Quantum minds: Why we think like quarks
Quantum minds: Why we think like quarks
Quantum minds: Why we think like quarks- 05 September 2011 by Mark Buchanan
- For similar stories, visit the The Human Brain and Quantum World Topic Guides
Read more: "Quantum logic could make better robot bartenders"
The fuzziness and weird logic of the way particles behave applies surprisingly well to how humans think
THE quantum world defies the rules of ordinary logic. Particles routinely occupy two or more places at the same time and don't even have well-defined properties until they are measured. It's all strange, yet true - quantum theory is the most accurate scientific theory ever tested and its mathematics is perfectly suited to the weirdness of the atomic world.
Yet that mathematics actually stands on its own, quite independent of the theory. Indeed, much of it was invented well before quantum theory even existed, notably by German mathematician David Hilbert. Now, it's beginning to look as if it might apply to a lot more than just quantum physics, and quite possibly even to the way people think.
Human thinking, as many of us know, often fails to respect the principles of classical logic. We make systematic errors when reasoning with probabilities, for example. Physicist Diederik Aerts of the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, has shown that these errors actually make sense within a wider logic based on quantum mathematics. The same logic also seems to fit naturally with how people link concepts together, often on the basis of loose associations and blurred boundaries. That means search algorithms based on quantum logic could uncover meanings in masses of text more efficiently than classical algorithms.
It may sound preposterous to imagine that the mathematics of quantum theory has something to say about the nature of human thinking. This is not to say there is anything quantum going on in the brain, only that "quantum" mathematics really isn't owned by physics at all, and turns out to be better than classical mathematics in capturing the fuzzy and flexible ways that humans use ideas. "People often follow a different way of thinking than the one dictated by classical logic," says Aerts. "The mathematics of quantum theory turns out to describe this quite well."
It's a finding that has kicked off a burgeoning field known as "quantum interaction", which explores how quantum theory can be useful in areas having nothing to do with physics, ranging from human language and cognition to biology and economics. And it's already drawing researchers to major conferences.
One thing that distinguishes quantum from classical physics is how probabilities work. Suppose, for example, that you spray some particles towards a screen with two slits in it, and study the results on the wall behind (see diagram). Close slit B, and particles going through A will make a pattern behind it. Close A instead, and a similar pattern will form behind slit B. Keep both A and B open and the pattern you should get - ordinary physics and logic would suggest - should be the sum of these two component patterns.
But the quantum world doesn't obey. When electrons or photons in a beam pass through the two slits, they act as waves and produce an interference pattern on the wall. The pattern with A and B open just isn't the sum of the two patterns with either A or B open alone, but something entirely different - one that varies as light and dark stripes.
Such interference effects lie at the heart of many quantum phenomena, and find a natural description in Hilbert's mathematics. But the phenomenon may go well beyond physics, and one example of this is the violation of what logicians call the "sure thing" principle. This is the idea that if you prefer one action over another in one situation - coffee over tea in situation A, say, when it's before noon - and you prefer the same thing in the opposite situation - coffee over tea in situation B, when it's after noon - then you should have the same preference when you don't know the situation: that is, coffee over tea when you don't know what time it is.
Remarkably, people don't respect this rule. In the early 1990s, for example, psychologists Amos Tversky and Eldar Shafir of Princeton University tested the idea in a simple gambling experiment. Players were told they had an even chance of winning $200 or losing $100, and were then asked to choose whether or not to play the same gamble a second time. When told they had won the first gamble (situation A), 69 per cent of the participants chose to play again. If told they had lost (situation B), only 59 per cent wanted to play again. That's not surprising. But when they were not told the outcome of the first gamble (situation A or B), only 36 per cent wanted to play again.
Classical logic would demand that the third probability equal the average of the first two, yet it doesn't. As in the double slit experiment, the simultaneous presence of two parts, A and B, seems to lead to some kind of weird interference that spoils classical probabilities.
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Gambling Odds
Fri Sep 02 17:54:11 BST 2011 by Felicity Harper
I'm not a logic expert, but the logic in the gambling experiment seems to stack up completely: 69% wanted to play again when told they had won; 59% wanted to play again when told they had lost; i.e. on average 64% wanted to play again WHEN TOLD THEIR RESULT; logically, and arithmetically, surely, 36% won't want to play again when NOT told their result. Which is what the experiment showed. Maybe some of the fuzziness is in the experimenters' thinking...
Gambling Odds
Sat Sep 03 06:42:59 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
The logical conclusion is not what you say, but that 36% would not want to play again when they ARE told their first result.
Gambling Odds
Mon Sep 05 16:39:05 BST 2011 by mb
Felicity - I'm glad you started that by stating you aren't a logic expert as you would have come across a bit foolish otherwise!
Gambling Odds
Tue Sep 06 15:33:38 BST 2011 by Felicity Harper
. You're quite right! My thinking went fuzzy!
Skewed Question
Sat Sep 03 11:43:42 BST 2011 by Keith Graham
"Suppose you ask people to put various objects", - "into ONE of two categories".
It seems I am only allowed one category from the question, it should have had asked one OR BOTH categories.
Blame the researchers for that skewed result.
Skewed Question
Sun Sep 04 06:46:26 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
It says, "Next, you ask if these objects belong to the combined category 'home furnishings or furniture'." So it's a new question. If the people can't get out of the rut of the answering the first question, then it does show that they are not logical. I don't think the researchers are to blame.
Why Blame Logic?
Sun Sep 04 20:34:19 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
The first two examples (2-slit experiment and gambling) are both based on conventional probability theory, so one could regard that as flawed rather than classical logic. I discuss a few more candidates on my blog. So why criticise the logic?
Why Blame Logic?
Mon Sep 05 12:30:28 BST 2011 by Joe Blogs
It seems that the article is about attempts to analyse human
thinking, and ways of emulating its illogicality, using quantum maths,
in machines.
But in humans there is a distinction to be
made between intuition and thought, and if that distinction is not made,
then thought appears to be more dimensional than its process actually
allows. A consequence is that we try to find ways of programming
computers for a quality that cannot be a part of computation. Quantum
maths may harness some of the possibility that is lost by logic`s
probability, but thought works efficiently and the pursuit of efficiency
is growth, in which probability rules.
.
Why Blame Logic?
Mon Sep 05 17:55:55 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
Two comments here.
Programming computers to reproduce
reasoning patterns that are a little vague is exactly what we've been
trying to do, with considerable success. If we say "computers can't be
intuitive", then we have to start restricting the definition of
intuitive to keep up with technological progress, which seems like the
tail wagging the dog to me.
I agree that probability rules in
many cases, but not all probability is classical in the sense of the
Kolmogorov axioms. Andrei Khrennikov's recent book "Ubiquitous Quantum
Structure" gives an excellent introduction on this topic.
Why Blame Logic?
Wed Sep 07 14:16:05 BST 2011 by Mark
If we restate one of the experiments we may notice an alternative explanation.
Instead of saying that players weren't told the result of the first
game we might say that players were given a choice between one game or
two from the outset.
One game has a worst-case outcome of losing
$100 and best case of gaining $200. Two games has a worst-case outcome
of losing $200 and a best case of gaining $400.
Thus, choosing to play only one game protects you against the possibility of losing $200.
This is the same logic as somebody who buys one lottery ticket when he
has enough money in his wallet to buy two. He's prepared to make a small
loss but wants to keep enough money for the bus fare home.
Why Blame Logic?
Thu Sep 08 07:24:19 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
It's not the same. In the experiment, they are told that the first
game has already been played. They have no choice about that. They can
only choose whether to go on to the second game.
This definitely
should affect their decision, at least in real life. If someone won the
first, then he no longer has to worry about being $200 down -- the
options are $100 up or $400 up (if he plays) versus $200 up if he
doesn't play.
Why Blame Logic?
Thu Sep 08 09:03:48 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
Mark, "classical probability" is tied to utility maximisation. A flaw of the article is that it seems to assume that utility=$. As you say, it often is not.
Why Blame Logic?
Mon Sep 05 14:44:07 BST 2011 by Fritz
Just because the response is non-linear doesn't mean it's quantum.
Why Blame Logic?
Tue Sep 06 00:43:31 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
Absolutely right. The Busemeyer et al paper, "A Quantum Theoretical
Explanation for Probability Judgment Errors" is probably the best
exploration to date that shows how accurate the vector space projections
are for predicting the observed outcomes.
http://mypage.iu.edu/~jbusemey/quantum/PJudge6.pdf
As
a differential geometer by training I think of quantum mechanics as
entirely linear, but I see what you mean by non-linear in this case!
Why Blame Logic?
Tue Sep 06 12:35:36 BST 2011 by Illy Whacker
The words 'emperor', 'new', and 'clothes' spring to mind. How a very simple abstract mathematical structure will explain human thinking, as opposed to an explanation based on neurophysiology, psychology, and sociology is beyond me. On the other hand, such a simple-minded notion can very easily generate a research fashion bubble full of papers, conferences, hot air, and researchers either too shallow-thinking or too unprincipled to resist the temptation of joining in. This article is far too naive and uncritical to point this out, of course
Why Blame Logic?
Tue Sep 06 15:10:42 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
There is no opposition between mathematics and the other
disciplines you mention. You would be similarly mistaken to criticise a
search engine for being based on a mathematical model "instead of"
electrical engineering. All successful search engines use both.
Mathematics has been the core language of science for some centuries.
Exploring this language does not make a scientist "unprincipled".
Why Blame Logic?
Wed Sep 07 06:10:43 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
I somewhat agree with "My Whacker". It's not that we can't use simplified mathematical models to model human thinking, but why should our thinking be based on the mathematics of quantum mechanics of all things? The article doesn't really convince one that that works, it just says that people are not very logical! Even if there is evidence that our thinking really is approximately describable by the mathematics of quantum mechanics, one needs to show why this (very surprising) fact is true.
Why Blame Logic?
Mon Sep 05 14:44:46 BST 2011 by Fritz
Just because the response is non-linear doesn't mean it's quantum.
Why Blame Logic?
Wed Sep 07 20:29:52 BST 2011 by Diederik Aerts
http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/aerts/
Congratulations for the many interesting comments. I add some
reflections that respond to different aspects mentioned in the comments.
Most of all with respect to the question 'why exactly using quantum
structures (logic, probability) to model human reasoning?', because this
is indeed one of the intriguing questions that immediately pop up.
Dominic Widdows reacted already in part to it, hence what follows is
complementary to his reactions. Let me first tell you that in the first
phases of this investigation my thoughts where that the specific quantum
formalism would only play a limited role in all this, and most of all
we needed to look for general non-Kolmogorovian and non-Boolean
structures to model human thought. In the course of the investigations
however at different times I was stumbled by the sheer power of the
quantum formalism itself to model human thought, hence now I do believe
that something deeper is touched upon than merely coping with
non-Kolmogorovian and non-Boolean structures.
- Quantum theory
is in some way a double layer mathematical theory. Calculations are done
on the deeper layer of a complex vectors space, and then at the end of
the calculation when contact is made with experiment, the deeper layer
is squared (by taking literally the square of the absolute value of the
complex numbers involved) to give rise to probabilities that can be
compared with relative frequencies of outcomes of experiments. But not
only calculations are done on this deeper underlying mathematical layer,
for example, also when two or more systems are combined, this combining
is done on the deeper layer, and this is what gives rise to the
existence of the weird quantum phenomenon of entanglement. Recently we
have proved that exactly this same entanglement exists when in human
reasoning (very simple) concepts are combined (see: http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.1322),
which shows that 'the deep layer is also present in human reasoning'.
In fact, before finding the explicit appearance of entanglement there
were other signs in this direction, and in http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/0810.5332
an attempt is made to describe what we have called 'the quantum
conceptual mode of human thought', which resembles in some sense
intuitive thought. A technically more difficult article goes further
into this (http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/0805.3850).
Hence, at the actual stage of investigation, I do believe that more
than just capturing the fuzziness of human thought is at stake. If this
is true, it means that the Quantum Cognition approach to model human
thought is definitely more powerful than, for example, the fuzzy set
approach (with fuzzy logics), which indeed only captures the fuzzy
aspect of human thought.
- A second possible reason, for me
personally as a physicist at least, of why the quantum formalism works
well in modeling human thought, is much more speculative, but worth
mentioning. This second reason is not investigated within the Quantum
Cognition community, since its focus is not on 'cognition' but on
'quantum physics' itself. So I work on it as a quantum physicist, alone
at the moment (its too speculative still to engage young researchers in
it at this stage), and mostly in elaborating a new type of
interpretation of quantum theory itself. In this new interpretation
quantum particles are seen as conceptual entities carrying conceptual
information. This investigation is at this moment in a purely
explorative phase, and for those interested there are three published
articles (http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/1004.2530, http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/1004.2531, http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/1005.3767).
If this new interpretation is true, it would mean that the quantum
formalism works so well to model human thought, "because" also
microphysics quantum dynamics is a conceptual interaction process.
Hence, the mathematics of the deep structure of a cognitive process
would appear in both cases naturally.
Why Blame Logic?
Thu Sep 08 08:29:56 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
Thank you!
Why Blame Logic?
Mon Sep 05 18:03:57 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
One common thread in this field is that classical logic and
classical probability are deeply related, as are quantum logic and
quantum probability. So you can't really criticise one without the
other.
This is using the terms "logic" and "probability" in the
modern axiomatised senses, I'm not suggesting that Aristotle and Pascal
invented the same disciplines at different times!
Why Blame Logic?
Mon Sep 05 20:31:23 BST 2011 by Ben Goertzel
http://goertzel.org
One thing that's not clear to me is how strongly the results
suggest quantum logic/probability in particular, versus just suggesting
SOME non-Kolmogorovian uncertainty management and/or SOME non-Boolean
logic
If it is quantum logic then, conceptually, it seems the
explanation has somehow got to lie in the notion that "quantum logic is
what you use when you in principle cannot measure some quantity".... The
subtle point is: maybe the impossibility of measurement in some cases
could be due to lack of computational resources. I.e., a certain
cognitive process C can't get the resources to measure X, so then from
C's perspective, X is un-measurable and should be reasoned about using
quantum logic. Or something like that ....
I wrote a blog post touching on these themes a while back... (long URL - click here) .. inspired by Aerts and also papers by Atmanspacher and others...
Why Blame Logic?
Tue Sep 06 00:28:15 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
I absolutely agree. One clear (classical!) fallacy to avoid is the
deduction "quantum is not classical, this thing is not classical,
therefore it's quantum". Even when we're careful to avoid this. our
measurable experimental results so far only really say that in some
cases, an obviously quantum-like model is faster and more effective than
Boolean / Kolmogorovian models. Which doesn't say that the quantum-like
model is uniquely the best, just that it may be pointing us in the
right direction.
I do agree that most practical measuring
impossibilities boil down to contraints on resources. Quantum theory
does pose limits on measurability, but in most practical cases in (say)
linguistics we run into unmeasurable quantities long before for a host
of other reasons.
Thanks for the links as well. Much to ponder.
Why Blame Logic?
Thu Sep 08 08:58:27 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
Dominic,
According to Keynes and Whitehead, "classical"
logic is just plain wrong, as shown by the so-called Ellsberg paradox.
You may disagree with my criticism of classical probability, but have I
managed to criticise probability without criticising logic? (I have also
responded to Diederik.)
Why Blame Logic?
Fri Sep 09 10:33:30 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
The Ellsberg paradox doesn't show that classical logic is wrong -- it simply shows that people often don't use logic at all! The "paradox" is simply that people tend to make paradoxical choices when presented with Ellsberg's question.
What's Quantum About Rocks?
Sun Sep 04 21:06:19 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
The article notes that a conventional 'rock-song' search is not very effective at finding pages about rocks but not rock songs. What one wants is pages that contain the word "rock" but which are not about the topic "songs". The search method described seems a fair approximation to this. What is quantum about it?
What's Quantum About Rocks?
Mon Sep 05 17:45:32 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
It's "quantum" because the orthogonal projection on vectors used to model negation in the Infomap and SemanticVectors search engines is the same as the negation / complement operator used in quantum logic. Again, quantum mathematical, I make no claim yet that this is quantum mechanical. See http://www.puttypeg.net/book/chapters/chapter7.html (shameless plug of book but very relevant).
What's Quantum About Rocks?
Thu Sep 08 09:22:39 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
For you, probability and complimentarity seem key. The Bohr account of complimentarity does not seem to contradict classical logic. My issue is with the implicit neo-Bayesian dogma together with a confusion between logic referring to reason and logic referring to computation. Criticise classical computation by all means (I do it all the time) but do not (inadvertently) disparage the key to good reasoning. (First sentance of article!) Comments welcome on my blog.
What's Quantum About Rocks?
Mon Sep 12 14:57:42 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
That's interesting. Probability comes from angles in geometric
logics, and once orthogonality is defined the other angles follow. (Here
I'm quoting Keith Van Risjbergen quoting a passage Von Neumann wrote in
1954). So probability and complimentarity are key for Von Neumann, and I
confess I have thought about probability much less deeply.
I
don't mean to disparage logic from the classical or the Victorian eras
at all, simply to say that they're not always the right tools. As far as
I know, Boole himself never made any claim that his algebra should be
used to model learning as well as deduction. Personally I tend to avoid
describing quantum logic as weird or classical logic as flawed: a
screwdriver is not a weird hammer and a hammer is not a flawed
screwdriver! But given the intended audience, I think Mark has done an
excellent job that requires some tradeoffs, and I think this is part of
where we seem to be arguing.
Furniture Categories
Mon Sep 05 13:03:03 BST 2011 by Michael Jenkins
I don't think that Furniture is a larger category than Home
Furnishings. All Furniture is a Home Furnishing, but not all Home
Furnishings are Furniture.
For example: Curtains. Curtains are
Furnishings, but clearly not Furniture. The categories have not been
given their correct relationship in this article, to my way of thinking.
Furniture Categories
Mon Sep 05 16:50:47 BST 2011 by Mr. T
That test if flawed from the start:
If you're asked to put
yellow in one of two groups, "white" or "black", you'd probably put on
"white". " 2 choices, you choose the best one...
After, if you're asked to put yellow in the "Black or White" or in "Other", you'd probably choose "Other".
This are independent tests, the only thing in common are the names.
Also, a tall chihuahua is still a tall dog, like a fat chihuahua is a
fat dog independently of the average size or mass of a particular dog
race.
What matters is the apparent proportion of all the body, compared to an initial idea of what a (general) dog should be.
Furniture Categories
Tue Sep 06 07:07:40 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
Michael, you've misread the article. It doesn't say that Furniture is a larger category than Home Furnishings. It says:
quote
Next,
you ask if these objects belong to the combined category "home
furnishings or furniture". Obviously, if "ashtray" or "painting" belongs
in home furnishings, then it certainly belongs in the bigger, more
inclusive combined category too.
unquote
Biological Perspective
Tue Sep 06 09:55:12 BST 2011 by Al
The "uncertainty of measurement" point is very relevant from
biological perspective, considering that the senses and nervous systems
have developed for billions of years to become as good as they are.
Is there a mathematical "threshold" for a quantum logical system to develop classical logic?
Biological Perspective
Tue Sep 06 15:40:23 BST 2011 by Dominic Widdows
http://www.puttypeg.net
Good question. I don't think there's a clear answer yet, partly
because it's not clear what kind of classical logic develops in living
creatures and what it's used for. For example, in today's terms Boolean
logic is based most clearly on logical connectives, while Aristotelean
logic is based most clearly on quantifiers, which makes computational
implementations quite different. Such considerations are more on the
"artificial" side of "artificial intelligence", but it certainly affects
what sorts of "intelligence" we can model to date.
Lots of
mathematical logic exists independently of any resource-bound
implementation, whereas living creatures are always making decisions
with finite resources in terms of information, time, and effort
available. We don't survive by "proving" that a situation is dangerous,
we survive be making a snap decision that the situation is probably
worth avoiding. The geometric "near enough" approach taken in (say)
statistical machine learning may be closer in spirit to what creatures
actually do in practice, and this geometric approach has become more
embedded in quantum than in classical logic.
Perhaps the best
thread of research to examine this contrast between mathematical
deduction and the reasoning of living creatures is the "New Logic" work
of Gabbay and Woods (http://jigpal.oxfordjournals.org/content/9/2/141.short).
Biological Perspective
Tue Sep 06 18:42:52 BST 2011 by Joe Blogs
The sort of intelligence we can model, in principle, depends upon
the intelligence of modelling, and not upon what we think about. Thought
is a representational system of meaning which works efficiently, not
intelligently, by the delegation of authority to methodology. Its main
agenda is the growth of the status of representation in understanding,
because that is where the efficiency is gained, and that agenda is not
included as part of its content.
That is why, although
neuroscientists conclude that the self/thinker is illusory, there isn`t a
bunch of selfless neuroscientists. That seems to require meditation,
which ignores the content of thought but reduces its status in
understanding by cultivating stillness. Stillness is conceptually
valueless, of course, because conceptuality is process.
Biological Perspective
Thu Sep 08 09:53:47 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
I am not sure what you mean by develop. Regress? Keynes argued that classical (numeric) probability is okay under those situations where it makes sense: e.g., a state-based world with fixed transition probabilities. One may also be able to use such classical logic as an approximation if the transition probabilities change slowly or infrequently: one learns and adapts to them. But according to Prigogine (see my blog - from being to becoming) systems such as quantum systems (and perhaps humans) can innovate. If they do this too much then there is selective pressure on other entities to adopt a more appropriate logic (which we are calling quantum). If the situation is too stable there may also be selective pressure to save some brain cells (or whatever) by allowing the ability to reason under uncertainty to atrophy. But I would not call it development
Biological Perspective
Fri Sep 09 09:38:12 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
The sort of "logic" shown in the two examples in the article is not better than classical logic. It's definitely worse!
Biological Perspective
Fri Sep 09 20:03:06 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
The first example is the one at the top of page 36, involving decisions to take an evens gamble on $200 versus -$100. Elsewhere I have argued that by applying the principle of indifference you get the claimed "logic" of the article. But if we do not then we get an interval that is consistent with the actual experimental results. Why should the principle of indifference apply in this case? How would you convince a cynic?
Biological Perspective
Fri Sep 09 20:13:04 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
Is the second example about classification? Following Diedriks links I see that people were asked about "typicality" and likelihood not probability. It seems to be common in this sort of experiment to confuse them. This usage certainly confuses me. Maybe people give a logical (my sense) answer to the questions that they honestly think they are being asked. It would be good to see the results of a very clear, unambiguous experiment, clearly reported on. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if people were often poor at answering artificial questions. More interesting (to me) is what they tend to do in realistic situations. Do they do better after being tought "classical" probability theory?
To Be Human Is To Interpret Particel Physics As Quantum
Wed Sep 07 04:54:35 BST 2011 by Michael Brand
I accept the article's premise that the mathematical language of quantum theory is descriptive of human decision-making, and I accept the extension in the final sentence of the article that "to be human is to be quantum" in the sense apparently intended by the author. After reading the article it occurred to me that the reason theoretical physicists have devised quantum mechanics is because it allows us to interpret experimental results in a way that is meaningful to humans. I personally doubt that humans are any more capable of understanding the fundamental forces of nature than a chimpanzee is capable of understanding calculus. The chimpanzee doesn't possess the physiologic mechanisms to process ideas as complex as calculus. I think it is naively anthropocentric to believe that humans possess enough additional cognitive processing power over chimps to understand nature's fundamental forces. I suspect that The Standard Model is not an accurate description of the fundamental forces of nature, but is instead merely our best attempt to give meaning to processes which are actually beyond our comprehension. That is, because we think in a quantum manner, the particle physics experimental results are interpreted to be quantum.
Gambling Odds Revisited
Wed Sep 07 09:01:25 BST 2011 by Felicity
At the risk of looking foolish again, I am still deeply disturbed by the gambling example. Can someone tell me whether classical logic would really say that the probability of people playing again if not told their result would equal the average of the first two results? If, of 100 people, you know that 69 want to play again when they know they have won and 59 want to play again when they know they have lost, you don't know to what extent these two sets overlap - how many of the 69 also wanted to play again when they lost and how many of the 59 also wanted to play again when they won. All you know is that at least 30 people wanted to play again in both circumstances. At the extreme, all the others might fall into 'only wanted to play again if they knew they had won' or 'only wanted to play again if they knew they had lost'. I don't know anything about mathematical logic, but this would surely fall into the erroneous logic of 'all dogs have four legs; my pet has four legs; therefore my pet is a dog' category. I may be looking at this the wrong way, but wouldn't averaging 69 and 59 only work if there were only 69 people, not 100?
Gambling Odds Revisited
Wed Sep 07 13:08:19 BST 2011 by Eric Kvaalen
The number who would play again should, by fairly good logic, be
between 28 and 100. If the 59 who would play if they lost consists of
all 31 who would not play if they won plus 28 of the 69 who would play
if they won, then we have 28 who would play in either case and 100 who
would play in some case. So if they don't know whether they won or lost,
all the 28 should play, and possibly as many as 100.
This is related to the Bonferroni inequalities.
Gambling Odds Revisited
Thu Sep 08 10:34:02 BST 2011 by Dave Marsay
http://djmarsay.wordpress.com
So the probability of such a player playing again is an imprecise [0.28,1.0]? But a precise answer is required. How about using the principle of indifference to get 0.64? This is the official answer, but somehow unconvincing. I wonder what the "correct" answer is?
Quantum World Is Not Really Weird
Sun Sep 11 15:02:44 BST 2011 by Srinivasa Rao Gonuguntla
http://www.homeoscience.com
An electron is apparently surrounded by a cloud of virtual
particles that pop in and out of existence. Virtual particles are
particle/ antiparticle pairs (electrons/ positrons) that get created
from the vacuum and disappear by annihilating each other.
If
this picture is true, the created particle/ antiparticle pairs may not
adhere to and behave with sanctity and it is possible that the original
electron may get annihilated by one of the virtual positrons created
next to it. So the position of the real electron keeps changing in the
cloud and we may feel that its exact position is unpredictable. This
unpredictability is more to do with our ignorance and not to be
considered as a fundamental character of the particle and I will clarify
more on this later.
So this electron cloud when shot, is likely
to travel through both the slits simultaneously and how much of the
cloud goes through each slit depends on the size of the cloud (likely to
be infinite), the distance between the slits and the direction it is
shot.
When many electrons are shot at once, all will travel in
the same way as above but the particle clouds/ virtual particles of
different electrons can interact with their neighbors and hence can
influence the position of the neighboring real electrons. This influence
of particle clouds on one another can result in the interference
pattern observed in the two slit experiment.
Quantum World Is Not Really Weird
Sun Sep 11 15:14:50 BST 2011 by Srinivasa Rao Gonuguntla
http://www.homeoscience.com
Imagine that some giant aliens, of the size of our universe and who
live longer than this universe, are trying to study humans (much
smaller than their Planck length!) whose presence they can barely feel.
For them we may be like virtual particles who just pop in and out of
existence from nothing. But they may be able to appreciate the existence
of a governor surrounded by a cloud of virtual humans. But they surely
get confused and say that this governor is unpredictable like we have
been talking about the electron. They probably can not guess that, this
man actually keeps changing very often and comes (gets elected) out of
the virtual humans, and that the term of/life of each governor is much
smaller than the life of the virtual humans.
We know that the
election of a governor or president is not a random or an unpredictable
event and if any uncertainty exists, that is only because of our
inability to read the human minds.
Uncertainty or
unpredictability, whether it is in our everyday life or quantum world or
cosmology, exists not because Nature is fundamentally endowed with this
property, but because of the limitations we as humans have got in
understanding the Nature and creation. Luckily we have a way to look
beyond our ignorance ie by statistics/probabilities.
Now back
to our electron clouds again. If we enlarge the electron cloud and slow
down the time sufficiently, we will probably see a similar picture like
the human clouds described above.
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