May 6, 2009

The Conferederation of Democratic Sims: New Article in Prim Perfect

The Confederation of Democratic Sims (CDS) is Second Life's longest functioning democracy and my latest two-part article has just been published in Prim Perfect magazine.

You can read it online as a Calaméo publication, or download the PDF version to print out and read at your leisure.

This is a special second birthday edition of Prim Perfect that includes retrospectives and comments from folks who have been involved with the magazine over the past two years.


Deadlycodec said...

My whole point is that ignorance is evil. The whole 'it isn't a big deal argument' is evil because it is ignorant. People who are perpetuating this ignorance clearly have no idea that they are impacting our world. The unreality or 'thoughts' are just as real as our actions and they impact the human existence.

It's good that you apparently have a limited understanding of quantum physics but you're still obviously too ignorant to get it.

I'm not advocating taking away people's free will. That would defeat the whole purpose of life, which is to learn and overcome the human ignorance. The purpose is enlightenment so that we may discard our interpretation of the SOLE reality because reality isn't subject to our interpretation. We bend to the will of the universe, not vice versa. I am trying to help others find meaning in THEIR lives because like it or not, we're all part of the same entity and EVERY SINGLE thing we do and think effects everyone else.

My whole point, Sigmund, is that physical reality is just a poor interpretation of the quantum reality. Anyone who has any actual knowledge of actual REALITY is very much aware of the difference between good and evil, why good is good and why evil is evil.

Your own ignorance is the source of your misery. If you don't like being called stupid then stop being a fucktard and get with the program. I still can't fathom how someone like you can talk like you're actually intelligent but act as thought you have no real understanding of the things that you say. I really can't stand people like you at all because you are a part of the problem and whenever someone explains it to you instead of being objective, you get e-pissed and pursue an e-vendetta. The fact that you are stupid is NOT beyond your control.

>Hmm, and a few days back when I commented on UNreality being a work of fiction you seemed to find that metaphor unappealing ;)

If reality and unreality are all works of fiction, then are they not equally real? I rest my case.

God you're so STUPID that it amazes me every single time.

Siggy said...

I'm with you on the "ignorance is evil" thing. Seeking knowledge is a good thing - and see, I can use words like "good" and "evil" to make judgments. And if by "bend to the will of the universe" you mean that there are constraints on our actions, I am OK on that too.

Where I differ is the notion that we are all "part of the same entity." At the quantum level, that may be true, but if that is the case, the statement is logically an all-inclusive set. You could say "we are all part of the same universe" and that is true - but that's still just a paraphrase of ALL X IS Y.

I'm thinking that you are using the quantum level of existence as your "base" for then interpreting the macro level - you know, me, you, baseball bats, shoes, planets, microbes etc. Even if "physical reality is just a poor interpretation of the quantum reality" we are still part of that physical reality and experience it in common ways.

I don't subscribe to the view that there is anything inherently "good" or "bad" about the universe as a physical reality, and subscribe to the notion that "good" and "evil" are human constructs. When my cat plays with a small rodent until the rodent dies, I hesitate to describe that as bad or evil. If a human being did the same to another human being, I believe I WOULD label it bad or evil.

I wish I could be certain about absolute truths relative to "good" or "bad" or "evil" but it is hard. At any period in history, we all think we know what this is, but things do change.

For example, I don't defend nor condone the brutal torture during the Inquisition, but I can appreciate that some of the people doing it we convinced they were doing "good." Sure it is hard to believe that with out 21st century perspective, but that's a reflection of the quirkiness of humanity.

As for being "e-pissed" (a splendid word) I'm not e-pissed because of you arguments, which I continue to think are interesting to see, but e-pissed because you seem to want to use personal attacks as a rhetorical device, which is not productive. I'm more interested in your trying to argue for what I consider some sort of "New Age" oneness based on the language of quantum physics. And using quantum physics to "explain" human behavior is a leap - and more than a quantum one - of faith rather than science. I can't predict where a particle will be if I know its velocity, but I can predict where a man will be if he leaps off a cliff. The rules of quantum mechanics don't apply at the level of humans.

Now, THAT'S more like the sort of conversation I'm curious about. How does a world of physical reality that can be measured and predicted (within limits) turn out to be based on the chaotic, unpredictable uncertainty of quantum level events. THAT'S the challenge, not reminding me how stupid I am - oh, and I don't claim to be anything more than what you read of me but I do admit that the older I get, the more I realize that I know very little.

Ignorance is the bain of old age whereas certainty is the curse of youth.

Deadlycodec said...

You have a lot of very valid points. We know that quantum level reacts to our thoughts but aside from observing a single particle in two places at the same time we haven't been able to do much with it, but if my theories are true then in order for us to be able to do anything with it, we'd have to be dead and the collective consciousness would have to want to do something with it. It is only a theory, since it is impossible to prove but it seems plausible. Very plausible.

If each molecule is observed into existence then of course it applies to the physical reality. Your ideas that the quantum level is only macroscopic (aka does not have significant impact on physical reality) are actually outdated. Physicists confirmed that it affects whole objects too. Take a look at this:

Observer-created Reality?

Tom: So let’s talk in a little more detail about the observer-created reality. First of all, even though interpretations of quantum mechanics are very controversial, would you say that the dependence of reality on observation is pretty much an undisputed fact?

Bruce: Yes. But I should qualify. A disputed issue is: What should we regard as constituting an “observation”? If a photon encounters an atom, does the atom observe the photon? No. We can prove that the atom and the photon together do one thing and simultaneously do not do it. They form a “superposition” state. The atom has not observed the photon. Quantum mechanics, strictly speaking, says that if a measurement device, such as a piece of photographic film, is isolated from the rest of the world, then, no matter how big it is, as long as it’s isolated in space and unobserved, the device does not observe.
If a measurement isolated from the rest of the world, then, no matter how big it is, as long as it’s isolated in space and unobserved, the device does not observe.

In 1932, von Neumann—a mathematician, physicist, and father of the modern computer—showed that if a quantum system (say, an atom) interacts with another quantum system (say, an isolated Geiger counter), then, as long as it remains isolated, the Geiger counter goes into a superposition state in which the Geiger counter has both observed and not observed the atom. And if another physical instrument observes the Geiger counter and that other instrument is also isolated, it joins the superposition state. Von Neumann showed that, as long as quantum theory holds, only when the result encounters consciousness (the “abstract I” as von Neumann calls it) can the superposition collapse (in some unexplained way) into a single actuality. We know it becomes a single actuality only because that’s what we consciously observe. An encounter of physics with consciousness was recognized way back in 1932, almost at the very beginning of quantum mechanics.

But when teaching quantum mechanics to physics students, physicists (including myself) like to emphasize that for all practical purposes any macroscopic device “observes.” Most physicists who are not involved in the foundations of quantum mechanics would say that only “practical” purposes are relevant.

Tom: Obviously, in order to measure something you need to interact with it to some extent, and so there is a disturbance of what you are measuring by virtue of the fact that you’re interacting with it. But in quantum mechanics it’s more subtle than just a disturbance. Is that something you can elucidate with the illustration from your book, using the two boxes?

Bruce: First, here’s a quote from Pascual Jordan, a founder of the theory: “Observations not only disturb what is to be measured, they produce it. ...We compel [the particle] to assume a definite position.” This quote is from a standard quantum physics textbook. The book says this on page 3, but then goes on to treat the theory mathematically. Students pay attention to the tough mathematics, and generally ignore the strange “metaphysical” implications (which I assure them will not be on the exam).
Our book illustrates this “metaphysics” with a schematic of an actual demonstration. ...Our treatment brings in no quantum theory; it’s quantum-theory-neutral, but it displays a quantum enigma challenging our notion of physical reality.

Now I’ll try to describe the boxes illustration you mention. Our book illustrates this “metaphysics” with a schematic of an actual demonstration. (The simple version we describe can actually be done, though it is technically tricky. The logically equivalent demonstration, called the “double-slit experiment,” is done all the time, even as a lecture demonstration.) Our treatment brings in no quantum theory; it’s quantum-theory-neutral, but it displays a quantum enigma challenging our notion of physical reality.

Take a pair of boxes and send a single object into this pair of boxes. (The objects actually used have been photons, atoms, big molecules, large collections of atoms, etc. It gets harder with bigger things. But quantum mechanics supposedly applies in principle to anything—baseballs, the universe. To be general, we talk of “objects.” We leave open whether they are hard, compact things or fuzzy clumps of cloudy stuff.) We collect a set of identically prepared box pairs. You have a choice now. You could do either of two experiments. In the book we tell the details of how this is done. I can’t really describe it understandably in just a few words.

In one demonstration, you open both boxes more or less simultaneously and let the object leak out of the boxes and hit a screen someplace and make a flash or mark on the screen. If you repeat this experiment with many box pairs, you find that where the objects land depends on the spacing of the two boxes of each pair. Since the behavior of the objects depends on the box-pair spacing, the object had to “know” the spacing in some sense. Therefore something of the object had to be in both boxes. (This phenomenon, called “interference,” is generally accepted in physics as proving that something emerged from two sources. And quantum physics says the object had been simultaneously in both boxes, but we need invoke no quantum theory in our demonstration.)

Crucially, you could have chosen a different experiment. Instead of opening both boxes simultaneously and letting the objects leak out and hit a screen—forming a pattern proving they each came out of both boxes—you could have chosen to just open one box, either box, and look in. You would then, in fact, either have found a whole object in one box, and the other box absolutely empty, or, you would have found the box you looked in absolutely empty, and the other box would have had the whole object in it. (Repeating this, about half the time you would have found the object in the first box, the other half of the time you would have found it in the second box.)

By choosing the first experiment, you demonstrate, prove, that the object had been in both boxes simultaneously. But by freely choosing, instead, to do the second demonstration, you could have demonstrated that the object was in a single box and the other box was absolutely empty. This sounds contradictory. It is. Presented with a set of box pairs, you could choose to prove either of two contradictory things. What was the real situation of the object before you decided which experiment to do? Was the object in both boxes, or wholly in one? You could prove that each box pair contained one object equally in both boxes. Or, if you want, you could prove that each object was wholly in one box or the other. Doesn’t that sound contradictory? (I’m being repetitious, but emphasizing something hard to believe.) Your free choice, at least what you did with it, had an influence on physical reality—at least the physical reality that existed immediately before you did the experiment. And that past reality determines the future situation.

Deadlycodec said...

Oh and I don't believe that the quantum level is random and chaotic at all. It's just too complicated for us to understand it. Think about it, if quantum theory is true it already contains all time, experiences, thoughts, objects, knowledge,etc,etc and it is ALL basically like information that interacts with other information. One could say that the internet is chaotic but someone who understands how it works knows that it isn't really. It is a system of order defined by rules.

For what it's worth, I do think you are right about my personal attacks. I have a tendency to get far too emotional about things when I argue.

Deadlycodec said...

>I'm more interested in your trying to argue for what I consider some sort of "New Age" oneness based on the language of quantum physics. And using quantum physics to "explain" human behavior is a leap - and more than a quantum one - of faith rather than science. I can't predict where a particle will be if I know its velocity, but I can predict where a man will be if he leaps off a cliff. The rules of quantum mechanics don't apply at the level of humans.

Wrong, quantum physics has shown that we actually can't predict the EXACT location of any human being at any given time. It is only approximate. Check for yourself.

The oneness isn't new age at all. What applies on the macroscopic level applies to us as well. Surely you realize this because to think otherwise is absurd.

>And using quantum physics to "explain" human behavior is a leap - and more than a quantum one - of faith rather than science.

Wrong yet again. If reality is observed into existence then human behavior is indeed explained by the quantum level. Reality exists because our consciousness created it, hence subjectivity is the essence of life.

Here is more info:

Physicist David Bohm, in his plasma experiments, at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, Bohm found that individual electrons act as part of an interconnected whole. In plasma, the gaseous electrons more or less assume the nature of a self-regulating organism, as if they were inherently intelligent.

This scientific discovery of Non-Locality, the wave/particle duality, meant that everything is joined or connected together. Space and time is composed of the same essence as matter. Bohm found this to be a conscious atomic sea and extending out from this sub-atomic reality, all of material creation may also be said to be conscious. Since all matter and events interact with each other, time (past, present, future) along with space and distance, all is relative to the observer and operate as one under the law of Non-Locality.

Deadlycodec said...

The problems we are encountering when attempting to understand quantum physics and specifically the mechanics of non-locality is that we are unable to see it from the perspective of being outside of time. We can't see all time and thus, if the issue is that there IS no time then how does quantum reality effect physical reality which is trapped in time? How could we see cause and effect when the effect could manifest at any point in time, because time doesn't even exist? If the presence of time is the problem and the absence of time is it's solution then there is absolutely no way for the human consciousness to fully understand the mechanics of non-locality. The theories are only theories because of this but they seem to validate beliefs that existed without any sort of scientific basis for thousands of years. It is possible that the truth MAY ultimately invalidate those beliefs as well. If time and space are made from the same essence as matter though then that DOES mean time and space don't exist, which support all of my theories on the nature of our existence and the existence of a supreme being.

If energy can neither be created nor destroyed then this means that the universe is indeed timeless. Time is measured by cause and effect. Everything that ever has been and everything that ever will be is a part of the quantum field. Every event that could possibly happen is happening simultaneously.

When people discount my theories it is ALWAYS because they are still thinking in terms of time and space, the physical reality. Thinking in terms of the quantum reality leads us to a very important question: In a timeless universe how do we explain the phenomenon that is the human consciousness? How do we explain death?

Simply put, you should have ensured that you are able to fully understand non-locality before you made your assertions because it is painfully clear that you do not.

Siggy said...

Phew! Lots to ponder there - thanks for the mental workout ;)

There is a fundamental difference between the world at the quantum level and at the macro level (i.e. above the quantum level). This relates to the concept of measurement.

At the quantum level, as you point out, the mere act of measuring leads to uncertainty. As the old joke goes about the physicist stopped by the police:

"Excuse me sir, but do you know how fast you were going?"

"No, but I know exactly where I am!"

Measurement at the macro level is very different - it can be very precise. You can track an object in terms of both velocity and position - otherwise the in-car GPS manufacturers would be doing a lousy business.

At the quantum level, superluminal non-local events appear to happen, but at the macro level, they don't.

Heisenberg's statements were confined to the quantum level. Your argument seems to be that if macroscopic objects (the objects of our everyday world and experience) are built of quantum components, then whatever applies to the quantum world also directly applies to the macroscopic objects built from quantum objects. This is where I (and others) disagree. The "weirdness" we observe at the quantum scale does not directly translate to the macroscopic world.

Again, the rhetoric of quantum science may lend itself to grand theories of wholeness but it's a mighty big jump from esoteric mathematics and singular experiments to proposing the universe is some cosmic mind that creates itself.

Classical physics does a good job of demonstrating the real world as we know. There is a real world out there independent of consciousness that will go on happily if we all disappeared tomorrow.

There's a desire amongst us to want to believe there is "something bigger" than us; some purpose in life; some "grand plan" or "cosmic unity." Our mortality predisposes us to be concerned about the value of our existence. We look for some way to help us come to terms with the existential fact that there may be, in fact, nothing bigger, no purpose, no plan, and a disunity that makes us teeny weeny islands in an uncaring universe.

That, of course, may sound depressing and defeatist to some, but it's actually a powerful way to deal with life. Once you accept that shit happens, you can work on cleaning up the shit.

Quantum mysticism is the 21st century version of arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Some folks, like Deepak Chopra, make a fortune out of it, as does the New Age industry, which seems to think that putting the word "quantum" in front of another (quantum healing, quantum yoga, quantum breathing etc.) adds truthiness to things.

I hear what you say - I guess I am just not convinced.