Show 100 post(s) from this thread on one page
• 10-24-2019, 07:28 AM
OngBonga
Thanks for your time, I do appreciate your efforts to try to explain things to me in detail. It's not that I'm not interested in that level of maths, it's more that it's like another language to me, one I can only understand a few words of. I don't really know how to interpret that post. This is where my lack of formal education becomes apparent.

This is why I would suck at being a physicist. I can get my head around some of the more abstract concepts, but when it comes to understanding the mathematical framework, I'm lost. I guess that's why I tend towards the philosophical side of physics.
• 10-24-2019, 10:00 AM
Yeah. I figured as much.

The best thing to do if you want to understand that post is to grab some scrap paper and follow along with the post while you do it all yourself. Treat it like the notes on a chalk board after a college lecture.

It'd be the best way to really understand the origin of the Planck Length and to see that while it may contain some physical relevance, it was not physics that found that number so much as it was math that found that number. That's fine. Plenty of good physics started as good math. It just means that since we didn't use physical arguments to find the Planck Length, we cannot assert physical relevance based on this calculation.

Also, there are 2 significant and arbitrary choices of what are the fundamental constants when we look at the Planck constant and the Coulomb constant. The Coulomb constant isn't a part of the result for a length calculation, so it's really just the Planck's constant vs. Planck's reduced constant choice that matters, here. Making that choice changes the value of the Planck Length we calculate. So the physical relevance is dubious under these conditions.

Again, it doesn't mean there is no physical relevance to any of those calculations of length, it just means that whatever physical relevance was not a part of this calculation.
• 11-01-2019, 02:58 PM
Over the past month or so, I've been stressing out over getting a handful of new demos ready for a 1-off Saturday lecture. A couple of the ideas failed and that kinda elevated my stress to make sure the other ones were working and that the professor wouldn't be disappointed that I couldn't deliver on every request.

I met with him yesterday to do a first rehearsal run of the demos I have and he was very happy with the results.
I've been pretty stoked the past 24 hours. Feels good to know that the past couple of months of work have paid off.

I'm feeling pretty good on a Friday afternoon. Here's hoping you're all doing well, too.
• 11-02-2019, 08:56 AM
So Ongy, did you enjoy your Brexit party on Thursday?

Oh shit, sorry, forgot.

Have they found Boris dead in a ditch yet?
• 11-02-2019, 11:32 AM
OngBonga
Oh look, poop is delighted that democracy got fucked again.

Enjoy the forthcoming election.
• 11-03-2019, 03:27 AM
How did it get fucked? Because you didn't get your no-deal or bad-deal Brexit?
• 11-03-2019, 08:01 AM
OngBonga
You actually need that explaining? This might come across as slightly sarcastic, apologies for that. Basically, a few years ago, we had a vote, and decided to leave the EU. We still haven't left. Instead, we're having a General Election which will be dominated by the issue of leaving the EU, which incidentally is extremely unhealthy for politics in this country, as GEs should be about more than just membership of the EU. That's why we had a referendum, because it's an important issue that deserves its own vote.

To you, the fact that the democratic will of the people of this country is being rejected is funny. It's an opportunity for you to score points against people you bicker with about it. It's almost as though your internet arguments are more important than democracy.
• 11-03-2019, 08:34 AM
OngBonga
I'm going to vote Brexit Party at the GE. If they don't win, I'm going to change my mind and demand another election so I can vote for someone else. I assume you think that's completely fair?
• 11-03-2019, 08:58 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga

To you, the fact that the democratic will of the people of this country is being rejected is funny. It's an opportunity for you to score points against people you bicker with about it. It's almost as though your internet arguments are more important than democracy.

I guess I'm just wondering how the democratic will was rejected? They tried to pass a deal before a democratically elected parliament which rejected it. What is non-democratic about that?
• 11-03-2019, 10:21 AM
OngBonga
Their attempts to continuously delay what we voted for is a rejection of the democratic will of the people. I didn't mind one delay, but this second delay is a problem. It has put us in a position where we now have a GE that will be utterly dominated by one issue.

I predict a Tory/BP coalition government. Had we left the EU by now, Labour would be in with a chance of forming a governing coalition with SNP, because domestic policy would dominate. I don't think the Tories fare so well when domestic policy is the prime issue.

Remainers are left hoping for a Labour or Lib Dems government. Neither are likely to happen. So this seems worse for remainers than simply leaving the EU on time. A Tory/BP coalition will be able to reject any further delays, putting no deal back on the table. As it should be. No deal is the default.
• 11-03-2019, 10:26 AM
OngBonga
I'd rather we leave with a strong trade agreement and no obstacles for people wanting to travel. I don't want us to leave without a deal. I want the UK and EU to keep the good things about our current relationship, while cutting ties when it comes to political integration. It's mutually beneficial. The Germans don't want their cars to be more expensive to British consumers. Neither do we.

But if we can't agree, then no deal is the default. We voted to leave. We didn't vote to indefinitely negotiate and never actually leave. Brexit uncertainty is more harmful to the economy than either staying or leaving. Businesses need to know what is happening.
• 11-03-2019, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by OngBonga
Their attempts to continuously delay what we voted for is a rejection of the democratic will of the people.

Who are 'they'? I mean, if you don't accept the democratic will of the people to elect others to serve their best interests then we shouldn't have elections. Doesn't sound very democratic to me, and I know how important democracy is to you.
• 11-03-2019, 11:28 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
I'd rather we leave with a strong trade agreement and no obstacles for people wanting to travel. I don't want us to leave without a deal. I want the UK and EU to keep the good things about our current relationship, while cutting ties when it comes to political integration. It's mutually beneficial. The Germans don't want their cars to be more expensive to British consumers. Neither do we.

This is the problem. If the vote weren't so close, the EU would have to accept that we're leaving no matter what, and would be incentivized to make a proper deal. As is it, they'd rather we stay so they offer us a shitty deal knowing we can't take it without screwing ourselves.
• 11-03-2019, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by OngBonga

Brexit uncertainty is more harmful to the economy than either staying or leaving. Businesses need to know what is happening.

It's definitely worse than stayng. Whether it's worse than leaving with no deal is questionable though. If you think businesses are afraid to invest here knowing there might be no trade deal/a shtty trade deal wait until it becomes a reality rather than a possibility.

But it won't happen. Brexit vote will split between Tories/ "Arrrrrgghgghg! Brexit!!" party and Labour will win a majority. And I will laugh my ass off.
• 11-03-2019, 11:45 AM
OngBonga
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Who are 'they'? I mean, if you don't accept the democratic will of the people to elect others to serve their best interests then we shouldn't have elections. Doesn't sound very democratic to me, and I know how important democracy is to you.

"They" are the politicians who vote against the will of the people. I do understand what you're getting at here, but you're basically arguing that it's democratic for us to vote in a person to reject our democratic will. That isn't my idea of democracy.

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This is the problem. If the vote weren't so close
It wasn't "close", and it doesn't matter how close it was, so long as it's within a reasonable margin of error at least.

Leave won by 1.4 million votes. That's not "close", that's Birmingham, Solihull and Wolverhampton.

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the EU would have to accept that we're leaving no matter what
They have to accept this anyway.

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and would be incentivized to make a proper deal
I mean you seem to be acknowledging that they are pushing for a deal that is bad for the UK just because they think they can. That's an insult to the people of the UK and is all the more reason to leave.

They have an incentive. To remain economic friends with a relatively wealthy nation that consumes more than it manufactures. Look around when you're on the roads... probably around half the cars are German. We are one of Germany's biggest customers. They don't want us to leave without a deal, so they have incentive to make it a mutually beneficially deal, rather than trying to fuck over the British electorate.

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But it won't happen. Brexit vote will split between Tories/ "Arrrrrgghgghg! Brexit!!" party and Labour will win a majority. And I will laugh my ass off.
Taking Brexit out of the equation, I don't hate the idea of a Labour government. But they won't win a majority. On the contrary, they will be wiped out by the Lib Dems. I expect Corbyn's career to be finished in December, rather than peaking.
• 11-03-2019, 11:54 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
"They" are the politicians who vote against the will of the people. I do understand what you're getting at here, but you're basically arguing that it's democratic for us to vote in a person to reject our democratic will. That isn't my idea of democracy.

Maybe they're a) open to the idea the will of the people can change over time and/or b) not prepared to give the people what they want if they think it will screw the people over.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
I mean you seem to be acknowledging that they are pushing for a deal that is bad for the UK just because they think they can. That's an insult to the people of the UK and is all the more reason to leave.

It's not an insult to do what is in your best interests. The EU has no obligation to make the people who voted to leave the EU happy.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
They have an incentive. To remain economic friends with a relatively wealthy nation that consumes more than it manufactures. Look around when you're on the roads... probably around half the cars are German. We are one of Germany's biggest customers. They don't want us to leave without a deal, so they have incentive to make it a mutually beneficially deal, rather than trying to fuck over the British electorate.

Your right, they want a mutually beneficial economic deal. Like the one we have now. They also want the political stability that comes with the UK being a single nation that's part of the EU. So they offer a shitty deal knowing we can't take it, hoping Remain will win a GE.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
Taking Brexit out of the equation, I don't hate the idea of a Labour government. But they won't win a majority. On the contrary, they will be wiped out by the Lib Dems. I expect Corbyn's career to be finished in December, rather than peaking.

Remainers will vote with their heads, not their hearts. Brexiters will vote with their hearts, and the more arrggghy ones will vote Brexit. Labour will win a majority even with Corbyn. I think.
• 11-03-2019, 12:02 PM
Really, if Farage was as keen on Brexit as he says, he'd dissolve the BP and tell everyone to vote Tory.
• 11-03-2019, 12:05 PM
OngBonga
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Maybe they're a) open to the idea the will of the people can change over time and/or b) not prepared to give the people what they want if they think it will screw the people over.
I think their hardline position backfires more often than not. If we have another referendum, I expect leave to win by more. It should. The last few years have only served to increase hostility towards the EU. The noise that remainers have made might make the EU think they can play hard ball, but ultimately it backfires. The problem is that England voted to leave by a very large amount of numbers. If Scotland become independent (which they probably will in my life, especially if Labour get into power), then there is even greater appetite for the UK to leave the EU. So us remaining is not sustainable. Even if this current shitshow keeps us in, it's a matter of time before we do eventually leave.

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It's not an insult to do what is in your best interests.
It's an insult to be given a vote to decide what's in our best interests, then for a body with a vested interest in the outcome to reject our decision and tell us what's in our best interests.

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The EU has no obligation to make the people who voted to leave the EU happy.
The EU has an obligation to accept democratic decisions of independent states.

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Your right, they want a mutually beneficial economic deal. Like the one we have now.
This is a matter of opinion, one that we had a vote about. The people decided it wasn't mutually beneficial. The people decided that we'd be better off out. Or, at the very least, that the pros did not outweigh the cons.

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So they offer a shitty deal knowing we can't take it, hoping Leave will win a GE.
You don't see anything wrong with this? They reject one democratic decision because they think they can offer us such a shitty deal that we'll be too scared to leave without one and make a democratic decision they like.

All the more reason to leave.

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Remainers will vote with their heads, not their hearts.
You're assuming remainers are rational and leavers are not. That's a mistake.

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Brexiters will vote with their hearts, and the more arrggghy ones will vote Brexit.
I'm more likely to vote Labour, not Tory, if Brexit isn't an issue. This is why I didn't want an election before we left.

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Labour will win a majority even with Corbyn. I think.
You'll get 16-1, I think. Get yourself to the bookies.
• 11-03-2019, 12:05 PM
OngBonga
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Really, if Farage was as keen on Brexit as he says, he'd dissolve the BP and tell everyone to vote Tory.

He would if the deal the Tories agreed was acceptable to him.
• 11-03-2019, 12:14 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
It's an insult to be given a vote to decide what's in our best interests, then for a body with a vested interest in the outcome to reject our decision and tell us what's in our best interests.

They didn't say we couldn't leave. They have a right to negotiate the divorce just as we do. It wasn't the EU that voted down the deals, it was parliament.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
The EU has an obligation to accept democratic decisions of independent states.

I guess I missed the part where the EU said we couldn't leave.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
You don't see anything wrong with this? They reject one democratic decision because they think they can offer us such a shitty deal that we'll be too scared to leave without one and make a democratic decision they like.

Realpolitik. Just 'cause it doesn't please you doesn't make it immoral.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
You're assuming remainers are rational and leavers are not. That's a mistake.

Not all of them are, but enough that they can strategize beyond the capabilities of the average Brexiter.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
You'll get 16-1, I think. Get yourself to the bookies.

I would take that.
• 11-03-2019, 12:17 PM
Funny this shows up in a conversative newspaper.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/b...ners-7nk8s3272

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Researchers gave 11,225 volunteers psychological tests before the referendum and asked how they intended to vote. Results suggest that leavers tended to be less numerate, more impulsive and more prone to accept the unsupported claims of authoritarian figures.

“Compared with remain voters, leave voters displayed significantly lower levels of numeracy and appeared more reliant on impulsive thinking,” said the researchers.
• 11-03-2019, 04:49 PM
OngBonga
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They didn't say we couldn't leave. They have a right to negotiate the divorce just as we do. It wasn't the EU that voted down the deals, it was parliament.
Sorry, I thought you acknowledged they wanted a shitty deal that we wouldn't accept because they think we're too afraid to leave without a deal.

They're not negotiating, they're posturing.

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I guess I missed the part where the EU said we couldn't leave.
Has anyone actually ever left the EU? Yes... well, sort of.
French Algeria, when they became independent in 1962 (so they left the EC, not the EU).
Greenland, who are still de facto members because they are part of Denmark.
Saint Barthélemy, who as part of France remain an "overseas territory" associated with the EU.

When the UK finally leaves, then I'll be convinced that member states can actually leave. Right now, it doesn't appear so. It seems to me that they just create a shitstorm until we vote again. That's what they want. They don't want a deal, they want us to vote again. That's why they're negotiating in bad faith. They're hoping we'd rather stay than leave without a deal.

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Realpolitik. Just 'cause it doesn't please you doesn't make it immoral.
It's not about "pleasing me". I've said this before, but I'm not selfish enough to care about what I think. Had we voted to remain, this wouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't be making horrible noise demanding another referendum. I wouldn't be crying about democracy being shat on from a great height.

This is about respecting the democratic will of the people, and respecting the sovereignty of the UK. The EU are doing neither. All the more reason to leave. I find it baffling why you support the EU under circumstances you admit amount to negotiating in bad faith in the hope we remain. We've voted to leave, they must respect that if they wish to present themselves as a democratic union.

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Not all of them are, but enough that they can strategize beyond the capabilities of the average Brexiter.
When I refer to the left as "screeching banshees", I'm being insincere. I know full well that "the left" is made up of all sorts of people... smart, stupid, rich, poor, good, old, young, bad, ginger, screeching banshee, priest... but you really do seem to think you can put leavers in the same box. You read too much main stream media.

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Funny this shows up in a conversative newspaper.
Oh the Times said it, it must be true. Link me to the Sun next.

I'll bet that remainers are more arrogant, more sensitive, more likely to accept unsupported claims from media sources.
• 11-06-2019, 05:02 PM
OngBonga
Back to random. I just watched Our Planet, and there's an ant called the leafcutter ant. It's a farmer. As the name suggests, it cuts leaves, which they take to the nest. They don't eat them, they use them to grow fungus, which they do eat. They also emit high frequency vibrations to stiffen leaves, making them easier to cut. And they use bacteria to control their fungal environments.

I just told this to my friend who I live with, and he replied "let me know when they make a combustion engine".
• 11-08-2019, 06:20 PM
Opposable thumbs are pretty cool. I bet a monkey could make a combustion engine if they had them. And language. And walked on two legs.
• 11-09-2019, 05:57 AM
OngBonga
The monkeys would need a little more than an opposable thumbs, language, and bipedalism. Their brains would need to evolve as well. Our thumbs and brains evolved together. We have the thumb because we had the brain to manipulate things. The more we manipulate, the more our thumb becomes adept at manipulating. The more we manipulate, the more we learn, the more our brains develop. It's an evolutionary cycle. Complex language is a direct consequence of intelligence.

You are of course right, in that if monkeys evolved in such a way to have an opposable thumb, complex language, walk on two legs, and the ability to think deeply, they would be able to make a combustion engine. We're the evidence of this. Not sure if you're aware, but we evolved from monkeys.
• 11-09-2019, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by OngBonga
Not sure if you're aware, but we evolved from monkeys.

Haha, you're cute.

Our brains are quite similar in size and form to the chimpanzee. They have similar development of the frontal and parietal lobes, which separates us from lower order monkeys like the macaque, and which contain the tissue responsible for language, higher order mental operations like math, and skilled manual actions. They have a similar amount of cortex, including roughly the same sulci and gyri, as we do.

Their drawback is not their brain, it's the fact their bodies can't do the things ours can. Worth noting that their vocal tracts aren't capable of producing complex sounds the way ours is. Animals like Koko showed that monkeys can in fact learn vast numbers of semantic associations akin to language (even dogs can do pretty good at that) even if their syntax skills are poor (and why would they need syntactic skills if they don't use language to communicate amongst themselves?).

So saying they need a better brain is putting the cart before the horse. They have the brain capable of doing what ours do, but there is no evolutionary advantage to them to develop such skills since their bodies are incapable of executing them.
• 11-09-2019, 07:28 AM
OngBonga
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So saying they need a better brain is putting the cart before the horse.
The "horse and cart" analogy is flawed. Obviously the horse came before the cart. In humans, the "horse and cart" of thumbs and brain developed simultaneously.

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They have the brain capable of doing what ours do...
Utter nonsense. They have the potential to evolve into beings that have brains with similar capabilities to ours. We're the evidence. We're what happens when that evolution takes place. You can't seriously think a chimp, in chimpanzee form, is capable of figuring out E=MC2. To figure this out, they need to manipulate things, develop physical skills (such as an opposable thumb), develop language skills to communicate their discoveries effectively, develop the ability to record their discoveries for the benefit of future generations... if they did this, they would becomes less chimp and more human.

Chimps could not make a combustion engine if they had an opposable thumb, but they could evolve into something that is capable of such discoveries. If they had the thumb, they would discover fire, cook their food, build shelters, lose their fur, they would change into something else. Humans.
• 11-09-2019, 07:42 AM
OngBonga
The thumb evolved because we already were smarter than everything else. We picked things up, and used these objects to our advantage. The more we did this, the more our thumb developed. The more our thumb developed, the more our brains evolved. Our advantage is not just about the thumb. Our thumb is so specialised because we're so smart, And we're as smart as we are because we have such a specialised thumb.

We are what we are because of brain and thumb, not because of one or the other.
• 11-09-2019, 07:44 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
The "horse and cart" analogy is flawed. Obviously the horse came before the cart. In humans, the "horse and cart" of thumbs and brain developed simultaneously.

Utter nonsense. They have the potential to evolve into beings that have brains with similar capabilities to ours. We're the evidence. We're what happens when that evolution takes place. You can't seriously think a chimp, in chimpanzee form, is capable of figuring out E=MC2. To figure this out, they need to manipulate things, develop physical skills (such as an opposable thumb), develop language skills to communicate their discoveries effectively, develop the ability to record their discoveries for the benefit of future generations... if they did this, they would becomes less chimp and more human.

Chimps could not make a combustion engine if they had an opposable thumb, but they could evolve into something that is capable of such discoveries. If they had the thumb, they would discover fire, cook their food, build shelters, lose their fur, they would change into something else. Humans.

No-one would say that, if you suddenly gave a chimp opposable thumbs, it would build a combustion engine. That took humans tens of thousands of years to accomplish after we got opposable thumbs.

But, if you gave a chimp opposable thumbs, a bipedal stance, and a vocal tract capable of making sophisticated sounds, it would not take long before it was making simple tools like we were back in the stone age. There is nothing special about our brain relative to the chimps that means we can use those things to our advantage whereas it couldn't.

The brain works pretty simply really. It's 1s and 0s. If you give it the appropriate anatomical tools to work with, it will pretty quickly organise itself to use them. The plasticity evident in the human brain is not unique to us. The fact that a blind person's visual cortex quickly adapts to process other senses is a prime example of this; and this very same reoganisation happens in animals as well.

So no, you don't need some kind of 'special brain' to take advantage of opposable thumbs. You just need to show, as happened with humans, that dedicating a certain amount of brain tissue to controlling the hand is evolutionarily worthwhile. And that happens pretty quickly.
• 11-09-2019, 07:48 AM
OngBonga
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No-one would say that, if you suddenly gave a chimp opposable thumbs, it would build a combustion engine. That took humans tens of thousands of years to accomplish after we got opposable thumbs.
You implied it twice.

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I bet a monkey could make a combustion engine if they had them.
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They have the brain capable of doing what ours do
• 11-09-2019, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by OngBonga
The thumb evolved because we already were smarter than everything else.

lol. You keep getting things backwards.

The *thumb evolved as an accidental mutation, just like every other mutation is. It wasn't part of a master plan we had to take advantage of our super brains.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga

You've rarely earned this as much as you are earning it in this discussion.

(Edit: opposable thumb - better make that clear before Ong argues I'm saying we didn't use to have thumbs)
• 11-09-2019, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by OngBonga
You implied it twice.

I don't see the word 'immediately' in any of those quotes you provided, either visibly, or implied.

Implying that would be like implying that humans were building combustion engines in prehistoric times.
• 11-09-2019, 07:51 AM
OngBonga
If chimps developed thumbs like ours, their brains would also develop. You seem to be putting too much emphasis on the thumb, and too little on the brain. They evolved together.
• 11-09-2019, 07:51 AM
OngBonga
Quote:

I don't see the word 'immediately' in any of those quotes you provided, either visibly, or implied.

Implying that would be like implying that humans were building combustion engines in prehistoric times.

Well if we're talking about a long period of time, the chimps would no longer be chimps by the time they caught us up. They would be very much human-like.
• 11-09-2019, 07:53 AM
OngBonga
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The thumb evolved as an accidental mutation,
Do you really think this? You don't think the thumb developed over a long period of time as a result of us picking things up and using them to do things?

The thumb was no accident.
• 11-09-2019, 07:59 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
If chimps developed thumbs like ours, their brains would also develop. You seem to be putting too much emphasis on the thumb, and too little on the brain. They evolved together.

Their brains are developed. You seem to think our brain is doing something special that other brains aren't capable of. It's all 1s and 0s, if you have enough neurons you can do anything.
• 11-09-2019, 08:01 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Well if we're talking about a long period of time, the chimps would no longer be chimps by the time they caught us up. They would be very much human-like.

My point is, there isn't a special type of human brain that somehow functions beyond what other species' brains could do. Just like if you gave us the muscle mass and skeleton of a cheetah we could run really fast. Or do you think you need a special cheetah brain to do that? It's still the brain telling the muscles when to contract and relax after all.
• 11-09-2019, 08:03 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Do you really think this? You don't think the thumb developed over a long period of time as a result of us picking things up and using them to do things?

The thumb was no accident.

All mutations are random. So in that sense, yes the opposable thumb was, at first at least, an accident. It's continuation in our species shows that it was useful.
• 11-09-2019, 08:28 AM
OngBonga
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Their brains are developed. You seem to think our brain is doing something special that other brains aren't capable of. It's all 1s and 0s, if you have enough neurons you can do anything.

I'm not intending to suggest chimps are thick. When it comes to the natural world, they are incredibly smart. But compared to us, they are not.

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My point is, there isn't a special type of human brain that somehow functions beyond what other species' brains could do.
Our brain is special though. But I kind of agree, in that other species have the potential to also have special brains. But if they were to have these special brains, they would evolve into something else, because their brains would give them advantages that would drive evolutionary changes. The chimp is an excellent example... those changes would turn them more human like.

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Or do you think you need a special cheetah brain to do that?
Running fast is not a combustion engine.

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All mutations are random.
You're using the word "mutation" to describe the thumb. I would use the word "adaptation". The thumb developed because we kept picking things up and using them. Over many generations, this ability improved. There wasn't a random moment when a monkey could suddenly pick up a rock. The monkey was already capable of it, and over time the thumb developed to improve the ability to pick things up.

I think the phrase "all mutations are random" is another way of saying "this is where our understanding of evolution is incomplete". Things don't happen for no reason.
• 11-09-2019, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by OngBonga
Running fast is not a combustion engine.

It takes more neurons to run over rough terrain than it does to build a combustion engeine, or for that matter to play top-level chess. If you don't believe that, note when Deep Blue was invented and note that they still struggle to build robots that can run well.

Once you understand that, you might realize that being able to build a complex device is not so much about brain power as about anatomy.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
I think the phrase "all mutations are random" is another way of saying "this is where our understanding of evolution is incomplete". Things don't happen for no reason.

No, it's a simple fact of biology. You're confusing why mutations are successful and propogate with how they originate.
• 11-09-2019, 10:20 AM
OngBonga
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It takes more neurons to run over rough terrain than it does to build a combustion engeine, or for that matter to play top-level chess.
Maybe it does, but running fast is not intelligence. The cheetah never thought to itself "if I can run faster, then I'll catch more prey". It just ran after prey, and over time became better at running. idk exactly what a cheetah evolved from, but it was a slower cat. The cheetah didn't become faster because of an accidental mutation, it became faster because it was forced to push itself to the limit in order to survive. If I go for a run every day, over time I will become fitter. If women selected their men based on how far they can run in a day, then human stamina would increase over generations. That wouldn't be an accident, that would not be a random genetic mutation. It would be an evolutionary adaptation caused by a change in our behaviour. Why is the thumb any different? Our behaviour slowly and constantly changed, and our anatomy slowly evolved to maximise the benefit these changes cause.

This is much easier to digest than the idea that one day, a primate was born with a weird mutation, for no reason whatsoever (random), and because of this mutation it had an advantage over those who didn't. The mutation wasn't random... it happened because we picked things up, and those that were better at picking things up were more appealing mates to females who want a male that can provide and protect.

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Once you understand that, you might realize that being able to build a complex device is not so much about brain power as about anatomy.
It's about both, and the two compliment each other when it comes to evolutionary change.

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No, it's a simple fact of biology.
It's not a "simple fact". It is neither simple nor a fact. Are you suggesting we understand evolution perfectly? Assuming you know we don't, then you can't say this with any certainty. You're using the words "simple fact" to reinforce something you can't be certain of. That's like saying it's a "simple fact" we live in a 3D universe. Spoiler - we don't.

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You're confusing why mutations are successful and propogate with how they originate.
No, I'm assuming mutations happen as a result of environmental changes, that they are not "random". The use of the word "random" is where I take issue... that's a cop out, it's another way of saying "unknown cause". Nothing is random. We can talk about randomness in the context of quantum mechanics... the behaviour of elementary particles appear random, but we don't know it's actually random, in fact it probably isn't; it's just the mechanism is so ludicrously complex that it appears random to us. We lack the information required to see the full picture. Why would you assume evolutionary mutations are any different? Why assume genuine randomness appears here? What drives "random" change?

• 11-09-2019, 04:40 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
This is much easier to digest than the idea that one day, a primate was born with a weird mutation, for no reason whatsoever (random), and because of this mutation it had an advantage over those who didn't. The mutation wasn't random... it happened because we picked things up, and those that were better at picking things up were more appealing mates to females who want a male that can provide and protect.

This is survivor bias.

You talk like there was one single mutation that offered genetic advantage and that was the only mutation that happened. The reality is far more brutal and ugly. For every success there are hundreds of thousands of non-successes. Those range from a benign change in the genome to a change that causes a miscarriage or some other horrible disease that bears out in the short and miserable life of the offspring. Not to mention all the minor inconveniences that stay in the genome because they don't prevent reproduction or the slight conveniences that get shuffled out of the genome because the loss doesn't negatively affect reproduction.

It truly is a genetic crap shoot. Nature blasts a shotgun in a spherical direction at a low rate.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
No, I'm assuming mutations happen as a result of environmental changes, that they are not "random". The use of the word "random" is where I take issue... that's a cop out, it's another way of saying "unknown cause". Nothing is random. We can talk about randomness in the context of quantum mechanics... the behaviour of elementary particles appear random, but we don't know it's actually random, in fact it probably isn't; it's just the mechanism is so ludicrously complex that it appears random to us. We lack the information required to see the full picture. Why would you assume evolutionary mutations are any different? Why assume genuine randomness appears here? What drives "random" change?

Spoiler: It's quantum mechanics fudging up the DNA replication process which requires an obscene number of correctly manipulated molecules in every cell division. There is a rigorous, and IMO magical, series of molecular processes that find and correct errors, but they sometimes have errors themselves. This is due to QM jumping in and making things weird with non-0 probabilities.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga

If the changes aren't random, but for the benefit of the species, then how can species change unsuccessfully and become extinct?
• 11-09-2019, 05:43 PM
Mojo gets it.

Mutations are random. Selection is nonrandom. That's the difference. The selection happens after the mutations, not before.
• 11-09-2019, 07:00 PM
OngBonga
I don't get nearly as much enjoyment arguing the opposite with mojo, but I'll reiterate one thing which I truly believe... nothing is random.

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If the changes aren't random, but for the benefit of the species, then how can species change unsuccessfully and become extinct?
If a volcano goes off and cools the planet, then we might expect evolutionary changes that might not be of benefit. There are an uncountable number of different scenarios which might have this kind of effect, none of them random.

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You talk like there was one single mutation that offered genetic advantage and that was the only mutation that happened.
Well I don't think this, so you're misreading my tone. We are where we are today because of a ludicrous number of unfathomably unlikely events, the most obvious of which is the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. If not for any of these events, then life on this planet would be a great deal different to what we observe. We probably wouldn't observe it. I don't think that humans evolved because of a single mutation, I am completely aware that many mutations happened for us to thrive today.

None of this is random. Everything that has happened, it has a cause. Whether free will plays a role is another matter, I'm not necessarily arguing that everything was set in motion at the instant of the big bang, or whatever. I'm not rejecting that concept either.

I reject randomness. Where we observe randomness, it is my strongly held belief that this represents a limit of our understanding. Whether that's evolution, quantum mechanics, whatever, randomness emerges when we lack complete information.
• 11-09-2019, 07:03 PM
OngBonga
Quote:

Mojo gets it.

Mutations are random. Selection is nonrandom. That's the difference. The selection happens after the mutations, not before.

Mutations appear random because we lack the information to understand what really causes them. I mean, if you disagree, fair enough, but you're no better placed than I am to say with any certainty. We're into the realm of philosophy here, not biology.
• 11-09-2019, 07:07 PM
CoccoBill
"If I go for a run every day, over time I will become fitter. If women selected their men based on how far they can run in a day, then human stamina would increase over generations."

You're mixing two things here. If you run every day, you will become fitter. That does not automatically nor directly mean your offspring will inherit those benefits, as in those are not (necessarily) genetic inheritable traits. Running more does not (generally) alter your DNA. There is, though, a thing called epigenetics which means possible heritable phenotype changes outside of DNA, but we don't really understand much of it yet. The latter part of what you say is true though.
• 11-09-2019, 07:15 PM
1. The vast majority of mutations are maladaptive, just as you would expect if they were random. If you throw a random change into an already finely-tuned system, more often than not it's going to hurt, not help.

2. You don't inherit acquired traits, that's known as Lamarckianism and has been debunked for over a hundred years.
• 11-09-2019, 07:33 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
I don't get nearly as much enjoyment arguing the opposite with mojo, but I'll reiterate one thing which I truly believe... nothing is random.

You believe in entropy though, right? You accept that there is such a thing as complete disorder?

So, apply that to a die roll. There is an equal chance of getting any one of the six outcomes, such that over infinite trials p(1) =p(2) =p(3) =p(4)=p(5)=p(6)= 1/6. In this sense, the outcome is (gasp) random.

It's an orthogonal question whether you can say the outcome of an individual trial can be determined with enough prior information. We're not talking about individual trials here, but the overall pattern. And so even if you can explain (and you can't) why particular proto-human X got the opposable thumb mutation instead of the balls-on-the-forehead mutation that proto-human Y got, it doesn't change the fact that either of those mutations was equally likely to happen in an infinite series of mutations, and the former was successful because it was adaptive and the latter failed because it wasn't.
• 11-09-2019, 07:38 PM
E.g., take a single die roll and assume perfect information. You know exactly all the forces that will act on the die and that as a result it will end up as a '1'. However, those forces will change on the next die roll and the outcome will be a '4'. Then a '3'. And so on. And the overall pattern will end up as an equal probability for each outcome.

So now, you have enough information to predict any particular outcome but that doesn't change the fact that the overall pattern of outcomes is random. That's what I mean by saying your ability to predict a particular outcome is orthogonal to the overall randomness of the system. And having perfect information as to the cause of any individual outcome doesn't change that.
• 11-10-2019, 04:01 AM
CoccoBill
Finally on topic discussion.
• 11-10-2019, 05:59 AM
OngBonga
cocco, you do realise that marathons and long distance running in general is dominated by Kenyans and Ethiopians, right? I realise I largely simplified matters, me being fit doesn't mean my children will be, but over several generations then yes, fitness would improve.
• 11-10-2019, 06:07 AM
OngBonga
Quote:

You believe in entropy though, right? You accept that there is such a thing as complete disorder?

So, apply that to a die roll. There is an equal chance of getting any one of the six outcomes, such that over infinite trials p(1) =p(2) =p(3) =p(4)=p(5)=p(6)= 1/6. In this sense, the outcome is (gasp) random.

It's an orthogonal question whether you can say the outcome of an individual trial can be determined with enough prior information. We're not talking about individual trials here, but the overall pattern. And so even if you can explain (and you can't) why particular proto-human X got the opposable thumb mutation instead of the balls-on-the-forehead mutation that proto-human Y got, it doesn't change the fact that either of those mutations was equally likely to happen in an infinite series of mutations, and the former was successful because it was adaptive and the latter failed because it wasn't.

A dice roll is not random, though, is it? The outcome is determined from the instant you let go of the dice. Randomness emerges because we cannot throw a dice in exactly the same way every time. Randomness emerges because we cannot hope to measure and calculate the initial conditions. But nothing random happens when we throw a dice.

Entropy is an excellent example of randomness emerging as a consequence of limited understanding. Accepting entropy does not necessarily mean one accepts "complete disorder". Entropy is just a massively complex roll of a dice.

Quote:

E.g., take a single die roll and assume perfect information. You know exactly all the forces that will act on the die and that as a result it will end up as a '1'. However, those forces will change on the next die roll and the outcome will be a '4'. Then a '3'. And so on. And the overall pattern will end up as an equal probability for each outcome.
The "randomness" you observe here is a result of our limited ability, there is nothing inherently random here. If you throw the dice with exactly the same forces, the same spin, the same initial conditions, then you get the same result. The problem is we can't actually do that. Randomness emerges as a result. But it's not true randomness. For something to be truly random, then every outcome needs equal probability regardless of initial conditions.

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And having perfect information as to the cause of any individual outcome doesn't change that.
Perfect information removes randomness because now every outcome does not have equal probability... we know the outcome in advance.
• 11-10-2019, 06:12 AM
OngBonga
I think we view randomness differently. You call something random if you observe equal probability. But you only expect equal probability because you have limited information.

I consider randomness to be an inherent property of nature... or more to the point, I don't believe such an inherent property exists in nature. True randomness is an equal probability of different outcomes when initial conditions are identical. That''s what I reject.
• 11-10-2019, 06:32 AM
CoccoBill
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
cocco, you do realise that marathons and long distance running in general is dominated by Kenyans and Ethiopians, right?

Yup, but is it due to genetics or environment, or how much of each?

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
I realise I largely simplified matters, me being fit doesn't mean my children will be, but over several generations then yes, fitness would improve.

If those members of your family who had a genetic advantage in running were also due to that more likely to survive and create more offspring, yes. Any of them practicing running and getting better would not give their offspring a genetic advantage in running.
• 11-10-2019, 06:45 AM
OngBonga
Quote:

Yup, but is it due to genetics or environment, or how much of each?
Both. Genetics probably plays a larger role, but that's just a guess to be honest. I can't see a hot desert being ideal for long distance running. It seems more logical to assume a cool climate would be more suitable. But frankly I don't know.

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If those members of your family who had a genetic advantage in running were also due to that more likely to survive and create more offspring, yes.
This is why I added the caveat "if women selected their men based on fitness".
• 11-10-2019, 06:57 AM
CoccoBill
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Both. Genetics probably plays a larger role, but that's just a guess to be honest. I can't see a hot desert being ideal for long distance running. It seems more logical to assume a cool climate would be more suitable. But frankly I don't know.

I don't know either, but I would think it's exactly those less than ideal conditions that create great runners. I would wager a majority of them are from poor areas, where they literally run to school, work, everywhere, most of the time from an early age. Doing that in scorching heat every day should give quite an advantage. Maybe 50-50 nature vs nurture, I'd say.
• 11-10-2019, 07:21 AM
OngBonga
Quite possibly, but it's also highly unlikely that Kenya and Ethiopia would dominate if it wasn't for both genetics and environment. Culture plays an important role. No doubt, these Africans are extremely proud of their achievements, which serves as motivation for their kids. Running puts these nations on the map, and gives their stars high status amongst their peers. It's the same with Jamaica, although it's short distance running they thrive at. These people are better built, on average, for running.

Being poor certainly is a factor. Kenyan kids aren't playing FIFA on the PlayStation like English kids. Running is free. So it's clearly not all genetics. But when certain nations dominate, you can't ignore genetics. Sudan is also poor, they don't thrive at running. So there's more to it than environment, too.
• 11-10-2019, 10:10 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
True randomness is an equal probability of different outcomes when initial conditions are identical. That''s what I reject.

Wait, I thought you had a hard on for physics. Isn't that what quantum theory says, things happen randomly?
• 11-10-2019, 10:45 AM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
different outcomes when initial conditions are identical.

How are initial conditions ever going to be identical? Is proto-human X going to present the exact same initial conditions as proto-human Y when a mutation occurs?

I think you're still thinking about individual outcomes here and not population-level randomness.
• 11-10-2019, 12:06 PM
OngBonga
Quote:

Wait, I thought you had a hard on for physics. Isn't that what quantum theory says, things happen randomly?

Having a hard on for physics does not mean blindly accepting "common consensus". Our theory of quantum mechanics is incomplete, I'm pretty sure every particle physicist will agree as much.

I'll say it again... randomness emerges when we lack complete information. The problem with quantum mechanics is that the initial conditions are unmeasureable by their very nature, and there's 10 to the power of a ludicrous number of things to measure, even if we could measure them. Of course apparent randomness emerges to our puny brains.

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How are initial conditions ever going to be identical?
They're not. That doesn't mean the outcome of any one event is random, it just means apparent randomness emerges in the context of statistical analysis. When we look at what happens over a sample size of a million, it appears random. But as someone (presumably) interested in poker, you understand already that a single hand is not random, even if we can use the apparent randomness that emerges to calculate the most profitable way to play a given hand.

This "population-level" randomness isn't true randomness. No single event is random. Lots of non-random events combine to create the illusion of population-level randomness, as you call it. But it's a figment of our imagination, it's nothing more than a mental concept. Nothing happened as a result of a random event.

That is, unless I'm wrong about randomness at the quantum level, which I might be.
• 11-10-2019, 03:55 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Having a hard on for physics does not mean blindly accepting "common consensus".

Quite the opposite, in fact.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Our theory of quantum mechanics is incomplete, I'm pretty sure every particle physicist will agree as much.

Yes.
Furthermore, it's important to remember that the "Standard Model of Particle Physics plus Lambda CDM" is, as the name states, a model.
Saying, "the Universe behaves like A," is not the same as saying, "The universe is A."

All of physics is a model. If that model is an accurate representation of some deep, underlying Truth, then that's cool. However, the purpose of physics is not to reveal what is True, rather it is to reveal what can be predicted, and to what extent it can be predicted.

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Originally Posted by OngBonga
I'll say it again... randomness emerges when we lack complete information.

Fine, that's your model. Just keep in mind that it's just as frail as the Standard Model you poopood on for simply being a model.

There's no reason we can't have multiple models. We already kinda do, in that we tack the "+ Lambda CDM" on the end of the name "Standard Model of Particle Physics." Lambda is for dark energy and CDM is Cold, Dark Matter... dark matter. All of which is not really including GR, except that the Lambda term is chosen because of a Lambda in Einstein's equations, his self-named "greatest blunder."
So we already have multiple models.

Does your model predict anything that is either not predicted by the current physical models, or which is at odds with same?
If so, testing those is your path to increasing the validity of your claim.
If not, then you have re-stated the current models (or some part thereof) in a way which changes your interpretation of physics, without changing physics.

FWIW, where the SM is incomplete is not here. Mathematically, we can rigorously calculate what "perfect random variables" "should" behave like and we can apply QM and probability theory to show what those predict, given PRV's are behind it all, and that is what experiment shows... to 30+ sig figs. After all the experimental uncertainty sources are accounted for, the spread in the data is confirmed to be exactly that much predicted by the SM. That uncertainty is NOT due to a lack of "perfect information." That uncertainty is precisely calculated in accordance with information "as perfect as nature allows."

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
The problem with quantum mechanics is that the initial conditions are unmeasureable by their very nature, and there's 10 to the power of a ludicrous number of things to measure, even if we could measure them. Of course apparent randomness emerges to our puny brains.

There are many problems with QM. I don't think these criticisms are correct for experimental QM. When dealing with "small numbers" of particles, not only are the initial conditions also a "small," countable number, but also, the theory gives us a means of creating a mathematically complete set of variables to describe the system.

If you're talking about describing the universe as a single wave function, then yeah... there are far too many quantum variables in the initial conditions to ever hope of describing them all, with theoretical reasons that is impossible on any time scale.

In short, you need at least as many atoms to use as bits as atomic states you want to store in memory. So the theoretical best you could do would be to turn half the atoms in the universe into a memory bank holding the states of the atoms in the other half of the universe. That's not even using that information to do anything. That's just if information can be stored "perfectly."

Also, this is a logical consequence to your asserted model. If the SM is incomplete, yet as complete as observation allows, and we can prove that even if there are variables we cannot observe, that those variables do not act "locally," that is, in accordance with GR, then you must be right. There are hidden variables that act non-locally, which our current model has absolutely no means of dealing with, because our model is based on what can be observed, and "hidden" means unobservable, so we're screwed.

Yeah... brains are often more of a hindrance than a help when trying to be smarter. lol.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
They're not. That doesn't mean the outcome of any one event is random, it just means apparent randomness emerges in the context of statistical analysis. When we look at what happens over a sample size of a million, it appears random. But as someone (presumably) interested in poker, you understand already that a single hand is not random, even if we can use the apparent randomness that emerges to calculate the most profitable way to play a given hand.

This "population-level" randomness isn't true randomness. No single event is random. Lots of non-random events combine to create the illusion of population-level randomness, as you call it. But it's a figment of our imagination, it's nothing more than a mental concept. Nothing happened as a result of a random event.

That is, unless I'm wrong about randomness at the quantum level, which I might be.

Well said.

It's just that Quantum randomness is an altogether different beast.
• 11-10-2019, 05:09 PM
OngBonga
Quote:

Quite the opposite, in fact.
I don't like to disagree with you, but... I disagree. Being a physicist means accepting common consensus. I'm no physicist! I just like physics.

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However, the purpose of physics is not to reveal what is True, rather it is to reveal what can be predicted, and to what extent it can be predicted.
Yeah, we've had this discussion before, and I get it. This is why I'm no physicist. I'm more interested in "why" than prediction. In the context of this discussion, apparent randomness is an excellent prediction tool. But it does nothing to explain the underlying causes. It's just a method for us to predict.

Quote:

Fine, that's your model. Just keep in mind that it's just as frail as the Standard Model you poopood on for simply being a model.
I'm not poopooing on anything, I'm just pointing out that it's not necessarily right. In fact we know it's not right, in a complete sense at least. I hold Einstein's Theory of Relativity in the highest regard, but that is also incomplete. Me saying "randomness is an emergent property and not an inherent one" is not really a model, it's a belief. It's almost religious, only it's not based on a book, or culture. It's not a delusion, not least because I'm open to be proven wrong.

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Does your model predict anything that is either not predicted by the current physical models, or which is at odds with same?
Not at all. My "model" is identical, it's just I would use the caveat "apparent" or "emergent" in front of the word "randomness". In all other aspects, it is identical. The only difference is I don't like the nature of the word "randomness" because it implies no direct cause. My claim is that "if A happens, B is the outcome", as opposed to "if A happens, B or C might happen". If we find ourselves in a situation where B or C might be the outcome, then we lack complete information. That isn't at odds with the Standard Model, because the Standard Model doesn't pretend to be complete. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the question of randomness isn't a critical aspect of the SM. Whether it's inherent or emergent is irrelevant. We both agree randomness exists, we just disagree on what randomness actually is a the fundamental level.

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If not, then you have re-stated the current models (or some part thereof) in a way which changes your interpretation of physics, without changing physics.
I'm not trying to change physics. I'm rejecting the idea of inherent randomness. Doing so isn't to reject physics, it's to reject an interpretation, an assumption, and replacing it with my own assumption.

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Mathematically, we can rigorously calculate what "perfect random variables" "should" behave like and we can apply QM and probability theory to show what those predict, given PRV's are behind it all, and that is what experiment shows...
I'm not at all surprised that the SM successfully predicts "perfect random variables". It's like playing a googolplex of poker hands. The predictive power of probability would be awesomely accurate at this scale. Of course, you might get dealt AA a large number of times (to us) more or less than expected, but given the scale, this hardly touches the accuracy of the percentages. It would be truly negligible. QM is even more insanely complex than a googolplex of poker hands, like a googolpex orders of magnitude! The word "negligible" takes on a whole new meaning at this level. We couldn't hope to measure any discrepancy. And so randomness emerges. But is it inherent? We still haven't answered that question with any certainty, and probably never will.

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"as perfect as nature allows."
This is a problem, though, isn't it? Nature can never really allow perfection in this context. No two events will share identical initial conditions. And this is pretty much the foundation on which I hold my belief... if initial conditions are never identical, then we don't need randomness to explain why apparently similar events have different outcomes. We simply need to acknowledge that there's a difference between similar and identical.

Quote:

Also, this is a logical consequence to your asserted model. If the SM is incomplete, yet as complete as observation allows, and we can prove that even if there are variables we cannot observe, that those variables do not act "locally," that is, in accordance with GR, then you must be right. There are hidden variables that act non-locally, which our current model has absolutely no means of dealing with, because our model is based on what can be observed, and "hidden" means unobservable, so we're screwed.
It seems to me that "randomness" in QM is a hidden variable. It's just an accepted one because of the predictive power of probability on this scale. As I understand it, hidden variables are a problem, so much so that any theory that has hidden variables is roundly rejected and pushed to the fringe. That was the fate of Pilot Wave Theory, at least until it was realised that the hidden variables are global, not local... which isn't so much of a problem. The wave function still contains all the information governing the behaviour of a particle.

Quote:

It's just that Quantum randomness is an altogether different beast.
Indeed. Quantum systems are unfathomably complex. One event might have a different outcome if the only initial condition that has changed is the distance to a far-away black hole by a matter of meters. If such a seemingly irrelevant change in initial conditions can result in a different outcome, this is what I mean by unfathomably complex.

I know this isn't physics. I'm not pretending it is. This is physics flavoured philosophy.
• 11-10-2019, 07:22 PM
"Being a physicist means accepting the common consensus"

If you deny either of those leading models, you may find it hard to get a job as a physicist, but getting a job is one thing and being a physicist is another thing.

I'm not denying that QM and GR are the leading models by consensus. I'm saying that if the consensus is the result of an echo chamber, then that's the opposite of science. Thankfully, these models are tested daily on all scales, from high school students doing chemistry lab to Advanced LIGO to Elon Musk's engineers' ability to design cool shiz-waz.

"a method for us to predict."

Exactly. Science has no answer for "why." Only veiled non-sequiturs explaining some preceding set of "what" that leads to whatever the original question was. Any honest answer to "why" should start with, "I don't know why, but here's what causes it."
The problem with "why" is that it's hard to tell if there's mystical implication behind the question. It's more of a religious or philosophical question, IMO.

***
The hypothesis of probability wave functions is not based in anything. There was wave equations being what all the top physicists were doing in the early 1900's, and there was Bohr getting lucky with predicting atomic emission spectra, and Planck/Einstein with blackbody radiation. Schroedinger goes all... what if waves AND quantized energies, huh? He tosses them in a blender and turns it on. Out pops the most successful predictive theory in all of human history.

I mean... you can get a lot of traction if you look at the statements on the subject of wave function collapse.

That's gotta be juicy for you, right?
• 11-11-2019, 09:22 AM
OngBonga
Quote:

"I don't know why, but here's what causes it."
So what causes randomness? If the argument is it's inherent, there is no cause. I'm arguing that the cause is a massively complex set of variables, which creates the illusion of randomness.

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Out pops the most successful predictive theory in all of human history.
Yet it remains incomplete.

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That's gotta be juicy for you, right?
Of course. But inherent randomness is the opposite of juicy.
• 11-11-2019, 03:14 PM
Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
So what causes randomness?

Randomness is simply the way waves work. When a wave is describing something, there is randomness in the description.

We don't know the cause of wave functions. We only know they're profoundly precise predictors.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
If the argument is it's inherent, there is no cause.

I suspect there could be some problem with linking "inherent" with "causeless," but at some point, we have to shrug our shoulders and say we don't know the underlying cause of [something]. Your interpretation asserts that there are hidden variables which make everything non-random, but that only begs the question, what is the cause of the hidden variables?
Eventually, it's "turtles all the way down."

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
I'm arguing that the cause is a massively complex set of variables, which creates the illusion of randomness.

It's a fine world-view, but it doesn't imply anything different than other world-views, so is it really different?
No physicist could definitively say you're wrong. Though, they could deride your assertion as "not even wrong," meaning that you didn't actually state anything that is sensibly new or different from what is already accepted.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Yet it remains incomplete.

We don't know everything there is to know and there are practical limitations on what can be measured. So we have to work with the limitations we have. To a certain degree, we can show that certain things are unknowable, as they are simply not defined in the manner we're used to on the quantum scales. Position/momentum relations, for instance. They are simply not well defined at the same time. This has nothing to do with the incompleteness of QM, even though it was criticized a hundred years ago for being evidence of incompleteness. It's not. QM is still incomplete, but the fact that position and momentum cannot both be observed simultaneously leads to statements of the completeness of QM, not the incompleteness.

To the extent that there are practical, physical limitations on measurement, the fact that we are ignorant of some things is not a property of humans, but a property of the universe. It's not humans that have trouble measuring something. It's that physics gives no mechanism for said measurement. I'm saying that the fact that some things are unknowable is an inherent property of the universe. It's not even so much as they are unknowable, as they are undefined. It's not about knowledge, it's about what is there to be known. Some things are simply not that well pinned down as we'd like to imagine.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OngBonga
Of course. But inherent randomness is the opposite of juicy.

No, the language used to describe the wave function collapse is juicy.

It says, "When we look at the wave function, it spontaneously evolves into a sharp spike around the thing we measured. That happens in vanishingly brief amount of time. HOWEVER, when we're not looking at the wave function, it evolves via this rich mathematical equation... which we can never directly observe... because we only observe the spikes."

It says, when we are unable to observe, there is rigidly non-random evolution that gives rise to rigidly defined random outcome probabilities, but when we are able to observe, there is no evolution. If we rapidly measure and remeasure some property of a quantum system, that property never changes... no randomness at all.

That seems like it's pretty close to the core of your argument.
• 11-11-2019, 04:59 PM
Just to change the subject a little bit.

I attended a speech by Kip Thorne last Thursday. He's a nobel laureate in physics. He talked about gravitational waves mostly.

He did say something very cool about black holes, though. Their diameter is much greater than their circumference. Vastly much greater, actually. It's due to curved spacetime and the fact that the rate of curvature only goes exponentially upward as you approach the singularity.

Pretty cool, huh?
• 11-11-2019, 07:18 PM
OngBonga
That's a refreshing change of subject, because the previous one was beginning to get overwhelming! I just watched two vids about wave function and I still don't know what it is, other than to say it's a map of the probability of locating a particle. They are complex, both in the literal sense and the numerical sense. And complex numbers are not exactly easy to understand.

As for black holes, that's interesting but it begs the question... if spacetime gets exponentially more curved as we approach the singularity, would that not mean the diameter is infinite? The closer you get to the singularity, the more spacetime curves and the further away the singularity gets! Quite the paradox.

I just threw this into google, and I'm reading an article that says black holes are unique for a simple reason... for a "normal" sphere (say, a ball), its mass increases with the cube of its radius, which should come as no surprise. A ball with a radius of 2 has 8 times the mass of a ball with a radius of 1. Of course this only applies when the ball in question isn't massive enough to have significant gravitational pressure, but ignoring this, black holes do not follow this seemingly logical cubic proportion. Instead, their mass increases in direct proportion... a black hole with twice the radius has twice the mass.

I can only assume that the radius we talk of here is the perceived radius as viewed from afar... the circumference / 2pi... ignoring spacetime curvature.

I think the concept of a black hole's radius is quite a challenging on to get your head around. Maybe the interior of a black hole is one dimensional... it is a flat, straight line towards the singularity. Spacetime simply doesn't exist within it, just time. So curvature is zero, rather than infinite. That removes our paradox, and explains our direct proportion relationship between mass and (non-curved) radius.
• 11-12-2019, 12:30 PM
oskar
What lectures are you watching? I occasionally watch random physics lectures but it always seems like smooth sailing until it goes off a cliff and there's not much in between. I like biology. It's like science but for dummies.
• 11-12-2019, 12:50 PM
OngBonga
Most of my science diet is PBS Spacetime, and Sixty Symbols. Other than that, I just search for whatever I want to watch and pick one that's around ten minutes.
• 11-12-2019, 12:51 PM
OngBonga
Oh there's Veritasium and Steven Mould, too. I watch their uploads religiously as well.
• 11-12-2019, 12:56 PM
oskar
That seems like a good approach. Aren't university lectures as long as they are just for administrative reasons? With the internet it seems a lot more helpful to have something that's no longer than 15 minutes and really focuses on a single aspect.
• 11-12-2019, 01:08 PM
OngBonga
I wish I had the patience to watch longer uploads, but it becomes a bit overwhelming. 15 mins is the tops really, anything more and I'll either get bored, or forget what was said earlier on.
• 11-12-2019, 01:09 PM
OngBonga
On the other hand, if it's under 10 minutes, there's the danger it's not thorough enough and a lot of important stuff is omitted.
• 11-12-2019, 01:17 PM
oskar
Isn't everyone like that?
• 11-12-2019, 01:18 PM
OngBonga
Quote:

Originally Posted by oskar
Isn't everyone like that?

No idea. I have more patience when it comes to nature documentaries, which I can binge on for hours. But that's more entertainment than education.
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