# Uncertainty principle it's uses and abuses

Cpt_pineapple
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Uncertainty principle it's uses and abuses

The Uncertainty principle is another of the abused concepts from Quantum Mechanics.

First a the formula, next it's theory, then applications, and lastly it's abuses.

I'll post the formula/principle since people who often abuse it don't actually know it. And with this formula and principle, we can get some applications.

OA2OB2>/((1/2i.)[A,B])2

Where A and B are operators and [A,B] is the commutator.

Now take position [x] (x.) and momentum [p] (i(hbar.)d/dx.)

[x,p]=xp-px

[x,p]= xi(hbar) d/dx-i(h-bar.)dx/dx

[x,p]=i(hbar)

Sub into the formula

OA2OB2>/(1/2i)[A,B].)2

Ox2Op2>/(i/2i(i(hbar.)2

OxOp>/(hbar.)/2

where hbar=h/2(pi.).

The most commonly known formula, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Notice how it does not depend on the method of measurement! No matter how far along our technology goes, we will not build a machine that will eliminate the principle.

Here's why:

The Schrodinger equation (Time independent.)

(p2/2m+V(x.).)Y=EY

Give the wave function Y. This is where the wave properties of matter come from.

Now picture a wave.

Now if it was represented thusly:  ________/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\_____

As you can see it has a wave-length. If I were to ask you the wave length it is easily measured. And since the momentum is related to said wave length (De-Broglie formula

Wave length=h/p

it is not a stupid question.

But what if I asked you where the wave was? Now that's a stupid question. It's spread over such a wide wavelength that it's extremely difficult to know preciously where it is!

Now what if the wave looked like this: __/\_____    that 'bump' moves along.

I can ask you where the wave is, you can give me a position. But what about the wavelength? It's not oscillating so it is very difficult to pin point a wave length.

Observing the particle collapses the wave function as in the second form ergo making momentum difficult to pinpoint.

That is the basic principle behind the Heisenberg uncertainty.

Now, what do we do with it?

Well, we can use the principles in to explain things such as Quantum tunneling,  electron orbits, vacuum fluctuations etc....

For example, an electron can travel through a barrier. Why? Because we cannot know for certain where the damn thing is! If we could, then we would know that it's on one side of the barrier! Note however, the barrier must have certain properties that the wave length can penetrate the barrier.

Electron orbits.

You may have read about these in high school chemistry, s and p orbitals and such. Where the s-orbital is a sphere and p-orbital is like two dumbbells.  These shapes are the shape of the probability functions meaning the electron is somewhere in those orbits, but thanks to the uncertainty principle, we don't know where exactly. This gives atoms, particulary hydrogen atoms some interesting properties.

For, vacuum fluctuations the uncertainty doesn't just apply to position and momentum, but also to time and energy. This means that 'virtual' particles can appear for a short time and then fade out without violating conservation laws.

Now for it's abuses. The most common one is that it denotes we cannot know everything. This is untrue, in fact by the examples above, it tells us things we wouldn't have known otherwise.

The Doomed Soul
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Uncle Cappy... teach me to

Uncle Cappy... teach me to see non-gibberish in this post... pweeeeze!

Hambydammit
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Quote:Now for it's abuses.

Quote:
Now for it's abuses. The most common one is that it denotes we cannot know everything. This is untrue, in fact by the examples above, it tells us things we wouldn't have known otherwise.

I would like to add that anytime someone invokes the uncertainty principle in philosophy, beware.   Also, anytime someone uses it in conjunction with induction, watch out.  Fallacy ahead.  If anything, inductive predictions are based on Bayes theorem, not uncertainty principle.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

darth_josh
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Damned 2d computers.Let me

Damned 2d computers.

Let me introduce you to the CMS detector at the LHC in beautiful flash animation.

Compact Muon Solenoid

Time and path. Not eliminating variables, but limiting them. Passing through the detector alters the neutrino and the detector(oscillation).

Knowing what particles are, what they oscillate into and where they're going to wind up and WHEN.

Where it was, is, and will be predicted and what it will be when it arrives.

^^^^^^^^^barrier^^^^^^accelerator^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^barrier^^^^^^decay___multiple particles---------trajectory change^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Smaller uncertainty.

Dammit. I gotta work, but I'll be back later.

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Cpt_pineapple
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darth_josh wrote:Damned 2d

darth_josh wrote:

Damned 2d computers.

Let me introduce you to the CMS detector at the LHC in beautiful flash animation.

Compact Muon Solenoid

Time and path. Not eliminating variables, but limiting them. Passing through the detector alters the neutrino and the detector(oscillation).

Knowing what particles are, what they oscillate into and where they're going to wind up and WHEN.

Where it was, is, and will be predicted and what it will be when it arrives.

^^^^^^^^^barrier^^^^^^accelerator^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^barrier^^^^^^decay___multiple particles---------trajectory change^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Smaller uncertainty.

Dammit. I gotta work, but I'll be back later.

That detector is designed to detect Higgs Boson and super symmetry IIRC.

They have a general idea of where the particles are going to end up because they carefully took into account the wave functions and potential wells (V(x.) in S.E.).

All they're doing is controlling the wave. They finely tune whatever they want to measure by magnetic fields and such. They get a higher accuracy on the parameter they want to measure, and less on the other one, but it shouldn't matter since they are measuring that one parameter, they probably don't care about the other one. But it depends on what they're looking for.

Seriously, do you really think they're going to overcome the uncertainty principle?

EXC
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Now for

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Now for it's abuses. The most common one is that it denotes we cannot know everything. This is untrue, in fact by the examples above, it tells us things we wouldn't have known otherwise.

Too me, it kind of seems like what the results are telling us is that the fundamental element of the universe is not matter or energy but rather information. The universe is digital rather than analog, you can't get infinite information from a measurement because everything is coded digitally. So maybe we're just living inside a giant digital computer, our consciousness is just a subroutine inside the main program.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

Cpt_pineapple
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EXC wrote:Too me, it kind of

EXC wrote:

Too me, it kind of seems like what the results are telling us is that the fundamental element of the universe is not matter or energy but rather information. The universe is digital rather than analog, you can't get infinite information from a measurement because everything is coded digitally. So maybe we're just living inside a giant digital computer, our consciousness is just a subroutine inside the main program.

Information theory is a fundamental part of my beliefs. That along with uncertainty principle and the Zero Point Field.

Which is why I learn as much about them as I can.

Tilberian
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EXC wrote:Too me, it kind of

EXC wrote:

Too me, it kind of seems like what the results are telling us is that the fundamental element of the universe is not matter or energy but rather information. The universe is digital rather than analog, you can't get infinite information from a measurement because everything is coded digitally. So maybe we're just living inside a giant digital computer, our consciousness is just a subroutine inside the main program.

You can have matter and energy without any information because information is only created when matter and energy are observed by a mind. However the reverse is not true: without matter and energy you have nothing...no information, no nothing. Therefore matter and energy are the fundamental elements and information is of a higher order.

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darth_josh
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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Seriously, do you really think they're going to overcome the uncertainty principle?

Not 'overcome', but 'suspend' with a high probability approaching 100% up to 100% potential luminosity of the beam.

Not just finding a Higgs-boson, but determining the field parameters and amount of 'drag' and incorporating that into theory.

Eventually. I mean shit! it hasn't even been turned on yet.

Call it my one piece of 'faith'.

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Cpt_pineapple
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darth_josh wrote:Not

darth_josh wrote:

Not 'overcome', but 'suspend' with a high probability approaching 100% up to 100% potential luminosity of the beam.

I don't see how it will 'suspend' the principle.

First, what probability? Standard deviation? Probability of doing what?

Second I have no idea why your so worked up over 'suspending' the principle. I believe in the other topic, you called it a 'challenge.'

Quote:

Not just finding a Higgs-boson, but determining the field parameters and amount of 'drag' and incorporating that into theory.

'Drag' as in zero point lorentz force? Or drag from the Higgs field?

Specify 'field' ZPF? Higgs field?

The Higgs field limits the range of the W-bosons giving them mass a 'drag' if you will.

Quote:

Eventually. I mean shit! it hasn't even been turned on yet.

Call it my one piece of 'faith'.

Don't hold your breath. It was suppose to be activated 2005.

EXC
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Tilberian wrote:You can have

Tilberian wrote:

You can have matter and energy without any information because information is only created when matter and energy are observed by a mind. However the reverse is not true: without matter and energy you have nothing...no information, no nothing. Therefore matter and energy are the fundamental elements and information is of a higher order.

I understand your point, that's one way of observing things. But the universe is strange. Quantum of matter and energy has a value assigned to it. When we observe matter and energy, it has this mass, position, wavelength(information). So maybe one could say the universe is a giant coding of information. The matter and energy we observe is just results of this coding.

It seems like a chicken or the egg dilemma. Matter and energy can't exist without an information encoding. Information can't exist without matter or energy. So a universe without matter and energy is like a computer with it's memory erased. Here is an article on teleportation that talks more about this:

But you defend the thesis that there is an "original matter of the universe": information.

Yes. For me the concept of "information" is at the basis of everything we call "nature". The moon, the chair, the equation of states, anything and everything, because we can't talk about anything without de facto speaking about the information we have of these things. In this sense the information is the basic building block of our world.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

inspectormustard
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Now for

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Now for it's abuses. The most common one is that it denotes we cannot know everything. This is untrue, in fact by the examples above, it tells us things we wouldn't have known otherwise.

While it is true that the Uncertainty Principle does not say that we cannot know everything, it is true that we cannot know everything. I refer you to Godel's Second (and lesser known) Incompleteness theorem, also known as Theorem XI in his original work.

Cpt_pineapple
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inspectormustard wrote:While

inspectormustard wrote:

While it is true that the Uncertainty Principle does not say that we cannot know everything, it is true that we cannot know everything. I refer you to Godel's Second (and lesser known) Incompleteness theorem, also known as Theorem XI in his original work.

I'm not that familiar with Godel.

I believe his law involves something about algorithms taking an infinite time to compute or something?

That's probably way off.

inspectormustard
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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

While it is true that the Uncertainty Principle does not say that we cannot know everything, it is true that we cannot know everything. I refer you to Godel's Second (and lesser known) Incompleteness theorem, also known as Theorem XI in his original work.

I'm not that familiar with Godel.

I believe his law involves something about algorithms taking an infinite time to compute or something?

That's probably way off.

That would be his first theorem. The second one says that there are some things that are neither provable nor unprovable, and thus it can never be known whether they are absolutely true. The Continuum Hypothesis is one of those things that we hope to be true in the general sense but can't prove or disprove because it is independent of all the most important axioms. But as usual, like most things, we work around and sometimes use the crevasses and end up with useful stuff anyway.

Tilberian
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EXC wrote:Tilberian

EXC wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

You can have matter and energy without any information because information is only created when matter and energy are observed by a mind. However the reverse is not true: without matter and energy you have nothing...no information, no nothing. Therefore matter and energy are the fundamental elements and information is of a higher order.

I understand your point, that's one way of observing things. But the universe is strange. Quantum of matter and energy has a value assigned to it.

No. We assign a value to these things.

EXC wrote:

When we observe matter and energy, it has this mass, position, wavelength(information).

Not until we measure it.

EXC wrote:

So maybe one could say the universe is a giant coding of information. The matter and energy we observe is just results of this coding.

OK. Where is the information?

EXC wrote:

It seems like a chicken or the egg dilemma. Matter and energy can't exist without an information encoding.

Yes it can. All of the matter and energy in the universe existed long before any information had been created at all.

EXC wrote:

Information can't exist without matter or energy.

Very true. Actually, NOTHING can exist without matter and energy.

EXC wrote:

So a universe without matter and energy is like a computer with it's memory erased.

No, a universe without matter and energy would be like memory without a computer. Which is logically impossible since memory is only a description of the state of the computer.

EXC wrote:

Yes. For me the concept of "information" is at the basis of everything we call "nature". The moon, the chair, the equation of states, anything and everything, because we can't talk about anything without de facto speaking about the information we have of these things. In this sense the information is the basic building block of our world.

Read again what you wrote. Everything we call nature. We can't talk about anything without speaking about information. Your position assumes that nothing can exist without our awareness of it. But it can, demonstrably. Your point should be that we cannot KNOW anything about anything without information. But our knowing about something is not a precondition for its existence.

Can we defend the existence of things about which we know nothing? Sure we can. We discover new stuff all the time. Inductively, we would expect that there must be many things in the universe that we have no information about. We can even theorize that there are many things in the universe that NOONE knows about ie they have never been observed by any mind. Can they be said to exist?

I think if we try to make the claim that they don't exist, we put ourselves in an awkward position when it comes to explaining where all these new discoveries come from. So we need a different fundamental ontological condition for existence than just information. I propose that matter and energy should be that condition. If a thing is made of matter and/or energy, then it exists, whether there is any information about it or not.

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Cpt_pineapple
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Matter cannot exist without

Matter cannot exist without information. The term Quantum Mechanics refer to 'Quanta' or information exchange between matter.

For example the electrical force is communicated through photons, Weak force W-bosons etc..

It is information that literally binds together matter.

EXC
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Tilberian wrote:You can have

Tilberian wrote:

You can have matter and energy without any information because information is only created when matter and energy are observed by a mind. However the reverse is not true: without matter and energy you have nothing...no information, no nothing. Therefore matter and energy are the fundamental elements and information is of a higher order.

OK, give us an example of a particle of matter that does not have a position and mass value(information) or a photon that does not have a position and energy level(information). If matter/energy exist they have information. If there is information there is matter/energy. They are codependent.

Tilberian wrote:

No. We assign a value to these things.

But they contain information whether people assign a value or not to them. If a tree falls in the forest an know one is there to hear it, the sound it makes contains information about the tree falling. It just happens to not get picked up by ears.

Tilberian wrote:

EXC wrote:

When we observe matter and energy, it has this mass, position, wavelength(information).

Not until we measure it.

There is information running around your computer. But you're not measuring it right? But the information is still there.

Tilberian wrote:

EXC wrote:

So maybe one could say the universe is a giant coding of information. The matter and energy we observe is just results of this coding.

OK. Where is the information?

Imagine you are the CPU in your computer. All you can know is values stored in registers and memory. This information is fundumental element of your world, you can't know anything else. Where would you say the information is located?

Tilberian wrote:

Information can't exist without matter or energy.

And visa verse.

You look at a photographs and videos on your computer screen and get the sensation of matter energy. Yet these can not exist without information in your computer.

Tilberian wrote:

EXC wrote:

So a universe without matter and energy is like a computer with it's memory erased.

No, a universe without matter and energy would be like memory without a computer. Which is logically impossible since memory is only a description of the state of the computer.

What do you mean, you can get a memory chip. Power it up, program it with information. It can be stand alone, doesn't need to be part of any computer.

A vacuum of space has zero information, right. When you introduce matter and energy into the vacuum the information count goes up by the amount of matter and energy in the system. So one could say you're introducing information to the vaccuum, matter and energy are observed phenomena due the information introduced into the system.

Tilberian wrote:

Read again what you wrote. Everything we call nature. We can't talk about anything without speaking about information. Your position assumes that nothing can exist without our awareness of it. But it can, demonstrably. Your point should be that we cannot KNOW anything about anything without information. But our knowing about something is not a precondition for its existence.

No that is not what I'm saying. Information exists whether it is observed by a human or not. I'm saying that matter/energy are phenomena caused by information contained in space, not the other way around. It is like we are in a computer and all we can do is read quantum values in memory(space). This information is the fundamental element of the universe not the matter/energy we observe due to information in the memory.

I think quantum physics, relativity and the second law of thermodynamics can only make sense if we view the universe this way. For example, in quantum tunneling , it can appear as if particles can travel faster than the speed of light. What's actually happening is the probable location of a particle is travelling faster than light, not the particle. A transformation of information is going on, not a movement of particles. As it turns out information is what really can't travel faster than the speed of light. It is like the universe has a fundamental clock speed as in a computer, information obeys this speed limit not matter/energy.

We can't know if we are living in a virtual reality world like the Matrix. All we can know is at the fundamental level of our observable universe is finite or quantized bits of information.

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EXC
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:For,

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

For, vacuum fluctuations the uncertainty doesn't just apply to position and momentum, but also to time and energy. This means that 'virtual' particles can appear for a short time and then fade out without violating conservation laws.

So conservation of matter/energy laws are at least temporarily broken, right? But when these particles go into higher energy states, their information is the same right?

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

Cpt_pineapple
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EXC wrote:Cpt_pineapple

EXC wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

For, vacuum fluctuations the uncertainty doesn't just apply to position and momentum, but also to time and energy. This means that 'virtual' particles can appear for a short time and then fade out without violating conservation laws.

So conservation of matter/energy laws are at least temporarily broken, right? But when these particles go into higher energy states, their information is the same right?

The virtual particles are a matter/anti-matter pair. i.e they eliminate each other so the time uncertainty allows for it to be broken for a very short time.

I'm pretty sure information is stored on energy states, so I think the information will change.

inspectormustard
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Cpt_pineapple wrote:EXC

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

EXC wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

For, vacuum fluctuations the uncertainty doesn't just apply to position and momentum, but also to time and energy. This means that 'virtual' particles can appear for a short time and then fade out without violating conservation laws.

So conservation of matter/energy laws are at least temporarily broken, right? But when these particles go into higher energy states, their information is the same right?

The virtual particles are a matter/anti-matter pair. i.e they eliminate each other so the time uncertainty allows for it to be broken for a very short time.

I'm pretty sure information is stored on energy states, so I think the information will change.

Entropy.

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inspectormustard

inspectormustard wrote:

Entropy.

What's Entropy? lulz j/k

Tilberian
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EXC wrote:OK, give us an

EXC wrote:

OK, give us an example of a particle of matter that does not have a position and mass value(information) or a photon that does not have a position and energy level(information).

A particle or photon that we are not aware of.

EXC wrote:

If matter/energy exist they have information. If there is information there is matter/energy. They are codependent.

Naked assertion. Support this.

EXC wrote:

But they contain information whether people assign a value or not to them. If a tree falls in the forest an know one is there to hear it, the sound it makes contains information about the tree falling. It just happens to not get picked up by ears.

No. If the sound does not fall on ears then no information about the sound is ever created. Information is created in brains.

EXC wrote:

There is information running around your computer. But you're not measuring it right? But the information is still there.

The computer is like a mind in this respect. It is able to translate states of matter into information. But the information on the hard drive is not information until the operating system measures it. It exists in an entirely undetermined state, which is why you can be surprised to find that a file has been corrupted that used to be OK.

EXC wrote:

Imagine you are the CPU in your computer. All you can know is values stored in registers and memory. This information is fundumental element of your world, you can't know anything else. Where would you say the information is located?

I wouldn't. The information does not exist until it effects a change in matter or energy somewhere else.

EXC wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

Information can't exist without matter or energy.

And visa verse.

You look at a photographs and videos on your computer screen and get the sensation of matter energy. Yet these can not exist without information in your computer.

Just because one instance of matter/energy can be simulated by another instance does not mean that the information about the first instance exists independently. The first instance still had to be measured, perceived and information about it created through an energetic collision of matter against matter. Eventually, it wound up on my computer screen. But the entire process was dependent on matter/energy interactions.

EXC wrote:

What do you mean, you can get a memory chip. Power it up, program it with information. It can be stand alone, doesn't need to be part of any computer.

Are you being purposely obtuse? The point is that the information cannot exist without a matter/energy medium. However, I would argue that there is no information on the chip until it is read off.

EXC wrote:

A vacuum of space has zero information, right. When you introduce matter and energy into the vacuum the information count goes up by the amount of matter and energy in the system. So one could say you're introducing information to the vaccuum, matter and energy are observed phenomena due the information introduced into the system.

How can any information be entered into a vacuum?

EXC wrote:

No that is not what I'm saying. Information exists whether it is observed by a human or not. I'm saying that matter/energy are phenomena caused by information contained in space, not the other way around. It is like we are in a computer and all we can do is read quantum values in memory(space). This information is the fundamental element of the universe not the matter/energy we observe due to information in the memory.

But you have to show that information can exist without matter/energy and you can't do that. Every time you attempt to point to free-floating information, you fail because there is always some matter/energy medium supporting it.

Our brains create new information all the time with no increase in the amount of matter or energy in the universe. Is it your opinion that we are creating reality? If so, why does no new matter or energy get created?

EXC wrote:

I think quantum physics, relativity and the second law of thermodynamics can only make sense if we view the universe this way. For example, in quantum tunneling , it can appear as if particles can travel faster than the speed of light. What's actually happening is the probable location of a particle is travelling faster than light, not the particle. A transformation of information is going on, not a movement of particles. As it turns out information is what really can't travel faster than the speed of light. It is like the universe has a fundamental clock speed as in a computer, information obeys this speed limit not matter/energy.

I don't care what makes sense, I care about what exists or does not. I agree that there are problems with our understanding of what we think we observe that create contradictions with the rules we made up about other stuff that we think we see. Frankly, the universe doesn't give a shit. It operates the way it does and we fumble around trying to incorporate that operation into our senses. The probable location of a particle means nothing in real terms. The particle IS actually somewhere, we just can't know where. You are pointing to flaws in our math and our inability to create information in our heads that jibes perfectly with other information in our heads. If information were a real thing, floating around out there in the universe, then this discrepancy with particle position would cause the universe to quit working.  It doesn't because the universe works perfectly well without any information at all.

EXC wrote:

We can't know if we are living in a virtual reality world like the Matrix. All we can know is at the fundamental level of our observable universe is finite or quantized bits of information.

But we can't even know that without a prior decision to accept on some terms the fundamental reality of what we perceive. The first position must be an awareness of self, which is the creation of information about a physical entity that exists prior to the information created.

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inspectormustard
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Tilberian wrote:EXC wrote:A

Tilberian wrote:

EXC wrote:

A vacuum of space has zero information, right. When you introduce matter and energy into the vacuum the information count goes up by the amount of matter and energy in the system. So one could say you're introducing information to the vaccuum, matter and energy are observed phenomena due the information introduced into the system.

How can any information be entered into a vacuum?

Not sure how that question is valid, since it would be fallacious given your own standpoint. It seems that you are arguing for the standard definition of information (observables of energy or matter transceived and interpreted). It is not true that vacuums store zero information (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_expectation_value), and it is true that vacuums are a permissible means of information transferral.

Or, one could say that creating a perfect vacuum is akin to dividing by zero - physically impossible doesn't quite cover it since in order to do either given natural axioms we would have to tear logic a new one.

Tilberian wrote:

EXC wrote:

No that is not what I'm saying. Information exists whether it is observed by a human or not. I'm saying that matter/energy are phenomena caused by information contained in space, not the other way around. It is like we are in a computer and all we can do is read quantum values in memory(space). This information is the fundamental element of the universe not the matter/energy we observe due to information in the memory.

But you have to show that information can exist without matter/energy and you can't do that. Every time you attempt to point to free-floating information, you fail because there is always some matter/energy medium supporting it.

Our brains create new information all the time with no increase in the amount of matter or energy in the universe. Is it your opinion that we are creating reality? If so, why does no new matter or energy get created?

I think you straw manned each other there.

Information exists whether it is observed by a human or not: It is known that the act of measurement often destroys the precise state of an observable. When photons of light pass through glass, the photons that entered on one side are not the same as the ones exiting on the other. What occurs when the glass observes and then transmits light has more to do with electrons changing position than the permeability of matter. Only a hand full of the original photons (so called ballistic photons) really make it out the other side, the rest are reconstructed from the electron cascade known as refraction.

Given that information is an interpretable observable, glass qualifies as an observer. Furthermore, as I have already implied there is no such thing as "no matter or energy" as long as we are talking about a place that has either space or time. Finally, while we cannot be certain the state of information prior to observation we can emphatically say that there is information to be observed. Since every interaction boils down to observations and observers, matter and energy and information are meaningless without any one of the three.

EXC wrote:

I think quantum physics, relativity and the second law of thermodynamics can only make sense if we view the universe this way. For example, in quantum tunneling , it can appear as if particles can travel faster than the speed of light. What's actually happening is the probable location of a particle is travelling faster than light, not the particle. A transformation of information is going on, not a movement of particles. As it turns out information is what really can't travel faster than the speed of light. It is like the universe has a fundamental clock speed as in a computer, information obeys this speed limit not matter/energy.

This is now well supported by experiment as of the May 12th issue of Science. A photon entering a medium of highly entangled matter changes the electron state on one side thereby changing the net electron state on the other, which then emits a photon on the other side. Meanwhile, a virtual photon is created and backpropagates toward the source photon at something like -300c.

Tilberian wrote:

I don't care what makes sense, I care about what exists or does not. I agree that there are problems with our understanding of what we think we observe that create contradictions with the rules we made up about other stuff that we think we see. Frankly, the universe doesn't give a shit. It operates the way it does and we fumble around trying to incorporate that operation into our senses. The probable location of a particle means nothing in real terms. The particle IS actually somewhere, we just can't know where. You are pointing to flaws in our math and our inability to create information in our heads that jibes perfectly with other information in our heads. If information were a real thing, floating around out there in the universe, then this discrepancy with particle position would cause the universe to quit working.  It doesn't because the universe works perfectly well without any information at all.

Regardless of what exists, it is necessary to be able to make predictions in order to support theory. The theory predicts the phenomena mentioned, to the dismay of several dead German physicists and the joy of one. Whether observables retain a state prior to observation is a matter of interpretive opinion, and it cannot be said to really be either way based on QED.

If you subscribe to Many Worlds Interpretation, in order to be consistent you must say that the particle IS actually somewhere but possibly not in this universe. If you subscribe to the Copenhagen Interpretation you must also say that the position of an observable prior to observation is meaningless. The "Shut Up and Calculate" Interpretation says just that - anything beyond the math according to the theory is meaningless.

Still other interpretations have additional requirements, but none of them actually affect the predictions of QED or the experimental results so far. So both of you are making baseless assertions.

Tilberian wrote:

EXC wrote:

We can't know if we are living in a virtual reality world like the Matrix. All we can know is at the fundamental level of our observable universe is finite or quantized bits of information.

But we can't even know that without a prior decision to accept on some terms the fundamental reality of what we perceive. The first position must be an awareness of self, which is the creation of information about a physical entity that exists prior to the information created.

We can know if we are living in a virtual reality (more accurately described as a sub-reality of another one), and this is discussed in another thread. So far the fundamental reality of what we perceive is most accurately described by QED, which says next to nothing about the philosophical "reality of reality."

This would be more productive as a philosophical discussion under the axioms of quantum logic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_logic).

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inspectormustard wrote:Not

inspectormustard wrote:

Not sure how that question is valid, since it would be fallacious given your own standpoint. It seems that you are arguing for the standard definition of information (observables of energy or matter transceived and interpreted).

Yes, that is my definition of information.

inspectormustard wrote:

It is not true that vacuums store zero information (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_expectation_value), and it is true that vacuums are a permissible means of information transferral.

Or, one could say that creating a perfect vacuum is akin to dividing by zero - physically impossible doesn't quite cover it since in order to do either given natural axioms we would have to tear logic a new one.

All you are doing is pointing out that there is no such thing as a perfect vacuum (ie absence of anything) in nature. This is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

inspectormustard wrote:

Information exists whether it is observed by a human or not: It is known that the act of measurement often destroys the precise state of an observable. When photons of light pass through glass, the photons that entered on one side are not the same as the ones exiting on the other. What occurs when the glass observes and then transmits light has more to do with electrons changing position than the permeability of matter. Only a hand full of the original photons (so called ballistic photons) really make it out the other side, the rest are reconstructed from the electron cascade known as refraction.

But if the glass and the photons and the electrons were all doing their wonderful stuff an no one was watching, there would be no information associated with this process at all. It would just happen, in some highly technical, irrelevant sense.

inspectormustard wrote:

Given that information is an interpretable observable, glass qualifies as an observer. Furthermore, as I have already implied there is no such thing as "no matter or energy" as long as we are talking about a place that has either space or time.

I would argue that space and time are what you get when observers try to measure matter and energy.

inspectormustard wrote:

Finally, while we cannot be certain the state of information prior to observation we can emphatically say that there is information to be observed. Since every interaction boils down to observations and observers, matter and energy and information are meaningless without any one of the three.

How do you know that the information is there before measuring it?

inspectormustard wrote:

Regardless of what exists, it is necessary to be able to make predictions in order to support theory. The theory predicts the phenomena mentioned, to the dismay of several dead German physicists and the joy of one. Whether observables retain a state prior to observation is a matter of interpretive opinion, and it cannot be said to really be either way based on QED.

It can when you reflect on the fact that without an observer, information has nowhere to be and cannot be defined ontologically at all. Where is information before it is observed?

inspectormustard wrote:

If you subscribe to Many Worlds Interpretation, in order to be consistent you must say that the particle IS actually somewhere but possibly not in this universe. If you subscribe to the Copenhagen Interpretation you must also say that the position of an observable prior to observation is meaningless. The "Shut Up and Calculate" Interpretation says just that - anything beyond the math according to the theory is meaningless.

I always thought the Danes were awfully smart.

inspectormustard wrote:

Still other interpretations have additional requirements, but none of them actually affect the predictions of QED or the experimental results so far. So both of you are making baseless assertions.

The only baseless assertion I see here is that information can somehow be floating around out there in the universe without anywhere to be or any medium in which to exist. What is information? In what sense is it real? You will find, when you think about it, that any sensible answer to those questions relates directly to an observation or implied observer.

inspectormustard wrote:

We can know if we are living in a virtual reality (more accurately described as a sub-reality of another one), and this is discussed in another thread. So far the fundamental reality of what we perceive is most accurately described by QED, which says next to nothing about the philosophical "reality of reality."

What thread is that? I deny that we can know whether we are in a sub-reality or not!

inspectormustard wrote:

This would be more productive as a philosophical discussion under the axioms of quantum logic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_logic).

Isn't that what this is already?

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

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Tilberian wrote:But if the

Tilberian wrote:

But if the glass and the photons and the electrons were all doing their wonderful stuff an no one was watching, there would be no information associated with this process at all. It would just happen, in some highly technical, irrelevant sense.

However as I pointed out, nowhere in the accepted definition of information is an observer mentioned. Observable does not imply observed, thus information exists despite its translation. The essential requirement here is that it is translatable.

Tilberian wrote:

I would argue that space and time are what you get when observers try to measure matter and energy.

How would you support that? How will you treat the known axioms and evidence to show that this wouldn't ultimately lead to last-Thursday-ism and the resulting tremendous complication?

Tilberian wrote:

How do you know that the information is there before measuring it?

Application of Occam's razor. Is it simpler to transfer a state or reconstitute it from previous interactions? If it is the former, then the state travels through time (likely being observed by other states) to get to the present point of observation. If it is the latter, then current interaction must be individually rebuilt from all previous relevant interactions leading to a constant growth in complexity which isn't particularly useful or explanitory.

Tilberian wrote:

It can when you reflect on the fact that without an observer, information has nowhere to be and cannot be defined ontologically at all. Where is information before it is observed?

I'm not sure whether that question can be answered. It's similar to asking "where are my keys when they aren't in my pocket?" We can use induce where information probably was between observations with tremendous precision and furthermore look for additional interactions (natural observations such as stimulated photon emission caused by an incident photon) which took place in the meantime to support the idea.

Tilberian wrote:

The only baseless assertion I see here is that information can somehow be floating around out there in the universe without anywhere to be or any medium in which to exist. What is information? In what sense is it real? You will find, when you think about it, that any sensible answer to those questions relates directly to an observation or implied observer.

Information is simply an observable prior to or during observation. It is a true identity because of the way we define it. Anything that is unobservable, non-transmittable, or un-interpretable under any physically possible condition is not information. Anything that satisfies all three requirements is information regardless of whether it is in fact observed, transmitted, or interpreted. The definition only addresses possibility, not present fact.

If it is true that information only exists for as long as it is observed then a suitable alternative method of causation is required. No interpretation states that information only exists as long as there is an observer - quite the contrary. In a situation where for a time there is no observer the information takes on a finite state. In the case of Schrodinger's Cat we end up with a Hadamard array that represents both states.

The use of intermediate state stability under certain rules is what makes quantum computing a reality today. The fact that those rules allow us to use certain "imaginary" intermediates (see Hadamard gate, phase shift gate, and other devices that don't exist in transistor circuitry) is what makes emulating them on a classical computer look like a slide-rule trying to emulate Guitar Hero.

Tilberian wrote:

What thread is that? I deny that we can know whether we are in a sub-reality or not!

You can deny it philosophically, but as far as practicality goes it's almost a non-issue. Here are some loose inductive arguments showing why:

Logical reiteration of past events is an essential requirement for time, and must transfer upward to any system emulating another over time. Any system complex enough to emulate another system required time to reach a point where it was competent enough to do so, something had to develop it. It is an accepted axiom that complexity is derived from simplicity, not the other way around. Thus, simple rules are usually the answer. Since it is simpler to make predictions derived from the idea that our world is a root world rather than a derivative world it is likely the case that our world is a root world.

Since every programmed system uses statements, every programmed system emulating another has limitations such that it will contain statements which are internally inconsistent and thus produce physical impossibilities which would ordinarily follow from all other rules within the emulation. It is computationally easier to build an emulation from a series of complex rules than a single simple one. All limitations in a system are unnecessary for a natural system. These limitations would quickly become apparent and very confusing to an observer inside the emulation. Since no logical inconsistencies have been found within our world, it cannot be the case that we are living in an emulation.

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

This would be more productive as a philosophical discussion under the axioms of quantum logic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_logic).

Isn't that what this is already?

Close. As noted in the article, in order to dig into quantum logic we have to drop the distributive law of logic for propositions. For example, quantum logic means it cannot be known from a given true statement such as

"Ann is standing left of Tom, Tom is left of Amy"

whether it is true or false that

"Ann is left of Amy."

even though it would make sense ordinarily since if Ann is a particle then she can be in two places at once, or so similar to Amy that it's impossible to describe either without the other.

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inspectormustard

inspectormustard wrote:

However as I pointed out, nowhere in the accepted definition of information is an observer mentioned. Observable does not imply observed, thus information exists despite its translation. The essential requirement here is that it is translatable.

This is semantics. I don't accept the English dictionary as an authority on the structure of the universe. I'll ask again: without an observer, where is the information? In what sense does it exist?

inspectormustard wrote:

How would you support that? How will you treat the known axioms and evidence to show that this wouldn't ultimately lead to last-Thursday-ism and the resulting tremendous complication?

There is no special treatment required. As far as we know, everything was created last Thursday and we are all brains in vats. However, that conclusion is not particularly useful, so we might as well discard it. Yes, I am a pragmatist.

inspectormustard wrote:

Application of Occam's razor. Is it simpler to transfer a state or reconstitute it from previous interactions? If it is the former, then the state travels through time (likely being observed by other states) to get to the present point of observation. If it is the latter, then current interaction must be individually rebuilt from all previous relevant interactions leading to a constant growth in complexity which isn't particularly useful or explanitory.

But the current interaction does stand alone until the observer rebuilds it! People measured the speed of the wind for years without knowing about low pressure systems. Of course, low pressure systems existed, but there was absolutely no information about them in existence until people did the work to create it through observation.

inspectormustard wrote:

I'm not sure whether that question can be answered. It's similar to asking "where are my keys when they aren't in my pocket?" We can use induce where information probably was between observations with tremendous precision and furthermore look for additional interactions (natural observations such as stimulated photon emission caused by an incident photon) which took place in the meantime to support the idea.

Sorry, my friend, but this is not an answer. Neither you, nor anyone, can provide an ontology for information that does not first assume an observing mind.

inspectormustard wrote:

Information is simply an observable prior to or during observation. It is a true identity because of the way we define it. Anything that is unobservable, non-transmittable, or un-interpretable under any physically possible condition is not information. Anything that satisfies all three requirements is information regardless of whether it is in fact observed, transmitted, or interpreted. The definition only addresses possibility, not present fact.

But information in an unobserved form is totally without definition, measure or boundaries. It conforms to none of that which we require of things before we say that they exist. It is like Schrodinger's cat: everything and nothing - raw possibility. I don't call that existence.

inspectormustard wrote:

If it is true that information only exists for as long as it is observed then a suitable alternative method of causation is required. No interpretation states that information only exists as long as there is an observer - quite the contrary. In a situation where for a time there is no observer the information takes on a finite state. In the case of Schrodinger's Cat we end up with a Hadamard array that represents both states.

But we don't allow that things exist in mutually contradictory states. This is the law of identity.

inspectormustard wrote:

The use of intermediate state stability under certain rules is what makes quantum computing a reality today. The fact that those rules allow us to use certain "imaginary" intermediates (see Hadamard gate, phase shift gate, and other devices that don't exist in transistor circuitry) is what makes emulating them on a classical computer look like a slide-rule trying to emulate Guitar Hero.

Has someone built a working quantum computer? I thought they couldn't solve the problem of contamination by entangling elements.

inspectormustard wrote:

You can deny it philosophically, but as far as practicality goes it's almost a non-issue. Here are some loose inductive arguments showing why:

Logical reiteration of past events is an essential requirement for time, and must transfer upward to any system emulating another over time. Any system complex enough to emulate another system required time to reach a point where it was competent enough to do so, something had to develop it. It is an accepted axiom that complexity is derived from simplicity, not the other way around. Thus, simple rules are usually the answer. Since it is simpler to make predictions derived from the idea that our world is a root world rather than a derivative world it is likely the case that our world is a root world.

The world just looks like that because the vat-tenders designed it that way.

inspectormustard wrote:

Since every programmed system uses statements, every programmed system emulating another has limitations such that it will contain statements which are internally inconsistent and thus produce physical impossibilities which would ordinarily follow from all other rules within the emulation. It is computationally easier to build an emulation from a series of complex rules than a single simple one. All limitations in a system are unnecessary for a natural system. These limitations would quickly become apparent and very confusing to an observer inside the emulation. Since no logical inconsistencies have been found within our world, it cannot be the case that we are living in an emulation.

The vat-tenders are way, way better at building simulations than we are.

inspectormustard wrote:

Close. As noted in the article, in order to dig into quantum logic we have to drop the distributive law of logic for propositions. For example, quantum logic means it cannot be known from a given true statement such as

"Ann is standing left of Tom, Tom is left of Amy"

whether it is true or false that

"Ann is left of Amy."

even though it would make sense ordinarily since if Ann is a particle then she can be in two places at once, or so similar to Amy that it's impossible to describe either without the other.

My guess is that the discrepancies between quantum and classical modeling of the universe point to a flaw in our ability to perceive it and model it using the math we have now. All of which suggests to me that all the information we feel so confident about is really just a bunch of twiddling in our heads rather than anything we have actually derived from the cosmos itself.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

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Tilberian wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

However as I pointed out, nowhere in the accepted definition of information is an observer mentioned. Observable does not imply observed, thus information exists despite its translation. The essential requirement here is that it is translatable.

This is semantics. I don't accept the English dictionary as an authority on the structure of the universe. I'll ask again: without an observer, where is the information? In what sense does it exist?

Regardless of the dictionary definition of information, by "accepted definition" I am referring to the prior to agreed meaning of that thing which we are talking about. Thus, to expand what you are asking:

Without an observer, where is the observable? In what sense does an observable exist prior to observation?

Now, if an observable does not exist prior to its observation then what is it that we are observing? Thus, it cannot be that observation leads to the observable, predicate does not specify subject, and the universe isn't the product of its future contents.

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

How would you support that? How will you treat the known axioms and evidence to show that this wouldn't ultimately lead to last-Thursday-ism and the resulting tremendous complication?

There is no special treatment required. As far as we know, everything was created last Thursday and we are all brains in vats. However, that conclusion is not particularly useful, so we might as well discard it. Yes, I am a pragmatist.

Then you must accept my next premise, which is derived from pragmatism,

inspectormustard wrote:

Application of Occam's razor. Is it simpler to transfer a state or reconstitute it from previous interactions? If it is the former, then the state travels through time (likely being observed by other states) to get to the present point of observation. If it is the latter, then current interaction must be individually rebuilt from all previous relevant interactions leading to a constant growth in complexity which isn't particularly useful or explanitory.

which I think you may have misinterpreted.

Tilberian wrote:

But the current interaction does stand alone until the observer rebuilds it! People measured the speed of the wind for years without knowing about low pressure systems. Of course, low pressure systems existed, but there was absolutely no information about them in existence until people did the work to create it through observation.

When I refer to observation I am usually not referring to human observation. I use observation as a specific kind of interaction. I refer to interactions which collapse the wave function as observations, and refer to interactions which don't simply as interactions.

It is sometimes the case that the net result of several interactions is an observation and sometimes the case that several observations lead to one interaction.

It seems as though you're equivocating knowledge with information, when they are not the same.

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

I'm not sure whether that question can be answered. It's similar to asking "where are my keys when they aren't in my pocket?" We can use induce where information probably was between observations with tremendous precision and furthermore look for additional interactions (natural observations such as stimulated photon emission caused by an incident photon) which took place in the meantime to support the idea.

Sorry, my friend, but this is not an answer. Neither you, nor anyone, can provide an ontology for information that does not first assume an observing mind.

Perhaps if I establish specific identities for each it will become clear:

 Information Knowledge An element of reality which means something to future events A series of correlated observations An element of reality which means something about past events A series of correlated ideas which allows us to make predictions about reality An element of reality which is observable The outcome of an observation Is the basis of knowledge Exists only after an observation

One can know a fact, one can know a theory, etc. One can only know the identity of a hypothesis, but only be informed about a hypothesis - once you know it it becomes a theory or fact depending on its plurality. If you define information differently then you take away the stability of its meaning and it lends to self-contradiction.

If something is un-observable (as I illustrated above observable means it undergoes collapse) then nothing can interact with it. The universe would be completely random. What you're inadvertently doing by claiming that information doesn't exist prior to knowledge is making mankind a homunculus for the universe while giving no reason for us ourselves not to have a homunculus.

Tilberian wrote:

But information in an unobserved form is totally without definition, measure or boundaries. It conforms to none of that which we require of things before we say that they exist. It is like Schrodinger's cat: everything and nothing - raw possibility. I don't call that existence.

It is not everything and nothing. If it was then we couldn't make any predictions. To use the example of Schrodinger's cat again:

1. When we close the box, the cat is half alive and half dead since there is a 50% chance it died right away.
2. As time passes, the chance that the cat is dead remains the same but the probability increases.
3. The longer we wait, the state superposition shifts closer to "dead cat" by a specific amount according to the half life of the radioactive material in the box.
4. If we run the experiment a multitude of times, we find that the time waited prior to observation precisely matches our predictions unless
5. Quantum mechanics is wrong in which case
6. The cat never dies according to net probability which would also mean that
7. Evolution is wrong because
8. Evolution works by the same method.

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

If it is true that information only exists for as long as it is observed then a suitable alternative method of causation is required. No interpretation states that information only exists as long as there is an observer - quite the contrary. In a situation where for a time there is no observer the information takes on a finite state. In the case of Schrodinger's Cat we end up with a Hadamard array that represents both states.

But we don't allow that things exist in mutually contradictory states. This is the law of identity.

The law of identity only says that an existant must be identical to itself and says nothing of its state. In mathematical terms cat y at the time t when it's in the box of doom has state f(y,t) such that:

f(y,t)=[t/sqrt(2)]*[1,1;1,-1]

We could precisely identify the cat by integrating its state probability equations from t to complex infinity (a super-task, but not an impossible one), and that would give us its likely position even at the beginning of time as we know it.

Regardless, quantum mechanics doesn't care about how we define what a cat is. We probably wouldn't call a cat at t=0 a cat except that we already know that all of those particles are going to be a cat later.

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

The use of intermediate state stability under certain rules is what makes quantum computing a reality today. The fact that those rules allow us to use certain "imaginary" intermediates (see Hadamard gate, phase shift gate, and other devices that don't exist in transistor circuitry) is what makes emulating them on a classical computer look like a slide-rule trying to emulate Guitar Hero.

Has someone built a working quantum computer? I thought they couldn't solve the problem of contamination by entangling elements.

Yes, there are several small ones. Here is a starting point for the relevant info on that:

And here is a quantum computer in action:

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

You can deny it philosophically, but as far as practicality goes it's almost a non-issue. Here are some loose inductive arguments showing why:

Logical reiteration of past events is an essential requirement for time, and must transfer upward to any system emulating another over time. Any system complex enough to emulate another system required time to reach a point where it was competent enough to do so, something had to develop it. It is an accepted axiom that complexity is derived from simplicity, not the other way around. Thus, simple rules are usually the answer. Since it is simpler to make predictions derived from the idea that our world is a root world rather than a derivative world it is likely the case that our world is a root world.

The world just looks like that because the vat-tenders designed it that way.

inspectormustard wrote:

Since every programmed system uses statements, every programmed system emulating another has limitations such that it will contain statements which are internally inconsistent and thus produce physical impossibilities which would ordinarily follow from all other rules within the emulation. It is computationally easier to build an emulation from a series of complex rules than a single simple one. All limitations in a system are unnecessary for a natural system. These limitations would quickly become apparent and very confusing to an observer inside the emulation. Since no logical inconsistencies have been found within our world, it cannot be the case that we are living in an emulation.

The vat-tenders are way, way better at building simulations than we are.

By saying that you are contending that it is possible to create a

"consistent formal, recursively enumerable theory that proves basic arithmetical truths,"

such that

"an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory, can (not) be constructed."

In blatant disregard for the known fact that

"any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete."

Which is Gödel's first incompleteness theorem. Thus, you are implying via logic that logic is illogical - circulus in propter. This is an undeniable fact of coherency, not a mere lack of ability!

The brain in a vat is a philosophical question, and has no bearing on the way things ACTUALLY are. It only works as long as you accept the implied premise that "a sentient being is capable of physically violating the rules of logic," and if you accept that then you must accept the resulting not insignificant probability that magic is real and waiting right around the corner. It's an actual slippery slope.

Tilberian wrote:

inspectormustard wrote:

Close. As noted in the article, in order to dig into quantum logic we have to drop the distributive law of logic for propositions. For example, quantum logic means it cannot be known from a given true statement such as

"Ann is standing left of Tom, Tom is left of Amy"

whether it is true or false that

"Ann is left of Amy."

even though it would make sense ordinarily since if Ann is a particle then she can be in two places at once, or so similar to Amy that it's impossible to describe either without the other.

My guess is that the discrepancies between quantum and classical modeling of the universe point to a flaw in our ability to perceive it and model it using the math we have now. All of which suggests to me that all the information we feel so confident about is really just a bunch of twiddling in our heads rather than anything we have actually derived from the cosmos itself.

If it were just twiddling in our heads then quantum computers shouldn't work, since we discovered the components using the conclusions drawn from the math. Remember that in order to conduct science we first form a hypothesis using the math and then test it. Time and again the correctly obeyed math has resulted in discovery, and the poorly constructed equations have resulted in pseudoscience and failure. Though it's true that sometimes when you trade a cow for beans you get magic beans, it's not something we can (or should) count on.

The classical model is supported by the quantum model, and it is only our lack of experimental evidence for our predictions that prevents us from understanding the universe beyond QED.  There aren't any discrepancies as long as we stick to the mathematical implications and don't try to draw any conclusions from the various interpretations until the hypotheses we have already are verified.

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inspectormustard

inspectormustard wrote:

Regardless of the dictionary definition of information, by "accepted definition" I am referring to the prior to agreed meaning of that thing which we are talking about. Thus, to expand what you are asking:

Without an observer, where is the observable? In what sense does an observable exist prior to observation?

Now, if an observable does not exist prior to its observation then what is it that we are observing? Thus, it cannot be that observation leads to the observable, predicate does not specify subject, and the universe isn't the product of its future contents.

The observable, the mass and energy, does exist prior to being observed. But there is not information - we create the information when we look at it.

inspectormustard wrote:

How would you support that? How will you treat the known axioms and evidence to show that this wouldn't ultimately lead to last-Thursday-ism and the resulting tremendous complication?

There is no special treatment required. As far as we know, everything was created last Thursday and we are all brains in vats. However, that conclusion is not particularly useful, so we might as well discard it. Yes, I am a pragmatist.

Then you must accept my next premise, which is derived from pragmatism,

inspectormustard wrote:

Application of Occam's razor. Is it simpler to transfer a state or reconstitute it from previous interactions? If it is the former, then the state travels through time (likely being observed by other states) to get to the present point of observation. If it is the latter, then current interaction must be individually rebuilt from all previous relevant interactions leading to a constant growth in complexity which isn't particularly useful or explanitory.

which I think you may have misinterpreted.

Tilberian wrote:

But the current interaction does stand alone until the observer rebuilds it! People measured the speed of the wind for years without knowing about low pressure systems. Of course, low pressure systems existed, but there was absolutely no information about them in existence until people did the work to create it through observation.

When I refer to observation I am usually not referring to human observation. I use observation as a specific kind of interaction. I refer to interactions which collapse the wave function as observations, and refer to interactions which don't simply as interactions.

Then we are talking past one another. You are saying that information is created when a quantum waveform collapses. I'm saying that information is created when a human mind tries to organize its inputs.

When a waveform collapses and no one sees it, where is the information?

inspectormustard wrote:

It is sometimes the case that the net result of several interactions is an observation and sometimes the case that several observations lead to one interaction.

But none of these observations and interactions have any characteristics at all until some human observer assigns them. We can look at a phenomenon and say "Oh there must have been several waveforms collapsed in the past in order for this to be the way it is," but NONE of the information about this history of interactions exists until we reconstruct it by making deductions about the interactions! If you claim that it does, where is it?

inspectormustard wrote:

It seems as though you're equivocating knowledge with information, when they are not the same.

I would say that knowledge is information that is retained in memory or otherwise recorded somehow. But the brain can create and manipulate information without retaining it as knowledge. And until the brain does that, all you have is a stream of raw input made of matter and energy.

inspectormustard wrote:

Perhaps if I establish specific identities for each it will become clear:

 Information Knowledge An element of reality which means something to future events A series of correlated observations An element of reality which means something about past events A series of correlated ideas which allows us to make predictions about reality An element of reality which is observable The outcome of an observation Is the basis of knowledge Exists only after an observation

One can know a fact, one can know a theory, etc. One can only know the identity of a hypothesis, but only be informed about a hypothesis - once you know it it becomes a theory or fact depending on its plurality. If you define information differently then you take away the stability of its meaning and it lends to self-contradiction.

I just don't accept your definition of information as being an element of reality. I think it is a way for the material of our brains to turn the material that enters them into appropriate behaviours for the material of our bodies. I don't accept that information can exist as an immaterial thing that is distinct in any fundamental sense from the material which comprises it.

inspectormustard wrote:

If something is un-observable (as I illustrated above observable means it undergoes collapse) then nothing can interact with it. The universe would be completely random. What you're inadvertently doing by claiming that information doesn't exist prior to knowledge is making mankind a homunculus for the universe while giving no reason for us ourselves not to have a homunculus.

No, I am allowing that information exists prior to knowledge...in the brain. Information is what we call it when the brain organizes material inputs into another form that we call knowledge. There is no homunculus because I place man and the universe in the same category: that of matter and energy interacting with itself.

inspectormustard wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

But information in an unobserved form is totally without definition, measure or boundaries. It conforms to none of that which we require of things before we say that they exist. It is like Schrodinger's cat: everything and nothing - raw possibility. I don't call that existence.

It is not everything and nothing. If it was then we couldn't make any predictions.

But we can't make predictions about things we don't observe.

inspectormustard wrote:

If it is true that information only exists for as long as it is observed then a suitable alternative method of causation is required. No interpretation states that information only exists as long as there is an observer - quite the contrary. In a situation where for a time there is no observer the information takes on a finite state. In the case of Schrodinger's Cat we end up with a Hadamard array that represents both states.

But we don't allow that things exist in mutually contradictory states. This is the law of identity.

The law of identity only says that an existant must be identical to itself and says nothing of its state. In mathematical terms cat y at the time t when it's in the box of doom has state f(y,t) such that:

f(y,t)=[t/sqrt(2)]*[1,1;1,-1]

We could precisely identify the cat by integrating its state probability equations from t to complex infinity (a super-task, but not an impossible one), and that would give us its likely position even at the beginning of time as we know it.

Regardless, quantum mechanics doesn't care about how we define what a cat is. We probably wouldn't call a cat at t=0 a cat except that we already know that all of those particles are going to be a cat later.

I can't argue with you about the quantum stuff because I don't understand the math. All I know is that all this stuff amounts to people modeling things that they see in their heads and trying to make it fit with other things they see. Do you think the universe is doing this calculation in some sense every time a cat goes into a box? No. Only we are. That to me says that there is no information without human observation.

inspectormustard wrote:

The use of intermediate state stability under certain rules is what makes quantum computing a reality today. The fact that those rules allow us to use certain "imaginary" intermediates (see Hadamard gate, phase shift gate, and other devices that don't exist in transistor circuitry) is what makes emulating them on a classical computer look like a slide-rule trying to emulate Guitar Hero.

Has someone built a working quantum computer? I thought they couldn't solve the problem of contamination by entangling elements.

Yes, there are several small ones. Here is a starting point for the relevant info on that:

And here is a quantum computer in action:

That's cool, thanks for the video.

inspectormustard wrote:

By saying that you are contending that it is possible to create a

"consistent formal, recursively enumerable theory that proves basic arithmetical truths,"

such that

"an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory, can (not) be constructed."

In blatant disregard for the known fact that

"any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete."

No, all these problems only occur if the vat-tenders need to create an actual reality. They don't. All they need to do is keep us from finding out that we are in a simulation.

inspectormustard wrote:

Which is Gödel's first incompleteness theorem. Thus, you are implying via logic that logic is illogical - circulus in propter. This is an undeniable fact of coherency, not a mere lack of ability!

I'm doing nothing of the sort. I'm using logic to suggest that we can't know if our perceptions of the world are accurate.

inspectormustard wrote:

The brain in a vat is a philosophical question, and has no bearing on the way things ACTUALLY are. It only works as long as you accept the implied premise that "a sentient being is capable of physically violating the rules of logic," and if you accept that then you must accept the resulting not insignificant probability that magic is real and waiting right around the corner. It's an actual slippery slope.

No, you are misrepresenting the problem. Only our PERCEPTIONS need to be fooled. A whole alternate reality does not need to be created.

inspectormustard wrote:

If it were just twiddling in our heads then quantum computers shouldn't work, since we discovered the components using the conclusions drawn from the math. Remember that in order to conduct science we first form a hypothesis using the math and then test it. Time and again the correctly obeyed math has resulted in discovery, and the poorly constructed equations have resulted in pseudoscience and failure. Though it's true that sometimes when you trade a cow for beans you get magic beans, it's not something we can (or should) count on.

Math certainly works to achieve the benefits we ask of it. If it did not, we would quickly abandon it, as you have pointed out. But none of this means that it is pointing to any fundamental truth about the universe, or even modeling things in the best possible way.

inspectormustard wrote:

The classical model is supported by the quantum model, and it is only our lack of experimental evidence for our predictions that prevents us from understanding the universe beyond QED.  There aren't any discrepancies as long as we stick to the mathematical implications and don't try to draw any conclusions from the various interpretations until the hypotheses we have already are verified.

I don't think this is true. I thought that the Unified Field Theorem was needed to unify quantum and classical physics.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown