Only knowledge from above...

Written by Terry Dashner

“Only knowledge from above can Move us forward.”

On Christopher Columbus’ fourth voyage torepparttar New World in 1503, he and his crew became stranded onrepparttar 127617 island of Jamaica. Columbus’ food supply was almost gone, and his ship was too badly damaged to repair [worms had eaten throughrepparttar 127618 wooden hull].

At first,repparttar 127619 Jamaicans gave Columbus and his crew food and supplies. When Columbus and his crew were not rescued after many months,repparttar 127620 Jamaicans finally refused to give them any additional food.

Columbus did not want his crew to starve, so he came up with a plan. Columbus could tell from his navigational tables that there would be a total lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504. He decided to schedule a meeting withrepparttar 127621 Jamaicans for that night.

Atrepparttar 127622 meeting, Columbus toldrepparttar 127623 Jamaicans that God was not happy about how they were treating him and his crew, so God was going to take awayrepparttar 127624 Moon as a sign of his unhappiness! After Columbus told this to them,repparttar 127625 lunar eclipse began. This terrifiedrepparttar 127626 Jamaicans! They pleaded with Columbus to bring backrepparttar 127627 Moon, and they said he could have allrepparttar 127628 food he wanted.

Columbus told them that he would have to go talk to God. Instead, he snuck away to watch an hourglass that he had timed so he would know exactly whenrepparttar 127629 eclipse would end. Right beforerepparttar 127630 lunar eclipse ended, Columbus returned and toldrepparttar 127631 Jamaicans that God would give backrepparttar 127632 Moon. And, of course,repparttar 127633 Moon reappeared.

The Jamaicans gave food and supplies to Columbus and his crew until they were rescued and returned to Europe. I guess one could say that knowledge from above or aboutrepparttar 127634 “above” is a good thing to have.

I find it very interesting thatrepparttar 127635 Bible declares fromrepparttar 127636 beginning that God createdrepparttar 127637 lights inrepparttar 127638 sky. The greater light refers, of course, torepparttar 127639 sun. The lesser, onrepparttar 127640 other hand, refers torepparttar 127641 moon. What I want to say is this: It wasn’t until man became knowledgeable ofrepparttar 127642 cosmos that he began to make strides forward in religion, philosophy, science, literature, and discovery. So pardonrepparttar 127643 pun, but it’s true. Knowledge from above can move us forward. Let me explain, please.

Before Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) defiedrepparttar 127644 teachings ofrepparttar 127645 Roman Catholic Church by saying thatrepparttar 127646 earth moves aroundrepparttar 127647 sun (the church believed thatrepparttar 127648 earth wasrepparttar 127649 center ofrepparttar 127650 universe andrepparttar 127651 sun and stars revolved around it), he was risking his life.

But Copernicus was not afraid to speak out about his knowledge ofrepparttar 127652 heavens, andrepparttar 127653 world of modern science owes him a debt of gratitude (Copernicus was a scientist and devout Christian). Atrepparttar 127654 time, government and religious officials did not encourage original thought for fear that new ideas would create unrest. So, a free thinker like Copernicus had to come along with his knowledge ofrepparttar 127655 stars in order to move us forward in our thinking.

The Measurement Problem in Quantum Mechanics

Written by Sam Vaknin

Arguablyrepparttar most intractable philosophical question attached to Quantum Mechanics (QM) is that of Measurement. The accepted (a.k.a. Copenhagen) Interpretation of QM says thatrepparttar 127616 very act of sentient measurement determinesrepparttar 127617 outcome ofrepparttar 127618 measurement inrepparttar 127619 quantum (microcosmic) realm. The wave function (which describesrepparttar 127620 co-existing, superpositioned, states ofrepparttar 127621 system) "collapses" following an act of measurement.

It seems that just by knowingrepparttar 127622 results of a measurement we determine its outcome, determinerepparttar 127623 state ofrepparttar 127624 system and, by implication,repparttar 127625 state ofrepparttar 127626 Universe as a whole. This notion is so counter-intuitive that it fostered a raging debate which has been on going for more than 7 decades now.

But, can we turnrepparttar 127627 question (and, inevitably,repparttar 127628 answer) on its head? Is itrepparttar 127629 measurement that brings aboutrepparttar 127630 collapse – or, maybe, we are capable of measuring only collapsed results? Maybe our very ability to measure, to design measurement methods and instrumentation, to conceptualize and formalizerepparttar 127631 act of measurement and so on – are thus limited and "designed" as to yield onlyrepparttar 127632 "collapsible" solutions ofrepparttar 127633 wave function which are macrocosmically stable and "objective" (known asrepparttar 127634 "pointer states")?

Most measurements are indirect - they tallyrepparttar 127635 effects ofrepparttar 127636 system on a minute segment of its environment. Wojciech Zurek and others proved (that even partial and roundabout measurements are sufficient to induce einselection (or environment-induced superselection). In other words, evenrepparttar 127637 most rudimentary act of measurement is likely to probe pointer states.

Superpositions are notoriously unstable. Even inrepparttar 127638 quantum realm they last an infinitesimal moment of time. Our measurement apparatus is not sufficiently sensitive to capture superpositions. By contrast, collapsed (or pointer) states are relatively stable and lasting and, thus, can be observed and measured. This is why we measure only collapsed states.

But in which sense (excluding their longevity) are collapsed states measurable, what makes them so? Collapse events are not necessarilyrepparttar 127639 most highly probable – some of them are associated with low probabilities, yet they still they occur and are measured.

By definition,repparttar 127640 more probable states tend to occur and be measured more often (the wave function collapses more frequently into high probability states). But this does not excluderepparttar 127641 less probable states ofrepparttar 127642 quantum system from materializing upon measurement.

Pointer states are carefully "selected" for some purpose, within a certain pattern and in a certain sequence. What could that purpose be? Probably,repparttar 127643 extension and enhancement of order inrepparttar 127644 Universe. That this is so can be easily substantiated byrepparttar 127645 fact that it is so. Order increases allrepparttar 127646 time.

The anthropocentric (and anthropic) view ofrepparttar 127647 Copenhagen Interpretation (conscious, intelligent observers determinerepparttar 127648 outcomes of measurements inrepparttar 127649 quantum realm) associates humans with negentropy (the decrease of entropy andrepparttar 127650 increase of order).

This is not to say that entropy cannot increase locally (and order decreased or low energy states attained). But it is to say that low energy states and local entropy increases are perturbations and that overall order inrepparttar 127651 Universe tends to increase even as local pockets of disorder are created. The overall increase of order inrepparttar 127652 Universe should be introduced, therefore, as a constraint into any QM formalism.

Yet, surely we cannot attribute an inevitable and invariable increase in order to each and every measurement (collapse). To say that a given collapse event contributed to an increase in order (as an extensive parameter) inrepparttar 127653 Universe – we must assumerepparttar 127654 existence of some "Grand Design" within which this statement would make sense.

Such a Grand Design (a mechanism) must be able to gaugerepparttar 127655 level of orderliness at any given moment (for instance, before and afterrepparttar 127656 collapse). It must have "at its disposal" sensors of increasing or decreasing local and nonlocal order. Human observers are such order-sensitive instruments.

Still, even assuming that quantum states are naturally selected for their robustness and stability (in other words, for their orderliness), how doesrepparttar 127657 quantum system "know" aboutrepparttar 127658 Grand Design and about its place within it? How does it "know" to selectrepparttar 127659 pointer states time an again? How doesrepparttar 127660 quantum realm give rise torepparttar 127661 world as we know it - objective, stable, certain, robust, predictable, and intuitive?

Ifrepparttar 127662 quantum system has no a-priori "awareness" of how it fits into an ever more ordered Universe – how isrepparttar 127663 information transferred fromrepparttar 127664 Universe torepparttar 127665 entangled quantum system and measurement system atrepparttar 127666 moment of measurement?

Such information must be communicated superluminally (at a speed greater thanrepparttar 127667 speed of light). Quantum "decisions" are instantaneous and simultaneous – whilerepparttar 127668 information aboutrepparttar 127669 quantum system's environment emanates from near and far.

But, what arerepparttar 127670 transmission and reception mechanisms and channels? Which isrepparttar 127671 receiver, where isrepparttar 127672 transmitter, what isrepparttar 127673 form ofrepparttar 127674 information, what is its carrier (we will probably have to postulate yet another particle to account for this last one...)?

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