what point do all these particles assume particle characteristics and become physical matter.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 01:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 12 February 2013 10:48 PM

W4Y, sounds little like that falling tree in the forest argument.  Does it make a sound even if no one is there to hear it.

It makes no sense to me.

As I understand it, it does not make a sound, but it does make sound-waves which collapse by observation and become sound to the listener.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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macgyver - 12 February 2013 06:17 PM

Not a physicist but my understanding of quantum physics is that it only applies on very small scales and not on the scale of visible objects.

I may be wrong but I just read that particles exist naturally in their probability wave state.
Does that mean single particles or can it be a collection of particles?

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Posted: 13 February 2013 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Write4U - 13 February 2013 01:11 AM

Everything is collection of particles arranged in a collection of atoms, arranged in a collection of elements, arranged in a physical shape.

But if particles are naturally in a state of probability wave, then it would follow that the entire structure is actually a giant collection of probability waves.  If that is true then at what point do all these particles assume particle characteristics and become physical matter.

Its not that simple. When you have many small probabilities the product is exponentially smaller probabilities. In the case of visible objects you are talking about enormous numbers of protons and electrons. A single gram of hydrogen has 6.02 X10 to the 23rd atoms. If there is a remote possibility that a given electron could be on the other side of the universe instead of actually being a part of the sun, the odds that the entire sun or even a handful of it would be somewhere else is so minuscule that it might as well be zero. At least that is my understanding of it but you may want to ask a quantum physicist for a more accurate explanation.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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macgyver - 13 February 2013 06:07 AM
Write4U - 13 February 2013 01:11 AM

Everything is collection of particles arranged in a collection of atoms, arranged in a collection of elements, arranged in a physical shape.

But if particles are naturally in a state of probability wave, then it would follow that the entire structure is actually a giant collection of probability waves.  If that is true then at what point do all these particles assume particle characteristics and become physical matter.

Its not that simple. When you have many small probabilities the product is exponentially smaller probabilities. In the case of visible objects you are talking about enormous numbers of protons and electrons. A single gram of hydrogen has 6.02 X10 to the 23rd atoms. If there is a remote possibility that a given electron could be on the other side of the universe instead of actually being a part of the sun, the odds that the entire sun or even a handful of it would be somewhere else is so minuscule that it might as well be zero. At least that is my understanding of it but you may want to ask a quantum physicist for a more accurate explanation.

That’s what I was thinking, too, but not because it’s my understanding of quantum mechanics, but because it sounds like the common-sense answer. But then, we know that common sense doesn’t really help to figure out quantum mechanics.

The reason why I suspect that it is not the correct answer is because even Einstein wondered about the same thing as did Write4U, i.e., “I cannot believe that the Moon exists only because a mouse looks at it.” If the answer was as simple as you say here, macgyver, I doubt Einstein would have ever said that.

[ Edited: 13 February 2013 06:38 AM by George ]
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Posted: 13 February 2013 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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My explanation may or may not be correct. Again I am no expert in this area, but Einstein was using the moon as a metaphor for a particle when he said that. Quantum effects do not occur on a macro scale. A particle may exist in one state or another because you observe it but not so for the Sun or the Moon.

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Posted: 13 February 2013 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Mac is quite right.  while specific subatomic particles may blink in and out of existence occasionally, the probability of a macroscopic number of them doing it at the same time 1X10 (to the minus an extremely large number).  On a larger, but still microscopic scale, my second physical chemistry instructor did the calculations for the class to show that all the molecules of air in the room would end up under his desk about every once in ten to 47th seconds (may have been years???).

Occam

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Posted: 14 February 2013 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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So it’s like the possibility of being able to walk through a wall then.  Sure, it’s technically possible, but in reality a load of bull.

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Posted: 15 February 2013 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I don’t think the sun cares if you’re looking at it or not.  I know it doesn’t care when I don’t look at it.  If I turn around I can still feel its heat on my back.

Chris

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Posted: 15 February 2013 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Chrisan - 15 February 2013 02:25 PM

I don’t think the sun cares if you’re looking at it or not.  I know it doesn’t care when I don’t look at it.  If I turn around I can still feel its heat on my back.

Chris

Feeling it still counts as observing it.  wink

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Posted: 15 February 2013 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Hmmmm, at night I feel that the sun is on the other side of the earth.  Is that still observing, George?  LOL

Sorry George, but it’s been a few days since I’ve been able to be a wise ass.

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Posted: 15 February 2013 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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And how the heck exactly do you feel that, Occam?  smirk Which one of the five senses tells you the Sun is still there at night?

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Posted: 16 February 2013 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Sorry, silly word game based on two different definitions of the word, “feel”.

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