Re: serious

From: wallyshoes <>
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 10:52:38 EST

Don Winterstein wrote:

> <?xml:namespace prefix="v" /><?xml:namespace prefix="o" />Walt
> wrote: >1.) Quantum Mechanics: There is not a serious scientist on
> this planet
> >who claims to understand quantum mechanics. There are two conflicting
> >sets of rules for observations and for non-observations. And there is
> no
> >set of rules to define which is which. The whole thing is so
> unresolved
> >that QM has "interpretations". If you think that YEC is bizarre, then
> >consider those of QM
> >a.) Instantaneous Collapse over the entire universe (Copenhagen)
> >b.) Many Worlds Interpretation (infinite # of universes for each
> >measurement)
> >c.) Many Minds Interpretation (same as b but only in the minds of
> men)
> >d.) Transactional Interpretation ("handshakes" with the future)
> >e.) Shut up and calculate (The practical man's guide)
> >f.) Several others
> >Now those are not theories, they are "interpretations" (as in
> biblical
> >interpretations) - something that QM requires! ... The physics
> itself doesn't require the interpretations. It's the physicists who
> seek deeper meaning in the theories who require them. The physics
> itself is the set of (usually) mathematical models. No one
> understands such a simple thing as wave-particle duality; but it's
> good physics. (Actually, "wave-particle duality" is simply a
> descriptive phrase referring to what seem at the macroscopic level to
> be incompatible empirical results.) No one understands Dirac's
> "infinite sea of negative-energy electrons," either, but it's a useful
> model (or at least was so when I studied QM). Furthermore, no one
> understands why a particle going at essentially the speed of light
> keeps gaining mass but almost no speed as you continue to accelerate
> it. In General Relativity no one understands why masses should bend
> space-time. So "understanding" and "interpreting" aren't really
> integral to the science itself, although those are the things that I
> suppose most theoretical physicists are most interested in. While I
> empathize with your exhortations to treat YECs kindly, when we're
> talking the age of the Earth we're not talking interpretations of
> theories or even theories; we're talking hard data. Data of course
> are meaningless outside a context, so the data do have to be seen
> within a theoretical framework. To all appearances I just
> contradicted myself. So I'll tentatively acknowledge that there are
> indeed two relevant theories (OE and YE). However, almost all the
> data fit comfortably in one (OE), and very few of the data fit in the
> other (YE) without ad hoc assumptions that have neither scientific nor
> biblical basis. In other words, only one of the two theories is
> respectable. The other is not worthy of consideration as a scientific
> theory. It ought to be cast into outer darkness--although in a way
> that's as inoffensive to YECs as possible. Hence there aren't really
> two theories after all, and the hard data fit the OE model. (Actually,
> science is supposed to involve fitting theories to data, not vice
> versa; yet, once we have a decent theory, we can usefully talk about
> whether or not the data are consistent with our theory.) Don

Two Things, Don:

1.) In order to get “data” one has to make a measurement. That is
characterized by a (properly normalized) projection operator. In fact,
we cannot define that operator until we know the result of the specific
measurement being considered. However, according to quantum theory, the
wave function propagates by means of Hermitian operators. Nobody can
define what makes a measurement different from a non-measurement. That
is fundamental and quite different than “understanding” general
relativity, etc. Even Feynman said that nobody understands QM and most
professors that I have known sincerely believe that “something is
wrong”. You speak of "data" in science, yet physics cannot even figure
out how measurements are made and data is obtained. My point is that
this and the arrow of time point out just how uncertain science is about
the true nature of the world.

2.) In addition to being kind to YECs, I would suggest that you cannot
establish that they are wrong ---- even with this sloppy state of
physics. The contention that I have seen (by YECs) most often is that
the laws of physics today may not be validly extrapolated into the past.
The notion that God just created the universe 6000 years ago with the
“history built-in” is rejected on philosophical grounds --- not
scientific ones. The taunt of “that makes God a liar” is the same that
YECs use to those who do not accept scripture (as they see it).

In this situation, the reasonable approach is to acknowledge that the
other side may be right. Once this is done, I suggest that (with
everyone accepting the other’s viewpoint), more YECs will become
non-YECs than the reverse.

Meanwhile, this stubborn veneration of (flawed) science by ASAers is
totally unjustified, as well as counter productive, IMHO.


Walt Hicks <>

In any consistent theory, there must
exist true but not provable statements.
(Godel's Theorem)

You can only find the truth with logic
If you have already found the truth
without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
Received on Tue Jan 6 10:53:19 2004

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