1. Melbourne, Australia
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    09 May '12 15:05
    Two part presentation on the topic, that impressed me with its quality of production. The presentation is seeking to describe the similarities between central Buddhist themes and the findings of Quantum physics. These similarities were noted by early quantum physicists.

    YouTube&feature=related
    YouTube&feature=relmfu
  2. Melbourne, Australia
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    11 May '12 14:201 edit
    Lets have a bit of filling out on emptiness and stuff...

    Wave–particle duality postulates that all particles exhibit both wave and particle properties. A central concept of quantum mechanics, this duality addresses the inability of classical concepts like "particle" and "wave" to fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects. Standard interpretations of quantum mechanics explain this paradox as a fundamental property of the Universe, while alternative interpretations explain the duality as an emergent, second-order consequence of various limitations of the observer. This treatment focuses on explaining the behavior from the perspective of the widely used Copenhagen interpretation, in which wave–particle duality is one aspect of the concept of complementarity, that a phenomenon can be viewed in one way or in another, but not both simultaneously.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave-particle_duality
  3. Melbourne, Australia
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    11 May '12 14:20
    Things don't fall through other things because they are levitating on an electrostatic field! I am not kidding! When you sit on a chair, you are not really touching it. You see, every atom is surrounded by a shell of electrons. This electron cloud presents a rather negative face to the world. Remember that like charges repel each other. When two atoms approach each other, their electron shells push back at each other, despite the fact that each atom's net charge is 0. This is a very useful feature of nature. It makes our lives a lot easier.

    Now the question you should be asking is, if atoms push away from each other, why doesn't the entire universe just blow away from itself? The answer is that some, actually most atoms' electron shells are not full. When two atoms come together and have empty spaces in their electron shells, they will share electrons to fill in the spaces in both of their shells. Yes, the electrons really do go back and forth between atoms and they do so pretty fast. Electrons tend to be kind of mobile, which is also a very nice feature of nature, since without it your walkman would not work. Once both atoms' outer shells are full due to this electron sharing, they go back to their usual repulsive behavior. This, by the way, is how we get molecules and the secret to understanding Chemistry. It's all about the electrons!

    http://education.jlab.org/qa/atomicstructure_10.html
  4. Melbourne, Australia
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    11 May '12 14:22
    All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relationship to everything else.
    — Buddha

    In Dwight Goddard, Buddha, Truth, and Brotherhood (1934), 44.
  5. Joined
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    11 May '12 15:332 edits
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Things don't fall through other things because they are levitating on an electrostatic field! I am not kidding! When you sit on a chair, you are not really touching it. You see, every atom is surrounded by a shell of electrons. This electron cloud presents a rather negative face to the world. Remember that like charges repel each other. When two atoms approac try. It's all about the electrons!

    http://education.jlab.org/qa/atomicstructure_10.html
    The concepts presented here are extremely useful for introducing chemistry to ready minds -- they challenge our naive intuitions in interesting ways. It should be asterisked that some of the concepts, like electrons going back and forth between atoms, are approximations, models really, that will be refined and modified as study continues. The same goes for the concept of touching. While the imagery of not really touching is engaging, it would be more accurate to say that our concepts of "touching" need revision thanks to these findings. A good example to bring in would be holding the north pole of a magnet near the north pole of another, mobile magnet, thereby moving the other magnet around. This is like the "touching" being discussed. (Edit: ...except that in the case presented, the gradient (steepness) of the change in repulsive force is much lower, in the case of the magnets.)

    All together, an excellent introduction to scientific, naturalistic thinking, so long as it does not impute the existence of supernatural personages granting special access to sources of the early thinkers' thoughts.
  6. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 May '12 15:383 edits
    Originally posted by Taoman
    Things don't fall through other things because they are levitating on an electrostatic field! I am not kidding! When you sit on a chair, you are not really touching it. You see, every atom is surrounded by a shell of electrons. This electron cloud presents a rather negative face to the world. Remember that like charges repel each other. When two atoms approac try. It's all about the electrons!

    http://education.jlab.org/qa/atomicstructure_10.html
    I have been biting my tongue every time I read Buddhist threads and posts on here lately. My main problem is that I don't seem to speak the language of today's Buddhists. I am hesitant to respond because I'm not even sure what the posts are actually saying.

    But this thread brings it into my realm of interest. I am far from an expert on physics. But it doesn't take an expert to see that this paragraph is misleading.
    Things don't fall through other things because they are levitating on an electrostatic field!
    Levitate is the wrong word. The definition is
    to rise or float in or as if in the air especially in seeming defiance of gravitation (my emphasis)
    This is obviously not what is happening when I sit down on a chair. The chair surface compresses under my weight (or at least it does if it's a comfortable chair 🙂), due to the force he left out - there is no 'seeming defiance of gravitation'.
    You see, every atom is surrounded by a shell of electrons.
    Oops...he should say 'every atomic nucleus is surrounded by a shell of at least one electron'. This is probably an honest mistake, but definitely should be corrected so as not to give a learner the wrong idea.
    When two atoms approach each other, their electron shells push back at each other, despite the fact that each atom's net charge is 0.
    I'm going to be nice and call this too simplistic. None of us, our clothes, or our chairs are made up of mere atoms. They're made up of molecules. And when we consider things in light of molecules, we find that they have distinct polarities and are not always repulsive. One obvious example is a water molecule: http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/tutorials/chemistry/page3.html. The hydrogen bonding between water molecules is responsible for many of the unique properties of water.
    Once both atoms' outer shells are full due to this electron sharing, they go back to their usual repulsive behavior.
    Once again, the water polarity example shows that this is false. The positive polarities of water are at the hydrogen atoms, which have their only electron shared.
  7. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 May '12 15:46
    Originally posted by JS357
    ...it would be more accurate to say that our concepts of "touching" need revision thanks to these findings.
    I don't see why.
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    11 May '12 15:54
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I don't see why.
    I think he means that while we think of touching in terms of bulk objects that physically
    meet and 'touch' each other, what happens in reality does not feature particles actually
    touching each other, just interacting via feilds of force.

    The electrons in atoms and molecules don't actually touch each other, they interact via
    various forces.

    And actually the reason you don't fall through things is the Pauli Exclusion Principle that
    says that "no two identical fermions (particles with half-integer spin) may occupy the
    same quantum state simultaneously" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_exclusion_principle
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    11 May '12 16:01
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I don't see why.
    Then the magnet example didn't work with you. The teacher will have to come up with better approaches. Knowing you better might help.
  10. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 May '12 16:10
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    I think he means that while we think of touching in terms of bulk objects that physically
    meet and 'touch' each other, what happens in reality does not feature particles actually
    touching each other, just interacting via feilds of force.

    The electrons in atoms and molecules don't actually touch each other, they interact via
    various forces.

    An ...[text shortened]...
    same quantum state simultaneously" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_exclusion_principle
    None of this gives reason to abandon or redefine a useful macroscopic concept simply because the distance between the electrons is greater than 0. If it's close enough to be sensed or seen (no light or perceivable space between the objects) or felt or to not have any air between the surfaces or cause friction when one surface moves relative to the other, etc. then it's touching.
  11. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 May '12 16:14
    Originally posted by JS357
    Then the magnet example didn't work with you. The teacher will have to come up with better approaches. Knowing you better might help.
    The magnet example is fine. Magnetic repulsion is macroscopically observable. You can see space and light between the two objects. You might even be able to place an object between them and observe that it is not touching either magnet.
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    11 May '12 16:23
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    I think he means that while we think of touching in terms of bulk objects that physically
    meet and 'touch' each other, what happens in reality does not feature particles actually
    touching each other, just interacting via feilds of force.

    The electrons in atoms and molecules don't actually touch each other, they interact via
    various forces.

    An ...[text shortened]...
    same quantum state simultaneously" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_exclusion_principle
    That's better than the simplistic idea I presented. But I am going to be momentarily a bit of a stickler in terms of one little item and can be rightly criticized for that. I would say the Pauli Exclusion Principle isn't the reason you don't fall through things, rather the fact that you don't fall through things is best explained (for the time being) by the Pauli exclusion principle. I think this helps keep us further away from the edge that science has to respect to avoid wading into supernatural waters, the bugaboo of design, where there be dragons ready to persecute us.
  13. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 03:35
    Originally posted by JS357
    The concepts presented here are extremely useful for introducing chemistry to ready minds -- they challenge our naive intuitions in interesting ways. It should be asterisked that some of the concepts, like electrons going back and forth between atoms, are approximations, models really, that will be refined and modified as study continues. The same goes for the ...[text shortened]... supernatural personages granting special access to sources of the early thinkers' thoughts.
    Good.
    You also may find this quote from "Quantum Buddhism" by Graham Smetham of interest. It's on the issue of the existential necessity of quantum "hovering" between existence and non-existence.

    "Here Chown ( Marcus Chown -'Never ending Days of Being'😉 clearly indicates that the condition of hovering between existence and non-existence is precisely the nature of "quantum weirdness". So it is somewhat remarkable that the Madhyamika asserts that the empty nature of reality, which is indicated by the fact that the ultimate nature of reality is a hovering between existence and non-existence, is essential for the universe to function:
    'If things were not empty of inherent existence, nothing could function...it is their emptiness of inherent existence that allows everything to operate satisfactorily'...
    ...In a recent work the science writer Michio Kaku tells us that:
    'The reason why molecules are stable and the universe does not disintegrate is that electrons can be in many places at the same time...electrons can exist in parallel states hovering between existence and non-existence.'
    (pp.108-109)

    I find this quite "completing", along with a sense of wonder.
  14. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 03:52
    The discussion about what constitutes "touching" at that level is interesting, but is not the real point, apropos to existential meaning, the fact that atomic structures are firstly 99.9999999998 empty AND that what "structure" is there is more defined by forces, particles and electrons that appear in their quantum behaviour to somehow ultimately hang between existence and non-existence, prior to a "collapse" event.

    The science is interesting. The philosophical and major shift in world view is far more gripping, one that has not, even after more than a century, been allowed to assimilate, probably because it is too "mystical", which from the start made Einstein and others extremely uncomfortable. There are obvious invalid pseudo-religious statements out there, but the core remains as weird and mystifying as it ever was - but it continues to work infallibly in the highly technological era it has helped give birth too. It also lines up pretty well with non-theistic Buddhist Madhyamika philosophy.
  15. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 May '12 04:00
    A muttering black beetle wandered over Smetham's book, leaving a most helpful track....and his droppings make good fertilizer.
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