Monday, October 09, 2006

What the Bleep Was That all About?

Quantum physics critique

I just got in from watching “What the Bleep Do We Know?” at my friend’s place. While it’s a pretty cool movie graphically (especially the neural transmitters graphics that make it much clearer than old Mr. Erickson ever did way back in Grade 11 Biology), it’s seriously lacking in some key metaphysical concepts.

First of all, the “creating your day” thing is totally megalomanic, but beyond that, it’s interesting to note the conclusions quantum physicists have made about the macro world because of the contradictions they see in the micro one. Just because an electron changes its position when a scientist looks at it or light can be both a particle and a wave depending on the way in which someone views it is no reason to suggest that the same thing happens in the world we can physically see. I mean, if you pass me on the street on Tuesday, I’m going to look pretty much the same as I did a week ago. Or a year ago. Or even ten years ago, for that matter. There’s no reason to suspect that gravity is suddenly going to reverse its direction from one moment to the next. The reality we have around us is NOT contingent on our input, as many quantum physicists would have us believe.

Now, of course, I’m simplifying considerably here, but the simplification contains a truth as well. And there’s something here quantum physicists need to consider deeper. And thanks to the extraordinary work of Dr. Norberto Keppe, we have the science to challenge their conclusions. Here’s a show that starts the process of doing that.

Click here to download this episode.
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Anonymous said...

Hi, I just finished listening to this episode. Although I haven't seen that movie, I have studied physics, including quantum physics. I think you have misunderstood the concepts of quantum mechanics. From your podcast, it seems as though that movie, What the Bleep Do We Know, made it seem as though the rules of quantum physics are general concepts that relate to the macroscopic world. That is a completely false interpretation. Quantum physics dictates the behavior of tiny particles, and metaphysics plays no role in this. The particles' behavior is described by pure mathematics in many cases. So far, quantum mechanics is, I believe, the most accurate scientific theory we have today - i.e. it agrees with and predicts the outcome of every experiment. Now because the world is in fact made up of these tiny particles, the rules that apply to these particles do in fact apply to the macroscopic world. However, since there are so many billions of these particles in even a tiny sample of something, the probability of something like your hand going through the wall is so tiny that it is essentially impossible. But there is a tiny tiny chance that it will happen. Since the chances of quantum effects happening in the macroscopic world are so tiny, they can pretty much be disregarded. But it's fun to keep in mind.

Quantum mechanics also brings the concept of uncertainty into the world. We now know that it is impossible to accurately predict where a particle will go, as well as other things about it. This has profound implications, which I'm sure we are all aware of.

Now, to clarify, quantum physicists do NOT want you to believe that the reality we have is contingent on our imput. We are not saying that the moon is not there if we are not looking at it. We are simply saying that human knowledge is limited and that we can't actually tell whether the moon exists if your back is turned.


Jonathan said...

I agree with the other commenter. I am a skeptic myself, and What the Bleep Do We Know is in my opinion, the most important film I have seen in years - maybe ever. Like "anonymous", I think you failed to get the message of the movie. The movie was NOT suggesting that quantum events happen macroscopically. You really need to watch The Quantum Edition of What the Bleep which contains 6 hours of individual interviews with each of the scientists that appeared in the movie - it is NOT a "director's cut" of the movie. It is 6 hours of one-on-one interviews with the scientists who appeared in the movie. The movie (cinematically) was terrible - but the concepts were the most inspiring and important ideas that I believe I have ever been exposed to.

The principal notion (which I believe is what you failed to grasp) is that the most fundamental building block of matter are not quarks or electrons - but consciousness itself. The grand unified (or superstring) field theory proposed by John Hagelin, Ph.D., suggests that consciousness is not something that is an exclusive, internal quality of the human mind. Rather it is the universal ubiquitous EXTERNAL field which gives rise to all the particles of the universe - thereby the universe itself, including everything from quarks to the most advanced life forms.

It also implies the endless undiscovered potential of science to discover that which may be accomplished or realized once we advance to the point where we can fully understand and take advantage of the unified field. What was so inspiring and motivating about the extended length interviews only available in The Quantum Edition of What the Bleep was that this superstring field (or unified field) would hold the key to EVERYTHING - even including spirituality itself.

It's really sad when people like you can see something as awesome as this and not feel the spiritual potential it holds. If skeptics have a shortcoming, this is it. While I myself am indeed a skeptic, I never let that take away my sense of wonder or my spirituality. Just because the god of the bible, or any other god, doesn't exist, this does not mean that there is no basis for spirituality. Science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive - they are complimentary. This is the main idea that you missed in What the Bleep Do We Know.


dawn said...

"Just because the god in the bible doesn't exist" you say? I'd like to see your face on judgement day. Talk about refuting. Ha!

dawn said...

"Just because the god of the bible, or any other god, doesn't exist," The existence of God does not have to conform to your notions. He is what He is inspite of what you believe. Can't you see Him in His creation from the tiniest particle to the vast universe?

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Hi Dawn and Jonathan,

Jonathan, out point of view on this Podcast is that consciousness is NOT the building block of matter. That's the whole point we are disputing from the movie. I got that point, and am disputing it. Reality exists outside human thought. That's the whole point we are trying to make.

Please understand I am not being cynical. I think the ideas proposed by What the Bleep do we Know are megalomanic in the extreme. We cannot create reality ... we can fit in with it, or try to destroy it. Those are our options.

As for your comments, Dawn, it's certainly obvious to me that God exists in everything that we see around us. I have no doubt of that. Quantum Physics is a further attempt to take the transcendental world out of the scientific picture by suggesting that human beings are the creators of reality. This is, of course, absurd, and we try to bring this consciousness in every Podcast we do. Hope you keep listening and enjoy.