A Corbeled Gallery work

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Deterministic Universe (step one) Goal

Until the introduction of Quantum Physics, humans believed we lived in a deterministic universe, but the uncertainty of Quantum Physics has convinced most scientists that this universe is not deterministic. Because of the Uncertanty Principle, I find it very hard to convince anyone that the universe is deterministic. However, I relate the notion of Schrödinger’s Cat. Just because we cannot measure something, does not mean it does not follow rules. The conservation of mass and energy still play a role in determining the end location of, say, an electron; even if we cannot measure its location and can only rely on probability clouds to guess where they will end up.

We exist in a deterministic universe.

I must admit, I wrote this while doing my research. I had an idea, and needed to investigate it. Now that I have researched all of these topics, I could summarize this paper in it’s entirety by citing several sources. For instance, I could call on the Copenhagen Interpretation, then call upon the Uncertainty Principle, then in several paragraphs, finish what I have to say. However when ever I have attempted this, people – either through lack of imagination, or strong conservatism towards their archaic beliefs – refuse to believe in a deterministic universe. For instance, if I state “we do not have free will,” most scientists will respond, “I leave that to philosophers,” when philosophy has little to do with the subject.

There seems to be a refusal to accept the fact that even if we cannot observe something, it still happens. If a reader cannot understand this concept, then they must stop reading here, as the rest of this text will be a complete waste of time.

With Schrödinger’s Cat in a box, something will happen to it whether we observe it or not. Similarly, an electron will act precisely, even if we can never measure it’s start and end location with accuracy. We may not be able to predict the outcome, but we cannot limit the universe’s actions to the limited scope of human technology. It would be egotistical of science to assume that if we cannot measure an electron then it must not act in a precise way.

Again, if a reader does not have the imagination to assume and understand past technological bounds, then they must stop reading. Because of the need to employ logical assumption, this may be seen as a Fermi proposal. This would be a Fermi Proposal because it makes justified assumptions about quantities that seem impossible to compute given limited available technology.

Proving this is much to my dismay, as I would prefer a chaotic universe with freewill. Temporarily, I take comfort in knowing that we do not live amongst chaos, and that I may infact have a purpose. In the long term, I hope there are laws of science that exist that we have not discovered, that may disprove a deterministic universe. We know but a sliver of information that governs the universe.

First, I must give you my definitions. When I say "immediately", I mean the time it takes for a theoretical atom, to move one atom's width, when going the speed of light. This is, the time it takes an object about a millionth of a millionth of an inch in diameter, to move the distance of a millionth of a millionth of an inch, while going c. I define this word as such to illustrate a definite but infinitesimally small passage of time.

When I say "exact" or "precise" I mean just that. Humans can never measure anything to perfect number. There will always be another decimal place that our machines cannot calculate. We can measure something to a reasonable amount, and that is where we stand. When I say exact or precise, I mean the hypothetical exact measurement, out to an infinite decimal place.

When I say, “laws of physics” or “physical law” or “law of nature”, I mean the sum total of all empirical observation, and rules that humans have determined rule all forces in the universe.


Blogger Cody said...

I agree that just because science can't measure something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But determinism rests on the very assumption that things we can't or haven't so far observed do not occur.

In your later post on the brain you list the series of events, from the atomic level up, that occur if we were to touch a hot stove. You use a domino analogy to show that, if the scenario runs exactly the same way each time, with exactly the same variables, one gets the same results. Atoms in the brain work the same way, albeit on a much more complex scale. I agree so far.

The problem comes here. The determinist must assume that each domino responded to the preceding domino(s), and only to the preceding domino(s) in the causal chain. This is something that can never be proven and rests, therefore, entirely on faith. You must assume that all variables are inside the system. That nothing can come from the outside to effect the outcome. You must, a priori, exclude the effects of things outside the system.

To put it in other terms, imagine a room full of dominoes stacked in rows. If the dominoes are set up exactly the same way every time, then they should fall in the exact same order and along the same paths every time. But if you walk into the room and rearrange even one of the dominoes then the whole thing is ruined as far as determinism goes. Unfortunately, in our thought experiment, the scientist can only observe the start of the domino cascade and then the fall of the final dominoes. He has no way of observing an interruption somewhere in the middle of the flow (this is the black box). It doesn't mean that such an interruption occurred, but it equally doesn't mean that it didn't. Either assumption relies equally on faith.

12:47 PM

Anonymous GGrass said...

I accidentally stumbled on to your blog. Fascinating.

I hope you keep it alive...

8:18 PM


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