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sky's picture

oh, physics. some thoughts...

you know, it's interesting going through this again - i took peter beckmann's quantum mechanics class last year, so i've had a lot of time to think about things like uncertainty and heisenberg and the nature of reality. i have to admit, i'm posting a little late and i'm not quite done with the kosso reading, but i'm enjoying it (sort of). i've been trying to tell people for years that physics and philosophy are only a short step away. i've also spent years wrapping my brain around the philosophies of different types of physics, and every time i encounter a new kind of theory, it is a little like the end of the world as we knew it.
the authors' claims are really simple for me, then - quantum mechanics, with its new concepts and vocabulary and mathematics, meant changing the scientific world-view, meant having another language with which to tell the story of the universe. heisenberg knew that. lukacs is exploiting heisenberg's statements to point out that this new language could include an opening for things like free will and God. kosso means that while the scientific world-view that alex was writing about, this notion that science ahs the answers and they're concrete and real, was over - but that's not the end of the world. the world keeps ticking along however it wants, regardless of what we say about it.
ok, you say, so what about when we collapse a wave function? aren't we then telling the particle to do what we want it to do? no, no, not at all. we're just asking it to show up in a particular form.
it's like asking someone a complicated question and only allowing them to answer yes or no. you're going to get a vague idea of what the truth is, because you get some kind of answer, but you can't get the whole story if all you can detect is yes vs. no.
what bohr and heisenberg and all those guys (and poor planck) were trying to say was, we don't know how to observe everything... yet. and a lot of laymen ran off with that statement and said, we can't know anything because us observing it changes it. well, sure, tree falling alone in the forrest and all that - not a new idea. but quantum mechanics understands that it in itself is not a complete view of the universe - it's just a new one.

it's not the end of the world. it's just the end of a world-view that was hampered by the idea that science has absolute answers.


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