Philosophy of Science

Posted by dbhalling 4 years, 4 months ago to Philosophy
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The end of the article explains why the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is inconsistent with the philosophy of science and that its proponents did not even take the CI of QM seriously. I believe this is very important, because if objectivism cannot win on the metaphysic in physics and other sciences then we are unlike to win the philosophical battles at the political level.
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  • Posted by j_IR1776wg 4 years, 4 months ago
    "Einstein’s relativity did disprove Newton, it just refined…" I think you meant to write "Einstein's relativity did not disprove…"

    "Statistics are a way of bounding our lack of knowledge about certain factors." If it helps, I define statistics as being necessary where mathematical certainty is impossible.

    "The main justification for the statistical approach to QM is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle." Is a sub-justification that the electron and proton in a hydrogen atom do not behave as the earth and moon orbiting each other?
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  • Posted by TexanSolar 4 years, 4 months ago
    I believe that a lot of science is controlled and manipulated by the government. I agree that "Fudging the data in science is the greatest sin in science". This exactly what the IPCC scientists have done. They grossly manipulated a very meager, hopelessly inadequate historical temperature data set. They removed anomalies, corrected for biases, and extrapolated or interpolated this data to cover regions in which no data exists for a thousand miles. Their science is dishonest at best. Man-Caused Global Warming is the greatest fraud ever perpetuated against freedom. The goal of this fraud is governmental control of our energy system. As Obama said, "your electric bills will necessarily skyrocket."
    We must prevent the government from doing this. Or, we can simply move Off-Grid. My solar collector design, the Bradford Collector, is designed for off-grid applications. I will never feed solar power into the grid.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
      Agreed and the "data" of AGW is so rigged that it is impossible to have a reasonable discussion. We don't have time to all go out and take our own data or even wade through all the lies. They can manufacture more lies, more quickly than we can disprove each one of them, which I think is part of their strategy.
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  • Posted by Lucky 4 years, 4 months ago
    db- A very nicely argued paper. I may be out-of-date, but as 'Fools rush in...' here is my understanding.
    The 'CI of QM' presents a framework for, if not explaining, but predicting tests, experiments and measurements.
    Agreed, it appears to be inconsistent with logic and a key element of the scientific method in abolishing causality in favor of dice throwing in some areas. All attempts so far at identifying the 'hidden variables' which could explain observations in deterministic ways have not just been unsuccessful but have suggested (I have seen the word 'proven') that there are no such hidden variables. Your para on ethics is correct and crucial, honesty, must trump the proposition of causality at least as far as accepting working explanations as models if not reality.
    Some may see this as a danger in that it leaves the way open to propose an unseen hand, or the hand of an intelligent designer, a modern term used to disguise theology, in using free will to influence the behavior and existence of particles instead of just leaving it to the totality of pre-existing conditions. This has little appeal to me as it falls to 'god of the gaps' meaning that whatever we still cannot explain we attribute to gods. To those who have such a fear, in the face of evidence that overthrows their idols, reconsider your assumptions.
    Einstein said, 'God does not play dice with the universe' meaning that he could not accept any explanation without causality. Well, he was not able to present such explanations and as referred to above nor has anyone in those cases where the QM model works so well.
    As this comment is getting to the limit of my attention span my thoughts on the nature of 'reality' are omitted.
    As far as the 'CI of QM' concerns Objectivism, if it does, well an open system approach is the way to go, as you argued well here
    http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/26...
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    • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
      Lucky

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I am not an expert, but have been doing a lot of reading on this and I am not the only one making these points. Most physicists just ignore these issues and there is not a lot of research money for this sort of inquiry.

      From my reading there have been several determinist theories of QM put forth and some are consistent with experiments. In fact, if you just assume that the uncertainty principle (UP) means we cannot know the initial conditions then that is not inconsistent with the laws of identity or causality. However, it preserves all the problems with a point particle (PP). Causality arguments for QM fall into two camps: 1) preserve point particles, and 2) wave solutions. Wave solutions have the potential to solve the problems with PP.

      The CI proponents do not take their ideas seriously because it undermines experiments. No amount of combining non-causal things results in a causal result. But QM has to be consistent with Newton for large objects. You might point to statistical mechanics, but this does not reject causality it just states that a statistical analysis results in the solution in a more efficient manner.
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    • -1
      Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
      >abolishing causality in favor of dice throwing in some areas.

      "Dice throwing" , i.e., chance, is itself one kind of causality. It is not the lack of causality.

      >Some may see this as a danger in that it leaves the way open to propose an unseen hand, or the hand of an intelligent designer, a modern term used to disguise theology,

      ??? Why is an unseen hand or the possibility of a designer "dangerous"? What are you afraid of?

      "Intelligent design" means precisely and *literally* that. It doesn't require supernaturalism or a deity to have been the intelligent agent of design — though, much to the materialist's chagrin, it doesn't arbitrarily preclude that idea, either.

      >This has little appeal to me as it falls to 'god of the gaps' meaning that whatever we still cannot explain we attribute to gods.

      That's been debunked many times times already. Whether one's philosophical priors prefer gods to fill knowledge gaps, or matter and energy running deterministically like a big clock to fill the gaps, the procedure in science has always been "inference to the *best* explanation — whatever that might be — and not the politically correct explanation, i.e., the one that is shoe-horned into one's biases and pre-existing ideological assumptions about how the universe "ought" to work.
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      • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
        Dice throwing is not what QM is about. In dice throwing it is the lack of knowledge (not understanding) of the initial conditions and the assumption that they are random. This does not assume a lack of causality.

        CIQM is not the best interpretation. In fact it is internally contradictory and is not necessary - Occam's Razor.
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        • -1
          Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
          >In dice throwing it is the lack of knowledge (not understanding) of the initial conditions and the assumption that they are random.

          A distinction without a difference. What applies to a coin toss (with two possibilities) applies to a fair die (with six).

          Even if you both knew and understood ***all*** causes operative on a toss resulting in a 1, a 2, a 3, a 4, a 5, and a 6, that still presents the problem that once you toss the die, either the 1-causal-chain, or the 2-causal-chain, or the 3-causal-chain . . . etc. will become operative. So while the ***outcome*** of a 1, a 2, a 3, etc., could be determined wit 100% certainty once the die moves from equilibrium and is being shaken in a fist or a cup, the probability of which beginning point is still indeterminate; it is still 1/6.

          And there will always be a 1/6 probability of some still earlier cause no matter how far back you push your observations.

          The problem is not a practical one of knowledge acquisition, but epistemological . . . in fact, I believe it's a meeting point between epistemology and metaphysics, because that 1/6 probability is metaphysically intrinsic to the die/fist/cup/shaking/tossing/rolling system of events. It's not a physical attribute of the die (it's not some property of ivory or plastic when formed into a cube with dots or indents stamped on it); but it is metaphysically intrinsic in the relations among the various elements of the system.
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  • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago in reply to this comment.
    You have not idea what you are talking about. You want to shift definitions when it is convenient.

    Another long winded BS post that is not worth reading.
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    • -3
      Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
      >You have not idea what you are talking about. You want to shift definitions when it is convenient.

      What definitions? You mean the "Copenhagen Interpretation"? Turns out there is no one, single definition. Even physicists who claim to support it don't agree on what, precisely, it is.

      The problem is that you were lazy and complacent. You didn't do any research, so you only *thought* you knew what the CI was. In fact, what you did was to set up a straw-man and then set fire to it.

      Congratulations.

      You might try spending a little time with Asher Peres's little monograph to which I linked. You might actually learn something.
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  • -1
    Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
    >Unless you agree with everything Objectivism says you cannot be an Objectivist? This is a religion?

    Bingo. I suspect that in DB's case, he more sensitive to whether or not people agree with *him* than whether or not they understand the logical axiom of "A is A." Some posters have already denied that in earlier threads, yet DB remained silent. He wants posters to agree with him that Bohr, Heisenberg, and Von Neumann were wrong (even though they weren't), that they denied a maser/laser device could exist in principle (even though they didn't), that the maser/laser demonstrates the incorrectness of the uncertainty principle (even though it doesn't), and that Charles Townes reported that some big names in quantum physics were in denial over the whole thing (which he didn't, or at any rate, he provided a much fuller context of what actually happened, giving the lie to the notion that they simply denied the whole thing).

    By the way, I'm sure you know that your rhetorical question has been leveled as an actual accusation against Objectivism by others in the past (e.g., Albert Ellis, to name just one), as well as the accusation that there's something anti-scientific about Objectivism. Not anti-technology, per doe, but anti-theoretical science. This might explain why there are so few Objectivists who actually become theoretical scientists.

    I think there might be something to that accusation.
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  • -1
    Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
    >For instance, if you know all the initial conditions of a coin flip,

    Except that you cannot know "all" the initial conditions of a coin flip, because the initial conditions recede backward in time — effect back to its cause; effect back to its cause; effect back to its cause; ad infinitum — in an infinite regress. Yes, you'd have to claim omniscience to find that "first" cause setting the whole thing in motion. Furthermore, since a fair coin has a "heads" side and a "tails" side on which it will land on one 50% of the time in a great number of flips, your tracing of the deterministic/mechanist chain backward in time would have to concede that there must be TWO basic starting points, each one determining ONE of those causal chains: one causal chain inevitably determines a "heads" outcome, the second causal chain inevitably determines a "tails" outcome. For the sake of humor, let's name the initial condition of the causal chain resulting in a heads result "John", and the initial condition of the causal chain resulting in a tails result "Mary." (Once more so you're clear on this: "John" determines a heads result; "Mary" determines a tails result.)

    Great. But that still doesn't solve the problem of knowing "all" the initial conditions, because when we flip the coin, it still lands 50% of the time "heads" and 50% of the time "tails." So although we can trace "heads" to a "John" starting point, and "tails" to a "Mary" starting point, we must now assign a 50% chance of occurrence to the "John" initial condition and a 50% to the "Mary" initial condition! Sure, once we see that a "John" initial condition is operative, we can determine the outcome with a probability of "1", and likewise for the "Mary" starting point; but the question becomes "Why did "John" become operative in a given flip and not "Mary"? So, obviously, "John" and "Mary" must themselves NOT be ultimate starting causes, but they are merely effects of some still earlier initial conditions. As you can see, this still merely pushes back the 50/50 probability back another step.

    In sum:

    If you think of a causal chain as, metaphorically, an actual material chain, in which each link is an effect of a cause represented by a preceding link, stretching back until we get to the pure "initial conditions" that determine each successive link of the chain, it follows that in a fair coin flip, the "heads" causal chain and the "tails" causal chain recede into the temporal distance to earlier and still earlier causes, but they NEVER MEET. There are always two initial conditions: the "John" condition (resulting inevitably in "heads") and the "Mary" condition (resulting inevitably in "tails"), and no matter how far back you push the analysis, there will always be a 50% chance of the "John" condition occurring and a 50% chance of the "Mary" condition occurring.

    So you've determined the end result — the heads or the tails — with 100% certainty, but not the causes of the heads or the tails (John or Mary) with 100% certainty. And this would be true irrespective of how far back you recede causally behind "John" and "Mary."

    Another way of stating this is that at no time can you, in principle, substitute the probabilistic description of certain events with a deterministic one. All you can do is replace one probabilistic description (i.e., heads occur 50% of the time, tails occur 50% of the time) with another probabilistic description (i.e., John occurs 50% of the time, Mary occurs 50% of the time). The substitute might be a better description than the original one, but it is still non-determinate, because in principle, it cannot be.

    This uncertainty — Popper calls it "propensity" — is intrinsic to systems whose individual parts interact causally with one another (which is to say, all systems), and is not a lack of knowledge. The elements of these systems interact causally with one another in an inherently probabilistic or statistical manner, and not in a mechanistically determinate one.
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    • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
      Of course you can know the initial condition of a coin flip. What nonsense.
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      • -1
        Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
        >Of course you can know the initial condition of a coin flip. What nonsense.

        You know something, DB? What you lack in patience and diligence in grasping another's arguments, you more than make up for in charm. A pleasure.

        Once more:

        In theory (and perhaps even in practice), you can know with 100% certainty EITHER the causal chain whose cause/effect/cause/effect links always end in heads, OR the causal chain whose cause/effect/cause/effect links always end in tails. ONCE the chain starts! But WHICH causal chain becomes operative in any given toss is STILL describable ONLY by a statement of probability: 50% for the heads-causal-chain, 50% for the tails-causal-chain.

        And if you intentionally bias the toss, so that you can predict with 100% certainty the outcome (e.g., you put the coin in a special machine insulated from all vibration, etc., and you have such control over all conditions inside that artificial environment, that you can predict with 100% certainty that each mechanical toss will result in a result of heads)? What then? That changes nothing. In fact, that's simply an admission that there is, in fact, a 2nd causal chain — starting somewhere — whose result will be tails, which you are simply preventing from occurring.

        Get it? No?

        Try this, then:

        You have a device that exercises such environmental control over your coin tosses, that you can predict with 100% certainty the result can only be heads.

        I have a similar device that exercises such environmental control over my coin tosses, that I can predict with 100% certainty the result can only be tails.

        Both machines are owned by The University of Objectivism to which we both belong. Because of scheduling issues only one machine or the other can be switched on operated. How do we decide which machine should be turned on?

        How 'bout we flip a coin and decide fairly?

        See the problem? Even though both machines give determinate results, the causal chain that turns on one machine rather than the other still starts off indeterminately and therefore its result cannot be determined in advance.

        Each machine precludes one of those causal chains from "getting a foothold," which is why it always results in one or the other result; but when both causal chains "compete fairly" from the get-go — as they do when we flip to see who gets laboratory time with his own machine— then we see that the 50/50 probability describes an intrinsic relation among the elements of a system. It doesn't represent a "placeholder" for ultimate determinate knowledge.

        Review "Lande's Blade" gedanken experiment with billiard balls. You'll see that no matter how closely you examine the causal elements of a system, the most you can do is push back the indeterminacy by another step; you can't expunge it entirely because indeterminacy is intrinsic to how the elements interact causally with one another.
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        • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
          The coin toss statement has nothing to do with the CI of QM. They negate causality.
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          • -1
            Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
            >The coin toss statement has nothing to do with the CI of QM.

            It has everything to do with coin tosses, which is what you were talking about when you wrote, "Of course you can know the initial condition of a coin flip. What nonsense." My last post was in response to that.
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    • -1
      Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
      The quantum theorist Alfred Lande illustrated this in his famous thought-experiment today known as "Lande's Blade". It's similar to coin flips but a bit clearer to visualize, I think. The experiment consists of a long hollow tube (the diameter of a billiard ball) at a 45-degree incline. At the lower end of the tube's opening, and precisely in the middle of the hole's diameter, is a large metal razor blade. On either side of the blade is a basket (one on the right, one on the left). The experimenter inserts a heavy billiard ball into the top opening of the tube. It rolls down the tube, encounters the blade when exiting the lower end, and becomes unstable, having a propensity to fall into the right basket or the left basket with equal probability. After rolling enough billiard balls down the tube, we expect to find about half of them in the right basket and half in the left.

      What applied to the coin flips above, applies to the billiard / tube / blade system in this thought experiment. Even if we can know everything about the initial spin, speed, acceleration, etc., etc. of the ball as it enters the tube; and even if we can know everything about the various forces it encounters at the tube exit, and when it hits the blade, and even if, knowing all this, we can predict with 100% certainty which basket any ball will fall into, we've simply pushed back the 50/50 probability to an earlier step: we still have the "John" initial condition (determining a right-basket landing) and a "Mary" initial condition (determining a left-basket landing) occurring with 50/50 probability.

      >you can determine whether it will land on heads or tails exactly.

      But that doesn't allow you to replace a probabilistic description of coin flips with a deterministically exact one! Because (to repeat) even IF you know "John" (and all its successive links) or "Mary" (and all its successive links) with 100% certainty, that still cannot explain why, in any given flip, the "John" chain or the "Mary" chain becomes operative. Again, the most you can say is that "John" and "Mary" will occur randomly, each causal chain with 50% probability.
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  • -1
    Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
    POST 1:

    "How the Laser Happened:
    Adventures of a Scientist"
    by Charles H. Townes

    Google Books online:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=VrbD41G...

    Chapter 5, "Maser Excitement — and a Time for Reflection"
    pages 69-71

    "Before — and even after — the maser worked, our description of its performance met with disbelief from from highly respected physicists, even though no new physical principles were really involved. Their objections went much deeper than those that had led Rabi and Kusch to try to kill the project in its cradle; fully familiar with oscillators and molecular beams, these two never questioned the general Idea. They Just thought it was impractical and that it diverted department resources from basic physics and more sensible work.


    Llewelyn H. Thomas, a noted Columbia theorist. told me that the maser flatly could not, due to basic physics principles, provide a pure frequency with the performance I predicted. So certain was he that he more or less refused to listen to my explanations. After it did work. he just stopped talking to me. tu me. A younger physicist in the department, even after the first successful operation of the device, bet me a bottle of scotch that it was not doing what we said it would (he paid up).


    Shortly after we built a second maser and showed that the frequency was Indeed remarkably pure, I visited Denmark and saw Niels Bohr, the great physicist and pioneer in the development or quantum mechanics. As we were walking along the street together, he quite naturally asked what I was doIng. I descrIbed the maser and its performance. "But that is not possible," he exclaimed. I assured him it was. Similarly, at a cocktail party in Princeton. New Jersey, the Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann asked what I was workIng on. After I told him about the maser and the purity of Its frequency, he declared. "That can't be right!" But it was, I replied, and told him it was already demonstrated.


    Such protests were not offhand opinions concerning obscure aspects of physics: they came from the marrow of these men's bones. These were objections founded on principle — the uncertainty principle. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is a central tenet of quantum mechanics, among the core achievements during the phenomenal burst of creativity in physics during the first half of the twentieth century. It is as vital a pillar in quantum theory as are Newton's laws to classical physics. As its name implies, it describes the impossibility of achieving absolute knowledge of all aspects of a system's condition. It means that there is a price to be paid if one attempts to measure or define one aspect of a specific particle or other object to very great exactness. One must pay by surrendering knowledge of, or control over, some other feature.

    The most commonly encountered illustration of the uncertainty principle is the impossibility of learning both a particle's position and its momentum to unconstrained accuracy. The scientist must sacrifice one to get the other. The problem lies in the nature of the universe, not in the shortcomings of instruments. A corollary, on which the maser's doubters stumbled, is that one cannot measure an object's frequency (or energy) to great accuracy in an arbitrarily short time. Measurements made over a finite time automatically impose uncertainty on the frequency.

    To many physicists steeped in the uncertainty principle, the maser's performance, at first blush, made no sense at all. Molecules spend so little time in the cavity of a maser, about 1/10,000th of a second, that it seemed to those physicists impossible for the frequency of the radiation to also be narrowly confined. Yet that is exactly what we told them happened in the maser

    There is good reason, of course, that the uncertainty principle does not apply so simply here. The maser does not inform one about the energy or frequency of any specific, clearly identified molecule. When a molecule is stimulated to radiate (in contrast with being left to radiate spontaneously) it must produce exactly the same frequency as the stimulating radiation. In addition, the radiation in a maser oscillator represents the average of a large number of molecules working together. Each individual molecule remains anonymous, not accurately measured or tracked. The maser's precision from principles that mollify the apparent demands of the uncertainty principle . . .
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    • -1
      Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
      POST 2

      (continued from above)

      "How the Laser Happened:
      Adventures of a Scientist"
      by Charles H. Townes

      Google Books online:

      http://books.google.com/books?id=VrbD41G...

      Chapter 5, "Maser Excitement — and a Time for Reflection"
      pages 69-71

      ". . . I am not sure that I ever did convince Bohr. On that sidewalk in Denmark, he told me emphatically that if molecules zip through the maser so quickly, their emission lines must be broad. After I persisted, he said, "Oh, well, yes, maybe you are right," but my impression was that he was simply trying to be polite to a younger physicist. Von Neumann, after our first chat at the party in Princeton, wandered off and had another drink. In about 15 minutes, he was back. "Yes, you're right," he snapped. Clearly, he had seen the point. Von Neumann did seem very interested, and he asked me about the possibility of doing something like this at shorter wavelengths with semiconductors. Only later did I learn from his posthumous papers that he had already proposed — in a letter of September 19, 1953 to Edward Teller — producing a cascade of stimulated infrared radiation in semiconductors by exciting electrons, apparently by intense neutron radiation bombardment. Along with his calculations, Von Neumann gave a summary of his idea:

      'The essential fact still seems to be that one must maintain a thermodynamic disequilibrium for a time t1 which is very long compared to the e-folding time t2 of some autocatalytic process that can be voluntarily induced to accelerate the collapse of this disequilibrium. In our present case, the autocatalytic agent is light — in the near infrared near 1.8 microns. There may be much better physical embodiments than such a mechanism. I have not gone into questions of actual use, on which I do have ideas which would be practical, if the whole scheme made sense . . .'

      His idea was almost a laser, but he neither tried to use the coherent properties of stimulated emission nor thought of a reflecting cavity. There also seems to have been no reply from Teller, and the whole idea dropped from view. Later, in 1963, after the laser was well established, von Neumann's early thoughts and calculations were published; but by then, von Neumann had died, and I never had an opportunity to explore with him his thoughts of 1953, about which he modestly kept quiet after we had the maser operating."

      (End excerpt)

      This excerpt from Charles Townes's book paints quite a different picture of quantum scientists' reactions to the maser/laser invention. Carver Mead merely reports — inaccurately — that Bohr and Von Neumann denied it could exist, without reporting the FULL CONTEXT of the conversations between them and Townes, and that Von Neumann changed his mind 15 minutes + 1 drink later (and that Bohr might have changed his mind, though perhaps was doing so only to show politeness to a young American scientist). Meade also says nothing about Townes's own careful explanation of the uncertainty principle: that the maser/laser does NOT contradict it in any fundamental or literal way because no individual particle is being measured, observed, or tracked: only aggregates (i.e., populations).

      This sort of careless, out-of-context research is done for an ideological purpose: Carver Mead wants to sell his book ("Collective Electrodynamics") via his interview in the Spectator, and DBHalling wants to sell Objectivist epistemology to readers of Galts Gulch Online. A more careful reading of history — especially by going back to original source material, such as Townes's own writings — offers something more valuable to potential consumers of these damaged goods: the old maxim, "caveat emptor."
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      • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
        In order for the LASER to work, the first photon has to align with the stimulated photon both in time (phase) and energy, but this violates the uncertainty principle. In addition, it means that causality has to apply and that the atom that is excited has to work in a predictable way – in other words A is A. This shows that either Bohr and Von Neumann did not take the CIQM seriously or that they denied that a laser was possible.
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        • Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
          >the first photon has to align

          The what?

          You can't say anything about "first" photons. You can't count individual photons, track them, and make any knowledge claims about them.

          Townes himself admitted that in the excerpt above:

          "In addition, the radiation in a maser oscillator represents the ***average of a large number of molecules working together.*** Each individual molecule remains anonymous [NB: ANONYMOUS! THAT MEANS THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE ORDINAL NAMES LIKE "FIRST", "SECOND", "THIRD", ETC.], not accurately measured or tracked. The maser's precision from principles that mollify the apparent demands of the uncertainty principle . . ."

          Townes invented the maser. I'll take his word on this.
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          • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
            Nonsense. The stimulated photon has to "know" the state of the stimulating photon to align in energy, time, phase and polarity or you do not end up with coherent light, i.e,. a laser
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            • -1
              Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
              >Nonsense. The stimulated photon has to "know" the state of the stimulating photon to align in energy, time, phase and polarity or you do not end up with coherent light, i.e,. a laser

              A sweet example of "fallacy of division." Because something happens to aggregates and populations, we can make certain statements regarding what occurs to individuals within that population.

              No we can't. We can't even legitimately do that, from a mathematical perspective, in the field of health insurance.

              Remonstrate all you want. I'll side with the inventor of the maser on this one (mainly because I think he's right).
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              • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                Wrong. That is exactly what happens inside a laser according to all present theories including QMs.
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                • Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                  >That is exactly what happens inside a laser according to all present theories including QMs.

                  Not according to the Nobel laureate inventor of the maser himself:

                  "The maser does not inform one about the energy or frequency of any specific, clearly identified molecule. When a molecule is stimulated to radiate (in contrast with being left to radiate spontaneously) it must produce exactly the same frequency as the stimulating radiation. In addition, the radiation in a maser oscillator represents the average of a large number of molecules working together. Each individual molecule remains anonymous, not accurately measured or tracked."

                  You're claiming Charles Townes is wrong?
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                  • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                    "When a molecule is stimulated to radiate (in contrast with being left to radiate spontaneously) it must produce exactly the same frequency as the stimulating radiation" That is a specific molecule. That molecule is stimulated to radiate by a photon and those photons aligned in time, frequency, energy, phase. So a molecule in the right state can tell you about both the energy and time of a photon. We may not be able to as yet track it, but that is how it works and it is inconsistent with the uncertainty principle.
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                    • -2
                      Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                      >That is a **specific** molecule. **That** molecule . . .

                      I can see you're confused on a basic level regarding the uncertainty principle.

                      The uncertainty principle doesn't forbid anyone from talking about individual atoms, molecules, or photons, as if they were macroscopic classical entities imparting all kinds of information they're observed. It forbids one from actually setting up a classical measuring device and performing an experiment in which one attempts to observe conjugate attributes of the particles on quantum scale, such as position/momentum or energy/frequency of one, individual particle. In actual concrete attempts at observation with a classical measuring device, the uncertainty principle will always hold: the more you try to discover directly about "that molecule's" position, the less you'll know about "that molecule's" momentum. Similarly for direct measurements of "that molecule's" energy and frequency.

                      It's the quantum analogy of "opportunity cost" in economics: if you want a highly accurate measurement of one thing, you must give up a highly accurate measurement of something else.

                      Your thought process seems to be something like this:

                      "Sure, at no time have we stimulated JUST ONE molecule and tracked it; we've stimulated a whole population of molecules. But that population comprises individual molecules, so it must be that there's a 'first' molecule that becomes stimulated, then a 2nd one aligns itself with the first, a 3rd aligns itself with the 2nd, etc., until the entire population of molecules is aligned."

                      Imagining such a scenario, or talking about it, doesn't contradict the uncertainty principle, because you're not observing or physically interacting with anything: you're just daydreaming. No problem.

                      But you've ultimately confused "talking about an individual 'first' particle" or "imagining what an individual 'first' particle is doing" with actually observing an individual particle, and identifying it as the 'first' particle with a classical measuring device.

                      It's a common error when pondering the uncertainty principle.

                      The main problem is you've confused "words about a thing" with "observations of the thing itself."

                      Sounds not only subjectivist to me, but an actual instance of Primacy of Consciousness.
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                      • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                        No you are confused about the uncertainty principle. It is not the observer effect. If an atom can determine the energy and time of a photon exactly that violates the uncertainty principle.
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                        • -1
                          Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                          >If an atom can determine the energy and time of a photon exactly that violates the uncertainty principle.

                          And as I posted earlier, you can daydream about "an" atom (one you've located and tracked) determining the energy and time of "a" photon (another one that you've located, tracked, studied, and observed to have had both its energy and its frequency determined by "that" atom; unfortunately, when you actually try to observe, track, and study "that" one atom, and "that" one photon, your precision will be limited by the uncertainty principle — irrespective of your instruments' precision.

                          I said nothing about your measuring tools being so crude as to interfere with the phenomena you're looking it (the "observer effect"). You can make your tools as precise as you wish; the increased precision of your measurements of "that" atom's (x) will correspond to your having lost precision in "that" atom's (p); and the increased precision of your measurements of "that" photon's (e) will cost you a loss of precision in your measurements of "that" photon's (f). That has nothing to do at all with your tools influencing the results.

                          For a refresher, see:

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_ef...)

                          "In science, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on a phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner. A commonplace example is checking the pressure in an automobile tire; this is difficult to do without letting out some of the air, thus changing the pressure. This effect can be observed in many domains of physics.

                          The observer effect on a physical process can often be reduced to insignificance by using better instruments or observation techniques.

                          Historically, the observer effect has been confused with the uncertainty principle . . .

                          . . . The uncertainty principle has been frequently confused with the observer effect, evidently even by its originator, Werner Heisenberg. The uncertainty principle in its standard form actually describes how precisely we may measure the position and momentum of a particle at the same time — if we increase the precision in measuring one quantity, we are forced to lose precision in measuring the other."
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                          • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                            Yes that is what I said about the observer effect and the uncertainty principle.

                            Actually the uncertainty principle looks to be a product of Fourier transform of a wave. But if an atom as it does in a laser can track the energy and the time (phase) then it shows there is a system that is not limited by the non-causality uncertainty principle, which is what CI says. Here we have to differentiate between the non-causality uncertainty principle and my main thesis which that the uncertainty principle is not about non-causality but a lack of knowledge. The Laser clearly shows the non-causality interpretation of the UP is nonsense.
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                            • Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty...

                              "Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused with a somewhat similar effect in physics, called the observer effect, which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems. Heisenberg offered such an observer effect at the quantum level (see below) as a physical "explanation" of quantum uncertainty.

                              It has since become clear, however, that the uncertainty principle is inherent in the properties of all wave-like systems, and that it arises in quantum mechanics simply due to the matter wave nature of all quantum objects. Thus, the uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems, and is not a statement about the observational success of current technology. It must be emphasized that measurement does not mean only a process in which a physicist-observer takes part, but rather,

                              <<<any interaction between classical and quantum objects regardless of any observer.>>>"

                              * * * * * *

                              Which goes back to my earlier posts regarding what a quantum entity like a molecule might be doing to another quantum entity like a photon. Clearly, in that context, uncertainty relations need not apply. It's only when you, the scientist, try to use some classical measuring device and interact with the molecule-photon system — when you try to track "that" molecule, or "the first" photon, in order to say something about individual quantum entities in a classical way –that uncertainy relations enter.
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                              • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                                Which is exactly what I said. You want to take my comments out of context. The CI interpretation is not a wave. It is a fundamental property of point particles. So either you are trying to agree with me without admitting it or you are purposely confusing definitions to cover your ass.
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                                • -1
                                  Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                                  >Which is exactly what I said.

                                  No it isn't.

                                  You spoke confidently about your ability to "track" something called a "first photon" and a "first molecule." Those are classical terms — the opposite of what Charles Townes wrote about in his history of his own invention where he spoke of photons (plural) and molecules (plural) being "anonymous", i.e., without any way for an observer to distinguish, classically, a "first" from a "second" from a "third", etc. The moment you start claiming to be able to number particles and track them individually, they are no longer anonymous: they have names ("first", "second", "third", etc.).

                                  So you were incorrect on that point, and now pretend either that you didn't write what you wrote, or that you didn't mean what you meant. No doubt you honed that talent for backpedaling by means of your legal training. It worked.

                                  Your two main problems are that not only do you have a confused notion of the uncertainty relations, but you have a confused notion of the Copenhagen Interpretation. Even advocates of that admit that there are several different interpretations. See this paper by Israeli quantum physicist Asher Peres:

                                  http://cds.cern.ch/record/404139/files/9...
                                  "Karl Popper and the Copenhagen Interpretation"

                                  "When we are discussing quantum theory, we should refrain from using classical terminology—or at least be aware that we do so at our own risk.
                                  In classical mechanics, a particle has (ideally) a precise position and a precise momentum. We can in principle measure them with arbitrary accuracy and thereby determine their numerical values. In quantum mechanics, a particle also has a precise position and a precise momentum. However, the latter are mathematically represented by self-adjoint operators in a Hilbert space, not by ordinary numbers. Their nature is quite different from that of the classical position and momentum. In the early quantum literature, operators were called q-numbers, while plain numbers were c-numbers (Dirac, 1926). Likewise, to avoid confusion, we should have used in quantum theory names such as q-position and q-momentum, while the corresponding classical dynamical variables would have been called c-position and c-momentum. If such a distinction had been made, it would have helped to prevent much of the present confusion about quantum theory. It is the imperfect trans- lation from the q-language to the c-language that led to the unfortunate introduction of the term “uncertainty” in that context.

                                  [The Uncertainty Relation] puts a lower bound on the product of the standard deviations of the results of a large number of measurements performed on identically prepared systems. Each one of these measurements is assumed to have perfect accuracy (any experimental inaccuracy would have to be added to the quantum dispersion) [NB: which means, you can forget about any confusion here between the Uncertain Relation and the Observer Effect]. There is no “uncertainty” connotation here, unless this uncertainty merely refers to future outcomes of potential, perfectly accurate measurements that may be performed on such systems.

                                  What is, indeed, the Copenhagen interpretation? There seems to be at least as many different Copenhagen interpretations as people who use that term, probably there are more. For example, in two classic articles on the foundations of quantum mechanics, Ballentine (1970) and Stapp (1972) give diametrically opposite definitions of “Copenhagen.” There is no real conflict between Ballentine and Stapp on how to understand quantum mechanics, except that one of them calls Copenhagen interpretation what the other considers as the exact opposite of the Copenhagen interpretation. I shall now explain my own Copenhagen interpretation. It relies on articles written by Niels Bohr. Whether or not you agree with Bohr, he is the
                                  definitive authority for deciding what is genuine Copenhagen.

                                  Quantum mechanics provides statistical predictions for the results of measurements
                                  performed on physical systems that have been prepared in specified ways . . . The preparation of quantum systems and their measurement are performed by using laboratory hardware which is described in classical terms. The necessity of using a classical terminology was emphasized by Bohr (1949) whose insistence on this point was very strict:

                                  'However far the [quantum] phenomena transcend the scope of classical physical explanation, the account of all evidence must be expressed in classical terms. The argument is simply that by the word ‘experiment’ we refer to a situation where we can tell others what we have done and what we have learned and that, therefore, the account of the experimental arrangement and the results of the observations must be expressed in unambiguous language with suitable application of the terminology of classical physics.'

                                  The keywords in that excerpt are: classical terms ... unambiguous language ... terminology of classical physics. Bohr did not say that there are in nature classical systems and quantum systems. There are physical systems for which we may use a classical description or a quantum description, according to circumstances, and with various degrees of approximation. It is according to our assessment of the physical circumstances that we decide whether the q-language or the c-language is appropriate. Physics is not an exact science, it is a science of approximations. Unfortunately, Bohr was misunderstood by some (perhaps most) physicists who were unable to make the distinction between language and substance [NB: this last point applies to patent lawyers, too, such as dbhalling], and he was also misunderstood by philosophers who disliked his positivism.

                                  Bohr willingly admitted that any intermediate systems used in the measuring process could be treated quantum mechanically, but the final instrument always had a purely classical description (Bohr, 1939):

                                  'In the system to which the quantum mechanical formalism is applied, it is of course possible to include any intermediate auxiliary agency employed in the measuring process [but] some ultimate measuring instruments must always be described entirely on classical lines, and consequently kept outside the system subject to quantum mechanical treatment.'

                                  . . . In summary, according to the Copenhagen interpretation, as Bohr apparently understood it, quantum theory is not a description of physical reality. It also does not deal with anthropomorphic notions such as knowledge or consciousness. All it does is to provide correct answers to meaningful questions about experiments done with physical systems."
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                                  • dbhalling replied 4 years, 4 months ago
      • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
        Very interesting. So what are you saying, that A is not A or that causality does not exist?
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        • -1
          Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
          >So what are you saying, that A is not A or that causality does not exist?

          I leave those kinds of assertions to the pseudo-Objectivists in earlier threads who posted precisely that.

          I merely posted a longish excerpt by Townes himself, whose detailed reminiscences of his conversations with Bohr and Von Neumann regarding the uncertainty principle and the possibility or impossibility of the maser contradict what Carver Mead claimed in his Spectator interview. Since you link to that interview and appear to rely on him as a source, I would say that Townes's details contradict your own position, too.

          Since you're too busy replying before you've actually read the excerpt I posted above, here's a summary:

          Von Neumann not only agreed with Townes that the maser could work without violating the uncertainty principle but even wrote about a laser-like invention in 1953 in a letter to Edward Teller.

          Bohr snapped a peremptory agreement with Townes in Denmark regarding the possibility of a functional maser without violation of the uncertainty principle. Townes was unsure whether the agreement was real intellectual consent or merely professional politeness.

          This is quite different from the whole attitude of Mead in the Spectator interview, which comes off as, "Ha! See how biased by their philosophical priors those old coots were! They arbitrarily asserted the laser could never exist, when it had already been invented!"

          That's the spirt of Mead's position regarding the uncertainty principle. To say it was just a wee bit "out of context" would be unusually generous of me.

          Anyway, regarding "causality", it's fairly obvious that you have only kind of causality in mind — mechanical determinism — and you leave out at least 2 others: chance (which is not simply the "lack of deterministic knowledge") and purpose (assumed by Aristotle to be operative everywhere, but since approximately Francis Bacon and later, Galileo, it is assumed, by definition, to operate only within living organisms, mainly those that are self-conscious (such as humans)).
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          • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
            A is A is fundamental to Objectivists. If you don't think that is correct then you are not an Objectivist - period, which I suspect is the case. You are likely a proponent of religion and saving religion from reason. Be honest and admit that you are not an Objectivist.
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            • Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
              >A is A is fundamental to Objectivists.

              I keep trying to tell that to some of the posters here. But they keep asserting that "identities change" (i.e., A becomes not-A) just because some of the attributes of A change.

              >If you don't think that is correct then you are not an Objectivist - period

              You forget that lots of philosophies have held, and continue to hold, that "A is A", not just Objectivism.

              But what does any of this have to do with your misunderstanding of Townes, his invention, and the uncertainty principle?

              And what strident words have you for those on this board calling themselves Objectivists, yet who post that "A can change into not-A"?
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              • Posted by Rozar 4 years, 4 months ago
                Woah woah woah. You're damn right A is no longer A because some of the attributes change. When you are identifying something you identify those attributes, if those attributes change it is no longer A.

                I know this all depends on what you're defining A as, but don't condescend to the point that people who disagree with you fail to comprehend the basis of their own philosophy you jack ass.
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                • Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                  >Woah woah woah. You're damn right A is no longer A because some of the attributes change. When you are identifying something you identify those attributes, if those attributes change it is no longer A.

                  Fantastic! So when you hit a baseball from home plate to the outfield, you've changed one of the ball's attributes — position — as well as, quite possibly, subtle aspects of its shape, mass, etc. Right? Right! And the upshot, according to you is that it cannot be the same baseball that was originally hit. For you, it's a different baseball.

                  And if you pick a green banana and put it on your kitchen table for a few days until it turns yellow (and then, finally, brown), for you, it is no longer the same banana you originally picked, but a completely different entity! It was first a "green thing" and now it's a "yellow thing", so for you, it's not the same entity with changed attributes, but a different entity with a different identity!

                  And since everything changes some attribute or attributes over any time increment Δt, it follows that, according to you, identity — "A" — doesn't persist over Δt; and if, according to you, identity doesn't persist over Δt (a time increment made arbitrarily small as you wish), then it's obvious to those of us who can reason that you are denying the objective reality of identity altogether! For you, there can only be a continuous change of attributes, with a corresponding continuous change of identity at any arbitrarily small Δt.

                  My advice?

                  Don't give up your day job. Philosophizing isn't your bag.

                  Here's a hint:

                  The identity of an entity is precisely that aspect that doesn't change simply because some attribute changes. That's why Ayn Rand as a little girl in Russia is the same entity — with the same identity — as the Ayn Rand smoking cigarettes in her Manhattan townhouse. Some of her attributes have changed, but not her identity. Ayn Rand is Ayn Rand. A is A.

                  "A" incorporates attributes, but it isn't identical to them. Identity persists over time; attributes change over time.

                  >but don't condescend to the point that people who disagree with you fail to comprehend the basis of their own philosophy you jack ass.

                  Well, thank you, sweet pea for combining in such a charming way being wrong, unintelligible, and rude at the same time.

                  In return, may I just as charmingly suggest that you run along and eff yourself so that the adults here can continue a serious discussion? Thanks!
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                  • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                    Economic Freedom it appears that you are being contrary to just be contrary. I doubt Rozar meant any attributes, he meant defining attributes. But you went out of your way to take Rozar out of context.
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                    • Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                      >he meant defining attributes

                      As I said, philosophizing is not his strong suit. Rozar neither says nor suggests anything about defining attributes or an essential attribute. He merely uses the plural "some attributes" or "those attributes"; viz.,

                      1) "A is no longer A because some of the attributes change"

                      2) "When you are identifying something you identify those attributes"

                      3) "if those attributes change it is no longer A."

                      >you went out of your way to take Rozar out of context.

                      You went out of your way to put words in his mouth.
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                      • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                        Yes, by attributes he clearly meant defining attributes, perhaps interpretation is not your strong suit.
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                        • -2
                          Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                          >Yes, by attributes he clearly meant defining attributes,

                          Nah, I don't think so. Because if that's what he "clearly" meant, then (1) he would have said so explicitly (instead of saying "some of the attributes", or "those attributes"); and (2) you would not have previously hedged your defense of his post by meekly saying "I DOUBT Rozar meant any attributes . . ."

                          You went from "I doubt he meant X" to "he clearly meant X". You don't mind pointing to anything he actually wrote to back up your sudden confidence, do you? I'll wait patiently and reread Atlas Shrugged while you're at it.

                          >perhaps interpretation is not your strong suit.

                          Perhaps not. I see however, that confirmation bias is definitely one of yours.
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                          • Posted by Rozar 4 years, 4 months ago
                            You know I said it depends on how you define it, maybe I assumed to much but I really don't want to put much thought into this right now.

                            It says a lot that you would tell someone who is wrong that they should stop thinking about philosophy. You'd think if someone was trying to relate the truth they wouldn't discourage free thought.

                            Don't worry about it man, I'm sorry for infringing on your territory. Carry on.
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                            • Posted by  $  WillH 4 years, 4 months ago
                              I don't know why you bother with EF. It seems obvious that his goal on this forum is to be as disruptive as possible. He seems to me to be a liberal moocher is disguise just trying to get a rise out of people by arguing whatever point for no other purpose than arguing. His posts are laced with so many personal insults that others end up doing the same thing.

                              Let it go. He is a cockroach and not worth your time or thought.
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                            • -4
                              Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                              >I really don't want to put much thought into this right now.

                              Please don't strain yourself. (Remember what happened to Elvis when he strained himself.
                              When it comes to thinking and doing #2, my advice is "Take it easy.")

                              >It says a lot that you would tell someone who is wrong that they should stop thinking about philosophy.

                              That would be poignantly true had I actually said that. In fact, I said,

                              "Don't give up your day job. Philosophizing isn't your bag."

                              Did I say "don't philosophize"? No.

                              You either didn't read my post carefully or you told an itty-biddy fib.

                              That's OK, caballero. I'm feeling expansive and at home in the universe today, so I forgive you.
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                              • Posted by 4 years, 4 months ago
                                Proving my point again. Your long winded rambling nasty posts are not worth reading.
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                                • -1
                                  Posted by EconomicFreedom 4 years, 4 months ago
                                  You've been in denial since I posted an excerpt from Charles Townes's book on the maser — an excerpt contradicting your assertion that his invention disproves the uncertainty relation. He claims it does not.

                                  Once more:

                                  Are you claiming Charles Townes is wrong?
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