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What I Believe In

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on May 3, 2001 11:52:03 UTC

The various discussions I have been in on this forum, particularly with DoctorDick, but also Alexander, Johnpowell and bruce and others, has stimulated a reassessmentof my beliefs. And so here they are.

I believe in physics. Despite its fundamental irrationality and its contradictions, I accept the tenets of quantum mechanics and general relativity. That is my religion. It's like belonging to two churches at the same time as they are inconsistent with each other and even self-contradictory, just like other religions.

For example, the basic principle of general relativity is that nothing can go faster than the speed of light, and only forces like light, can go at the speed of light. Yet the force of gravity must go faster than the speed of light. Otherwise, black holes would stop growing as soon as they formed, and we would not even know they existed. So general relativity is mainly self-contradictory, but otherwise rational.

Quantum mechanics is self-consistent but incomplete and in my mind irrational. For example, if you transmit a very weak beam of light so that roughly one photon is propagated at a time. After a while the beam will spread over a very large transverse space. It could be kilometers wide. Yet when you detect a photon in that beam, the size of the beam collapses either in space or in time to the size of the detector, and it happens faster than the speed of light, I think, although it has never been measured, since we cannot measure fields, only particles. But quantum theory is about fields, not particles. However, we have measured entangled particles in faster than the speed of light experiments that solved the EPR paradox in favor of QM rather than GR.

Nevertheless, I believe in physics. It's my primary belief system. But I still see openings in physics for superphysics, supernatural (dark matter & supersymmetry) and maybe even superintelligence, based on quantum computation with tremendous parallelism.

Next I believe in love, something that physics will never comprehend, although chemistry might.
Love is the primary teaching of religion that is left out of science.

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