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Old 14th March 2019, 07:20 AM   #1
Lukas1986
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A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality

Quote:
A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality

Physicists have long suspected that quantum mechanics allows two observers to experience different, conflicting realities. Now they’ve performed the first experiment that proves it.

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6...ctive-reality/

Any thoughts on this? I am asking because this is making rounds on the pro-paranormal forums with quantum woo interpretation stuff. Also I have no clue about Quantum Mechanics in the first place.
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Old 14th March 2019, 07:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lukas1986 View Post
Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6...ctive-reality/

Any thoughts on this? I am asking because this is making rounds on the pro-paranormal forums with quantum woo interpretation stuff. Also I have no clue about Quantum Mechanics in the first place.
Actually, I think that Einstein said about the same thing in 1905 with his work on Relativity.

So while a reality experiment on a quantum level may be a new thing, however the idea of there not being an objective reality has been around for quite some time now.
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Old 14th March 2019, 07:40 AM   #3
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An experiment shows there's no object reality.

Read the sentence a few times and let me know when it sinks in.
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Old 14th March 2019, 07:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lukas1986 View Post
Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6...ctive-reality/

Any thoughts on this? I am asking because this is making rounds on the pro-paranormal forums with quantum woo interpretation stuff. Also I have no clue about Quantum Mechanics in the first place.
Assuming they're correct, how can we trust the results of their experiment?
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:13 AM   #5
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Experimental confirmation of the predictions of quantum mechanics theory are essential to confirming that the theory is correct. We certainly don't want to downplay them or try to explain them away.

The problem here is that such terms as "objective reality" are buzzwords both in quantum mechanics and in pseudo-scientific woo. But they mean different things. "There is no objective reality" sounds much more momentous than it is, because the scientists here are talking about "reality" only as it exists at the quantum level. It doesn't bubble up to the scope of concepts like the soul, or consciousness, or bacon, or any of the other things we experience or talk about as our operative reality. Our reality is a macro effect, with quantum effects being negligible. That six photons can be "reliably" measured in different quantum states doesn't mean the billions of photons that assault our eyeballs daily are detectably misbehaving.

The equivocation between different scopes of "reality" has been the stock in trade of woo-peddlers for decades. Nothing new to see here.
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
It doesn't bubble up to the scope of concepts like the soul, or consciousness, or bacon, or any of the other things we experience or talk about as our operative reality.
BACON EXISTS!
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
BACON EXISTS!
Bacon probably exists until you open the refrigerator and see whether Schroedinger's cat ate it or not.
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Experimental confirmation of the predictions of quantum mechanics theory are essential to confirming that the theory is correct. We certainly don't want to downplay them or try to explain them away.

The problem here is that such terms as "objective reality" are buzzwords both in quantum mechanics and in pseudo-scientific woo. But they mean different things. "There is no objective reality" sounds much more momentous than it is, because the scientists here are talking about "reality" only as it exists at the quantum level. It doesn't bubble up to the scope of concepts like the soul, or consciousness, or bacon, or any of the other things we experience or talk about as our operative reality. Our reality is a macro effect, with quantum effects being negligible. That six photons can be "reliably" measured in different quantum states doesn't mean the billions of photons that assault our eyeballs daily are detectably misbehaving.

The equivocation between different scopes of "reality" has been the stock in trade of woo-peddlers for decades. Nothing new to see here.
Yeah but Woo Slingers are still gonna read that and go "So what you're saying is my Woo is true?"

The "Woo of the Gaps" is so ingrained in argumentative that we can't really talk to them about actual gaps that exist in very specific ways that aren't what they are thinking because they are still gonna see God and the Soul and Bigfeet in them.
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
The "Woo of the Gaps" is so ingrained in argumentative that we can't really talk to them about actual gaps...
Yep, that's how the equivocation goes. Science at the macro level still poses an objective reality, where "reality" means the operative human reality. That's the scope at which they want their woo to be real. But because they don't understand that quantum mechanics is a vastly different sort of thing, they think they've refuted the ability of experimental science to preclude their woo. They want so very much for the cat to still be alive even though the box it's in is on fire and someone tried to put it out with a steamroller.
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Old 14th March 2019, 09:20 AM   #10
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I still hear "The observer affects the observation" thing about once a month from a Woo Slinger.

Me: "Experiments and observations of the world don't support your position."
Woo Slinger: "Yeah but your precious science say that observing things changes them?"
Me: "Are you talking about a subatomic particle?"
Woo Slinger: "Well no but..."
Me: "Then shut up."
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Old 14th March 2019, 09:34 AM   #11
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Just a side issue, has anyone purchased any of the graphic book series like 'introducing quantum theory' I just ordered it on amazon. I am collecting them, as they are really very good. They deal clearly with complex subjects, and use profuse illustrations. I already have their books on consciousness and psychology.
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Old 14th March 2019, 09:36 AM   #12
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What does QM have to do with consciousness or psychology, might I ask?
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Old 14th March 2019, 09:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What does QM have to do with consciousness or psychology, might I ask?
Not a thing, I am just giving you a heads up that the' Introducing' graphic books are well worth getting, and I know because I already have two. I am expecting the 'Quantum theory' book to be just as good.
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Old 14th March 2019, 09:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Not a thing, I am just giving you a heads up that the' Introducing' graphic books are well worth getting, and I know because I already have two.
Oh, ok. They have books on those other topics, not books on QM about those topics.
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Old 14th March 2019, 10:23 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I still hear "The observer affects the observation" thing about once a month from a Woo Slinger.
Indeed, as an argument for subjectivity at the macro level. At the macro level, people may form different subjective impressions or interpretations of the facts, but the facts do not literally change depending upon who observes them.

What we discover at the quantum level, using the modeling methods of quantum mechanics, is that "reality" (i.e., a particle's observed state, not the operative reality of day-to-day living) emerges only when the wave function of the particle convolves with the wave function of the observer. The outcome of that convolution is the function that determines the observed state. Prior to observation, the particle is "superpositioned" -- that is, existing in all possible states. A different observer has a different wave function and will convolve with the wave function of the particle differently, resulting in a different state.

This happens only when observing tiny particles, so your conversation is spot-on.
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Old 14th March 2019, 10:34 AM   #16
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I can see this experiment spawning a What The **** Do We Know II!?

Great.
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Old 14th March 2019, 10:48 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
BACON EXISTS!
Well if it doesn't, then the two rashers I've just eaten with my eggs and toast were figments of my imagination.

Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Yep, that's how the equivocation goes. Science at the macro level still poses an objective reality, where "reality" means the operative human reality. That's the scope at which they want their woo to be real. But because they don't understand that quantum mechanics is a vastly different sort of thing, they think they've refuted the ability of experimental science to preclude their woo. They want so very much for the cat to still be alive even though the box it's in is on fire and someone tried to put it out with a steamroller.
The atoms that made up my two bacon rashers may have some quantum unreality, but those rashers sure as hell looked and tasted real!!!

Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Bacon probably exists until you open the refrigerator and see whether Schroedinger's cat ate it or not.
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Old 14th March 2019, 10:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Indeed, as an argument for subjectivity at the macro level. At the macro level, people may form different subjective impressions or interpretations of the facts, but the facts do not literally change depending upon who observes them.

What we discover at the quantum level, using the modeling methods of quantum mechanics, is that "reality" (i.e., a particle's observed state, not the operative reality of day-to-day living) emerges only when the wave function of the particle convolves with the wave function of the observer. The outcome of that convolution is the function that determines the observed state. Prior to observation, the particle is "superpositioned" -- that is, existing in all possible states. A different observer has a different wave function and will convolve with the wave function of the particle differently, resulting in a different state.

This happens only when observing tiny particles, so your conversation is spot-on.
It still doesn't sound like it means objective reality doesn't exist. The particle was just 'convolved' in a different way under the other scenario. Random or not, the result is real.
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:07 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Not a thing, I am just giving you a heads up that the' Introducing' graphic books are well worth getting, and I know because I already have two. I am expecting the 'Quantum theory' book to be just as good.
Do those dead people that you communicate with provide you with book recommendations as well?
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:20 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
It still doesn't sound like it means objective reality doesn't exist. The particle was just 'convolved' in a different way under the other scenario. Random or not, the result is real.
The "objective reality" that exists absent the convolution is the superposition, or an impossible manifestation of all possible states. This is the concept Schroedinger had trouble with, and why he formulated it as a cat in the box. His argument was that your inability to observe the cat does not negate the (unobserved) fact that the cat is literally either alive or dead at any given instant. Superposition was nonsensical to him. And that's sadly the sort of thing you have to wrap your mind around when your theory is really just a set of mathematical constructs, as is quantum mechanics.
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:21 AM   #21
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But is the cat really both alive and dead?
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:52 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But is the cat really both alive and dead?
Informally no, which is the point Schroedinger hoped to make regarding superposition. The analogy to the OP article would be that a photon cannot simultaneously (paradoxically) be horizontally and vertically polarized. The states are mutually exclusive, so the notion of them being superposed is, in the literal way of thinking, nonsensical. Existence is modeled in quantum mechanics as a wave function, a probabilistic distribution of all the possible states. It's then comforting to think, "Well, all that probability handwaving aside, the particle must exist objectively in a certain state as a matter of fact." But what Schroedinger was trying to tell us is that photons are not cats. Generalizing the behavior of the universe at the quantum level to the macro level is wrong.
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:54 AM   #23
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I have to admit that I'm still not clear about one thing, though: is the particle objectively in a certain state, or not?
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Old 14th March 2019, 12:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
I can see this experiment spawning a What The **** Do We Know II!?

Great.

A friend once said "Not too long ago scientists didn't know dark matter existed. Now they think it makes up most of the universe. How can we be sure how the universe really works at this point?" He used to be scientifically-minded, until he married a supernatural-oriented wooster.

There's a big difference between "still learning about the universe" and "magic is real".
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Old 14th March 2019, 12:14 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I have to admit that I'm still not clear about one thing, though: is the particle objectively in a certain state, or not?
No, and today's findings would tend to confirm that the wave function model is probably descriptive in more than just a mathematical sense.
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Old 14th March 2019, 12:15 PM   #26
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Well that raises a bunch of questions about the nature of the quantum stuff, then.

How does any of that work in real terms? I mean, how does it translate into macro stuff if it works like that?
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Old 14th March 2019, 12:30 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well that raises a bunch of questions about the nature of the quantum stuff, then.

How does any of that work in real terms? I mean, how does it translate into macro stuff if it works like that?
How did it translate into macro stuff back when we thought it was tiny concrete particles all the way down?
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Old 14th March 2019, 01:18 PM   #28
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To vastly, vastly, vastly, vastly over simplify it what Quantum Mechanics tells us is at the very, very, very small and basic level you have to stop talking exact places, directions, velocities, spins, charges, polarities, etc, etc.

In the Rutherford and Bohr models of the atom, the ones most people still probably picture in their head when they think "atom" we have a core of Protons and maybe Neutrons with a bunch of Electrons orbiting it like moons orbit a planet (which is what lead t so much ever so delightful stoner wisdom of "Dude did you ever think that this solar system is just like... an atom in some other universe.")

But that's not actually accurate. The electrons aren't particles that orbit the nucleus. What we have is an area of probability around the nucleus where any one individual electron is more or less likely to be. None of the electrons "are" anywhere in some exact traditional sense.

None of this scales. The baseball coming at your head is there, not "probably" there. Jupiter is not an "electron" of the Sun it's a giant ball of gas that absolutely does exist on a macro level.
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well that raises a bunch of questions about the nature of the quantum stuff, then.

How does any of that work in real terms? I mean, how does it translate into macro stuff if it works like that?

Dunno if my understanding is even close to correct but it tells me that when things (particles and groups of particles) interact, they really do have definite properties and values for properties. These properties are in a sense a product of the interaction though, so the properties really do not exist when things are not interacting. The thing still exists. Of course the larger the thing is the more unlikely it would be for it to spend any time not interacting.


Edit: Since everything is relative, from the non-interacting group of particle's (or cat's) perspective, the rest of the universe (and us) must really not be real since we don't have any real properties. That's cats for you.
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Old 15th March 2019, 01:06 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
BACON EXISTS!
And is French.
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Old 15th March 2019, 01:57 AM   #31
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Given the idea that "objective reality" may be based on what one observes, then it should shift given sophistication in instruments used to observe one's surroundings.
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Old 15th March 2019, 02:26 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
How did it translate into macro stuff back when we thought it was tiny concrete particles all the way down?
Well now it seems that the very idea of "exists" differs between the two, so I don't think my question is unreasonable.
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Old 15th March 2019, 05:38 AM   #33
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I've always viewed macro reality in an "averaging of probabilities" type of way. I believe it's similar to Feynman's "sum of all paths" approach, but I'm not expert by any means, so keep that in mind while reading my response

To try and get an idea of what I mean, let's take electron position. At the quantum level every electron has a probability wave with no real, defined positions. However, each has certain zones of higher probability; they're more likely to be in some places than others. At the macro level, to see anything but those high probability locations, you'd have to have numerous particles all "choosing" the same low probability locations at the same time...the odds of which would be somewhat less than, say, winning every lottery in the world simultaneously .

And really, this is something we deal with all the time even without quantum effects. Predicting where an individual piece of an explosive will go after detonation is impossible in any but the broadest terms, but predicting the effect of the explosion as a whole is much more reliable. Climate is easier to predict than day-to-day weather. I couldn't tell you which molecules will react first when I burn a log in the fireplace, but I can easily predict the end result.

That's how I've thought of it, and it makes sense to me. Hope that helps a bit
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Old 15th March 2019, 07:32 AM   #34
Garrette
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
I've always viewed macro reality in an "averaging of probabilities" type of way. I believe it's similar to Feynman's "sum of all paths" approach, but I'm not expert by any means, so keep that in mind while reading my response

To try and get an idea of what I mean, let's take electron position. At the quantum level every electron has a probability wave with no real, defined positions. However, each has certain zones of higher probability; they're more likely to be in some places than others. At the macro level, to see anything but those high probability locations, you'd have to have numerous particles all "choosing" the same low probability locations at the same time...the odds of which would be somewhat less than, say, winning every lottery in the world simultaneously .

And really, this is something we deal with all the time even without quantum effects. Predicting where an individual piece of an explosive will go after detonation is impossible in any but the broadest terms, but predicting the effect of the explosion as a whole is much more reliable. Climate is easier to predict than day-to-day weather. I couldn't tell you which molecules will react first when I burn a log in the fireplace, but I can easily predict the end result.

That's how I've thought of it, and it makes sense to me. Hope that helps a bit
Not that I know whether your thinking is appropriate or not, and certainly not that I am even remotely qualified to comment, but it is gratifying to see similar thinking to that which I have used in debating climate change with other laymen. When they go into the spiel about imperfections of model predictions and then discard the whole of the models, my response is usually along the lines of "the fact that I can't tell you where the hot spots and cool spots will be in my cheap gas grill doesn't mean I'm wrong when I tell you the grill gets hotter when the gas is on and lit."
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Old 15th March 2019, 10:20 AM   #35
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Another experiment that causes us to question if locality exist. If it is determined that locality doesn't exist, physics by itself will not be capable of completely explaining the universe we inhabit.
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Old 15th March 2019, 11:50 AM   #36
Axxman300
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
To vastly, vastly, vastly, vastly over simplify it what Quantum Mechanics tells us is at the very, very, very small and basic level you have to stop talking exact places, directions, velocities, spins, charges, polarities, etc, etc.

In the Rutherford and Bohr models of the atom, the ones most people still probably picture in their head when they think "atom" we have a core of Protons and maybe Neutrons with a bunch of Electrons orbiting it like moons orbit a planet (which is what lead t so much ever so delightful stoner wisdom of "Dude did you ever think that this solar system is just like... an atom in some other universe.")

But that's not actually accurate. The electrons aren't particles that orbit the nucleus. What we have is an area of probability around the nucleus where any one individual electron is more or less likely to be. None of the electrons "are" anywhere in some exact traditional sense.

None of this scales. The baseball coming at your head is there, not "probably" there. Jupiter is not an "electron" of the Sun it's a giant ball of gas that absolutely does exist on a macro level.
I like this^

Thanks to this forum I no longer throw around Quantum Physics in woo discussions because I clearly do no understand it on a functional level.

I do know this: Not walking in front of a speeding freight train in not an act of faith. Whether or not I perceive the train to be real will not change the outcome of being run over by said train. I don't need a degree in physics to know this is true.
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Old 15th March 2019, 01:59 PM   #37
Captain_Swoop
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Bacon probably exists until you open the refrigerator and see whether Schroedinger's cat ate it or not.
You are the reincarnation of Douglas Adams and I claim my £5
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Old 15th March 2019, 02:01 PM   #38
Captain_Swoop
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Bacon probably exists until you open the refrigerator and see whether Schroedinger's cat ate it or not.
You are the reincarnation of Douglas Adams and I claim my £5.

Or rather, you may, or, may not be the reincarnation of Douglas Adams.
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Old 15th March 2019, 04:50 PM   #39
JayUtah
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Or rather, you may, or, may not be the reincarnation of Douglas Adams.
It would be infinitely improbable if I were.
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Old 17th March 2019, 07:23 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
Do those dead people that you communicate with provide you with book recommendations as well?
No, I use my own brain, and not knowing anything about Quantum theory I have ordered the following 'introducing' graphic book. Yes, it has pictures but the series of books really does explain complex subjects very well for beginners.

https://www.introducingbooks.com/ib-...uantum-theory/
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