What is matter nowadays?

#1
BTW, to the proponents (and indeed skeptics), what do you think matter actually is these days? Because it seems you take the view that it is deterministic and billiard ballish. Secondly, you can have some sort of intrinsic consciousness that is part of matter, you don't have to do away with the material.
Radicalpolitik asked these questions in the consciousness and Science forum. Since skeptics don't post there, I took the liberty of starting a thread here so his questions could be answered.

Skeptics go along with what the science demonstrates. So matter hasn't been billiard ballish or deterministic for over a hundred years now. It has something to do with smeared probabilities of either point particles or one-dimensional strings, as far as I can tell. Whether or not it has consciousness is TBD.

Linda
 
#2
Matter, according to Quantum Field Theory (as far as I know, at least), can be described as ripples from underlying quantum fields. This ripples represent what we know as "matter", and depending on their wavefunction (that evolves with it ) they can be classified as particles ( if the wavefunction is such thatour best calculations tell us that the probability of finding it in a single place is extremely high) or waves (if our best calculations tell us the probability of finding it in several places when measured is distributed and evolves according to the Schrodinger equation).

So, at the very very very fundamental, everything is just a bunch of quantum fields that permeate all the universe, and they interact which each other. Thats at least, as far as science say. Some Unified field hypothesis say that at high energies everything is actually a single quantum field, and that at low energies this quantum field can "break" into several ones. Each type particle has it's own individual field though (all bosons, all fermions, and I guess this also runs for their anti-matter counterparts).
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
@radicalpolitik

I know you've read Massimo's take on causality & matter (linked in case others want to read), but here's a lecture you might find of interest:


Given the value placed on material goods, the view that everything is reducible to matter acting upon matter ('folk materialism'), and more nuanced varieties of 'physicalism' in modern philosophy, it might be thought that we have a clear and distinct idea of what 'matter' actually means. Yet matter turns out to be surprisingly elusive. Attempts to specify matter in terms of things with mass and volume fail to encompass the more exotic scenarios and paradigms of modern physics. More generally, priority has long been given in scientific theory and practice to formal and mathematical relations in the study of the physical world, with philosophy and theology often reflecting this emphasis. Such approaches paradoxically make it unclear what matter does, other than exemplify form imperfectly, rather like the dough that more or less reproduces the shape of the biscuit (or cookie) cutter.

In this seminar, I look at developments in recent decades, especially in the simulation of complex systems, which suggest the need for a principle of continuity under substantial change that cannot be reduced to form. This principle can be understood as 'matter', but only as part of a broader neo-Aristotelian understanding of causation that also includes teleology (not mere teleonomy) and an 'arrow of time'. I review briefly some of the implications of a renaissance of a worldview in which matter genuinely matters, not only in science, but also in philosophy and theology.
 
#4
Radicalpolitik asked these questions in the consciousness and Science forum. Since skeptics don't post there, I took the liberty of starting a thread here so his questions could be answered.

Skeptics go along with what the science demonstrates. So matter hasn't been billiard ballish or deterministic for over a hundred years now. It has something to do with smeared probabilities of either point particles or one-dimensional strings, as far as I can tell. Whether or not it has consciousness is TBD.

Linda
I've seen many a skeptic espouse string theory. I don't think the bolded is very accurate. I'll leave Sciborg quoting a prominent skeptic here:

Bharati rose and screaming and waving his hands in the air, said to Emerson “You’re either lying or cheating... I simply don’t believe you... it can’t happen... I don’t care what kind of evidence you’ve got.”
 
#5
I've seen many a skeptic espouse string theory.
Only because the idea is treated seriously by other scientists. If it was an idea which hadn't spread beyond its proponents, and was generally dismissed as without merit by those in closely related fields, I doubt you would have seen much uptake by skeptics. And there will be a general inertia, if there comes a time to discard the idea, at the other end.

Linda
 
#6
Radicalpolitik asked these questions in the consciousness and Science forum. Since skeptics don't post there, I took the liberty of starting a thread here so his questions could be answered.

Skeptics go along with what the science demonstrates. So matter hasn't been billiard ballish or deterministic for over a hundred years now. It has something to do with smeared probabilities of either point particles or one-dimensional strings, as far as I can tell. Whether or not it has consciousness is TBD.

Linda
OK, because it feels like many skeptics are quite happy to espouse the newtonian view in general. Rather than admitting that determinism isn't really viable anymore.
 
#7
OK, because it feels like many skeptics are quite happy to espouse the newtonian view in general. Rather than admitting that determinism isn't really viable anymore.
I'm not sure what you mean - the Newtonian view is viable in the sense that Newtonian physics works for much of what we do. A "clockwork universe" view isn't viable (but that has more to do with chaos than indeterminate variables). Is that what you mean by "determinism"?

Skeptics seem to be science geeks, so any perception of them which depends upon skipping over a couple hundred years of science probably isn't going to work. :)

Linda
 
#8
OK, because it feels like many skeptics are quite happy to espouse the newtonian view in general. Rather than admitting that determinism isn't really viable anymore.
Yeah, I think many physicists (classical and even QM) are still struggling with QM, and you can see that struggle demonstrated in countless papers that attempt to show effects, or make statements or claims, which are actually misunderstandings. I also think there are still plenty who think we just don't understand QM yet, and whom are still biased towards a classical newtonian understanding of what physics is.
 
#9
Yeah, I think many physicists (classical and even QM) are still struggling with QM, and you can see that struggle demonstrated in countless papers that attempt to show effects, or make statements or claims, which are actually misunderstandings. I also think there are still plenty who think we just don't understand QM yet, and whom are still biased towards a classical newtonian understanding of what physics is.
It is a huge mental struggle to comprehend QM.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#10
Yeah, I think many physicists (classical and even QM) are still struggling with QM, and you can see that struggle demonstrated in countless papers that attempt to show effects, or make statements or claims, which are actually misunderstandings. I also think there are still plenty who think we just don't understand QM yet, and whom are still biased towards a classical newtonian understanding of what physics is.
It is a huge mental struggle to comprehend QM.
Here's a good overview and critique of the varied theories proposed to deal with issues relating to the wave function:

Our quantum reality problem – Adrian Kent

I also posted a message from the physicist Stapp to the philosopher Searle here.
 
#13
Here's a good overview and critique of the varied theories proposed to deal with issues relating to the wave function:

Our quantum reality problem – Adrian Kent
Thanks Sci... Adrian Kent is a perfect example of a Physicist struggling with QM. You would do better to follow the work of Roland Omnes, or perhaps Anton Zeilinger (here's a good recent presentation of his to students in Cape Town, it's very funny too)...

 
#14
Only because the idea is treated seriously by other scientists. If it was an idea which hadn't spread beyond its proponents, and was generally dismissed as without merit by those in closely related fields, I doubt you would have seen much uptake by skeptics. And there will be a general inertia, if there comes a time to discard the idea, at the other end.

Linda
I'm slightly confused. You use the term ' skeptic ' for a group of people who follow around blindly what other people say. I mean, I'm not saying you're wrong, and I'm happy you admit that that's the general attitude of ' skeptics ' these days.
 
#15
I'm slightly confused. You use the term ' skeptic ' for a group of people who follow around blindly what other people say. I mean, I'm not saying you're wrong, and I'm happy you admit that that's the general attitude of ' skeptics ' these days.
You're confused because you read something Linda didn't say. She didn't use the word blindly. She said skeptics go along with science that demonstrates.
 
#16
You're confused because you read something Linda didn't say. She didn't use the word blindly. She said skeptics go along with science that demonstrates.
Iyace is missing the point that science is filled with ideas that at first seem promising that don't pan out. There are any number of promising early stage hypotheses. Most don't make it through the more rigourous stages and therefore don't get attention outside of the subfield. The ones that do are the ones that attract the cross board interest. Even then, many of those ultimately won't pan out!

Parapsychology has been stuck in the promising pilot phase for a long time. It may very well be that some of these hypotheses do survive the more rigourous (and more resource intensive) experiments. That's when they'll leap out of the niche.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#17
Thanks Sci... Adrian Kent is a perfect example of a Physicist struggling with QM. You would do better to follow the work of Roland Omnes, or perhaps Anton Zeilinger (here's a good recent presentation of his to students in Cape Town, it's very funny too)...
Max - I'm curious, could you elaborate your issues with Kent. I agree that the collapse theory he puts forth isn't as convincing as he seems to think, but then that seems to be the problem with many people putting forth their theories.

Also, what do you like about Zeilinger?
 
#18
Max - I'm curious, could you elaborate your issues with Kent. I agree that the collapse theory he puts forth isn't as convincing as he seems to think, but then that seems to be the problem with many people putting forth their theories.

Also, what do you like about Zeilinger?
No probs, Kent seems to think we should know what is going on during the experiment (before we measure), and that it's a big problem for QM that we don't, he doesn't understand QM, he thinks it should be classical. He just doesn't get it that there is no state, we have no right to say anything about measurable quantities until we measure them, there are no states until we measure them. Zeilinger gets this. Omnes definitely gets it (check out 'consistent histories' version of QM, not even mentioned in Kent's article you linked to).
 
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