Uncertainty – Belief vs Reason (Part I)

Werner Heisenberg

 Werner Karl Heisneberg (1901 – 1976) was, most will agree, an undoubtedly clever man. A Nobel Laureate and some might say ‘Genius’. That you may never have heard of him does not lessen his talents. Those who have – Bravo! your schooling has not been totally in vain.

The reason i choose to honour his name thus now, is this:

He created the Uncertainty Prnciple or to give it it’s full name, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. (HUP for short)

Now to most of us living in the ‘real’ world this may not seem like much of a claim to fame, many of us never having heard the darn thing, understood it or ever had to sit through an hour or more of their lives in university Physics classes trying to copy it down and then figure out what it means in the ‘real’ world, not just the one of atomic particles it is aimed at.

But i beg to differ.

To me it is amazing, completely obvious and logical (once you understand where to look and how it applies to what Werner was describing) and is also a very specific case of a much ‘greater’  Principle.

One that does apply directly to our ‘real’ world.

The Spirit of Mr Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle applies Universally up and down the microscopic/macroscopic ‘scale’.

Spirit is something Physicists such as Mr Heisenberg very rarley came to terms with – at least in their work.

He and a few of his associates and colleagues (and antagonists) are responsible for bringing the world of Science and the world of the Spirit slowly closer together to a point where one can start to make out the prescence of the other! ( Quantum Physics/Mechanics/Chromodynamics)

A Grand Unifying Theory (GUT) Indeed!

But i digress a little.

What is this Uncertainty Principle and the larger Spirit it encapsulates (to me, if not all that many others yet?)

Well, to understand it fully would need a refresher course in atomic physics so forgive me if i ‘generalise’ a tad whilst trying hard to keep the both Spirit and perfected principle of Heisenberg  intact.

In a nutshell, Heisenberg was attempting to provide an answer the problem of Predestination! (hears the howls of outrage from the Physics Department mob – Oh God he’s trying to bring God in here again!!!)

Please hold your outrage and bear with me.

What HUP does is to say that, given two related things/aspects of something (very small – so it cannot easily be misinterpretted as something ‘else’), NO MATTER HOW ACCURATELY you measure one of those two aspects of the same object you can NEVER be 100% certain about the other. There remains forever a degree of UNcertainty about the thing you are trying to define by measuring the two aspects.

Now that needs one or two re-reads before it makes any kind of ‘sense’ to most humans!

It is VERY specific but it is also very ‘clear’.
 you can NEVER know exactly all there is to know about two measurements of any one object AT THE SAME TIME!

 So What?

Well let me try to give you the wider picture a little…

 and Yes atheists! i know what Heisnberg actually did without you needing to remind me so please don’t bother!

This ‘answers’, as far as humans get it, ‘predestination’.

It can’t be done!; not physically possible – IM possible! – as far as humans go, anyway. 🙂

The idea at the time, went like this….

If we could somehow ‘locate’ every single point of matter in the Universe and simultaneously know exactly every single point’s momentum (direction and speed and mass) it would then be possible (theoretically) to work out the rest of the Universal ‘history’ and future. We could know for sure what is going to happen – just like Religion claims God does!

 Sound far fetched? Sure but it was at least THEORETICALLY sound! Logical Man could ‘visualise’ it being possible and therefore did not disprove God existed, or at least disprove He was Omniscient, nor could it disprove Predestination!

 And then Werner came along.

He basically proved that even if you COULD measure something as small as an electron both in terms of it’s position or it’s momentum with PERFECT accuracy…. it was and is IMPOSSIBLE to ever do BOTH at the same time with complete accuracy! Therefore making predsetination theoretically impossible! (for Man!) and that is just for one electron’s future life never mind the whole damn Universe’s!

Ok. That was unnecessarily simplified and overcomplicated at the same time – My Apologies to anyone who is not now totally lost here. Anyone care for a coffee break?
 ( intermission – take a time out stetch your legs and unfurl your brow and mind and i’ll meet you back here sometime soon).

Part Two follows on.

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21 thoughts on “Uncertainty – Belief vs Reason (Part I)

  1. Hi Tam and good morning 🙂

    I got a little – carried away?

    Don’t sweat this part TOO much, just let it float over you rather than sinking in solid – ok? – it gets ‘better’ (deeper) in part two 😉

    The idea here is more to show my ‘credentials’ to some people and to provide a ‘reason’ to ‘believe’.

    Also to show that nothing can ever be known perffectly about a thing when two kinds/types of obsevation are made about any one thing. Observing one makes the other ‘impossible’ to ‘pin down’.

    I equate this with – defining God by ‘reason’ makes having complete faith in Him impossible – and vice versa. 🙂 ( LWBUT’s Uncertainty Principle )

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  2. If you could I would love for you to develop how “predestination” fits into Werner’s irritation at the slippy little subatomic items.

    I really, really, really wanna read it.

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  3. Will do J – may take me a time to put it up for your consideration – but i won’t forget your request and ‘patience’ to read it – ok? 🙂

    P.S. the idea is not uniquely my own – i got it ( if i recall clearly) in part from a doco on Werner and an old (70’s) physics book. You may get a head start on me by researching the web if you like – or not – up to you 🙂

    Either way, it ‘officially’ screwed up Predestination ‘theory’ in the early part of last century.

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  4. Again, someday I’ll get around to it, but it seems that if our observations are uncertain, then how could our preception of predestination…ohhhhh yer not talkin that old time religion, yer just talkin materially…although the determinist materialists must have something passionately nihilistic to say about that.

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  5. Hiya J, Thank you for spotting i was talkin ‘materialistically’. What is impossible to man is impossible to man. Doesn’t really mean it is Absolutely impossible, of course 😉

    Or that anything must be Absolutely ‘uncertain’ come to that. 🙂

    As my convo with Ben is proving – we should not become one of the either this or that camp.

    My name has a purpose and I believe a certain (as opposed to uncertain????) 🙂 ‘truth’ about it/within it.

    Don’t you just love the multiple meanings in our words??? 🙂

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  6. what’s a word?

    LOL! 🙂

    I wrote a response on Sharp Iron: http://sharpiron.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/opening-church-windows/#comment-1616 you may or may not appreciate.

    And as for Werner?…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle specifically the UP vs OBserver effect – seems you might have actually been a little ‘off’ all these past 15 or more years?? Ah well – we live and learn, hopefully.

    And yeah, I know, – wikipedia?? still it has some uses now and then! 😉

    Love.

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  7. Oh the snobs who criticize wikipedia, we’ve got to start somewhere with our stratification of knowledge, don’t we?

    I hate, hate being off. I’ll look at it.

    Thanks.

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