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Thread: Can you please explain ways in which Physics can disprove karma?

  1. #1 Can you please explain ways in which Physics can disprove karma? 
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    I personally don't beleive in karma, but wanted to pick your brains.


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    No need.

    Karma's big problem with science is the same as all the other magical, non-material notions.

    It's an untestable, unfalsifiable notion. If a proponent of karma being real could come up with a proper "theory of karma", or even a cogent hypothesis, then they or anyone else could come up with experimental protocols to test it.


    Cogito Ergo Sum and KJW like this.
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    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Forum Professor river_rat's Avatar
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    If I was feeling very facetious I would ask the following: Since karma exerts some sort of force on your material things it must be exerting a force on the things that make up those materials i.e. the subatomic particles that make up our bodies, brains etc. However, we have a pretty good handle on all the forces that affect these particles at normal energies and scales. Thus any proponent of the supernatural, karma and luck would have to show me how to extend the Lagrangian of the standard model to include these effects. But I am not feeling very facetious on a Monday morning so I won't...
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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    The only real way for there to be a real karma is for an information system (being controlled by something) to be in existence. This would require some sort of database which keeps all reality records. Which is impossible unless you assume there is a god that had unlimited capability.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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  6. #5  
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    I like your answers. Thank you.
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    Nothing more interesting than the unknown.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    At one level, ideas like karma or tao are kind of obviously true: if you go round lying and cheating people will not trust you; if you overfish or over-hunt you may run out of food; if you pollute the environment you (or your descendants) will suffer the effects.

    I assume this observation is what produced the idea of some more universal law (coupled with the desire to have something to encourage people to behave well). But, as others have stated, unless that can be put into testable terms (and descriptions I have seen are far too woolly for that) then science has nothing to say about it.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    These sort of questions always come across to me as the equivalent of "Can mathematics disprove yoghurt?".
    There's no relationship involved between the two, so it's a null question.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    These sort of questions always come across to me as the equivalent of "Can mathematics disprove yoghurt?".
    There's no relationship involved between the two, so it's a null question.
    Can you prove math and yogurt to be mutually exclusive?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    These sort of questions always come across to me as the equivalent of "Can mathematics disprove yoghurt?".
    There's no relationship involved between the two, so it's a null question.


    I suspect that a mathematical model of Yogurt would be fundamentally stochastic.

    While some fundamental symmetries are preserved in nature, and they could be loosely analogized with the concept of karma, I doubt that nature preserves symmetries between the anthropic concepts of "desirable/undesirable".
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    I think the short answer is proper application of statistics can prove that karma does not exist.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    These sort of questions always come across to me as the equivalent of "Can mathematics disprove yoghurt?".
    There's no relationship involved between the two, so it's a null question.
    Sort of see your point in a way but I don't agree. It seems to me that Karma and similar systems, unlike yoghurt, make claims about the world and relationships of entities within it, which are occasionally rival hypotheses (on examination, bad ones) to those in natural science.

    But I like your choice of yoghurt, as karma is exactly the sort of thing that New Age, crystals-and-shit, yoghurt weavers go in for.
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    Well when someone is really really nasty.....and they do nasties to others and then get screwed......


    that may not be KARMA

    but whatever.....sure works for me
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Well when someone is really really nasty.....and they do nasties to others and then get screwed......


    that may not be KARMA

    but whatever.....sure works for me
    Justice? Serendipity? Great coincidence? Stuff that happened? All better explanations than "karma".
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Sort of see your point in a way but I don't agree. It seems to me that Karma and similar systems, unlike yoghurt, make claims about the world and relationships of entities within it, which are occasionally rival hypotheses (on examination, bad ones) to those in natural science.
    Karma is, supposedly, some sort of system of "universal justice".
    Justice is not a physics topic.

    On top of that it relies on some nebulous "controlling spirit" or "balancing/ accounting factor" - again a non-physics premise.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Sort of see your point in a way but I don't agree. It seems to me that Karma and similar systems, unlike yoghurt, make claims about the world and relationships of entities within it, which are occasionally rival hypotheses (on examination, bad ones) to those in natural science.
    Karma is, supposedly, some sort of system of "universal justice".
    Justice is not a physics topic.

    On top of that it relies on some nebulous "controlling spirit" or "balancing/ accounting factor" - again a non-physics premise.
    True, though it also makes claims about cause and effect and reincarnation. Mind you, I agree these, on inspection, would prove to be surrounded with enough woo to prevent them being falsifiable in a Popperian sense.
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  18. #17  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    But again - "cause and effect".
    Can we quantify "harm" and "good"?
    Physics relies on numbers.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Well when someone is really really nasty.....and they do nasties to others and then get screwed......


    that may not be KARMA

    but whatever.....sure works for me
    Justice? Serendipity? Great coincidence? Stuff that happened? All better explanations than "karma".

    While I do not disagree with that...I prefer to just call it "karma" What comes around goes around....
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  20. #19  
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    Karma, as elucidated by Hindu sages, is a complex concept of reaping both the good and the bad we sow. All action and inaction create karma. It is intimately entwined with the concept of reincarnation, as the exacting 'justice' may take lifetimes to come to fruition. Both are spiritual concepts, and neither can in any way be proved or disproved. They are, and probably will always be, unfalsifiable.

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  21. #20  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogLady View Post
    Both are spiritual concepts, and neither can in any way be proved or disproved. They are, and probably will always be, unfalsifiable.
    I would have thought that even a cursory study of history "disproves" karma, or, at the very least, shows it has serious flaws.
    Adolf Hitler - what was his "comeuppance? Oh, he shot himself.
    The Moors Murderers - sexually assaulted and took the lives of children. They're in prison.
    Etc etc etc...

    Now, either karma is deeply flawed or it doesn't exist.
    Or is suicide/ life imprisonment "punishment" that "balances" such behaviour (bearing in mind that others have "received" such "retribution" for (what I'd call) lesser evils)?
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  22. #21  
    Forum Senior pineapples's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    I would have thought that even a cursory study of history "disproves" karma, or, at the very least, shows it has serious flaws.
    Adolf Hitler - what was his "comeuppance? Oh, he shot himself.
    The Moors Murderers - sexually assaulted and took the lives of children. They're in prison.
    Etc etc etc...

    Now, either karma is deeply flawed or it doesn't exist.
    Or is suicide/ life imprisonment "punishment" that "balances" such behaviour (bearing in mind that others have "received" such "retribution" for (what I'd call) lesser evils)?
    The alleged crimes of Jimmy Savile spring to mind as another possible example of karma failing. And I don’t buy into reincarnation. You don’t accidentally step on a snail and say “Ah well, it’s ok. He was probably a paedophile or something in a previous life”.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapples View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    I would have thought that even a cursory study of history "disproves" karma, or, at the very least, shows it has serious flaws.
    Adolf Hitler - what was his "comeuppance? Oh, he shot himself.
    The Moors Murderers - sexually assaulted and took the lives of children. They're in prison.
    Etc etc etc...

    Now, either karma is deeply flawed or it doesn't exist.
    Or is suicide/ life imprisonment "punishment" that "balances" such behaviour (bearing in mind that others have "received" such "retribution" for (what I'd call) lesser evils)?
    The alleged crimes of Jimmy Savile spring to mind as another possible example of karma failing. And I donít buy into reincarnation. You donít accidentally step on a snail and say ďAh well, itís ok. He was probably a paedophile or something in a previous lifeĒ.
    I agree with you both and I think arguments such as this can be used to show the claims of karma are totally unscientific - as are the claims of all religions, I venture to hazard. Whether that is the same as "proving" karma is "untrue" is another matter - it seems to be a more or less classic philosophical result that the claims of religion are impossible to either prove or to disprove. But what is for sure is it is unscientific.
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    *chuckle*

    "Karma" to me is an expression......and a person who is a **** head and has something bad happen....well to me.....sometimes life gives you a slap on the hands for being a not so nice piece of work.......scientific, nope. Appropriate, yep.
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    If it weren't for Karma, lie detectors wouldn't work.
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    Not really a physics answer here, but more of a common sense response - that little baby that suffered and died of leukemia or some such illness, you know, the little baby we all heard of, maybe the child of a friend, our own child, or perhaps just the child you heard about through the grapevine; if karma is real, then what did he do to deserve it?
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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    Quote Originally Posted by william View Post
    Not really a physics answer here, but more of a common sense response - that little baby that suffered and died of leukemia or some such illness, you know, the little baby we all heard of, maybe the child of a friend, our own child, or perhaps just the child you heard about through the grapevine; if karma is real, then what did he do to deserve it?
    Good point. What did my niece deserve to be murdered in cold blood, or my nephew deserve to die from pancreatic cancer at the age of 38 ..or my sister's to lose a child.

    I stand on "karma" as an expression, not a reality.
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    Forum Professor river_rat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by william View Post
    Not really a physics answer here, but more of a common sense response - that little baby that suffered and died of leukemia or some such illness, you know, the little baby we all heard of, maybe the child of a friend, our own child, or perhaps just the child you heard about through the grapevine; if karma is real, then what did he do to deserve it?
    Good point. What did my niece deserve to be murdered in cold blood, or my nephew deserve to die from pancreatic cancer at the age of 38 ..or my sister's to lose a child.

    I stand on "karma" as an expression, not a reality.
    Isn't karma got to do with past life transgressions?
    As is often the case with technical subjects we are presented with an unfortunate choice: an explanation that is accurate but incomprehensible, or comprehensible but wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by river_rat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by william View Post
    Not really a physics answer here, but more of a common sense response - that little baby that suffered and died of leukemia or some such illness, you know, the little baby we all heard of, maybe the child of a friend, our own child, or perhaps just the child you heard about through the grapevine; if karma is real, then what did he do to deserve it?
    Good point. What did my niece deserve to be murdered in cold blood, or my nephew deserve to die from pancreatic cancer at the age of 38 ..or my sister's to lose a child.

    I stand on "karma" as an expression, not a reality.
    Isn't karma got to do with past life transgressions?
    not really....the concept I have always had is what comes around goes around.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    The only real way for there to be a real karma is for an information system (being controlled by something) to be in existence. This would require some sort of database which keeps all reality records. Which is impossible unless you assume there is a god that had unlimited capability.
    are you referring to karma as in what goes around comes around
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous1235 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    The only real way for there to be a real karma is for an information system (being controlled by something) to be in existence. This would require some sort of database which keeps all reality records. Which is impossible unless you assume there is a god that had unlimited capability.
    are you referring to karma as in what goes around comes around
    Welcome to the forum, anonymous.

    You might wish to note the dates of the posts -- you're responding to a thread that is over 4 years old.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk421 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous1235 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    The only real way for there to be a real karma is for an information system (being controlled by something) to be in existence. This would require some sort of database which keeps all reality records. Which is impossible unless you assume there is a god that had unlimited capability.
    are you referring to karma as in what goes around comes around
    Welcome to the forum, anonymous.

    You might wish to note the dates of the posts -- you're responding to a thread that is over 4 years old.

    I know but I wanna know if pyoko is talking about karma as in what goes around comes around like as a punishment or reward system
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