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Thread: Schrodinger's Cat

  1. #1
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    Schrodinger's Cat

    Namaste. I searched this forum in entirety for a thread about it.

    So, are you all familiar with the story?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger's_cat

    For me, this represents the human mind in Maya. Is the cat dead? alive? both? neither?

    In the course of developing this experiment, Schrödinger coined the term Verschränkung (entanglement).
    Then, we move onto Moksha that goes 'what is a cat?'

    Opinions please. Thanks

    Aum Namah Shivaya

  2. #2

    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    हरिः ओम्


    Namaste Necromancer,

    Oh the Physics of this universe, what a wonderful perspective! If I might opine rather than to
    offer an opinion, it seems some how so much less formal ...

    Ah yes, what a wonderful paradox, and one which is so often over looked by those who should
    pay it the most heed; scientists. I have heard it said by a scientist, that were they to spend their
    time asking what the implications of it all were; then they would never get any work done.
    Which is curious, as I had been lead to believe that their job was to uncover the very same
    secrets of the universe? I think the best scientists still have that curiosity at heart.

    Can we frustrate our learned scientific friends, maybe by informing them that Schrodinger's cat
    can be heard laughing inside the box, and then maybe ask them: why don't they hear him also;
    are they perhaps, far too busy looking?

    Thus we can deduce that our famous cat is alive, and quite possibly grinning, as would a cat
    from Cheshire! (English joke)

    In all sincerity, I would like to think that anyone who had truly found the illusive state of
    emotional serenity, that which brings with it true insight; might well see a cat in a fix, and
    empathise with his state of affairs, well enough to set him free.


    praṇāma

    mana


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Last edited by Mana; 26 January 2013 at 09:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    Mana
    Look, you're obviously a nice person, with a happy predicament and a lot to offer by way of discussion. I'm afraid though, I have some disagreements, which I hope you'll read with an open mind and perhaps rethink a couple of your attitudes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्

    Oh the Physics of this universe, what a wonderful perspective! If I might opine rather than to
    offer an opinion, it seems some how so much less formal ...

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    What other perspective do we have available to obtain objective knowledge about the physical universe other than the physical universe itself?

    Incidentally, by 'opining', you effectively ARE offering an opinion; formal or not. Look up 'tautology'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्
    Ah yes, what a wonderful paradox, and one which is so often over looked by those who should
    pay it the most heed; scientists.
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    The very paradox you're referring to was brought to you by Scientists. It is used in the field of quantum mechanics to analogise the observer effect. So believe me - they spend plenty of time on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्
    I have heard it said by a scientist, that were they to spend their
    time asking what the implications of it all were; then they would never get any work done.
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    'Implications of it all'? What are you referring to here? Do you mean the Schrodinger's Cat paradox? If so, it's one of the central precepts within the field of quantum physics as mentioned earlier.

    Just the same, here's a great book on it, if you're truly curious about what quantum physicists are up to:

    http://www.amazon.com/Search-Schrödinge.../dp/0553342533

    By the way, which scientist were you quoting? Do you have a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्
    Which is curious, as I had been lead to believe that their job was to uncover the very same
    secrets of the universe? I think the best scientists still have that curiosity at heart.
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    ALL scientists have the highest level of curiosity of the universe and cosmos within their given field of study. If they didn't they'd probably be engineers.

    All levity aside, what exactly is it that scientists aren't working on that you believe they should be? You alluded to it in your previous paragraph with the nebulous 'implications of it all' catchphrase. Please demonstrate a little specificity here - you've got ME curious now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्
    Can we frustrate our learned scientific friends, maybe by informing them that Schrodinger's cat
    can be heard laughing inside the box, and then maybe ask them: why don't they hear him also;
    are they perhaps, far too busy looking?
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Once again - if it wasn't for scientists you wouldn't even be talking about Schrodinger's cat, let alone using it to ridicule them. If you're not going to show any respect towards scientists, then try gratitude. Do it the next time you hit a keystroke on your computer to post messages to this world-wide on-line forum and think about how it all got here. From Newton to Maxwell and Faraday to Einstein and so on... think about all the inspirational breakthroughs, coupled with laborious study it took to get you what you have today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्
    Thus we can deduce that our famous cat is alive, and quite possibly grinning, as would a cat
    from Cheshire! (English joke)
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    I don't get the joke, but some other time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्
    In all sincerity, I would like to think that anyone who had truly found the illusive state of
    emotional serenity, that which brings with it true insight; might well see a cat in a fix, and
    empathise with his state of affairs, well enough to set him free.
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    I think you've missed the point of the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment. It's not about compassion, empathy or even a cat for that matter (you could put almost any mammal or reptile in its place and the theoretical model would still persist).

    Being a proud cat owner myself, if I ever saw an animal in a fix and could do something about it - I wouldn't hesitate for a second to help. I don't need a narcotic or a trance induced 'illusive state of emotional serenity' to do it either.

    Peace
    AG

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    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    I am familiar with the Schrodinger's Cat paradox. I'm not certain I'd call it a paradox, though. Rather, it's the result of taking the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics to its logical conclusion. If I recall correctly, Schrodinger conconcted this story to point out the absurdity of said interpretation. My problem with the whole thing is purely practical though: how the heck are you going to get a vial of poison to break based on the collapse of a single-particle wavefunction? In theory it's not impossible, so maybe I'm just focused too much on the details. Personally I think the quantum double-slit experiment is a better illustration of the effect of an observer on a quantum mechanical system, but what do I know?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    The very paradox you're referring to was brought to you by Scientists. It is used in the field of quantum mechanics to analogise the observer effect. So believe me - they spend plenty of time on it.
    So much so, in fact, that David Bohm proposed an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which determinism is preserved. The idea was that there were "hidden variables" which gave the probabilistic interpretation the appearance of credibility. However, Bell's Inequality proves that no hidden variable theory is compatible with quantum mechanics. The Bohmian interpretation still works, but it isn't compatible with locality. Locality means that all forces in nature have to be exerted via direct interaction between particles, i.e. there can be no "action at a distance." Personally I've never had any philosophical problem with action at a distance the way most physicists do (though I'm still trying to figure out how this can be reconciled with quantum field theory).

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    'Implications of it all'? What are you referring to here? Do you mean the Schrodinger's Cat paradox? If so, it's one of the central precepts within the field of quantum physics as mentioned earlier.

    Just the same, here's a great book on it, if you're truly curious about what quantum physicists are up to:

    http://www.amazon.com/Search-Schrödinge.../dp/0553342533

    By the way, which scientist were you quoting? Do you have a link?
    I don't know if he was quoting a well known physicist or just conveying an anecdote, but I think he's right. This stuff is more philosophy of physics than actual physics. If physicists did spend their time thinking about the implications of quantum mechanics, they probably wouldn't have much time left to build new experiments and make new measurements. Schrodinger's Cat is a nice idea for philosophers (including Hindu philosophers!) to think about, and it does tell us something about the metaphysical nature of the universe. But does it predict anything we can measure? I can't think of anything off hand. Really what it boils down to is: what does "collapse of the wavefunction" mean? Personally I have no idea. I'm not sure if anyone does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    ALL scientists have the highest level of curiosity of the universe and cosmos within their given field of study. If they didn't they'd probably be engineers.

    All levity aside, what exactly is it that scientists aren't working on that you believe they should be? You alluded to it in your previous paragraph with the nebulous 'implications of it all' catchphrase. Please demonstrate a little specificity here - you've got ME curious now.
    Well, like I said above, Schrodinger's Cat does have metaphysical implications. Hindus believe that the universe is in some sense illusory, as encapsulated in the concept of Maya. As such we necessarily believe there is some greater reality that transcends this physical existence, namely Bhagavan (God). Quantum mechanics suggests that the universe is fundamentally probabilistic. This should bother anyone who believes that the universe is ordered; as Einstein said, "God does not play dice with the universe" (and he didn't even believe in God that much). It makes sense that there is then some higher reality outside the universe. And Hinduism further teaches that though God may descend into Maya, he is not subject to it. One possible implication of the probabilistic interpretation is that there is some deeper substratum to the universe beyond what we can observe. If you believe that the universe should have some order to it, anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    Once again - if it wasn't for scientists you wouldn't even be talking about Schrodinger's cat, let alone using it to ridicule them. If you're not going to show any respect towards scientists, then try gratitude. Do it the next time you hit a keystroke on your computer to post messages to this world-wide on-line forum and think about how it all got here. From Newton to Maxwell and Faraday to Einstein and so on... think about all the inspirational breakthroughs, coupled with laborious study it took to get you what you have today.
    May I hazard a guess and assume that you're not Indian? If I'm right, no offense intended. I myself am a fake Indian (I was born in the West, as you can tell by my failure to intersperse Tamil words into my English). But it's possible you may be projecting some Christian stereotypes onto us, and if so let me clarify. It's been my observation that we Indians will tend to often "disparage" scientists in these sorts of discussions. But remember that we don't carry around the baggage of having to believe in the literal truth of some ancient Scripture, nor do we favor theology over observation when assessing objective truth. Indians have a long tradition of respecting the power of science to uncover the nature of reality. Heck, some Indians go overboard and make fantastical claims about the Vedas teaching you how to build a spaceship (no seriously, I have read people online making this claim).

    We do often think that scientists might show a bit of humility before Bhagavan, but we know that he is not offended or diminished if they don't. God is quite pleased at the good work that mankind does via scientific inquiry, and it matters little to him whether we attribute due credit to him. But when we "frustrate" our scientifically minded friends (among whom I'd count myself), we do so in jest, and absent any threat of eternal hellfire. Know that I am grateful to Michael Faraday for discovering the principle of electromagnetic induction, even though I'm better at math than him (f.y.i., all Indians are good at math).

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    I don't get the joke, but some other time...
    You got me on that one, I'm American. Well I'm Indian, but you know what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    I think you've missed the point of the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment. It's not about compassion, empathy or even a cat for that matter (you could put almost any mammal or reptile in its place and the theoretical model would still persist).

    Being a proud cat owner myself, if I ever saw an animal in a fix and could do something about it - I wouldn't hesitate for a second to help. I don't need a narcotic or a trance induced 'illusive state of emotional serenity' to do it either.
    Heh, I'm glad you share our respect for animal life. But I don't personally know any Hindus who use narcotics to achieve greater emotional sincerity.

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    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    Sanjaya,

    Thanks for that frank, enlightening post. Okay, so there were a bunch of topics covered so let's tackle them bit by bit.

    First off, my initial issue was with Mana's patronizing tone towards scientists. In America, there is an awful lot of disdain towards them that the constitutional separation of church and state is being eroded away. Granted, it's mostly pushed by the right-wing Christian Taliban (otherwise known as the Tea Party), however this disdain is where it starts.

    Secondly, without objective evidence for an underlying metaphysical reality or a god - why should anybody, let alone scientists incorporate it into any investigative methodology? As far as humility goes, I think you'll find that most scientists are in awe at our cosmos and know that they do not have all the answers. Many scientists even celebrate the knowledge that there is so much more out there to discover that we know little about.

    Religion fills in those gaps with supernatural explanations, which is fine by me however it has no place in science - at least until objective evidence is produced. Being familiar with QM theory as you appear to be - Wouldn't you agree that's fair?

    Peace
    AG

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    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    First off, my initial issue was with Mana's patronizing tone towards scientists. In America, there is an awful lot of disdain towards them that the constitutional separation of church and state is being eroded away. Granted, it's mostly pushed by the right-wing Christian Taliban (otherwise known as the Tea Party), however this disdain is where it starts.
    Right, I figured that it's easy for an American to assume that any religious person commenting on science takes the same posture as right-wing Christians in America (who I'd agree are our equivalent of the Taliban). But again, it's important for one to note that we have no agenda to rewrite science to reflect a literal interpretation of Hindu Scripture. In fact, Scriptural literalism is not a popular viewpoint among Hindus. There is such a thing as Hindu fundamentalism, but it takes other forms (e.g. sectarian violence against Muslim communities). Attempts to alter the culture by presenting falsehoods like six-day creationism don't really exist in Hinduism. We do have other issues, like Indian universities setting up astrology departments. But Hindus rarely take issue with cosmology, biological evolution, or any of the other scientific theories concerning the development of the universe and our planet.

    For that reason, "disdain" is not the word I'd use to describe Hindu attitudes toward science. Most of us like science and hope that all scientists continue their work. We just think that Hindu philosophy has additional truths to teach, which many scientists may be missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    Secondly, without objective evidence for an underlying metaphysical reality or a god - why should anybody, let alone scientists incorporate it into any investigative methodology? As far as humility goes, I think you'll find that most scientists are in awe at our cosmos and know that they do not have all the answers. Many scientists even celebrate the knowledge that there is so much more out there to discover that we know little about.
    Oh sure, this is the usual mentality I see with most scientists. The issue, I think, is not in the collection or interpretation of data. I can't imagine looking at some data sample and wondering what supernatural explanations could account for it. That opens up far too many possibilities to be reasonably investigated, so it's best to stick to naturalistic mechanisms. But at the end of the day all scientists have to explain the relevance of their work to the general public, and at this stage the results are open to consumption by non-scientists. At that point the philosophical questions can become important, which is why I think some Hindus here like to comment on the philosophy of science.

    As far as incorporating Hinduism into scientific investigation, I'm not even sure how this would be done. It's hard to think of a case where Hinduism would yield any testable prediction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    Religion fills in those gaps with supernatural explanations, which is fine by me however it has no place in science - at least until objective evidence is produced. Being familiar with QM theory as you appear to be - Wouldn't you agree that's fair?
    Heh, well like I said Hindus don't tend to believe in a God of the Gaps the way Christians do. But you're certainly correct that in the absence of evidence, no theory can be used to account for any given observation. Hypothetically if some Hindu scientist were to use his beliefs to propose a testable prediction, I think that prediction could at least be given the same treatment as string theory. But again, I'm not sure that Hinduism yields many scientific predictions, so it would be rather fruitless to incorporate religious discussion into actual scientific work.

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    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    Sanjaya,

    Thanks for the reply. Ironically, I actually agree with much of what you're saying, however I do have a few points for you to consider.

    By repeatedly stating 'we', you speak of Hindus as if they're some unified group that shows consensus on the topics you mentioned.
    Peace,
    AG
    Last edited by satay; 11 February 2013 at 09:35 PM.

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    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    Quote Originally Posted by Atheist Guru View Post
    Sanjaya,

    Thanks for the reply. Ironically, I actually agree with much of what you're saying, however I do have a few points for you to consider.

    By repeatedly stating 'we', you speak of Hindus as if they're some unified group that shows consensus on the topics you mentioned.
    Peace,
    AG
    Oh I don't mean to give that impression. Hindus can't agree on anything en masse. That's one of the side effects of a religion which allows you to use your own reasoning instead of relying on dogma. I'm sure there's some Hindu out there who rejects evolution and thinks the universe is built on a stack of turtles. But I can speak of general trends, and accepted science is not generally rejected among Hindus. At least not in my experience.

  9. #9

    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    हरिः ओम्


    Namaste AG,

    Wow, cool down I feel that you are very agitated by my post, please, and I am not very comfortable with your point
    to point style of response, I find it to be quite aggressive, we are civil, lets discuss this rather than firing off points.
    I am visually minded and as such find the direct nature of this type of liner responses quite hard to visualise.

    I am writing a response to your your thought, as reflected by your response to my note, in your welcome thread; being
    so visually minded, it takes me quite a while gather my thought into a linear response, please excuse me my eccentricity,
    and consequent delay in response.

    Now you sudgest that if it was not for science then we wouldn't be discussing Schroedinger cat. You see the point here is
    that you are focusing on the words which describe this hypothesis, where as, I will state that the same conclusion can
    be drawn as to the nature of perceived reality and beyond, by having a direct experience of it. As such, no hypothetical
    cat is needed, thus the smile. The manifold nature of reality, has been repeatedly depicted by those who have sought to
    know the nature of the universal self.

    If I suggested to you you that quantum effect, as in the Quantum slit experiment, is plainly viable on a Human scale,
    for those who looks. as such has been annotated for aeons. The thing is conciousness is not an on/off affair, there are
    differing stages of conciousness and states. In fact it spans out, like epigenetic coded patterns, over generations
    implying reincarnation ...

    This experience is directly related to the balance between objectivity and subjectivity, over the populous, when I say
    "we" here I mean the whole planet. I can see this, can you?

    If I were to sudgest that your ego* can be equated to the photon detector in front of the quantum slits, and that each
    slit represents a differing perspective. Upon the apparently solid stripe that is your reality; the fact that you are
    straining to look so hard, manifests a single strip.

    A single strip or band of light is seen, which does not represent either the whole of nature nor a global or universal
    picture. In fact the balance from where this is best seen, as described in Kashmir Shavism, is on the point between
    objectivity and subjectivity, which is in effect. To look at the slit, so as to observe what is happening, with the eyes
    half open half shut ... Balanced within the system.

    Quantum effect, and its consequent entanglement, is thus seen on a Human scale. The law of karma describes it's
    resultant effect.

    praṇāma

    mana

    *See numerous models of "reality" from the perspective of Hinduism; to understand to what I am referring by ego or
    ahaṁkāra.


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Last edited by Mana; 12 February 2013 at 04:08 AM.

  10. #10

    Re: Schrodinger's Cat

    हरिः ओम्


    Namaste AG,


    I can't wait to introduce you to Jyotish!

    My favourite subject

    Rest assured that I have a good mental grasp of the, subjective thought experiment, that is "Schroedinger cat".
    You may have, in my opinion; seriously underestimated the role of human emotion, in relation to conciousness
    and its consequent, energy to matter state, of quantum entanglement.

    If we refer toLisa Randall's "warped passages", her hypothesis of "brains" being the state of life on a membrane
    between differing quantities of dimensions. She is in fact depicting a core idea from Hinduism, Parashara depicts,
    the coexistence of prakriti and purusha, in the Vishnu purana, to much the same effect. Thus theoretical physics
    is hypothetically reinventing the wheel.


    praṇāma

    mana


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Last edited by Mana; 12 February 2013 at 04:50 AM.

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