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    Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

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    Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Freakzilla » 11 May 2009 08:24

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124147752556985009.html

    By GAUTAM NAIK
    One of quantum physics' crazier notions is that two particles seem to communicate with each other instantly, even when they're billions of miles apart. Albert Einstein, arguing that nothing travels faster than light, dismissed this as impossible "spooky action at a distance."

    The great man may have been wrong. A series of recent mind-bending laboratory experiments has given scientists an unprecedented peek behind the quantum veil, confirming that this realm is as mysterious as imagined.

    Quantum physics is the study of the very small -- atoms, photons and other particles. Unlike the cause-and-effect of our everyday physical world, subatomic particles defy common sense and behave in wacky ways. That includes the fact that a photon, which is a particle of light, exists in a haze of multiple behaviors. They spin in many ways, such as "up" or "down," at the same time. Even trickier, it's only when you take a peek -- by measuring it -- that the photon fixes into a particular state of spin.

    Stranger still is entanglement. When two photons get "entangled" they behave like a joint entity. Even when they're miles apart, if the spin of one particle is changed, the spin of the other instantly changes, too. This direct influence of one object on another distant one is called non-locality.

    These peculiar properties have already been proven in a lab and tapped to improve data encryption. They could also one day be used to build much faster computers. Some philosophers see quantum phenomena as a sign of far greater unknown forces at work and it bolsters their view that a spiritual dimension exists.

    "We don't know how nature manages to produce spooky behavior," says Nicolas Gisin, a scientist at Geneva University, who led a recent experiment demonstrating action-at-a-distance. "But it's a fascinating time for physics because it can be mastered and exploited."

    Einstein refused to believe that a photon could be in all states at once and set out to find an explanation for their seemingly odd behavior. God doesn't play dice with the universe, he said at the time. Danish physicist Neils Bohr, a big proponent of quantum uncertainty, shot back: "Quit telling God what to do."

    Trying to poke holes in the notion of spooky action at a distance, Einstein and two colleagues published a paper in 1935 that appeared to demonstrate the existence of mysterious "hidden variables" and show that quantum theory was incomplete. In a seminal 1964 paper, Irish physicist John Bell raised questions about the mathematical validity of Einstein's work.

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    In a 1981 paper, Mr. Bell took a swing at Einstein's notion of "hidden variables" by relating the sock-wearing patterns of his physicist colleague Reinhold Bertlmann. Mr. Bell noted that if he saw one of Mr. Bertlmann's feet coming around the corner and it had a pink sock, he would instantly know, without seeing the other foot, that the second sock wouldn't be pink. To the casual observer that may seem magical, or controlled by "hidden variables," but it was no mystery to Mr. Bell because he knew that Mr. Bertlmann liked to wear mismatched socks.

    Quantum particles behave a lot more oddly, and, thanks to Mr. Bell's work, experiment after experiment has shown that to be true.

    Last year, Dr. Gisin and colleagues at Geneva University described how they had entangled a pair of photons in their lab. They then fired them, along fiber-optic cables of exactly equal length, to two Swiss villages some 11 miles apart.

    During the journey, when one photon switched to a slightly higher energy level, its twin instantly switched to a slightly lower one. But the sum of the energies stayed constant, proving that the photons remained entangled.

    More important, the team couldn't detect any time difference in the changes. "If there was any communication, it would have to have been at least 10,000 times the speed of light," says Dr. Gisin. "Because this is such an unlikely speed, the conclusion is there couldn't have been communication and so there is non-locality."

    Other scientists have gotten a more direct look at the particles' secret behavior. They pulled off this feat by resolving something called Hardy's paradox, which basically addressed one of the trickiest aspects of quantum physics: by observing a particle you might affect its property.

    In 1990, the English physicist Lucien Hardy devised a thought experiment. The common view was that when a particle met its antiparticle, the pair destroyed each other in an explosion. But Mr. Hardy noted that in some cases when the particles' interaction wasn't observed, they wouldn't annihilate each other. The paradox: Because the interaction had to remain unseen, it couldn't be confirmed.

    In a striking achievement, scientists from Osaka University have resolved the paradox. They used extremely weak measurements -- the equivalent of a sidelong glance, as it were -- that didn't disturb the photons' state. By doing the experiment multiple times and pooling those weak measurements, they got enough good data to show that the particles didn't annihilate. The conclusion: When the particles weren't observed, they behaved differently.

    In a paper published in the New Journal of Physics in March, the Japanese team acknowledged that their result was "preposterous." Yet, they noted, it "gives us new insights into the spooky nature of quantum mechanics." A team from the University of Toronto published similar results in January.

    Some researchers are using the uncertain state of photons to solve real-world problems. When encrypting sensitive data such as a bank transfer, both the sending party and the receiving party must have the same key. The sender needs the key to hide the message and the receiver to reveal it. Since it isn't always practical to exchange keys in person, the key must be sent electronically, too. This means the key (and the messages) may be intercepted and read by an eavesdropper.

    An electronic key is usually written in the computer binary code of "ones" and "zeros." Quantum physics permits a more sophisticated approach. The same "ones" and "zeros" can now be encoded by using the properties of photons, like spin. If someone intercepts a photon-based message, the spins change. The receiver then knows the key has been compromised.

    MagiQ Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., refreshes its quantum keys as often as 100 times a second during a transmission, making it extremely hard to break. It sells its technology to banks and companies. Dr. Gisin is a founder of ID Quantique SA in Switzerland. The company's similar encryption tool is used by online lottery and poker firms to safely communicate winning numbers and winning hands. Votes cast in a recent Swiss federal election were sent in a similar way.

    Because of its bizarre implications, quantum theory has been used to investigate everything from free will and the paranormal to the enigma of consciousness. Several serious physicists have devoted their lives to the study of such ideas, including Bernard d'Espagnat. In March, the 87-year-old Frenchman won the prestigious $1.5 million Templeton Prize for years of work affirming "life's spiritual dimension."

    Based on quantum behavior, Dr. d'Espagnat's big idea is that science can only probe so far into what is real, and there's a "veiled reality" that will always elude us.

    Many scientists disagree. While Dr. d'Espagnat concedes that he can't prove his theory, he argues that it's about the notion of mystery. "The emotions you get from listening to Mozart," he says, "are like the faint glimpses of ultimate reality we get" from quantum experiments. "I claim nothing more."

    Write to Gautam Naik at gautam.naik@wsj.com

    Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A12
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Freakzilla » 11 May 2009 08:30

    BTW, thanks to Mom for emailing me the article.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Rakis » 11 May 2009 08:42

    Your mom is the greatest ! :mrgreen:

    Who else sends quantum-related e-mail to his son ? :dance:

    Einstein refused to believe that a photon could be in all states at once and set out to find an explanation for their seemingly odd behavior. God doesn't play dice with the universe, he said at the time. Danish physicist Neils Bohr, a big proponent of quantum uncertainty, shot back: "Quit telling God what to do."


    Yeah, right... :roll:
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Freakzilla » 11 May 2009 08:57

    She's always trying to "bring me back into the fold" and she knows what I think about the relation between science and religion.

    What I don't think she understands though, is that if you prove the existance of the supernatural with science, that takes away the need for faith and we're back to me not believing.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Drunken Idaho » 11 May 2009 10:19

    It's not God. It's Calebans!

    Non-locality, eh? I like it. This almost sounds like teleportation technology. The two photons being entangled yet 11 miles apart, definitely some inter-dimensional shit there. This article makes me happy. But what about non-locality not only in space, but time?
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby GamePlayer » 11 May 2009 10:48

    The basic principles of the science in that article are interesting, but what the fuck is with all the religious BS and pseudo-scientific garbage? Gawd? Spiritual realms? Veiled realities? Yes fundamentalists, science exists only as the bitch of spiritualism and if it cannot prove something, then the explanation MUST be the Flying Spaghetti Monster by default :roll:
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Freakzilla » 11 May 2009 10:56

    GamePlayer wrote:The basic principles of the science in that article are interesting, but what the fuck is with all the religious BS and pseudo-scientific garbage? Gawd? Spiritual realms? Veiled realities? Yes fundamentalists, science exists only as the bitch of spiritualism and if it cannot prove something, then the explanation MUST be the Flying Spaghetti Monster by default :roll:


    Of course, Christians use any gap that science has not yet explained as evidence. They're such narrow thinkers. Scientific proof that there are things we don't understand proves only that, that there are things we don't understand, not the existance of god. It's a filter that they cannot perceive the world without and I've almost given up even trying to talk to them about the real world.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Drunken Idaho » 11 May 2009 11:32

    Freakzilla wrote:
    GamePlayer wrote:The basic principles of the science in that article are interesting, but what the fuck is with all the religious BS and pseudo-scientific garbage? Gawd? Spiritual realms? Veiled realities? Yes fundamentalists, science exists only as the bitch of spiritualism and if it cannot prove something, then the explanation MUST be the Flying Spaghetti Monster by default :roll:


    Of course, Christians use any gap that science has not yet explained as evidence. They're such narrow thinkers. Scientific proof that there are things we don't understand proves only that, that there are things we don't understand, not the existance of god. It's a filter that they cannot perceive the world without and I've almost given up even trying to talk to them about the real world.



    What makes me laugh is how in these cases Christians love to get all scientific, using advanced science such as this to prove their points. BUT, when it comes to evolution and fossil record, Christian science is nowhere near a proper science. As far as I'm concerned, if you acknowledge this crazy quantum string theory stuff, then you MUST acknowledge the relatively simplistic science of evolution.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 11 May 2009 12:34

    I love quantum weirdness, I definitely don't agree with it having anything to do with magic, but it does lend a degree of mystery and awe to our understanding of the universe.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby GamePlayer » 11 May 2009 14:43

    Freakzilla wrote:
    GamePlayer wrote:The basic principles of the science in that article are interesting, but what the fuck is with all the religious BS and pseudo-scientific garbage? Gawd? Spiritual realms? Veiled realities? Yes fundamentalists, science exists only as the bitch of spiritualism and if it cannot prove something, then the explanation MUST be the Flying Spaghetti Monster by default :roll:


    Of course, Christians use any gap that science has not yet explained as evidence. They're such narrow thinkers. Scientific proof that there are things we don't understand proves only that, that there are things we don't understand, not the existence of god. It's a filter that they cannot perceive the world without and I've almost given up even trying to talk to them about the real world.


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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby loremaster » 11 May 2009 18:25

    Baraka Bryan wrote:I think the key for Christians is to not be so literal with their interpretation of the creation story. As long as they acknowledge their ignorance of the ways of God, they can be open to various interpretations of the story. the written account is written by someone with little to no understanding of science. Despite the words being inspired, they're still written from a limited human understanding.

    I'm open to the idea of God guiding the evolutionary process over a long period of time, but I also acknolwedge that God could have willed everything into being as well.


    Isnt this a contradiction in terms? Since evolution is the selective survival of random variations upon a previously successful random variation (IOW, there is nothing conscious about it).

    My personal fave when considering evolution is the idea of all those partially successful variations who just didnt make it, through the true rulers of the universe, accident and luck. How many times has a successful gene for HIV resistance (variant CDC4?) occured, only to have its carrier wiped out, not through aids, but through car crash, or malaria? How many variant brain patterns died in africa this week, not from alzheimers, but from malnutrition?

    etc

    Evolution only works in the long term because the balance of probabilities points that way. The probability of one person being spontaneously HIV resistant and that THEN being selected for because all his/her peers were struck down by HIV is miniscule. It would also mean selecting their (possibly sub-optimal) variants of other genes which will reduce genetic variation in the succeeding generations.

    Genetic Drift happens, then we select from the variants continuously with slight pressures at a later date, and over millions of year, evolution happens.

    Also remember that most genes dont even vary, only 10% are allelic to any degree (in their coding sequence, ignoring variations in expression etc), and that every gene eventually becomes 100% constitutive (like the genes for phospholipid assembly, etc, boring, functional genes) or get removed from the gene pool.

    /Random Rant
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 11 May 2009 19:29

    loremaster wrote:
    Baraka Bryan wrote:I think the key for Christians is to not be so literal with their interpretation of the creation story. As long as they acknowledge their ignorance of the ways of God, they can be open to various interpretations of the story. the written account is written by someone with little to no understanding of science. Despite the words being inspired, they're still written from a limited human understanding.

    I'm open to the idea of God guiding the evolutionary process over a long period of time, but I also acknolwedge that God could have willed everything into being as well.


    Isnt this a contradiction in terms? Since evolution is the selective survival of random variations upon a previously successful random variation (IOW, there is nothing conscious about it).

    My personal fave when considering evolution is the idea of all those partially successful variations who just didnt make it, through the true rulers of the universe, accident and luck. How many times has a successful gene for HIV resistance (variant CDC4?) occured, only to have its carrier wiped out, not through aids, but through car crash, or malaria? How many variant brain patterns died in africa this week, not from alzheimers, but from malnutrition?

    etc

    Evolution only works in the long term because the balance of probabilities points that way. The probability of one person being spontaneously HIV resistant and that THEN being selected for because all his/her peers were struck down by HIV is miniscule. It would also mean selecting their (possibly sub-optimal) variants of other genes which will reduce genetic variation in the succeeding generations.

    Genetic Drift happens, then we select from the variants continuously with slight pressures at a later date, and over millions of year, evolution happens.

    Also remember that most genes dont even vary, only 10% are allelic to any degree (in their coding sequence, ignoring variations in expression etc), and that every gene eventually becomes 100% constitutive (like the genes for phospholipid assembly, etc, boring, functional genes) or get removed from the gene pool.

    /Random Rant


    To play the devils advocate: maybe the Christian explanation for this would be that, like with Humans, god allowed/allows a degree of freedom, but steps in at random times to interfere (like sending Jesus etc).

    That said, I personally think the idea of a god "guiding" evolution is rediculous to the extreme - what would be the point? It would be much more likely that a god set it all in motion and is now just watching with curiosity to see what happens, like in Process Theology.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby SadisticCynic » 12 May 2009 07:42

    Freakzilla wrote:
    GamePlayer wrote:The basic principles of the science in that article are interesting, but what the fuck is with all the religious BS and pseudo-scientific garbage? Gawd? Spiritual realms? Veiled realities? Yes fundamentalists, science exists only as the bitch of spiritualism and if it cannot prove something, then the explanation MUST be the Flying Spaghetti Monster by default :roll:


    Of course, Christians use any gap that science has not yet explained as evidence. They're such narrow thinkers. Scientific proof that there are things we don't understand proves only that, that there are things we don't understand, not the existance of god. It's a filter that they cannot perceive the world without and I've almost given up even trying to talk to them about the real world.


    I understand the using the gaps as evidence idea would be frustrating. I've heard some pretty stupid things myself. One person said to me 'How could the planets have all ended up spherical?' :roll:

    I don't want to start an argument or anything but...
    You do find that the gaps are sometimes used as evidence by the people opposed to the idea of God. They sometimes claim that why would God create us with things like the appendix which does nothing and appears to be simply an evolutionary throwback.

    Cf with http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21153898/. Of course they link it with evolution as any good scientist will. :roll: But it goes to show that using incomplete understanding occurs on both sides.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby GamePlayer » 12 May 2009 11:05

    SadisticCynic wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:
    GamePlayer wrote:The basic principles of the science in that article are interesting, but what the fuck is with all the religious BS and pseudo-scientific garbage? Gawd? Spiritual realms? Veiled realities? Yes fundamentalists, science exists only as the bitch of spiritualism and if it cannot prove something, then the explanation MUST be the Flying Spaghetti Monster by default :roll:


    Of course, Christians use any gap that science has not yet explained as evidence. They're such narrow thinkers. Scientific proof that there are things we don't understand proves only that, that there are things we don't understand, not the existance of god. It's a filter that they cannot perceive the world without and I've almost given up even trying to talk to them about the real world.


    I don't want to start an argument or anything but...
    You do find that the gaps are sometimes used as evidence by the people opposed to the idea of God. They sometimes claim that why would God create us with things like the appendix which does nothing and appears to be simply an evolutionary throwback.

    Cf with http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21153898/. Of course they link it with evolution as any good scientist will. :roll: But it goes to show that using incomplete understanding occurs on both sides.


    That's my whole point. This gawd concept has everyone locked into gawd or not-gawd. Theist or atheist. If it's not one, for some absurd reason it must be the other. My question, why is this "gawd" even an issue? Why is every question of science or spirituality phrased such that it MUST CONSIDER the existence or non-existence of this gawd concept? It's like my society is obsessed with it, theist and atheist alike. Incomplete understanding, indeed!

    Maybe we should substitute the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So now every issue of science or spirituality MUST CONSIDER the existence or non-existence of Flying Spaghetti Monster. And if an answer cannot be provided by science, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the answer! :)
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby SadisticCynic » 12 May 2009 12:12

    You have obviously been contaminated by His Noodly Appendage. :snooty:

    :)
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Rakis » 12 May 2009 13:02

    RAmen
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby GamePlayer » 12 May 2009 13:51

    Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster and pass the Ichiban! :lol:
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Omphalos » 12 May 2009 15:38

    I told my son about the flying spaghetti monster a few days ago. He is still laughing about it. It came up in a conversation when he asked me "Dad, what's the craziest religion out there?" He must have been listening to me ranting at some point about crazy nut-job bible-thumpers or something. It was the only thing I could think of on the spot that would answer his question in a way unlikely to piss someone off upon repetition. So, thank god for the FSM.

    He came into the room this morning and was running his finger around my face, chanting, "noodly appendage! Noodly appendage!!!"
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby SadisticCynic » 12 May 2009 15:52

    :lol: I bet you're looking forward to the next time you have spaghetti for dinner!
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Tleszer » 12 May 2009 16:03

    I try not to eat spaghetti. I consider it sacrilege to consume His body.
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 May 2009 22:17

    Purchase the Gospel
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    Guide to Pastafarianism
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Tleszer » 13 May 2009 07:02

    Thanks for the links!
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby GamePlayer » 13 May 2009 12:25

    I love this religion. It's very tasty :)
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Rakis » 13 May 2009 13:21

    GamePlayer wrote:I love this religion. It's very tasty :)


    hmmmm...religion... :sleeping-drool:
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    Re: Science, Spirituality, and Some Mismatched Socks

    Postby Robspierre » 13 May 2009 18:25

    Partake in a noodly sacrament:

    http://www.rof.com/FSM_Candy_p/9220-c.htm

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