Re: [asa] Issues in physics

From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Oct 25 2009 - 13:12:45 EDT

*Thanks Dave, Fascinating topics. For example:
*

*[quote]*

*
*

*What is reality really?*

The material world may, at some level, lie beyond comprehension, but Anton
Zeilinger <http://www.quantum.at/zeilinger>, professor of physics at the
University of Vienna, is profoundly hopeful that physicists have merely
scratched the surface of something much
bigger<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18224475.800-worlds-apart.html>.
Zeilinger specialises in quantum experiments that demonstrate the apparent
influence of observers in the shaping of reality. "Maybe the real
breakthrough will come when we start to realise the connections between
reality, knowledge and our actions," he says. The concept is mind-bending,
but it is well established in practice. Zeilinger and others have shown that
particles that are widely separated can somehow have quantum states that are
linked<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19426074.100-quantum-communication-sets-new-distance-record.html>,
so that observing one affects the outcome of the other. No one has yet
fathomed how the universe seems to know when it is being watched.

*[unquote]*
*To me this ties in with Polkinghorne's ideas on determinism. But can it
affect evolution by affecting the infusion of information or mutations? If
someone "watching" can affect when and where a certain mutation takes
place then doesn't it make guided Theistic Evolution a very real
possibility? As far as that goes, does it make a form of ID a possibility?
  Would it matter whether the watcher is transcendent or not? Does anybody
know? Will the entire investigation into linked quantum states be banned
simply because some people or some group might think this supports
designism, and their opponents want to quash this as a possibility? Does
methodological naturalism prohibit the watcher? What about one mind
affecting another? Can God read our minds by watching linked quantum
states? Can God affect the co-evolution of mind and body? (suggestion: read
Polkinghorne on the subject of non-biological evolution of the mind). And
how does investigating this physics help us tell the difference between
Behe's red billard balls and green billiard balls?

It seems to me TE's would be very very vested in making sure all these ideas
can be discussed in public schools because after all, they are the guys
saying religion and science are not in any conflict whatsoever.

Thanks,
Dave C

     *

On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 2:08 AM, Dave Wallace <wmdavid.wallace@gmail.com>wrote:

>
> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18041-seven-questions-that-keep-physicists-up-at-night.html?full=true
>
> Seven questions that keep physicists up at night
>
> It's not your average confession show: a panel of leading physicists
> spilling the beans about what keeps them tossing and turning in the wee
> hours.
>
> That was the scene a few days ago in front of a packed auditorium at the
> Perimeter Institute, in Waterloo, Canada, when a panel of physicists was
> asked to respond to a single question: "What keeps you awake at night?"
>
> The discussion was part of "Quantum to Cosmos<http://www.q2cfestival.com/>",
> a 10-day physics extravaganza, which ends on Sunday.
>
> While most panelists professed to sleep very soundly, here are seven key
> conundrums that emerged during the session, which can be viewed here<http://www.q2cfestival.com/play.php?lecture_id=7976>
> .
>
> *Why this universe?*
>
> In their pursuit of nature's fundamental laws<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19426101.300-the-flexilaws-of-physics.html>,
> physicists have essentially been working under a long standing paradigm:
> demonstrating why the universe must be as we see it. But if other laws can
> be thought of, why can't the universes they describe exist in some other
> place<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227061.200-how-to-map-the-multiverse.html>?
> "Maybe we'll find there's no other alternative to the universe we know,"
> says Sean Carroll <http://preposterousuniverse.com/> of Caltech. "But I
> suspect that's not right." Carroll finds it easy to imagine that nature
> allows for different kinds of universes with different laws. "So in our
> universe, the question becomes why these laws and not some other laws?"
>
> *What is everything made of?*
>
> It's now clear that ordinary matter atoms, stars and galaxies accounts
> for a paltry 4 per cent of the universe's total energy budget. It's the
> other 96 per cent that keeps University of Michigan physicist Katherine
> Freese <http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Ektfreese/index.html> engaged.
> Freese is excited that one part of the problem, the nature of dark matter,
> may be nearing resolution. She points to new data from experiments like
> NASA's Fermi satellite <http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/> that are consistent
> with the notion that dark matter particles in our own galaxy are
> annihilating with one another at a measurable rate, which in turn could
> reveal their properties. But the discovery of dark energy, which appears to
> be speeding up the expansion of the universe, has created a vast new set of
> puzzles for which there are no immediate answers in sight. This includes the
> nature of the dark energy itself and the question of why it has a value
> that is so extraordinarily small<http://www.newscientist.com/blog/space/2007/09/is-there-human-link-to-dark-energy.html>,
> allowing for the formation of galaxies, stars and the emergence of life.
>
> *How does complexity happen?*
>
> From the unpredictable behaviour of financial markets<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19826525.000-financial-markets-driven-wild-by-hormones.html>to the rise of life from inert matter, Leo
> Kadananoff <http://jfi.uchicago.edu/%7Eleop/>, physicist and applied
> mathematician at the University of Chicago, finds the most engaging
> questions deal with the rise of complex systems<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18524891.000-higher-laws-and-the-mindboggling-complexity-of-life.html>.
> Kadanoff worries that particle physicists and cosmologists are missing an
> important trick if they only focus on the very small and the very large. "We
> still don't know how ordinary window glass<http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14179-dual-personality-of-glass-explained-at-last.html>works and keeps it shape," says Kadanoff. "The investigation of familiar
> things is just as important in the search for understanding." Life itself,
> he says, will only be truly understood by decoding how simple constituents
> with simple interactions can lead to complex phenomena.
>
> *Will string theory ever be proved correct?*
>
> Cambridge physicist David Tong <http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/tong/> is
> passionate about the mathematical beauty of string theory the idea that
> the fundamental particles we observe are not point-like dots, but rather
> tiny strings. But he admits it once brought him to a philosophical crisis
> when he realised he might live his entire life not knowing whether it
> actually constitutes a description of all reality. Even experiments such as
> the Large Hadron Collider and the Planck satellite, while well positioned to
> reveal new physics, are unlikely to say anything definitive about strings.
> Tong finds solace in knowing that the methods of string theory can be
> brought to bear on less fundamental problems, such as the behaviour of
> quarks and exotic metals. "It is a useful theory," he says, "so I'm trying
> to concentrate on that."
>
> *What is the singularity?*
>
> For cosmologist and Perimeter Institute director Neil Turok<http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=72&pi=3302>,
> the biggest mystery is the one that started it all, the big bang<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18625061.800-did-the-big-bang-really-happen.html>.
> Conventional theory points back to an infinitely hot and dense state at the
> beginning of the universe, where the known laws of physics break down. "We
> don't know how to describe it," says Turok. "How can anyone claim to have a
> theory of everything without that?" Turok is hopeful that string theory and
> a related development known as the "holographic principle<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126911.300-our-world-may-be-a-giant-hologram.html>",
> which shows that a singularity in three dimensions<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327231.200-beyond-space-and-time-fractals-hyperspace-and-more.html>can be translated into a mathematically more manageable entity in two
> dimensions (which may imply that the third dimension and gravity itself are
> illusory). "These tools are giving us new ways of thinking about the
> problem, which are deeply satisfying in a mathematical sense," he says.
>
> *What is reality really?*
>
> The material world may, at some level, lie beyond comprehension, but Anton
> Zeilinger <http://www.quantum.at/zeilinger>, professor of physics at the
> University of Vienna, is profoundly hopeful that physicists have merely
> scratched the surface of something much bigger<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18224475.800-worlds-apart.html>.
> Zeilinger specialises in quantum experiments that demonstrate the apparent
> influence of observers in the shaping of reality. "Maybe the real
> breakthrough will come when we start to realise the connections between
> reality, knowledge and our actions," he says. The concept is mind-bending,
> but it is well established in practice. Zeilinger and others have shown that
> particles that are widely separated can somehow have quantum states that
> are linked<http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19426074.100-quantum-communication-sets-new-distance-record.html>,
> so that observing one affects the outcome of the other. No one has yet
> fathomed how the universe seems to know when it is being watched.
>
> *How far can physics take us?*
>
> Perhaps the biggest question of all is whether the process of inquiry that
> has revealed so much about the universe since the time of Galileo and Kepler
> is nearing the end of the line. "I worry whether we've come to the limits of
> empirical science," says Lawrence Krauss <http://krauss.faculty.asu.edu/>of Arizona State University. Specifically, Krauss wonders if it will require
> knowledge of other universes, such as those posed by Carroll, to understand
> why our universe is the way it is. If such knowledge is impossible to
> access, it may spell the end for deepening our understanding any further.
>
> Turok says that's exactly why the Perimeter Institute exists, to harness
> the thinking of the world's brightest young minds in an unrestrained
> environment. By optimising conditions for creative thinking, it may be
> possible to avoid such an impasse.
>
> "We're used to thinking of theoretical physics as accidental," says Turok.
> "We need to ask whether there's a more strategic way to speed up
> understanding and discovery."
> Perhaps then all those troubled physicists can finally get some rest or
> at least switch to more mundane worries.
>
>
> I doubt many of them are, in fact, sleepless over these issues but if they
> are trying to work out even a partial solution in some area it may well be
> hard to turn the mind off at night.
>
> Most of these items seem not to have a large import one way or the other on
> Christianity although the question "Why this universe?" could well.
> Comments?
>
> I haven't stumbled on this kind of reflection on the state of evolution
> although I expect it exists? I recall a number of years back that there was
> a suggestion that evolutionists should not talk about issues and outstanding
> problems, as such was likely to be picked up and used as a weapon possibly
> by anti evolutionists.
>
> Dave W
>
>
>
> Dave W
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Received on Sun Oct 25 13:13:09 2009

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