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  #1  
Old 12-03-2004, 03:34 AM
Eilunid Eilunid is offline
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Thinking about the cat...

Link to Column: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_122.html


So, the cat is neither/both alive or dead at the same time, until it is observed, at which time it "switches" to one or the other. My idear about that is that the essential clue lies in "until it is observed". An observation is a statement about a thing. Statements about things are made based on the feelings "hunches" of the observer. We already know that we really don't know about the external world, because if we did, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. If you really know about something, there is a discussion. You say, pass the controller...and your friend passes it to you. There is no discussion about "What is a controller?", it is understood what a controller is. There was an equation devised by some big physicist in the Carl Sagan book "Cosmos" that states that there is at least a 98% probability that there are in and around 10,000 or so planets just in our galaxy that have sophisticated intelligent life that could interpret our language and math...in other words, that have the same ability to decern and interpret that we do. This does not of course factor in the intelligent life in all the other myriad galaxies in our known universe. Perhaps reality is indeed consensus. If there were only one thing, and it we called the universe, there would be nothing outside it. In order for size and distance and time to exist, there has to be at least two things. The only way to tell if time elapses is by the movement of things relative to each other. If there where only one thing, there would be nothing relative to it to know that it was moving. If there where only one thing, there would be nothing to compare it to, so you would not be able to tell what size it was. As a matter of fact, it would have no size and could not move because without anything else, there is no size or movement. So now allow me to dip into a philisophical assumption. Let us say that there is "a god". Lut us say that this god is defined as omnicient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. If something is everywhere, it cannot go anywhere, because it is already there. If something knows everything, it cannot learn anything, because it already knows it. If something can do anything, than there is no point in doing anything. So, this god would be bored of it's rocker. Now, let us define this god as everything, and everything at the point before the big bang was one thing that for all intents and purposes does not exist. So, at the point that god is the one thing before the big bang, because there is nothing that exists relative to it, it is bored and alone. So, if the one thing (god), splits itself up into pieces (big bang), small pieces of it would be able to go places, learn things, and do stuff. So, if you take all those civilizations that are probably in all those galaxies that are at the stage like our own where they can measure (observe), then it is up to the consensus of such consciousness (the sum total of which would be the consciousness of the universe, i.e. god) whether the particle in the cat box decays or not. God reflects upon itself and observes what it decides it is observing. You can think of it like this, the idea of manifestation is the idea that thought is action. If you are in an empty room, and you throw a ball at the wall, it is pretty probable that the ball will hit the wall. If you fill that room with a whole bunch of other balls bouncing around, and then throw the ball at the wall, the probability is that the ball will eventually hit the wall, but may be interuppted indefinitley by collision with the other balls in the room. So, since the big bang, energy has been colloiding into particle type things. Where there are denser patches of particles, it takes more time for thought to turn into action, just like it takes more time for the ball to hit the wall when there are so many things to impede it. So, in the beginning, when all consciousness (thought) was one, the thought was thought and then it commenced to happen. In a way, Einstein was right to say that god does not play dice, but Schrodinger was right in that it does play marbles. When you think of the parallel universe thing, like how the cat is both dead and alive, you can solve the argument between fate and free will. If every outcome (possibility) exists, happening in it's own parallel universe, then fate exists because no matter what everything will end up either of any way that it does which it would have to if the cat is both alive and dead. So, it is only up to the circumstances (what the god/total consciousness of this parallel universe decides/observes) that defines the particular fate of said universe. So, individually, we have a hand in this particular fate...in a manner of speaking we can guide our own destiny (vote), and one can only choose to guide by one's own free will. Since I am only a small piece of it, obviously I can only elucidate so much on the subject, but this is the core of my contrabution. I would like to here arguments/thoughts concerning it all. Very intereseting stuff. Thank you for posting.

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 12-21-2004 at 10:27 AM.. Reason: Added link to column --CKDH
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2004, 03:54 AM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Cgo.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2004, 02:17 PM
Larry Borgia Larry Borgia is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eilunid
So, the cat is neither/both alive or dead at the same time, until it is observed, at which time it "switches" to one or the other. My idear about that is that the essential clue lies in "until it is observed". An observation is a statement about a thing. Statements about things are made based on the feelings "hunches" of the observer. We already know that we really don't know about the external world, because if we did, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. If you really know about something, there is a discussion. You say, pass the controller...and your friend passes it to you. There is no discussion about "What is a controller?", it is understood what a controller is. There was an equation devised by some big physicist in the Carl Sagan book "Cosmos" that states that there is at least a 98% probability that there are in and around 10,000 or so planets just in our galaxy that have sophisticated intelligent life that could interpret our language and math...in other words, that have the same ability to decern and interpret that we do. This does not of course factor in the intelligent life in all the other myriad galaxies in our known universe. Perhaps reality is indeed consensus. If there were only one thing, and it we called the universe, there would be nothing outside it. In order for size and distance and time to exist, there has to be at least two things. The only way to tell if time elapses is by the movement of things relative to each other. If there where only one thing, there would be nothing relative to it to know that it was moving. If there where only one thing, there would be nothing to compare it to, so you would not be able to tell what size it was. As a matter of fact, it would have no size and could not move because without anything else, there is no size or movement. So now allow me to dip into a philisophical assumption. Let us say that there is "a god". Lut us say that this god is defined as omnicient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. If something is everywhere, it cannot go anywhere, because it is already there. If something knows everything, it cannot learn anything, because it already knows it. If something can do anything, than there is no point in doing anything. So, this god would be bored of it's rocker. Now, let us define this god as everything, and everything at the point before the big bang was one thing that for all intents and purposes does not exist. So, at the point that god is the one thing before the big bang, because there is nothing that exists relative to it, it is bored and alone. So, if the one thing (god), splits itself up into pieces (big bang), small pieces of it would be able to go places, learn things, and do stuff. So, if you take all those civilizations that are probably in all those galaxies that are at the stage like our own where they can measure (observe), then it is up to the consensus of such consciousness (the sum total of which would be the consciousness of the universe, i.e. god) whether the particle in the cat box decays or not. God reflects upon itself and observes what it decides it is observing. You can think of it like this, the idea of manifestation is the idea that thought is action. If you are in an empty room, and you throw a ball at the wall, it is pretty probable that the ball will hit the wall. If you fill that room with a whole bunch of other balls bouncing around, and then throw the ball at the wall, the probability is that the ball will eventually hit the wall, but may be interuppted indefinitley by collision with the other balls in the room. So, since the big bang, energy has been colloiding into particle type things. Where there are denser patches of particles, it takes more time for thought to turn into action, just like it takes more time for the ball to hit the wall when there are so many things to impede it. So, in the beginning, when all consciousness (thought) was one, the thought was thought and then it commenced to happen. In a way, Einstein was right to say that god does not play dice, but Schrodinger was right in that it does play marbles. When you think of the parallel universe thing, like how the cat is both dead and alive, you can solve the argument between fate and free will. If every outcome (possibility) exists, happening in it's own parallel universe, then fate exists because no matter what everything will end up either of any way that it does which it would have to if the cat is both alive and dead. So, it is only up to the circumstances (what the god/total consciousness of this parallel universe decides/observes) that defines the particular fate of said universe. So, individually, we have a hand in this particular fate...in a manner of speaking we can guide our own destiny (vote), and one can only choose to guide by one's own free will. Since I am only a small piece of it, obviously I can only elucidate so much on the subject, but this is the core of my contrabution. I would like to here arguments/thoughts concerning it all. Very intereseting stuff. Thank you for posting.
That's what I've been saying all along!
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2004, 05:34 PM
TubaDiva TubaDiva is offline
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Citing the original column is always useful for those playing along at home:

The story of Schroedinger's cat (an epic poem)
>http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_122.html

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  #5  
Old 12-03-2004, 08:55 PM
roger thornhill roger thornhill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Borgia
That's what I've been saying all along!
Yes, Larry, I should explain that CGO stands for "Crashing Glimpse of the Obvious", and was an abbreviation beloved of an old English teacher.

And, no, he didn't put it in the margin of my essays - only other people's.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2004, 08:42 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roger thornhill
Yes, Larry, I should explain that CGO stands for "Crashing Glimpse of the Obvious", and was an abbreviation beloved of an old English teacher.

And, no, he didn't put it in the margin of my essays - only other people's.
Well, it's not all obvious, but (to paraphrase Einstein), to the extent that it's correct it's obvious and to the extent that it's not obvious, it's incorrect.
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2004, 02:56 AM
Eilunid Eilunid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
Well, it's not all obvious, but (to paraphrase Einstein), to the extent that it's correct it's obvious and to the extent that it's not obvious, it's incorrect.
I am glad there are people who agree. I liked this chat thing and the fact that people are talking about science. I am very interested in Schrodinger and recently in fifth dimensional ideas and dark matter. Maybe if anybody wants to throw some theories out here, we could bounce them around a little bit? -Eilunid
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  #8  
Old 12-12-2004, 08:15 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eilunid
I am glad there are people who agree. I liked this chat thing and the fact that people are talking about science. I am very interested in Schrodinger and recently in fifth dimensional ideas and dark matter. Maybe if anybody wants to throw some theories out here, we could bounce them around a little bit? -Eilunid
You agree that your post consisted of various parts, each of which was either obvious or wrong?
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2004, 11:21 AM
Eilunid Eilunid is offline
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To Mathocist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
You agree that your post consisted of various parts, each of which was either obvious or wrong?
It has always been my expierience that those who have no input but slants and slurs are really not contributing to the overall understanding, but are really just throwing poo like a primate. I don't know where you stand in life, but my "obvious and wrong" ideas got a completely different response from the Head of the Environmental Science Department from the University of South Florida. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Chemistry. I believe he said that I was a "Cherished Student", and then he invited me to a limited course in chemical history. Maybe you could tell me your credentials? I have won calculus related tests for my whole college campus, I am a National Science Foundation Scholar, I attended the enhanced learning program for gifted children, and slept through Physics 1 and 2 and still maintained honor grades...but that is a little too much primate chest puffing. Until this point, I was being polite, and have been confronted by childishness. I am really trying to understand this world that I live in, so perhaps you could tell me WHY it is obvious and wrong, and then I could apply your lucidity to my theories, so that they can be less wrong and less obvious.
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  #10  
Old 12-20-2004, 11:32 AM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Eliunid,

If I may give some unsolicited advice.

1. Try to organize your thoughts into paragraphs, and use indentation to indicate same.
2. I realize this a comment on a column but for in depth discussions of this sort of topic perhaps Great Debates or General Questions might be a better forum.
3. Hi Opal!
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  #11  
Old 12-20-2004, 12:01 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trandallt
1. Try to organize your thoughts into paragraphs, and use indentation to indicate same.
This is a big one. Whatever awards Eilunid may have won, none of them were for writing. It's mostly disorganized rambling, with such tautological kernels of philosophy as, "If something is everywhere, it cannot go anywhere, because it is already there."

Overall, it really reads like a mass of chewed pulp from such awful books as The Tao of Physics and The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which were more interested in pushing some philosophy with the "imprimatur" of physics. There's a lot of air blowing around, but if there is any substance it's completely buried in the monolithic text.

As for credentials, I'm a mathematician by vocation and a physicist by avocation. On quantum philosophy, I've had a number of very fruitful exchanges with Jeffrey Bub (of Bohm-Bub hidden variables theories). Of course, you have as much reason to believe that as I do your awards.

Oh, and I wouldn't brag too much about winning calculus contests. Next you'll be telling me about your spelling bees.
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  #12  
Old 12-20-2004, 12:08 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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[QUOTE=Mathochist]
Quote:
As for credentials, I'm a mathematician by vocation and a physicist by avocation. On quantum philosophy, I've had a number of very fruitful exchanges with Jeffrey Bub (of Bohm-Bub hidden variables theories).

Yeah maybe, but are you now or have you ever been a "Cherished Student"?
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  #13  
Old 12-20-2004, 12:18 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eilunid
I don't know where you stand in life, but my "obvious and wrong" ideas got a completely different response from the Head of the Environmental Science Department from the University of South Florida. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Chemistry. I believe he said that I was a "Cherished Student", and then he invited me to a limited course in chemical history. Maybe you could tell me your credentials? I have won calculus related tests for my whole college campus, I am a National Science Foundation Scholar, I attended the enhanced learning program for gifted children, and slept through Physics 1 and 2 and still maintained honor grades.
I once lived next door to a guy whose cousin could force milk from his oropharynx, up his nasolacrimal ducts, thus emerging through the conjunctival puncta. It looked like he was crying milk tears. Nobody has ever referred to me as a "Cherished Student" though.
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:18 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trandallt
Yeah maybe, but are you now or have you ever been a "Cherished Student"?
Possibly. I don't really go asking about such things. It's not like I could put it on my curriculum vitę.
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2004, 02:05 PM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trandallt
Yeah maybe, but are you now or have you ever been a "Cherished Student"?

You know, Mary Kay Letourneau referred to Vili Fualaau as a "Cherished Student".

/hijack and happy holidays.
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  #16  
Old 12-20-2004, 02:19 PM
c_carol c_carol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eilunid
I have won calculus related tests for my whole college campus, I am a National Science Foundation Scholar, I attended the enhanced learning program for gifted children, and slept through Physics 1 and 2 and still maintained honor grades...but that is a little too much primate chest puffing.
Hi, welcome to the Straight Dope, Eilunid. Let me give you a pointer.

Bragging about your credentials around here is a Bad Idea. The SDMB is _full_ of very, very smart people. Some of them are smarter than you. (Shocking, isn't it?) Nobody here cares that you're an honors student. What matters is the quality of your ideas and how well you express them. You may have some good ideas here -- I can't really tell because I find the style of the OP practically unreadable. (Just out of curiousity, is English your first language?)

Hang around for a while and try to get the feel of the place before you start picking fights, OK?
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  #17  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:40 AM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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I'm afraid it's half-digested pabulum viewed from the religious side, as well.
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  #18  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:52 AM
scotandrsn scotandrsn is offline
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For me, this OP falls apart right at the beginning, and the style merely discourages one from continuing on to see if it begins to make any sense:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eilunid
So, the cat is neither/both alive or dead at the same time, until it is observed, at which time it "switches" to one or the other. My idear about that is that the essential clue lies in "until it is observed". An observation is a statement about a thing. Statements about things are made based on the feelings "hunches" of the observer.
The problem here is that Eilunid is equating two different meanings of the word "observation". The implication in the Schrodinger's Cat scenario is not that the fate of the cat is indeterminate until someone begins to comment upon it from their own point of view, but that its fate is indeterminate until some sort of concrete information about the state of affairs in the closed container makes its way in some perceivable form to the outside world.

Schrodinger was trying to point out that at the quantum level, merely the act of bouncing a photon off a quantum event in order to observe it will in fact have an effect on the outcome observed.

Would the OP care to offer backup as to why anyone should consider another meaning of the word "observe" to apply in this situation? Without such a reason, there's no purpose in pushing though the dense layout of the rest of the OP.
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Old 12-21-2004, 11:57 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotandrsn
Schrodinger was trying to point out that at the quantum level, merely the act of bouncing a photon off a quantum event in order to observe it will in fact have an effect on the outcome observed.
Careful, there. You sound dangerously close to confounding this with the standard presentation of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. SC is a gedankenexperiment designed to blow the philosophical "measurement problem" (particularly its solution by Dirac, which is used in the Copenhagen interpretation) up to the scale of classical physics to show how silly it seems to be.
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  #20  
Old 12-21-2004, 12:34 PM
Larry Borgia Larry Borgia is online now
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Quote:
but Schrodinger was right in that it does play marbles.
Also, what does the OP mean by this? did Schroedinger say such a thing? I know when Einstein said God does not play dice he was complaining about the probabilistic, non-deterministic nature of QM. But what does it mean to say God plays marbles. From the little physics I know I understand it's sometimes useful to model particles as little inelastic spheres, like when your explaining conservation of momentum, but I can't see viewing the whole universe as a game of marbles.
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Old 12-21-2004, 12:47 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Borgia
Also, what does the OP mean by this? did Schroedinger say such a thing? I know when Einstein said God does not play dice he was complaining about the probabilistic, non-deterministic nature of QM. But what does it mean to say God plays marbles. From the little physics I know I understand it's sometimes useful to model particles as little inelastic spheres, like when your explaining conservation of momentum, but I can't see viewing the whole universe as a game of marbles.
I can't say for sure that he didn't, but I can find nothing like that quote on any Google-indexed page. That's strong enough evidence for me to chalk this up in the OP's "wrong" column.
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:36 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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See, now I thought the Schrodinger saying God playing marbles bit was a joke. Doesn't everyone know it was actually Newton (in a bit of amazing prescience) who said "God plays marbles"?
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  #23  
Old 12-22-2004, 12:39 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenBeam
See, now I thought the Schrodinger saying God playing marbles bit was a joke. Doesn't everyone know it was actually Newton (in a bit of amazing prescience) who said "God plays marbles"?
Watch you don't need surgery to remove your tongue from your cheek.
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  #24  
Old 12-25-2004, 01:56 AM
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You know, I enjoy science immensely and I love religion as well; I find them both deep and fascinating subject-matter- I've just never decided at any one point that there are minds on the planet or otherwise to play with the two as to make science THE religion. I realize I am walking into a room full of all-believing scientists as well and know my words must either fall on deaf ears or those not listening....

There is no doubt in my mind science is a powerful force of many dedicated minds who converse and conjecture to one another in order to mentally create a more tangible model of theory and then plug this result in an extremely powerful computer which science in large part helped make possible and because of this people everywhere can benefit or can feel it's effects- like a marriage for better or worse. This of course also commits scientists to becoming (if they are good) extremely responsible people due to the nature of their work.

I can tell you all now I am not the mind many of you are nor possess the various letters that may or may not be in front of or behind your names. They will not make you safer from anything another living next-door is subjected to. What it may gain you is seat reservation especially if you hit pay-dirt enough times. This might also create the "vested"-like quality of job security that even great minds pursue. There are those who believe "everything can be explained through scientific research"
To start addressing the thread, start at the source... all of this over a dead cat... wow... science, the force it has become is founded on children... (don't think I'm not enjoying the outrage you're feeling right now ) Yes children, more specifically the "sense" of curiousity that drives us from the begining to ask questions and explore the woods in the back yard "where does it go?" "what lives there"... on and on until one day computers are normal things and we are tossing the dead cat issue around... Science my OP friend is just a mask for the people that are the real vehicle for it... science and all theory build upon a foundation, usually unmerited or not fully utilized research of another and is therefore only as good as its' source a human being... even if there were no God my friend science would not make us or the computers we build "perfect " only more accurate.

I must agree with the various posters as well on the fact that topic-wise you are all over the spectrum from cats- to parallel Universes, alien life, intelligence of unmentioned aliens, fate and free-will... Just gauging by what I see there, you have great passion and potential, yet require more humility and restraint in order to clearly (and unpretentiously! ) express your views. Respecting others at very least in foreign territory is only common sense.

As before Science is a powerful force. It is born out of our desire to break current boundaries of convention and better our world, it is well intentioned as I believe you and many others to be because it attempts to answer questions, many derived from previous answers (really if you can get paid for it, it really isits' own job security, huh? ) But "God"... are my eyes seeing this correctly?, that you are attempting to explain anyelement of such an enormous number of people's religion and with of all things..science?? Science can explain many things... everyone knows this. What science can not measure is the very "manifestion" (someone said earlier) of what a heart is. I'm sure you can define it for me, webster- but this is not an organ or just a definition. Science does not have units for love or happiness, contentment or the warmth that seems to happen in helping another ...there is no measurement for these things nor would I be interested in them if they existed. The point to life is living, the point of science is being that curious kid you once were with all the benefits of being an adult & getting a pay check, the point of "God" can not have a point....

You can put this into words, but would you really like to risk that? God not existing would not settle this silly back and forth conjecture between the logical and the traditional... God is simply necessary even for just the idea that there is greater, but for most believers can and is many different things that is better suited for other forums.

For future reference though, assuming you were speaking about the same God I believe in, please don't call my God "it" ...
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Old 12-25-2004, 07:57 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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I don't think any of this has anything to do with Schrœdinger's Cat. At least Eilunid had that going for her. When you make off-topic posts, you make the Baby Jesus cry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinktank
For future reference though, assuming you were speaking about the same God I believe in, please don't call my God "it" ...
okay. "she".
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  #26  
Old 12-25-2004, 10:10 AM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Originally Posted by Mathochist
I When you make off-topic posts, you make the Baby Jesus cry.

And on Christmas, for goodness' sake.

It appears that paragraphs may be necessary but are certainly not sufficient to effect clear communication.
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  #27  
Old 12-25-2004, 01:43 PM
Thinktank Thinktank is offline
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..sorry was addressing the OP, not the dead cat...
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Old 12-25-2004, 02:28 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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"Schrodinger's cat" is a false paradox as the cat herself is an observer. If it was coloured fluids or something non- alive, then it would be a paradox. But add the cat- and you might as well add a scientist in th box with the cat... or instead of the cat.
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  #29  
Old 12-25-2004, 03:31 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
"Schrodinger's cat" is a false paradox as the cat herself is an observer. If it was coloured fluids or something non- alive, then it would be a paradox. But add the cat- and you might as well add a scientist in th box with the cat... or instead of the cat.
Can we stick people who conflate quantum mechanics and Eastern mysticism in a box with a goodly quantity of hydrocyanic acid?

No, no geiger counter or hammer or anything. Just the acid.
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  #30  
Old 12-27-2004, 08:17 PM
dotchan dotchan is offline
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"God not only plays dice with the universe, but He cheats, too."

*flees*
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