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Thread: Theoretical Outcomes vs. Observed Phenomena

  1. #1 Theoretical Outcomes vs. Observed Phenomena 
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    I'm new to these forums, but you seem like an awesome community!!

    So:

    Is it true that, at any given moment, there is an infinite amount of possibilities that can happen?

    If so, why aren't there an infinite amount of strange happenings?

    For a particular outcome to occur, does it have to follow the laws of physics?


    The NOVA String Theory documentary "The Elegant Universe" gave this example while comparing quantum mechanics with macroscopic physics:
    Example: I could lean on a wall for almost an eternity before actually passing through it and apparently defying the laws of physics.
    But it is still possible.

    Wouldn't things like that happen at any moment since we are doing an infinite amount of things?
    eg. Standing on the ground, generating heat, or anything that any object does...


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  3. #2 Re: Theoretical Outcomes vs. Observed Phenomena 
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    I'm new to these forums, but you seem like an awesome community!!

    So:

    Is it true that, at any given moment, there is an infinite amount of possibilities that can happen?

    If so, why aren't there an infinite amount of strange happenings?

    For a particular outcome to occur, does it have to follow the laws of physics?


    The NOVA String Theory documentary "The Elegant Universe" gave this example while comparing quantum mechanics with macroscopic physics:
    Example: I could lean on a wall for almost an eternity before actually passing through it and apparently defying the laws of physics.
    But it is still possible.

    Wouldn't things like that happen at any moment since we are doing an infinite amount of things?
    eg. Standing on the ground, generating heat, or anything that any object does...
    You're probably thinking of the "Many Worlds" interpretation in quantum mechanics:
    Many-worlds is a postulate of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse, which implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are realóeach representing an actual "world" (or "universe").
    (ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation )

    Because this interpretation invokes other universes (which, by definition, we can't observe), I don't think there is any way to prove or disprove this notion.

    Chris


    It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
    Robert H. Goddard - 1904
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  4. #3  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Taking into consideration 'free will' regarding human beings one could argue that there are an unlimited amount of possibilities at any one moment. Now using that doesn't work with the cosmos, you see the behaviour of the stars/gases/planets'galaxies etc etc are governed by the laws of physics and so conform to certain behaviours which we can predict.

    For instance we can tell where the earth will be in a year or so, or what gases will be given off during a chemical reaction, but when it comes to humans we can predict what is going to happen based on previous behaviours and using psychology, but we can never be sure what exactly they are going to do.

    Regarding space one could say that there are an infinite number of possibilites if you consider the many worlds interpretation of the cosmos, of course no verifiable proof for this exists at present only in theory and the only link that theory has to practical explanation is the motion of sub-atomic particles that suddenly move irregularly without any kind of external stimuli, one could use that as evidence for the many worlds interpretaton, yet it might be linked to something completely different.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  5. #4  
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    So that confirms the notion that anything that happens in the cosmos must follow the laws of physics.

    Leading on from that, is there an event that is truly impossible?
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  6. #5  
    . DrRocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Leading on from that, is there an event that is truly impossible?
    Several

    Rational scientific discussions with:
    chinglu
    Farsight
    Kojax
    .
    .
    .
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Leading on from that, is there an event that is truly impossible?
    Several

    Rational scientific discussions with:
    chinglu
    Farsight
    Kojax
    .
    .
    .
    I suppose that would have been funnier to someone more experienced with the forum, but that was still funny lol
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  8. #7  
    Forum Bachelors Degree x(x-y)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Leading on from that, is there an event that is truly impossible?
    Several

    Rational scientific discussions with:
    chinglu
    Farsight
    Kojax
    .
    .
    .


    One of the "continued" could be galexander...
    "Nature doesn't care what we call it, she just does it anyway" - R. Feynman
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  9. #8  
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x(x-y)
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Leading on from that, is there an event that is truly impossible?
    Several

    Rational scientific discussions with:
    chinglu
    Farsight
    Kojax
    .
    .
    .


    One of the "continued" could be galexander...
    jagella
    Cyberia
    Ellatha
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ------------------




    "Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders."- Carl Friedrich Gauss


    -------------------
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  10. #9  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    I suppose that would have been funnier to someone more experienced with the forum, but that was still funny lol
    Sadly it is not only funny, but true.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    So that confirms the notion that anything that happens in the cosmos must follow the laws of physics.

    Leading on from that, is there an event that is truly impossible?
    Quantum mechanics may be probabilistic, but there are still rules and there are still conserved quantities. You could (theoretically) calculate a probability for some pretty absurd things happening due to quantum weirdness, but there are still some impossibilities (not to mention practical impossibilities such as events expected to happen maybe once in 100,000 universe lifetimes).
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  12. #11 Re: Theoretical Outcomes vs. Observed Phenomena 
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Is it true that, at any given moment, there is an infinite amount of possibilities that can happen?
    No. There's a very large number of possibilities that can happen, but not an infinite number.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    If so, why aren't there an infinite amount of strange happenings?
    It isn't, and there aren't.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    For a particular outcome to occur, does it have to follow the laws of physics?
    Yes and no. The laws of physics are merely a codified representation of how things work in the universe. Kind of like the rules as we understand them. When we find something that breaks the rules, we know that our understanding is incomplete.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    The NOVA String Theory documentary "The Elegant Universe" gave this example while comparing quantum mechanics with macroscopic physics:
    Example: I could lean on a wall for almost an eternity before actually passing through it and apparently defying the laws of physics. But it is still possible.
    No it isn't. It's just one of those assertions with a get out clause. You lean against the wall for a very long time, and when you don't pass through it, some smart alec says "but ah, you haven't done it for long enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Wouldn't things like that happen at any moment since we are doing an infinite amount of things? eg. Standing on the ground, generating heat, or anything that any object does...
    No. It's just moonshine, aka woo. The sort of stuff that sells books.
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  13. #12 Re: Theoretical Outcomes vs. Observed Phenomena 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farsight
    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    Is it true that, at any given moment, there is an infinite amount of possibilities that can happen?
    No. There's a very large number of possibilities that can happen, but not an infinite number.
    As usual you don't know what you are talking about.

    Even in quantum mechanics observables can have both a discrete and continuous spectrum -- and a continuous spectrum represents infinitely many, in fact uncountably many, possible outcomes of a measurement.


    Quote Originally Posted by Farsight
    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    The NOVA String Theory documentary "The Elegant Universe" gave this example while comparing quantum mechanics with macroscopic physics:
    Example: I could lean on a wall for almost an eternity before actually passing through it and apparently defying the laws of physics. But it is still possible.
    No it isn't. It's just one of those assertions with a get out clause. You lean against the wall for a very long time, and when you don't pass through it, some smart alec says "but ah, you haven't done it for long enough.
    Again a fundamental misunderstanding. QM does indeed permit such weird things. But for macroscopic bodies the probability of tunneling (as an example) is so low that one would not expect to observe it in a time span commensurate with the age of the universe.

    No smart alec involved, only someone who actually understands the theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farsight
    Quote Originally Posted by KevDog32
    ]Wouldn't things like that happen at any moment since we are doing an infinite amount of things? eg. Standing on the ground, generating heat, or anything that any object does...
    No. It's just moonshine, aka woo. The sort of stuff that sells books.
    There is indeed a lot of nonsense written in books -- take that piece of trash that you wrote for instance.

    But the correct explanation is that we are not "doing an infinnite anount of things" and the probabilities of really weird things at the macroscopic level are EXTREMELY small. But weird things like tunneling occur at the atomic level regularly, as attested by the fact that tunnel diodes are common and work as predicted by QM.

    KevDog32 -- Beware, Farsight is a well-known internet crank. He has been debunked in several venues. Listen to his nonsense at your own risk.
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