I've written about the bizarre nature of quantum physics many times, providing a lightning primer back in May on three major interpretations: Copenhagen, pilot-wave, and many worlds. The many worlds interpretation (MWI) is often summarily dismissed by people, often along with visceral shudders or high doses of outrage. I understand the discomfort. When I first … Continue reading David Deutsch’s version of many worlds
This is the final post in a series about or inspired by Yuval Noah Harari's book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. This final post is a brief summary of the overall book and some final comments. Harari's subject matter, as the title suggests, is the history of the Homo sapiens species. He breaks that … Continue reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Noam Chomsky published an essay on his web site a few years ago: Science, Mind, and Limits of Understanding. Chomsky's thesis is that there are areas of reality that science is simply incapable of understanding. He uses as his principle example, the case of Isaac Newton's understanding of gravity. Chomsky acknowledges that this is a … Continue reading The mechanical philosophy and mysterianism
This is part of an ongoing series inspired by my reading of Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. A while back, I discussed the discovery of discovery, the historical development of the idea that there were things to discover in the world, things the ancients didn't already know. Harari flips this around, … Continue reading The crucial knowledge of ignorance
This is an ongoing series of posts on topics that catch my interest as I read Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Religion is one of those concepts, like life, beauty, or consciousness, that are difficult to define. I used to think it was just worship of God, or gods. But many … Continue reading The superhuman order definition of religion
(Warning: consciousness theory weeds.) A new paper in the journal Cognitive Neuroscience: Hard criteria for empirical theories of consciousness, takes a shot at proposing criteria for assessing scientific theories of consciousness. The authors make clear at the beginning that they're aiming their criteria at empirical theories, rather than metaphysical ones. So they make no attempt … Continue reading Hard criteria for theories of consciousness?
I just finished reading Jim Baggott's new book Quantum Reality: The Quest for the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics - a Game of Theories. I was attracted to it due to this part of the description: Although the theory quite obviously works, it leaves us chasing ghosts and phantoms; particles that are waves and waves … Continue reading Quantum Reality
Anyone who follows the computing industry knows that Moore's Law, the observation that computing power doubles every couple of years, has been sputtering in recent years. This isn't unexpected. Gordon Moore himself predicted that eventually the laws of physics would become a constraint. One of the technological hopes for a revival is quantum computing. Quantum … Continue reading The promise of quantum computing?
A question long argued in the philosophy of science is the demarcation problem. How to we distinguish science from non-science? Karl Popper famously proposed falsifiability as a criteria. To be science, a theory must make predictions that could turn out to be wrong. It must be falsifiable. Theories that are amorphous or flexible enough to … Continue reading The spectrum of science to fantasy
With quantum physics, we have a situation where a quantum object, such as a photon, electron, atom or similar scale entity, acts like a wave, spreading out in a superposition, until we look at it (by measuring it in some manner), then it behaves like a particle. This is known as the measurement problem. Now, … Continue reading The measurement problem, Copenhagen, pilot-wave, and many worlds