I’m With Stupid: Undead Cats and Other Stuff I Don’t Get

I’m With Stupid: Undead Cats and Other Stuff I Don’t Get – http://huff.to/YlWxiv

Schroedinger’s cat is a bit of a reductio ad absurdum of the whole Heisenberg uncertainty idea.

Philosophers long ago dismissed such schools of thought as instrumentalism and phenomenalism as rubbish based on simple fallacies but around 2/3 of physicists are instrumentalists.

What’s frustrating from a scientific point of view is that if you say there is no truth of the matter on an issue, you won’t look for an answer.

Heisenberg’s uncertainty for instance shows the limitation of one method of measurement.  There may be ways to do an end run.

There may also be ways to get an answer by changing the question.

Just because something behaves like a particle doesn’t necessarily mean it is a particle.

The classic example with people is with high jump or pole vault.

With good technique the center of gravity can pass under the bar while the body passes over it. 

Because this is macroscopic there’s nothing mysterious about it. 

If it were a wall instead of a bar the comparison becomes more clear.  The same center of gravity trajectory would be consistent with going over the wall or going thud, depending on technique.

Just because there could be different results it does not follow that the outcome is purely random or the reasons for it cannot be better understood.

If one regarded a person as a particle it might seem quite mysterious, as if you view the center of gravity as a particle with the entire mass at a point, it looks like it is passing through the wall.  But all that shows is that if you treat something that isn’t a particle like a particle, you may get results that look odd.

It also doesn’t follow that because you may treat a person like a particle in some circumstances that a person is somehow both a person and a particle.  A person moving through space without wind drag may behave exactly like a particle of the same mass at the center of gravity in terms of motion but it doesn’t make him a particle.

Also randomness in distribution doesn’t imply randomness in any pure indeterministic sense.

Toss a coin or throw dice and over time the results will even out to a random distribution.

But for each throw, the results are set at the time of release.  The randomness reflects lack of control, not something metaphysical.

Likewise with say the bell curve for a class of 300 students.

It will probably reflect a random distribution, but that doesn’t mean that the results are actually random for each student.

It just doesn’t follow from a random distribution of results that the reason for each result can never be known or predicted. 


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