Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality

QuantumEinsteinSuggested by Brad Nelson • Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly written account of the fundamental scientific revolution of quantum theory, focusing on the central conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science.
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55 Responses to Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I read books that are generally way over my head…so that you don’t have to. It’s a service we perform here.

    But, seriously, I do like reading light lay science books. I’m only about 15% into this one, so it’s a bit early yet to give it a “buy” recommendation. But so far it’s not bogged down by mathematical equations. And the physics (while inherently complex) are told in a fairly understandable way. And even if you understand it only by half (or less), you can follow the story, which is about (so far) the main bullet-point contributions of the major scientists of the 19th and 20th century. It ticks off the various discoveries and physical anomalies that eventually lead to quantum theory.

    From there one can expect the “great debate” to develop between Einstein and Bohr. That debate revolves around the question of, in Einstein’s view, that “God does not play dice” — and thus quantum theory is something that works well on paper but reality isn’t really like that. Or, if quantum theory does explain the deep nature of reality, then, well — frankly — there isn’t much more to say. It would seem to make reality inherently unknowable and inherently bizarre. Or, as Bohr famously said, “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”

    There may be an article or two that comes out of this. But it’s interesting to surmise that all this fine-grained study of particle physics — while inherently interesting and very useful — can’t and won’t ever tell us about the deep nature of reality, if only because it’s possible that this reality was designed. And if it was designed, then one might well learn to marvel at the Creator by examining this working physical universe in all its nifty detail. But consider the point that you could no more understand or discover the nature of Leonardo from studying the atomic structure of the pigments in the Mona Lisa than perhaps you can understand the deepest nature of reality from describing the behavior of quarks.

    It’s quite possible that physics is headed in the direction of knowing more and more about less and less. All of these quite profound equations they have that describe the motion and energies of basic matter and energy don’t give a hint, for example, at such astounding things as the mind. So any scientific hope of explaining reality through discovering the most basic laws of physics that (presumably) would fit into one simple equation is probably doomed to irrelevancy.

    But, the physics all on their own are quite interesting enough. It’s just that perhaps we shouldn’t invest too much in them. Maybe God plays dice. Maybe he doesn’t. But if they are someone’s dice, that changes the picture completely.

  2. Glenn Fairman says:

    The double slit test tells that light can be both a wave or a particle, which would seem to be mutually exclusive. Moreover, its behavior is dependent on whether it is being observed or not. Quantum non-locality tells us that a seemingly isolated particle that is stimulated can affect another particle over a distance. Might this not point to the hypothesis that the material universe is stretched like a tent over a grand living connected reality? And finally, we cannot continually divide matter into infinity. At a point, a particle literally disappears. The Copenhagen fellows sure opened up a can of worms that have upended physics. While there may be a set of provisional rules that govern The Matrix, if you will, the underlying reality is quite possibly Living Mind or Consciousness, which is independent from the material universe. Mind is prior to material, not the other way around as the Philosophical Naturalists would have you buy into to. Chew on that for awhile and grow humble as the Heavens roll back like a scroll.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Quantum non-locality tells us that a seemingly isolated particle that is stimulated can affect another particle over a distance. Might this not point to the hypothesis that the material universe is stretched like a tent over a grand living connected reality?

      As the jokes goes:

      “We are all one big whole.”

      “Yes, you certainly are.”

      Non-locality suggests, at the very least, that Einstein is correct in that we don’t particularly understand what is going on (aka “God doesn’t play dice”). Although it bothers me not (as it did the scientists of the time…talk about a neolithic type of conservatism) to see light as a particle (What an offense to Newton!) — or to see it as a particle and a wave — that is only because the effects or contingencies in and around being are inherently secondary to being itself. I might marvel at the magician sawing the girl in half or him pulling a rabbit out of his hat. Either is remarkable. But it’s the magician himself who is of greatest interest — the inventor of the tricks.

      Regarding the Copenhagen interpretation, in some respects, it’s a way to say “Physics does not, and can never, have the deep ‘nature of reality’ insights that we scientists say it can” — all while apparently saying something very profound about the deep nature of reality. (Plus, the Copenhagen interpretation isn’t the only possible interpretation.) As you suggest, maybe “the red pill” is a better interpretation.

      If mind (and not only mind) is not prior to matter, then the world is not Divine; it becomes bona fide magical. If fundament things (such as mind) can just “emerge” (aka “emergent phenomenon”), then the rule is that there are no rules. We are back to pixy dust, for all intents and purposes. This is one reason it is not unreasonable to look at the study of science as looking at the plans and designs of some Creator, for if this is not so then the rule is that anything can arise from anything with no prior rules, logic, or purpose. And thus we cannot actually know anything, for there is nothing “deep” to ever know (which is one reason many are quite satisfied with the Copenhagen interpretation).

      Interesting insights, Clark.

  3. Glenn Fairman says:

    Perhaps speaking the world into existence is not such a stretch after all, if you know the words and retain the authoritative power behind the utterance.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      We’re left describing the existential corn flakes put on the table by an ontological breakfast-maker — a logical gap we’ll likely never breach in our lifetimes, mystical experiences perhaps notwithstanding. We can arrange and rearrange matter and energy all day long. And that’s great. Who doesn’t like their iPods? But only a mind captured and held (often willingly so) by corn flakes mistakes the corn flakes for the deeper truths. And to just insist there are no deeper truths is not only an evasion, but it’s the proposing of a type of deep truth itself (the truth of no-truth, which would seem to be self-negating).

      I couldn’t possible know if a Word was how being came into being. There may be “cosmic background radiation” left over that points to a Big Bang. But we have no such thing for a Creator…unless mind is that cosmic background radiation.

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    I have quite a bit of material on physics (George Gamow, who wrote the Mr. Tompkins stories, also wrote a good bit of non-fiction on the subject, and there are others as well), though not as much on biology and (especially) natural history. But the problem with modern physics isn’t so much the math as simply the bizarre nature of the concepts. Quantum mechanics is so alien to our macro world that it can be hard for most of us to accept.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Quantum mechanics is so alien to our macro world that it can be hard for most of us to accept.

      Yes, I get that aspect. As this book notes, it was very hard for scientists of the time to accept the idea that light was a particle (this was even before the idea that it might be both a particle and a wave). There’s an odd kind of “social conservatism” in the sciences that belies the popular impression of scientists as free-thinkers. Richard Feynman wouldn’t blink if some guy said that moon was made of green cheese…and gave good evidence for it. But history is full of intransigence in science, even dreadful hostility to new ideas.

      Anyone who has read about quantum physics has (if the description is direct and non-jargoned) run into its mad-as-a-hatter bizarreness. It’s not just that the results are unexpected – say, finding this particle or force instead of some other particle or force. It’s that the results seem to negate the scientific search itself, relegating the most exacting (and micro) of efforts to the realm of mere statistics.

      It was surely this idea that bothered Einstein, and rightfully so. “God does not play dice” can easily be taken to mean that quantum physics wasn’t the deepest nature of reality. And surely it isn’t.

      But, in terms of the specifically and only materialist paradigm, it might be. I’ll give it that. But as I said, in no part of physics (other than the double-slit experiments and such) does quantum theory (or any other physical theory) suggest the reality of mind, not to mention (as Berlinski notes in “The Devil’s Delusion”) is there any hint of what can, and does, happen in the macro world. No basic law of chemistry, for example, can predict hemoglobin. And no basic law of physics can predict the Big Mac.

      So I, for one, don’t get all hot-and-bothered that physics has seemed to hit rock-bottom with little more to say than “roll the dice.” Physics already does not say anything about the only reason you and I (and others) are even having this conversation, or any conversation, in the first place: mind.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a quote from the book that gives us all hope in terms of understanding reality:

    “‘He had the gift of seeing a meaning behind inconspicuous, well-known facts which had escaped everyone else’, recalled Einstein’s friend and fellow theoretical physicist Max Born. ‘It was this uncanny insight into the working of nature which distinguished him from all of us, not his mathematical skill.'”

    Granted, I’m never going to successfully imagine what it’s like to ride on a beam of light, as Einstein did to propel him to his theories on relativity. But it’s useful noting that his imagination was his strong suit — and his mathematics were not. This book says when teaching class in his role as a professor and doing equations on the blackboard, he would often turn to the class and say something like, “Oh…that’s not right. Who can help me get this right?”

    Certainly Einstein’s theories had to make testable predictions (or just fit existing observations better than any other existing theory) in order to make an impact. But it’s interesting to note that his annus mirabilis (miracle year) of 1905 were not the observations of a scientist working 9-to-5 in the laboratory (he was still working in the Swiss patent office). It was, for him, part-time work done purely from mental effort, even going so far as predicting the particle nature of light on what could best be described as an informed hunch.

    And given that I think there is a sort of dead-end coming to the strictly materialist paradigm (at least in terms of understanding our world), we might indeed use our own brains to see what we perhaps can see. It’s likely that the evidence for new paradigms is already staring us in the face.

  6. Glenn Fairman says:

    But now we see through a glass darkly, but one day face to face.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m 43% through this book (probably much further because the appendix and other back parts are included in the 100% total, and such parts can be quite extensive). So far this has been a history of the evolution of science leading up to (finally) the (one would hope) main premise of the book. I’m just beginning Part II which starts with these two quotes from Bohr and Einstein to set the stage:

    “There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum mechanical description.” — NIELS BOHR

    “I still believe in the possibility of a model of reality – that is to say, of a theory that represents things themselves and not merely the probability of their occurrence.” — ALBERT EINSTEIN

    On the face of it, the (generally considered definitive) Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics (formulated by Bohr) says that there is no “reality down there.” Einstein says there is, even if exact measurements are impossible.

    Let me first reveal my prejudices in this case: The Europeans are generally philosophical kooks. They spotted Darwinism and eventually turned it into Nazism, for example.

    That said, aspects of quantum physics are extremely strange. I can’t hope to comment on the mathematics. (And some say that only the mathematics we need bother with.) But I can sympathize with Einstein’s intuition that physics, in order to be substantial and real, must be relatable in some way to the world we know.

    And I think it’s easy enough to see the postmodern sensibility in the Copenhagen interpretation. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle tells us that we cannot, in principle (and not just as a limitation of our means to measure), know what is going on at the quantum level. He states further, in fact, that nothing is actually going on until we measure something. It is the act of measurement that creates reality (collapses the probability wave).

    So, in a way, this interpretation pulls the rug out from under reality by virtue of our limitations, it would seem, not reality’s. And given that supposedly we don’t know that 96% of the universe is even made of, it’s reasonable to assume that rather than dispensing with objective reality that we simply, via quantum physics, are looking into some kind of funhouse mirror. God may or may not play dice. But dice is not the only game.

    On the face of it, even the Copenhagen interpretation isn’t that big of problem (long term) in terms of relatability because it’s a huge clue regarding the preeminence of mind. But because that interpretation has “spooky,” even religious, connotations, you were not going to get any interpretation such as that out of Bohr or anyone else in the European scientific community (then or now).

    Lest we reject some of these assumptions of quantum physics because they are just too strange compared to our “classical physics” world of cause-and-effect, locality, measurability, etc., we should remind ourselves “Strange compared to what?” That is, things in the “classical physics” world which comprise our lives on the macro scale are nothing short of bizarre, strange, and existentially profound. Yes, we take the air we breath, gravity, light, matter, energy, and so many other things for granted. But simply being inured to the remarkableness of something is not the same thing as understanding it (unless, of course, one believes that a mathematical equation is all, and the best, we can ever say about such things).

    If anything, quantum physics confirms that existence (being) itself is not in our purview to grasp at the deepest and most fundamental level. This is not something any religious person or astute philosopher of reasonable disposition would have ever had much of an argument with. God made the dirt. And we can make much from that dirt. We can measure it and assign mathematical equations (or probability figures) to the way it acts. But we can’t make dirt.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This topic is so esoteric that I know I’m pretty much talking to myself. But for the one or two people who find this subject interesting, I will ramble on a bit more:

    Here’s the essence of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics:

    The reality Bohr envisaged did not exist in the absence of observation. According to the Copenhagen interpretation, a microphysical object has no intrinsic properties. An electron simply does not exist at any place until an observation or measurement is performed to locate it. It does not have a velocity or any other physical attribute until it is measured. In between measurements it is meaningless to ask what is the position or velocity of an electron. Since quantum mechanics says nothing about a physical reality that exists independently of the measuring equipment, only in the act of measurement does the electron become ‘real’. An unobserved electron does not exist.

    ‘It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is’, Bohr would argue later.31 ‘Physics concerns what we can say about nature.’ Nothing more. He believed that science had but two goals, ‘to extend the range of our experience and to reduce it to order’.32 ‘What we call science,’ Einstein once said, ‘has the sole purpose of determining what is.’33 Physics for him was an attempt to grasp reality, as it is, independent of observation. It is in this sense, he said, that ‘one speaks of “physical reality”‘.34 Bohr, armed with the Copenhagen interpretation, was not interested in what ‘is’, but in what we can say to each other about the world. As Heisenberg later stated, unlike objects in the everyday world, ‘atoms or the elementary particles themselves are not as real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts’.35

    For Bohr and Heisenberg, the transition from the ‘possible’ to the ‘actual’ took place during the act of observation. There was no underlying quantum reality that exists independently of the observer. For Einstein, a belief in the existence of an observer-independent reality was fundamental to the pursuit of science. At stake in the debate that was about to begin between Einstein and Bohr was the soul of physics and the nature of reality.

    Any deep discussion of this subject is bound to devolve into “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Rhetoric becomes like rubber and thus “reality” is fungible, for how is one to parse the difference between “Science tells us what reality is” (Einstein) and “Science tells us what we can say about nature” (Bohr)? And who supposes in the first place that the human mind is so advanced that a God like understanding of “is-ness” can ever be achieved by mere humans? This division between Bohr and Einstein thus seems artificial, at best.

    I find Einstein and Bohr to be somewhat arguing past each other. Einstein was battering (unsuccessfully) quantum physics (particularly the uncertainty principle) with various mind experiments — all of which Bohr successfully rebuffed. So Einstein took the attitude that quantum physics is not internally inconsistent, but it’s not complete.

    And you don’t need to be Einstein to hold this as a hunch. When wouldn’t it have been foolhardy, as Bohr had done, to announce that one’s theory was complete and would never be superseded by another theory or major (or even minor) correction?

    We can certainly give in on the idea that quantum physics is strange and that we perhaps can’t say a whole lot about what an electron is “doing” when it is not being measured. But does it then make sense to say that it doesn’t exist? As Bohr proclaimed, there is no underlying quantum reality that exists independent of the observer. If this is so then somehow *we* have god-like powers in being able to give an electron existence even though electrons have presumably existed long before mankind had ever observed them.

    And does anyone here have a brain capable enough to instantaneously plot the probability of a electron appearing here, rather than there, when observed? I know that I haven’t. So either God is observing all things at all times and establishing the electron’s existence as a wave or particle and holding it to exacting rules when we mere mortals measure it with our minds (a more likely scenario) and/or there is some kind of reality “out there” even if it is fuzzy to our measurements.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I like that notion of comparing modern physics to questions about angels on a pin. Note that Schroedinger supposedly came up with his concept of the cat who is neither dead nor alive until observed as a skeptical observation. (One might remember that animals as well as humans can observe. The cat would certainly know whether or not it was dead — or, to be precise, would have an awareness of its own life as long as it was in fact alive. Admittedly, this might be a problem if the cat were asleep, particularly given how much time cats spend sleeping.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, I do think Erwin Schrödinger captured some of the careless absurdity of Bohr’s interpretation.

        Einstein’s philosophical failing was probably not just going ahead with the Bohr interpretation as if it were true and then drawing out the implications. It’s also a nice set of armor that a philosopher can wear when he says (as Bohr did) that not only is my theory complete, but it dispenses with reality itself so end of discussion outside of my theory.

        And that should be grasped fully. Bohr is not just saying that we can’t say anything about the electron (or any other bit of matter or energy) when it is not being observed (a fair enough, if strange, observation…and one greatly supported by observation). It’s another to then say that therefore nothing exists outside of the observations.

        Again, could be. But this is by no means the only interpretation or even the most obvious one. The most obvious interpretation is that some “super-electron” does indeed exist (in perhaps a state of “existence” that truly does warrant the dissolution of the common understanding of that word, so Bohr might be rhetorically correct).

        And this is by no means a strange notion if you consider the existence of our minds. “I think, therefore I am.” Not even the most committed radical materialist denies the existence of mind. And yet what shall we say about its type of “existence” if it is not amenable to scientific observation? Shall we discard it, like the electron, because we have drawn a blank and thus declare it does not exist?

        Surely we’re dealing in very ontologically deep areas. Simple common sense demands that we withhold some judgment about what does and does not exist simply because we reach the limits of our understanding.

    • GHG says:

      Brad, you have the rapt attention of this esotericist. Fascinating subject and discussion. Please continue.

      BTW – my assumption is that Bohr didn’t believe electrons literally didn’t exist except when observed, but rather used that as an argument to make opposing arguments more difficult to make.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I don’t think Bohr’s point is that the electron didn’t exist; it was that we know nothing about it until observed. (And, of course, observation changes the data, per Heisenberg, so in a sense we never know anything. If that means that an electron in an atom in my eye could really be located in downtown Louisville instead of in my eye, then I think Bohr — and perhaps many other modern physicists — had taken leave of his senses. Which might be why he argued the way he did.)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Well, maybe the author of this book was wrong when he characterized Bohr’s take as:

          There was no underlying quantum reality that exists independently of the observer.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Clearly, GHG, at least from the data presented in this book, Bohr was of the mind that we are cut off forever from science being able to say what reality really “is.”

        Here’s a bit from Wiki:

        There are some[who?][citation needed] who say that there are objective variants of the Copenhagen Interpretation that allow for a “real” wave function, but it is questionable whether that view is really consistent with some of Bohr’s statements. Bohr emphasized that science is concerned with predictions of the outcomes of experiments, and that any additional propositions offered are not scientific but meta-physical. Bohr was heavily influenced by positivism. On the other hand, Bohr and Heisenberg were not in complete agreement, and they held different views at different times. Heisenberg in particular was prompted to move towards realism.[10]

        I think that gets to the heart of it. Any speculations about reality outside of science are mere “metaphysical.” That is, in plain English (or perhaps Danish), such speculations are no more than superstition or guesswork.

        We see some of the roots of this logical positivism that infects our thinking today, the very seeds of relativism in some respects, the idea that there is no Truth and that whatever small-truths can be found are the specific domain of science, and no one else. This is why the statist Democrat Party, for instance, tries to wrap itself in science and to say that Republicans and conservatives are anti-science. They are trying to grab the prestige of science and say they are (via government) just another branch of “rational” thinking.

        There are surely different “spins” (an appropriate choice of words) to the Copenhagen interpretation. You can go “soft” or “hard,” depending upon the spokesman and depending upon the audience. But the preponderance of what I’ve read leads me to believe that for many it’s not just that we can’t say anything beyond what our experiments show, but that there is nothing there to say anything about. These are the same people today who will look you straight in the face and say “There is no truth” (a very common scientific conceit) while somehow missing the point that they have just uttered a capital-T “Truth” postulate.

        To some extent, divining the meaning of the Copenhagen interpretation is somewhat analogous to the uncertainty principle (which also applies to libertarians). You can get one bit nailed down, but when you do, suddenly the rest is a gigantic grey area. You can then go explore this grey area, perhaps nail down a point logically (from their axioms) and then, having uncovered inconsistencies, the rest becomes sort of an amorphous grey area.

        So, yes, some will say that the Copenhagen interpretation means that there really is something there, even if we can’t measure it. Others will say there is not, that it is officially nonsensical even to suppose such a thing. This is quite consistent with the mindset of scientists (scientism, really) because they believe the only truths come via scientific measurement. Therefore if you can’t measure something, it isn’t true (and very well might not even exist).

        Glad you like the general subject matter, GHG. The somewhat non-local nature of the internet makes it easy to chew the fat on it.

        • GHG says:

          Bohr’s position seems scientifically nonsensical unless it’s meant philosophically.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Bohr’s position seems scientifically nonsensical unless it’s meant philosophically.

            It’s the logical conclusion to the reductionist point of view. Remember, these guys think they are getting to the most fundamental and important aspects of reality by observing what an electron does in a double-slit experiment. Anyone who thinks differently is said to be caught in a superstitious mindset, the kind who bows before Zeus in awe of the mystery of thunderbolts. But science, of course, showed us that lightning is no more than an electric discharge. Rinse and repeat.

            And we may awe at the mystery of existence, even have reverence for a Creator. We may wonder that we have a mind, something never measurable by science. But we are, to the materialists, mere superstitious dolts for doing so, for the scientists have shown us that at the very core of the material world is randomness and thus meaninglessness. And they, by virtue of their ability to find material facts, are to be the final authority, the self-appointed priests. They are to be the final interpreters of reality (and thus of meaning, if any). This is not how Bohr put it (as at least from what I’ve read). The truly obnoxious materialists (such as Dawkins) were still somewhat of a glimmer in science’s eye.

            But this is the world of science. I double-dog dare you (I have) to go over to Richard Dawkins’ site and even suggest to the gathered throngs that there is more than the mere material to existence. Ask them, for instance, to consider their own minds as Exhibit A.

            Well, anything, and I mean anything, that departs from the radical materialist/reductionist mindset is instantly cast off as “mere superstition or mysticism.” These minds are locked tight, gazing downward into their own navels in a spiraling way that even the Buddha couldn’t have matched.

            Of course, we can certainly marvel at the discoveries of quantum physics. It is an odd thing to have on the micro end of the material — the smallest scale that we know of. And it has been a fruitful notion for scientists to assume that there is some fundamental law that explains the laws of nature. They assume that all forces and particles are aspects of a broken symmetry, and that if you go back far enough to the Bang Bang, you will find that they are just various manifestations of one simple law or formula (sort of the materialist’s version of god). And the grand assumption is that you’ll be able to eventually marvel at the relative simplicity of that tell-all formula, much like Einstein’s E=MC2.

            What few have stopped to realize is that no mathematical formula, or series of formulas, can ever describe reality. Mathematics is just one dimension — one point of intersection, if you will — with reality. But you would no more understand newsprint by looking closely at the fibers of the paper (ignoring the writing in ink on that newsprint) than you can understand reality by looking at what quarks are doing. It’s much like Glenn said regarding information not conforming to the classical form of matter and thus not passing the materialist’s muster.

            The reductionist point of view is powerful in some respects. But as soon as you try to make this the entire world, it doesn’t fit very well. In fact, it makes shallow dolts of us — often moral idiots as well, as history has shown. Science is wonderful, but wonder itself you will not find inside a double-slit experiment.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I wonder if anyone ever goes on to Dawkins’s website to ask what scientifically verifiable theory explains the Cambrian explosion. Of course, this presupposes that Dawkins and the people who haunt his website have any familiarity today with the scientific method.

              • Glenn Fairman says:

                Those sites are full of the most caustic, militant, irreverent, and confrontational people you will ever come across. Their positively in your face demeanor stems from, I believe, the tenuousness of their position. The intellectual equivalent of whistling past the graveyard.

        • Glenn Fairman says:

          The Socratic method is the incremental ascent from opinion to knowledge. We may never fully understand the gestalt of truth because we lack the consciousness to apprehend reality, but that is different from saying that there is no truth, or that truth is subjective: which means everything and therefore nothing corresponds to truth.
          The fool holds that only what can be touched, detected, or tested is real, yet he fails to realize that his very consciousness, mathematical laws, and information do not correspond to the classical form of matter and therein do not pass the materialist’s muster. Oh, he might try to pass them off as emanations of materialist cranial circuitry, but his edifice soon crumbles when he realizes that without objective truth, how can he trust that what his own mind tells him is real? He takes it on faith, but a faith of weak and emaciated quality.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          This presentation of Bohr’s view seems to resemble a friend’s contention that IQ measures your ability to take IQ tests. Science is indeed supposed to make predictions that can be tested, so in that sense Bohr is right. But I think where this goes wrong is that the predictions are the means to the end of explaining reality as best as we can. They aren’t supposed to be the end product. If they are, then what good is science, and why should we spend all that money on it? And while we’re at it, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

          • GHG says:

            And what kind of dance are they dancing on that pin? I’ll guess it’s not a square dance.

          • Glenn Fairman says:

            Scientism is of the view that only what can be testable is real and worthy of our concern. We see this disease filtering into and distorting every aspect of our knowledge: the social sciences, psychology, even what remains of philosophy.

            This is tantamount to a color blind man who can only see green or the men in Plato’s Cave who are chained in the dark facing a wall and can only see the flickering shadows from the fire. They suppose that all there is are these dancing forms, little dreaming that outside is the light of the sun which sets everything in its true perspective.

            • GHG says:

              The allegory of the cave rings true for ignorance and fear of change but I don’t think the high priests of scientism can claim that defense. Their objective no longer seems to be the search for truth, but rather gaining power and prestige.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Those sites are full of the most caustic, militant, irreverent, and confrontational people you will ever come across. Their positively in your face demeanor stems from, I believe, the tenuousness of their position. The intellectual equivalent of whistling past the graveyard.

    I couldn’t agree more, Glenn (the obscure) . . . . . oh, wait…I just found a bit more agreement.

    I was just watching a little bit of this lecture by Richard Feynman regarding the double-slit experiment. Long story short, the electron somehow goes through both slits and creates a wave-like interference pattern on the detector sitting on the far side of the slits, even when being shot through at the double-slits one at a time. It somehow interferes with itself, with future electrons, with past electrons, or goodness knows how to look at what is happening.

    But if you put a detector at the two slits to indicate which slit the electron is going through, the interference pattern on the far detector disappears and you get what you’d expect if the electron were merely a particle.

    Upon first reading this explanation years ago, I was certainly left scratching my head. But then you just come to accept the mystery. Yes, it begs an explanation. And surely there is one. But the state of science in regards to quantum physics is that you’re looking as far down the rabbit hole as you can, and there will never be an answer, thus there is supposedly no way ever to say what reality “is like.” That was, more or less, the main area of disagreement between Einstein and Bohr.

    Time will tell on some of those assertions, of course. Forever is a very long time. And yet who would expect to look deep into the micro world of existence and find humdrum? Yes, what we find is bizarre, for sure. But in regards to the very idea of existence, what would “normal” look like?

    We might say that “normal” is the extension of so-called classical physics to the smallest scales. But there’s no reason to suppose so because there’s little reason to suppose that we understand deeply the things we see in the macro world either. Oh, we find mathematical consistency to that world (for the most part). But the “is”-ness of it eludes us, big or small, macro or micro.

    To some extent, quantum physics is hailed (if only on an emotional level) because it crashes normal, something that has become a cultural pastime for the elites. But what if instead reality is constructed purposely by some intelligence? We then need to ask how nonlocality and ditching some of the “classical” physics makes our world possible. What about normal non-probabilistic cause-and-effect rules out a livable world such as we have? We likely can’t deduce the answer. But we might come to see this “bizarre” quantum nature as more of an odd necessity rather than just a random oddity.

    And perhaps the deep “is”-ness of reality, as referenced earlier, does not elude us. We must at some point take up the vital question of epistemology, of how we know what we know. Perhaps some of the poets and prophets of old knew more about this world and its creation than any scientist ever will beyond the narrow scope of mathematics. And if mathematics is all that can be said, then that takes in only a very small amount of existence as we know it. The quantum view promises us a kind of inherent negation of knowledge, as Glenn intimated, particularly with the Copenhagen interpretation thrown on top.

    Is quantum physics bizarre? Yes, but so are snails and puppy dog tails. It’s arguable (and I would argue) that a poet captures more relevant information about what it is to be than all the particle accelerators that have ever existed. That’s not an anti-science or anti-intellectual viewpoint. That’s a realistic viewpoint.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The bizarre nature of physics at the submicroscopic level really began with the Michelson-Morley experiment, which led to the Fitzgerald contraction, which led to relativity, etc. Somewhere along the line, quantum mechanics became incomprehensible in terms of ordinary life (which follows classical physics).

      Incidentally, the collapse of classical physics at this level is one of the best examples of why science is never settled. Classical physics seemed to explain everything — until it didn’t. Hence a famous poem and its rejoinder:

      Nature and nature’s laws
      Lay hid in night.
      God said, “Let Newton be!”
      And all was light.

      It did not last;
      The devil crying,
      “Ho, let Einstein be!”
      Restored the status quo.

  10. Glenn Fairman says:

    Is the matrix observer-dependent? I am not saying that there is not an objective reality, but does our individual mind shape the hull or veneer of the matrix? I like using that term because it increasingly looks as if minds — through the interaction of thought, or prayer, penetrate down to the interconnectedness of reality of which dumb matter is merely a stretched out scroll.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Let us develop the Highland Interpretation (aka The Matrix Interpretation).

      From what I understand, the Highland Interpretation states the possible, if not probable, supremacy of mind (divine or otherwise). What quantum experiments show is that, at the very least, mind is an intrinsic element of reality. Simply by observing it is said that we “collapse the probability wave” and cause an electron to behave in front of the double-slits like a particle.

      How then nature gets by without legions of scientists relentlessly observing electrons so that their probability waves can collapse at the right moment to keep the universe churning and our iPhone screens glowing is anyone’s guess. If there is no reality independent of an observer, well, then you can count out Darwinism right off the bat because there would have been no one around to observe the primordial ooze, and thus no primordial ooze.

      Clearly there is some kind of objective reality independent of at least our minds. And although apparently we can’t know what an electron is doing prior to measurement, it would be more absurd to say that there is no “electron something,” for something indeed collapses into a particle or wave when needed, and not once but each and every time.

      So-called “virtual particles” add to the mystery, and add to the temptation to look at reality as a gigantic casino game. These virtual particle apparently pop into and out of existence, staying for only a short time. The vacuum of space is reported to be full of them. This certainly is what fuels the idea that no first cause is needed to explain the universe. It just popped out of thin air from some kind of “quantum foam.” What the foam is frothing in and around is never said. It’s just assumed (like the rest of quantum physics) as a primary element beyond which you can go no deeper.

      We might at least, in developing the Highland Interpretation, admit that the workings of reality are mysterious, unexpected, and sometimes even bizarre. We might even bring in that old chestnut from Arthur C. Clarke: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And if nature was designed, we have our answer right there.

      Indeed, so much is unfathomable to our minds. For all the deconstructing that science has done the last few hundred years, when looking down at quantum physics we might as well be back to calling lightning bolts the anger of Zeus. You can read into quantum physics what you want. And although one’s formal language may, by a trick of light, seem definitive and authoritative, we might as well be back to calling it “Zeus’ anger” for all we really know about it. Maybe the various trickster gods in Hinduism and elsewhere spring forth from an ancient intuition.

      • Glenn Fairman says:

        “In Him, all things consist.”

        And to refer back to Berlinski’s question: What compels the electron in its motion?

      • GHG says:

        If those attention starved electrons need to be observed before they put down their video games and get to work, maybe the One observer, the Alpha and Omega Mind is doing that, and while the “lesser” minds, made in The Image, can also observe the little darlings dancing about, the serious reality work is being done by the One.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        This brings up an interesting question that Bohr presumably never considered: If subatomic particles don’t exist until observed, then how does the world actually manage to work? Somehow, we have molecular reactions that involve the movement of electrons despite the lack of observations. I assume GHG’s answer would never have been proposed, since science inherently rejects the idea of God (at least as an explanation for any phenomenon).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I will keep my eye out for any “official” Copenhagen interpretation of that point, Timothy. It’s perhaps a bit unfair to hold Bohr or others to account for all the weirdness. But their own explanations at times seem a little weird as well.

  11. GHG says:

    In our world, the dimension of space/time, the randomness of quantum physics seems incongruent with our observations of an otherwise ordered cosmos. But maybe there are other dimensions where that electron in your eye is connected in an ordered and predictable way to an electron in downtown Louisville. Maybe those electrons must be connected to hold the cosmos, our reality, together. Maybe the cosmos is expanding in order to keep order, to keep the proper tension needed to keep our world in service.

    And maybe I should stop before my head explodes.

  12. Glenn Fairman says:

    I am intrigued by the hypothesis of a dozen dimensions. If man existed as a dimensional point, would he have any idea what a two dimensional line was, or even a 3d cube. We inhabit 4 dimensions and time drives us crazy with its paradoxes. Imagine what 11 dimensions are like. We could be standing in the midst of 11 dimensional beings and not know it because our consciousness is not attuned to it. It is interesting that many of the great inventions owe their genesis to a flash of inspiration that comes ripping into our consciousness from God Knows where. Have we tapped into a great well or have we been rewarded by Grace for our persistence? The interconnectedness of it all is just beyond our reach, although sometimes we can sense it in fits and starts. Not to be trite, but the lyric “Heaven is in your Mind” may not be too far afield……that is…..if all Minds are linked into a massive super-intelligence beyond our comfortable prison’s Divided Line.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I can barely comprehend the fifth dimension.

      It is interesting that many of the great inventions owe their genesis to a flash of inspiration that comes ripping into our consciousness from God Knows where. Have we tapped into a great well or have we been rewarded by Grace for our persistence? The interconnectedness of it all is just beyond our reach, although sometimes we can sense it in fits and starts.

      Speaking of interconnectedness, some have proposed that our brains act like a filtering device rather than an additive device. “We are all one” might be more than just a cheesy Eastern slogan. And to experience being an individual finite being, we have to be able to filter out the Unity.

      It’s interesting reading some of Aldous Huxley’s observations in The Doors of Perception. Huxley took mescaline and wrote about his experiences. He mentions that the relative plain world around him came alive in colors and textures. Rather than understanding this as a hallucination, it seems reasonable to describe it as if mescaline somehow increased his mind’s ability to perceive various shades and hues of color (which is true of us all to some extent even while not on foreign substances).

      Although many drugs, such as pot, can stupefy, it seems there are others than can enhance our senses. Do they enhance by actually enhancing existing apparatus or do they do so by breaking down the filters? Who knows? It’s truly difficult to say which words correspond to this esoteric subject of being and experience.

      But if there is a hierarchy or interrelatedness of minds then prayer is a rational thing. And having a time or two had a creative thought — as I’m sure most of you have — it has occurred to me “I’m not that clever. That didn’t and couldn’t have come from me.” It’s not particularly uncommon for the more thoughtful artists (at least the ones who are not egomaniacs) to express the opinion along the lines of “That didn’t come from me…I simply channeled it.”

      New-age verbiage such as this can just as easily be evidence of kooks, charlatans, or those steeped in kitsch. And, I’ll admit, it’s often difficult to tell the difference, assuming there is one. But given that our minds and bodies themselves derive from outside things, and are dependent upon outside things (that is, we didn’t create ourselves and are not self-contained), it’s not an illogical notion that things come into us from sources, if not geographically outside us, that are somehow outside of us all the same.

      • Glenn Fairman says:

        In my Mescaline Days I experienced those same heightened colors and auditory enhancements—–I remember opening and closing the oven door and being wholly engrossed in the project for about an hour while saying to myself: “This means something.”

        In reality, it was all a cheat. If the simple things became engrossing, it was because the drug made you stupid and the mundane became compelling. Being driven down Sunset Blvd while tripping balls in a chauffeured car in the 30’s or running through a wood near my house blazing away on peyote extract never got me anywhere. Moreover, a few of my fellow “test pilot” friends were altered by their copious acid experiences in negative ways.

        The last time I dropped acid I went to the movies and saw “Slingblade.” I kept telling myself that “this is really a beautiful film on so many levels.” Need I say anymore?

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          In reality, it was all a cheat. If the simple things became engrossing, it was because the drug made you stupid and the mundane became compelling. .

          You’ve now explained the appeal of Ron Paul.

          I think there are at least two aspects to this: 1) As you said, it’s just a drug artificially messing with your brain making “stupid” seem somehow profound (not that there aren’t some very nice oven doors out there); and 2) The human brain becomes encrusted over and forgets the wonder of the small stuff…thus that wonder is not illegitimate (up to the point of falling in love with the oven door, I suppose).

          We’ve probably all sat in a bar (after a round of golf or whatever) and shared a few drinks with a stranger, and that stranger then becomes very quickly (at least in his mind) your best pal. I never fell for the delusion. I always was aware that it was artificial and fleeting. But I’ve seen it several times.

          Such things give one an appreciation for the physical world. Living inside the mind or emotions disconnected from some kind of objective and consequential reality is not something that is particularly healthy for us. So one can perhaps get into the mind of God when one wonders, “Why this world?” Well, it could be that we are suited for no other, try as we might to escape this one (or better it) with alcohol, pills, drugs, and sex (and perhaps even text-messaging).

          One could say (I would certainly say) that the mystical man (or woman) isn’t the one necessarily floating around with visions of God in his head, tipsy on emotion, although such types have been known and are often swell chaps. One could say, rather, that the mystical man is the one who embraces this world, hardships and all, perhaps hopes for another, but has a grittiness and realism of vision. And rather than producing cynicism, this alchemy of the soul produces sympathy and groundedness. I think this is what St. Francis gained, in some way, from his early meditation on the San Damiano cross. Many of these kinds do not try to escape the pain. They find meaning in it. Rather than learn grievance, they learn something else.

      • GHG says:

        “Do they (drugs) enhance by actually enhancing existing apparatus or do they do so by breaking down the filters?”

        Or do they open the door to dreams? And what are dreams? Are we outside reality when we dream? If yes, then doesn’t that mean we can be outside reality, and if that is possible then what is it that is outside reality? Or are dreams simply imagination unfettered from outside sensory data? But that’s just kicking the can down the road because the question then becomes what is imagination?

        Or maybe I’m thinking of this all wrong. Instead of trying to define dreams and imagination in relation to reality, maybe I should consider them a dimension of a different reality, one not bound by the physical properties of our horizontal reality, but rather a connection to a vertical reality that has always been there but has mostly been ignored and misunderstood.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          To ask “What are dreams?” is to ask “What is mind?” I don’t know that anyone knows. But certainly dreams are another manifestation of mind.

          • GHG says:

            Yes dreams and imagination are in the mind and dreams seem to be imagination on steroids. But unlike the conscious mind, there seems to be another door opened from which the mind receives data or thoughts or messages, or maybe it’s The door opened wider. I don’t know. Physics is at a loss to explain the conscious mind – not just the workings of it but more importantly the evolution of it. My wonderment, and reason for bringing dreams into the discussion, is that the mind seems to be acting on data that is (partially) unaccounted for in terms of historical sensory data. The mind in dream mode seems to go past conscious imagination and conjures up thoughts/visions that seem to come from ?where exactly?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          On the rare occasion that I remember dreams, they seem to deal with mundane events, usually mixing together different periods of my life in some peculiar fashion.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    You’ll probably never get a better feel for the (refined) scientific mindset, pursuit, and implicit biases than this: Richard Feynman: The World from Another Point of View. To some extent, to understand the science you have to understand the scientists. Feynman is sort of an ideal one if only because he is so honest and without guile. This is good background as we explore further into the Highland Interpretation.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One of the problems with starting a topic like this is that you can say much and end up saying very little. You can go on and on and you might face the reality of that Franklin quip: Of what use is a new-born baby?

    Feynman articulates very well in this video what he thinks the purpose of science is and what personally drives him. It’s to go beyond the mere “name” of things to what really makes them tick. This is understandable, is absolutely legitimate, and is a very fruitful line on inquiry.

    Within limits. It has its pitfalls, for if you reach so far down, is it really fair or meaningful to say that what reality “really is” is some wave/particle thing that may or may not exist with or without mind, perhaps here but not there, over some amount of time or no time? At some point, cannot we say that we do not understand what a baby is from looking at the quantum mechanical reactions of a couple of atoms in its little toe?

    In that video, Hoyle shares an old joke with Feynman: A man is looking for his lost glasses in the dark of night under a lamppost. A passerby says to the man, “Are you sure that you lost your glasses there?” And the man answers, “I hope so because it’s the only place I can see to look.”

    Science becomes like that. Materialism and reductionism are useful tools. But it’s very easy to make idols out of them, to forget that they are just tools, and that a baby is something that exists beyond the quantum level and is not explained by quantum mechanics. To his credit, in that video Feynman is explicit in saying that science pursues an understanding of how the ground rules (the basic parameters and constants of nature) play out. But it doesn’t have anything to say about how those initial ground rules were set in the first place. If you watch that video, you can almost here him struggling not to use the word, “God.”

    The West used to harbor and nurture a richer, more philosophical mind. Now those minds (not including Feynman’s) often are barren — seduced and wrecked by simplistic sound-byte philosophies and fundamentalist demeanors. This decrepit attitude has effected science as well. But it wasn’t always this way.

    At the end of this lecture, Feynman says:

    What is necessary for the very existence of science…are not to be determined by pompous preconditions. They are to be determined, as always, by the material with which we work — nature herself. We look and we see what we find and we cannot say ahead of time, successfully, what it’s going to look like. The most reasonable possibilities turn out often not to be the situation. What is necessary for the very existence of science is just the ability to experiment, the honesty in reporting results — the results must be reported without somebody saying what they’d like the results to have had been. And finally, the intelligence to interpret the results. But an important point about this intelligence is that it should not be sure ahead of time about what must be.

    The above is a proper ethic in regards to any kind of pursuit of knowledge. And who talks this way these days? Very very few. Leftist politics has distorted and corrupted so much of Western thought.

    I like using that term because it increasingly looks as if minds — through the interaction of thought, or prayer, penetrate down to the interconnectedness of reality of which dumb matter is merely a stretched out scroll.

    Continuing with the explication of the Highland Interpretation of quantum physics.

    Given the double-slit experiment, it is reasonable to assume that matter is the Play-Doh of mind, or is the product of mind, or is both. It’s all too easy to forget that without at least one mind, there is nothing, for could anything be said to exist if this existence couldn’t be noticed or recorded? It’s common for a person to mobius-strip one’s brain pondering the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” But this question is ultimately nonsensical without mind. One might propose that you could have dead atoms and other molecules floating around in empty space, not doing anything in particular, but still existing. But unless it is noticed, is there actually any meaning in saying that it exists? Is it not but a thought experiment (with “thought” here being the key word)? And regarding our own universe, taking into account the double-slit experiment, surely mind has been riding along since the Big Bang in some way. It does not merely “emerge” from what is considered dominant and supreme matter by fundamentalist materialists.

    I think the double-slit experiment is the first scientifically-solid hint (but not the only or first hint) of the preeminence and centrality of mind. We could, as Mr. Lesser said, understand God as holding the universe in his mind…or some such thing. But we would all acknowledge that the only reason anything matters in the first place is that we can be aware at all. That is the first and premier fact when trying to discuss the deepest nature of reality. Quarks are secondary to the fact that we can (to some extent…assuming that quarks are real things) comprehend quarks.

    This might have been Einstein’s intuitive discomfort with the Copenhagen interpretation, for Einstein believed that it was absolutely vital that our description of nature be about something. And his own skill was a highly developed intuition. Quantum physics, perhaps unleashing a pent-up desire to de-classify, de-mystify, and knock man off his pedestal, told us (through the Copenhagen interpretation) that man’s mind — his intuition and very sense of reality — was forever and completely at odds with the way things “really are” and proposed (with more than a fair amount of glee) to shut him out of a deep knowing. You could not have constructed a more anti-theistic theology if you had wanted to.

    Not just Einstein had deep intuitions about reality. But his intuitions, probably narrowed by the usual prejudices of science and scientists, was dedicated to the merely material. And he wielded that intuition with great power. But there have been sages and saints throughout the ages who were not kooks or perverted nut-job such as Mohammed who had arguably very real insights into the deep nature of reality. And such insights were more from the “Of what use is a new-born baby?” end of things rather than, of course, from the quark end. And unless that baby, and everything else, can said to be defined and ultimately understood by one simple mathematical equation that will fit inside a fortune cookie, then there is room for knowledge — tentative (and, ironically, probabilistic) though much of that intuitive non-scientific knowledge may be — outside the bounds of radical materialism.

    This is a very scary notion for the atheistic/secular/materialist fundamentalist crowd.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      “Of what use is a newborn baby?” That sounds like Richard Dawkins. The difference is, he can’t see anything beyond immediate utility, unlike Feynmann.

  15. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Physics is at a loss to explain the conscious mind – not just the workings of it but more importantly the evolution of it. My wonderment, and reason for bringing dreams into the discussion, is that the mind seems to be acting on data that is (partially) unaccounted for in terms of historical sensory data. The mind in dream mode seems to go past conscious imagination and conjures up thoughts/visions that seem to come from ?where exactly?

    Interesting observations, Mr. Lesser. Physics is indeed at a loss to explain the mind. And there is no reason to believe, in principle, that it can ever say anything about the mind. It’s out of its domain — which, as expected, has caused many dedicated materialists to try to dismiss it as a kind of mere pond scum that “arises” on the surface but is of no great importance . . . that is, “Nothing to see here, folks, so move along”. But can science say something about the brain? Yes, of course. But the mind is not the brain, although the two are clearly connected.

    We can gain several useful points from this:

    + Science, in principle, cannot evaluate the immaterial mind, thus science/materialism/reductionism itself is not a complete method for understanding the universe. It’s a powerful method, and is due much credit. But it is not complete and comprehensive.

    + This omission is not minor, for the so-called “scientific method” (there is no one single method and never has been) cannot exist without the human mind (or a mind, in general). Therefore all pretenses of science having the final say in all matters should be taken with a grain of salt.

    + The mind is inherently “spooky.” This being the case, blinkering oneself via scientific fundamentalism is not the answer. Although it may have helped Heisenberg to formulate his contribution to the creation of quantum physics by limiting himself to strictly what he could measure, that method is ultimately going to come up short.

    + The above being true, what we are then left to an informed philosophy to be our light, and such a philosophy will be one that is (ironically) probabilistic, in nature. That is, we cannot say with 100% certainty what mind “is” or what the universe “is” or where it came from. But we can make reasonable conjectures. Or, as an alternative, we can retreat to our cave and wall ourselves off by using some version or another of an uncertainty principle, saying that unless a thing can be measured exactly, any opinion is without merit.

    + If the above last point is taken, man will necessarily have to move from being a dumb animal to one who can reach past stage-one thinking, at least if he wishes to expand his knowledge. If one really wishes to know what is at the heart of political correctness, for example, it is the dogma of the dumb animal stuck at stage-one thinking. It is an animal that lacks wisdom, a sense of proportion, and an ability to grapple with various shades of ambiguity and uncertainty.

    Everything the Left touches it makes worse, including science. No wonder so much simple-minded dogmatism is coming from that direction these days….even while they can’t go five minutes without anointing their prejudices in Galilean conceits of victimhood.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There is one single (if multi-step) technique referred to as the scientific method. A theory is formulated to explain a phenomenon (such as the warming that has happened since about 1850), making use of other scientific data (such as the greenhouse effect of certain gases observed by Svante Arrhenius about a century ago). This theory is then used to make certain predictions, which can then be tested against further observations or experiments. If the predictions work, they validate the theory (though it’s never absolutely proven true, in the way a mathematical theory can be, because a single incorrect prediction forces the theory to be modified or even junked). But if the predictions fail (as has been the case with CAGW and the hiatus in warming since the 1990s), the theory is wrong in whole or in part.

      As my examples indicate, CAGW is a failed theory. On the other hand, the problem with Darwinism is similar to the problem with creationism — the difficulty (or even impossibility) of testing the theory.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, in regards to theorizing, you are correct. Inherent to this method is proposing a theory and then the theory being either supported or refuted by the evidence. If something is to be labeled a “scientific” theory, it must be falsifiable.

        But the methods for coming up with theories appear to be as numerous as there are practitioners. Feynman, in one of the videos above, mentions how he thought the method worked for him….and then chuckled when he noted that when he tried to repeat this method after making some big discovery, it rarely, if ever, brought another Eureka! moment.

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