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  Topic: Uncommonly Dense Thread 4, Fostering a Greater Understanding of IDC< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 2040
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 11 2012,20:41   

Quote (olegt @ Feb. 11 2012,17:20)
Barry defends the law of non-contradiction from Godless atheists.
Let’s clear up this law of noncontradiction issue between StephenB and eigenstate once and for all.  StephenB asks eigenstate:  “Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time?  That’s a “yes or no” question eigenstate.  How do you answer it?

Oh, StephenB set up such a clever trap! Obviously, a physical object either exist or it doesn't, but not both at the same time. A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.

When you're done gloating, Barry, why don't you learn yourself some basic quantum mechanics. Maybe then you'll find out that a photon (certainly a physical particle) can exist and not exist at the same time. Physicists (and now increasingly electrical engineers) manipulate the electromagnetic field inside a reflective cavity to create states that contain definite numbers of photons (e.g., 0 or 1) and superpositions thereof. (Such states can be used in quantum computing.)

Here is a paper describing such experiments conducted 15 years ago: X. Maître et al., "Quantum memory with a single photon in a cavity," Phys. Rev. Lett. 79, 769 (1997). Abstract:
The quantum information carried by a two-level atom was transferred to a high- Q cavity and, after a delay, to another atom. We realized in this way a quantum memory made of a field in a superposition of 0 and 1 photon Fock states. We measured the “holding time” of this memory corresponding to the decay of the field intensity or amplitude at the single photon level. This experiment implements a step essential for quantum information processing operations.

Of course, a photon is a microscopic object and Jupiter is a macroscopic one. The bigger the object, the harder it is to create and maintain it in a quantum superposition. But as far as physicists know, the difference is only quantitative. Bigger objects interact more intensely with their environment and their quantum states entangles with the environment faster. That is why we do not notice such strange states in classical objects. But on the microscopic scale, both length and time-wise, the vaunted law of noncontradiction is not exactly unbreakable.


As far as I can see, quantum mechanics  doesn't require us to jettison the law of non-contradiction, though it does force us to drop the law of the excluded middle.

However, the issue certainly isn't as cut-and-dried as Barry and StephenB would like to pretend. And StephenB's dogmatic assertion that causality can be derived from the LNC, and that anyone claiming otherwise is denying the "principles of right reason", is clearly bogus.

And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don’t belong there and thoughts into my mind that don’t belong there. -- KF

  10669 replies since Aug. 31 2011,21:06 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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