Jun 21, 2007

How To Grow A Limb

"Oh, it takes about a week."

A reader, Angry Doctor, has posed a question - if you have lost a limb, can it grow back? And can you use your mind to help it do so?

I think he meant to be sarcastic, but it really is quite an interesting question. So I decided to check it out to see how this might be possible.

Firstly, I typed "How to Grow A Limb" into Google. It turns out that there ARE scientists working on this question (and no, they aren't studying starfish or salamanders).

Here's a quick excerpt from one
article:

Talkin’ ‘Bout Regeneration
Growing human arms in test tubes isn’t science fiction. It’s the future of medicine.
BY EMILY LANDES

When David Gardiner first began researching regenerative medicine two decades ago, many of his fellow biologists told him he was wasting his time on a science that would never produce results. Regenerating human hearts and lungs for transplant? Fantasy. Creating entirely new limbs for amputees? Ridiculous.

Five years ago the reaction changed slightly to, “Well, maybe. Just not any time soon.” But recently, with high profile cases like Dolly the cloned sheep and Christopher Reeve reporting he has recovered some use of his central nervous system, the regenerative medicine field has been blown wide open. Now, anything is considered possible.

“We’ve gone from this mainstream science view that regeneration is just kind of a fascinating thing that some animals do,” says Gardiner, a researcher at UC Irvine. “And that’s completely changed. Now everybody’s going, ‘Well, how come we haven’t done it already. What’s taking so long?’”

While Gardiner does caution that limb regeneration is “a long, long, long way away,” he sees no reason why it couldn’t happen in his lifetime. “I think, of course, it’s going to happen. It’s not that difficult. So many of the cells and the tissues in our arm have the ability to regenerate,” he says.

“These aren’t magical properties. Regeneration is not magic. What’s missing is the ability to get them to do the right thing, at the right time and in the right place. So, it’s like the orchestra with no conductor. You have all the bits and pieces and what’s missing is the blueprint.”

If researchers can figure out the blueprint, re-growing a limb could become a routine procedure that would go something like this: A person comes into the hospital with an arm severed at the shoulder. The doctor creates some kind of signal, electrical or biological, which tells the body that instead of forming scar tissue, it should instead form a blastema, the first nub of regeneration.


Well, this scientist seems pretty certain that it's just a matter of time. The process, it seems, is to send an electrical or biological signal that tells the body to grow a new limb, instead of forming scar tissue.

I'm no doctor. But I do know that electrical signals are sent around the body by the central nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain. In fact the brain uses the nervous system to send electrical signals around the body to tell it what to do.

Theoretically, if the brain sends out the right electrical signals, what the article mentioned should be achievable. The blastema will form. A new limb will grow. It all depends on whether you can manipulate your brain in the right way.
Theoretically, if the brain gets involved in generating the right biological signals, what the article mentioned should be achievable too. The blastema will form. A new limb will grow. It all depends on whether you can manipulate your brain in the right way.

Is this really astounding? Hmmm. It's interesting, but it's not such a far stretch, The brain is of course involved in hormone production processes (actually, I'm not sure if there's hardly any human biological process in which the brain is NOT involved) which means it is always involved in sending biological signals.


And we already know that hypnosis can help flesh wounds and broken bones to heal significantly faster - this study by Harvard Medical School says so. That means that the mind is quite able to influence matters at a cellular level.

Yes, yes. But is it really possible to think your way to a new arm? I don't know, maybe. Maybe not now, but maybe in future, we'll figure it out. I mean, through genetic engineering, we've already got mice to grow human ears. Would it be really amazing if humans could grow human arms? And if humans could kickstart, speed up or control that process with their thoughts? I don't think so.
I mean, yogis have already demonstrated their ability, under clinically controlled laboratory experiments, to manipulate supposedly non-voluntary (autonomic) bodily processes. Like Swami Rama:
"He amazed scientists by his demonstration, under laboratory conditions, of precise conscious control of autonomic physical responses and mental functioning, previously thought to be impossible. Under these scientific conditions, Swami Rama demonstrated his ability to stop his heart from pumping blood for seventeen seconds, to produce a ten-degree difference in temperature between different parts of the palm of his hand, and to voluntarily produce and maintain specific brain wave patterns on demand. He first generated brain wave patterns that were predominately characterized by beta waves; then he produced alpha waves, which are generally associated with a relaxed state. Finally, he was able to demonstrate the production of theta waves. Theta waves are associated with unconscious states, in contrast to alpha and beta waves, which are associated with conscious states. While producing theta waves, Swami Rama appeared to be in a state of deep sleep. However, he was able to recall everything that had transpired in the room during that period." Link.
Who knows, maybe HE would have some idea of how to grow a new limb.

Side note: did you know that children aged 2 and below who lose their fingertips in accidents can consistently grow them back? I learned that from this
article. Unfortunately, such regrowth is rare in adult humans, but scientists are now experimenting to see whether they can use certain pig extracts to get injured soldiers to grow new fingers.

181 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why Mr Wang is crazy -

When a tree gets taller, is the becuase every cell of the tree gets taller, or is it becuase more cells are formed at the tips of the trees?

When you grow taller, does every cell get bigger, or are there more cells added to certain regions of your body?

If you can answer these two questions, you will understand current thinking on why regeneration is impossible.

NOTE for you lawyers: Current thinking. If you want to think different, be my guest. But then you fail to understand how science advances. Science advances by revising current thinking. Not holding on to possibly wishful fanciful thinking without evidence.

Mr Wang Says So said...

LOL. Poor David Gardiner, his peers must have thought him stark raving insane when he started researching regenerative medicine twenty years ago.

And now his peers are saying, of course this is possible, why isn't already done. Quote: ", ‘Well, how come we haven’t done it already. What’s taking so long?’”

Anonymous said...

So in Mr Wang's mind, it does not matter what current science says. It only matters that people have convictions.

You should visit the creation science institute and the scientology church to get audited. They all have convictions. Who's to say why any one of them are unbelievable?

Mr Wang Says So said...

How to Grow A New Limb.

Great Moments in Science.

Grow Your Own Limbs. - "In response to the hundreds of soldiers coming home from war with missing arms or legs, Darpa is spending millions of dollars to help scientists learn how people might one day regenerate their own limbs.".


Missing Limb? Salamander May Have Answer.

Tech 2010: #22 Heal Thyself; The Severed Limb That Regrows Itself.

Anonymous said...

Does Mr Wang understand that it is the nature of leading edge science to be speculative?

To put in investment terms, if these people demand investment from you, how much interest should you charge? A lot or a little?

Anonymous said...

The heart beats independently, without needing signals from the brain.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Would you like to invest? Here, minimum sum $1,000 only:

http://www.fundsupermart.com/main/admin/buy/factsheet/factsheet370347.pdf

Oh, be warned. Two of the companies in the fund's top holdings are actually trying to find a cure for AIDS!

They must be crazy! According to current thinking, AIDS is not curable. I guess you wouldn't want to invest.

Anonymous said...

I think what Mr Wang demonstrates is the possibility (albeit some think it's not probable) of regrowing limbs.

Afterall, one of the facets in the pursuit of scientific research is to break new grounds, and humbly accept different possibilities, no matter how absurd, or contrary to conventional wisdom, it may seem initially.

The best example comes from the field of modern physics. When Einstein came up with the E=MC^2 formlula and proposes that mass is not constant, the scientific world was generally much dismissive, except Max Planck, another of a great scientist. The same goes with wave-particle duality, quantim mechanics, etc. Often, they are pockets of scientific phenomenom identified, but the scientific explanations run contrary to each other.

At the end of the day, time will tell. And any scientists who engages in pseudo-science, faking results and stuffs, won't go very far (further research by others, or attempts to apply it will simply reveal the flaws), and simply put their repuation at risk.

Anonymous said...

When the brain dies, the pumping of the human heart won't actually last very long.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang -

Don't be asinine. The question was: should you charge a lot of interest for the investment or a little interest.

Limb regeneration is a speculative, bleedin-edge-of-science idea.

As for what it will be in the future, I don't know. I reckon you don't know too.

Anonymous said...

Current thinking. If you want to think different, be my guest. But then you fail to understand how science advances. Science advances by revising current thinking. Not holding on to possibly wishful fanciful thinking without evidence.

I don't agree with this. Science will never get anywhere by revising current thinking. Sometimes, it requires you to totally abandon the current construct of logic to achieve breakthrough. A lot of major breakthroughs all started with ridiculous ideas. Do you think people in the 1600s can imagine a round earth? How about submarines in the 1900s?

Rob

Anonymous said...

And one final comment: If you feel that the idea is so solid, so certain, by all means, put your money where your mouth is by investment.

Should you lose your shirt on the investment, how much due diligence can you prove by pointing to a few articles in Google? You are a lawyer, surely you can answer that.

This has been a public service announcement by a friendly neighborhood anonymous guy. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

If scientists thought David Gardiner was working on something that had high probability of success, then you can bet there will have been very strong activity in the field. Even Singapore's Biopolis would have lots of people working on it :). Evidence suggests that MOST of Gardiner's peers are sceptical that success will come along anytime soon.

Do feel free, however, to invest in any fund that comes along.

zhixiang8787 said...

it seems like there is a lot of cynical pessimists here.

history and science have proven that self-convictions(aka mindhacking) is one of the pillar to ambitions.

if scientists cant even convinced themselves, no discoveries nor inventions would have existed!

likewise, there would be no salesmen, politicians and philosophers.

everything is impossible if not for that small group who thinks that it is and is willing to put in their life and effort to it.

Mr Wang Says So said...

To answer that chap's question:

basically such companies would generally find difficulty raising money through loans. Therefore the question of interest does not arise.

The preferred route would be to raise money through equity (public or private).

Main reason is that if you, as investor, lend money and expect to receive a fixed rate of interest, well, their research may succeed or their research may fail -

so you take on the risk of their failure;

but if they succeed, you do not really get to enjoy their phenomenal success either (you still get the same amount of interest).

What you want is to invest in their equity. They will not pay dividends or they may pay low dividends in their early years. But what happens is that if they succeed, their shares will skyrocket in value.

It will be something like buying $2,000 of shares in Microsoft when Bill Gates first left school and set it up. Some people then would say, "Crazy lah, throwing money down the drain." Of course today your $2,000 would have become $2,000,000,000.

But if you had lent $2,000 and asked for 15%, well, you would have earned 15% on $2,000 for a little while, and when Microsoft grows and grows and grows enough, they'll pay you off and you're out. No chance to enjoy their success.

Mr Wang Says So said...

When the brain dies, the pumping of the human heart won't actually last very long.

LOL, you don't need such drastic examples. Simply think of some very scary, very frightening things - your heart will start beating faster already. :)

Anonymous said...

To Rob - Your examples are poor and do not support the point you are making.

Science progresses mainly by revising current theory. A complete overhaul is rare (once every 400 yrs or so, but hey, we have only 3 data points), and only possible if there exists unexplainable phenomena.

By unexplainable phenomena, I mean things that cannot be explained with the current/standard model.

Every science person would love to be the one to find an unexplained phenomena that leads to a revolution, but that is very hard to come by. In the meantime, we keep busy by extending the standard recipes. This works well enough - 20th century technology has mostly been due to "improvements" to Quantum Mechanics.

Crazy ideas do not work unless there is something the standard model(s) cannot explain. Hence a non-standard (or "crazy") idea to try out.

To zhixiang8787 - in the words of Grissom of CSI "Don't get ahead of the evidence". Self-conviction is nothing in the light of contradictory evidence.

angry doc said...

Yes, I was being sarcastic; but no, it's not about whether science can help amputees regenerate limbs.

I used amputated limbs as an example to counter your claim that:

"Therefore if you are sufficiently skilled and adept at choosing and controlling your thoughts, the universe will deliver to you what you want."

Specific to the question of whether mind-hacking can let can amputee grow a new limb, you have twice answered:"I don't know".

Yet you do not retract or qualify your earlier claim.

Instead, you cite other examples of how the brain can influence certain other physiological processes, the dreaming state, quantum physics, the Dalai Lama... All those things may be, but it still does not change the fact that until you can prove that mind-hacking does make the universe deliver everything you want to you, your claim remains merely a claim.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Crazy ideas do not work unless there is something the standard model(s) cannot explain

Standard model, I suppose, cannot adequately explain why some animals can regenerate limbs and some animals cannot.

Sam said...

In this certain instance, I think people are interpreting mindhacking in three ways. Just as there are three primary versions of the efficient market hypothesis (weak/semi-strong/strong), there may be three versions of mindhacking.

1. By concentrating on regenerating a limb, you are more likely to notice news stories and new developments related to regeneration science. This relies on the reticular activation system of the brain focusing on a goal and noticing environmental reinforcement of a goal. This is the weak form of mindhacking.

2. When a person meditates and concentrates on regenerating a limb, the universe arranges itself in a way where scientists receive superconscious inspiration or flashes of insight into regeneration science. They can then grow limbs in a lab. This is the semi-strong form of mindhacking.

3. If a person meditates and concentrates on growing a limb, the limb will actually begin to grow due to changes at the cellular level. This is the strong form of mindhacking.

Which way is best, and which actually works?

Anonymous said...

Angry doc -

I want six dancing houris to deliver a platter of tasty sushi to my door. I wonder if hacking my mind would accomplish that.

Maybe I just need to stop thinking about work and think about the dancing houris. :-)

Sam said...

Anonymous, here are three possible ways you could get your houris and sushi, based on the three levels of mindhacking I listed above.

1. By taking some time each day to focus on receiving sushi and dancing houris, your mind is more attuned to information related to these topics. Maybe you will be reading a local magazine one day and an ad for a dancing school will be on one page and an ad for a Japanese restaurant will be on another page and you will put two and two together ;)

2. By focusing on your goal, the universe will align itself in a certain way (maybe by giving superconscious insight to an entrepreneur that inspires him or her to open a combination Arab sushi catering service and dance parlor near your workplace).

3. Some houris will just appear on your doorstep with sushi.

The first one is easy to accomplish, the second one may be possible, and the third one is less likely (but still possible) at least in my view.

Teck said...

Hi Mr Wang,

I enjoyed most of your posts on socio-economic issues, especially your sharp commentaries and criticisms.

However, you don't seem to argue scientific topics very well.

Perhaps you could examine the case and evidence for NOT being able to regenerate limbs before you try to SPECULATE using other people's research found on the internet to support your thinking.

Imagination and openness to possibilities beyond the present is brave and good. BUT you need to know what you are talking about. For example, in your replies to comments in the previous post (Mindhacking -I), I can tell you don't know what you are talking about when you invoke physics to support your argument about the lack of objective reality. It's just wishful thinking (or confused thinking) on your part.

If you wish to have a sound and well-informed argument, do stick to stuff you know. I don't know how much you understand biology and medical science. I suspect it's at the same level of understanding as your physics.

I'm not trying to be sarcastic or
"pour cold water", please don't be offended. I'm just suggesting that your comments about things which you understand are insightful; and about things which you don't, your comments show the lack of knowledge.

Teck

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous June 21, 2007 11:01 AM,

We may have a misunderstanding here. By your current thinking, from what I understand in your short comment, is the current approach towards current phenomena, something like for example to explain pt A, you need pt B and C in the current scientific world. But sometimes explaining pt A requires you to throw away pt B and C altogether and come up with a new pt D. It could also be that pt B and C are wrong misleading everyone who try to take this route.

So in relation to your reaction to this post, you are saying due to the current thinking on regeneration, it is impossible. Could it be that the current thinking are wrong? or they have missed out a vital information that lead them to believe it is impossible?

And back to Mr Wang idea of mind hacking, given our current knowledge about how our mind works, don't you guys think that in the remote far future, we could have explore to the depths that we could "magick" up something by just thinking about it? The universe is out there and in here, and we barely scratch it.

Rob

Anonymous said...

here is what a buddhist aputee might do ...

1) tries meditation to regenerate limb.
2) gains wisdowm from meditation.
3) regeneration of limb no longer agenda.
4) meditates for ultimate prize, enlightentment.

5) my conclusion: this regeneration thingy will never happen.

6) not only because meditation is insufficient (which may be true) but because if u r meditating with any success u would have long forsaken the notion of regrowing limb. you would have no desire to. you would be quite happy with your fate.

7) so many of these questions which seem clever are actually quite irrelevant. that is why the buddha often chooses to ignore such questions. not because he does not know the answer but because the questions are fundamentally flawed.

Anonymous said...

"you will understand current thinking on why regeneration is impossible."

1st anon, the *current* thinking is that it is possible. So possible that funds have come pouring in to investigate it.

You are *outdated*! Hahaha!

Anonymous said...

IMHO engaging in "mind hacking" is as far away from buddhism as we can get.

buddhists meditate not to change their mindsets. they do it to remove mindsets completely. to see the world without distortion. to see things as they truly are. to uncover the TRUTH!

to change your mindset to be even more driven with more attachments is going in the opposite direction.

Anonymous said...

The level of shallowness in thinking is really thick on this blog.

If you think I am outdated, then please go ahread and have your limbs amputated. And get David Gardiner to help you regenerate it.

Based on the responses here, I would say most of my detractors are have not had an ounce of science beyond the primary level. If they have, they have forgotten it.

Like I said, if you believe so hard that you can regenerate a limb, please for goodness sake fund this research.

After all, being able to do this is a Good Thing.

However. I believe most of you doing so will lose your money. So go ahead and make your investment decision. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I wanted to give you my honest answer, Angry Doc, but I feared that you would think I was merely being cheeky.

According to the extreme forms of these thought theories (now indulge me for a moment, ok):

whatever you think is, is. Whatever you think is possible, is possible. Whatever you think is not possible, is not possible. Whatever you think may be, may be. Whatever you are not able to bring yourself to think, will not be for you.

Your mind is your universe, you see.

Furthermore, whatever each individual thinks, creates his own reality. Each individual's reality may change, because his thoughts change.

Thus for example, you could make a 100% adamant atheist live with the Pope. They could stay in the same house, eat the same food, pee at the same time, go to the same places, inhabit the same space-time reality - if you like, the same "external objective reality".

But if the atheist still thinks the way he thinks, he will look around his universe, at people, babies, trees, sun and moon, love and war, and say:

"There is absolutely no evidence anywhere in the universe for the existence of God."

And meanwhile the Pope will look around his universe, at the same people, babies, trees, sun and moon, love and war, and say:

"There is evidence EVERYWHERE in the universe for the existence of God."

And both are absolutely right. Neither is wrong. Their minds ARE their universe. Whatever they think, their universe will be.

The atheist lives in a universe where there is no god. The Pope lives in a universe where God is everywhere.

The Pope and the atheist stay in the same house, eat the same food, go to the same places, pee at the same time, inhabit the same space-time reality. But their realities are very different, yes? One has a "God" in it and the other doesn't.

You see what I mean now, when I say that there is no such thing as an "external objective reality".

Note: thoughts can change. Then the universe changes. One day, the atheist may think, "MAYBE a God could exist." Then his universe will become one where MAYBE a God could exist. He will look around his universe and he will see evidence that MAYBE a God could exist.

One day, the Pope may think, "MAYBE God does NOT exist." Then his universe will also change. He will look around his universe and he will see evidence that MAYBE God does NOT exist.

If you like, you may want to think about movies like the Matrix. Which "reality" is real? Which reality is MORE real. These are impossible questions. The mind cannot get outside of its universe. The mind IS the universe. If you are dreaming, your dream is your reality. How do you know you are not dreaming now? Why should you think that this life is any more real than a dream? Either way, both realities are dependent on the same thing -your mind.

If you think that X is absolutely impossible, then X will be absolutely impossible in your reality.

But if I think that X is possible, then X will be possible in my reality.

In fact, if I think that X already exists, then X exists in my reality.

Then you and I might meet, and we exchange our views, and you might think that I am mad. In your reality, this would be absolutely true. In my reality, you could just be mistaken or foolish. In my reality, your mistake and your foolishness would be absolutely true as well. Both realities are equally valid.

One day, an event may happen in YOUR reality to convince you that X is actually possible. For example, you may see or hear something with your very own eyes or ears. However, understand that what you "see" is merely light passing into your own eyes. What you "hear" is merely sound waves entering your ears. Once again, this is just sense data. What you see, what you hear, has absolutely no meaning except whatever meaning your mind attaches to it. If you attach the meaning "Actually, X might be possible", then once again your universe has shifted. Your universe now becomes one where X might be possible. This is due to the shift in your thinking.

Or something may happen in my reality that X is NOT possible, or does not exist. The same thing applies. The thing that "happens" is just sense data. It means nothing, until meaning is attached. My mind interprets sense data, it attaches a new meaning, "X is NOT possible at all." Immediately my universe changes again - it is one where X is NOT possible at all.

This is very, very funny stuff, I know. I really started thinking about it only after a certain meditation experience the details of which I do not really wish to share.

Suffice it to say that in this experience, I went so deep that I thought I was dead. I mean, literally dead. There was nothing around me. There wasn't even a "me". But my mind was still there - I do not know how else to describe this. It had simply stopped creating. Therefore there was no "reality". And very briefly I saw that reality is REALLY just an illusion. If mind does nothing, there can be no reality.

That may be why Einstein said what he said. "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Now you will think I am crazy.
In your reality, this is absolutely true. :P

Mr Wang Says So said...

IMHO engaging in "mind hacking" is as far away from buddhism as we can get.

People keep making this mistake. I'm not a Buddhist.

Anonymous said...

"Every science person would love to be the one to find an unexplained phenomena that leads to a revolution, but that is very hard to come by. In the meantime, we keep busy by extending the standard recipes". (anon of June 21, 2007 11:01 AM)

Anon,
I can already forsee that you will end up as a mediocre scientist and will not earn any Nobel prize. Haha!

Nobel prize-caliber physicists will not dismiss an idea as impossible or crazy, especially when there are at least *some* evidence to support it.

Einstein said time can contract, he was ridiculed. And in fact, his nobel prize was not awarded based on relativity because his peers were not convinced at that time.

Dirac said everyone has a wave around him, he nearly could not get his phd (Einstein had to be roped in to give his opinion on whether to award Dirac his phd!)

I guess I won't proceed on with giving you other mind-inspiring role models, since you are not interested in mind-hacking yourself that you can make a crazy idea turn true and get a nobel prize :)


>>"This works well enough - 20th century technology has mostly been due to "improvements" to Quantum Mechanics."

Oh, so you are an engineer, not so much a physicist? Maybe that explains why you are more interested

Sam said...

Speculative thinking isn't necessarily shallow. Ray Kurzweil, the multimillionaire MIT-educated scientist and inventor wrote a book in 2005 called "The Singularity is Near" which says that in a couple of decades, we will upload our consciousness into computers.

The Singularity is Near

Anonymous said...

Why Mr Wang is *not* crazy -

At every point in human's scientific advance, there have always been only a few visionary scientists. The commoners cannot envision such things and since they have zero knowledge of science, they keep quiet.

The worst are the assholes half-baked peers of these scientists who have some knowledge and yet whose character are by nature not visionary. These are the type who end up calling their visionary colleagues "crazy", and who laugh at their colleagues.

In the end, history show that they themselves are the laughable one. Eg. Who was the one who said "nobody will be interested in a device that allow two person far away to talk to each other (telephone)?" -- you can find such real-life "jokes" on the net: quotations of people who are not visionary enough.

Luckily, justice prevails for those "crazy" scientists in the end. And we have an idiom for it:

He who laugh the last, laugh the loudest

Anonymous said...

People,
if you have just some imagination. Just imagine, how the world would be like, say, 1000 years later.

You mean you cannot imagine limbs being regenerated by electrical signals being applied to certain areas of the brain that control growth?

Anonymous said...

1st anon said: "you will understand current thinking on why regeneration is impossible."

But that's CURRENT thinking. You can't see beyond the current, to imagine what would be like in 1000 years, or 2000, or 3000?

Open-minded people with vision can. But yeah, short-sighted people can't and won't and sadly, even have the cheek to turn around and lecture those who have far sight!

Anonymous said...

To the anoymous at 12.16pm,

I will now show you why you are wrong using only material found in this blog.

Sam mentioned Ray Kurzweil and endorsed him. Well what does Ray Kurweil think about scientific progress? He believes there will be a singularity where technological prognostication is not possible.

Thus there cannot be any such visionaries according to Ray Kurzweil.

Thank you.

Will the next challenger kindly step up to the plate and give your name and NRIC?

I thought not.

Anonymous said...

1st anon,
no, I will not amputate myself nor would I fund such research, because I know that the *current* state is far from success. But I, being a scientific person with some knowledge of the History of Science, am convinced that in X years time (probably beyond my life time), such limp regeneration will become possible - it's a matter of time (a long long time).

Your thinking is outdated when you said it is impossible.

And you know why you have such outdated ideas? Because you have not read anything about the history of science - so you dont know how many things that were once thought impossible became possible and that almost nothing is impossible in science given TIME!

hmm, not surprising, since your knowledge of history of science is about kindergarten level! Muahaha!

Anonymous said...

A clue for the clueless: To replace current thinking requires the tedious process of scientific proof. But people don't do that. Thus they subject themselves to fads and fashions that they think is permanant. Most of the fads and fashions you see around you are fads and fashions becuase they cannot pass the test of proof. Thus they are temporary and are distractions from the important realities of the world.

That is what Mr Wang is doing. Remember that Buddhism teaches that everything is impermanent. Why shuold you believe in limb regeneration when your own live is only temporary. Why should you want and desire such a thing when Buddhism preaches the negation of such wants?

Anonymous said...

To the Buddhists here on this blog,

What the anonymous of 12.35 say is right. Mr Wang is distracting you from the important realities of the world by asking you to believe in limb regeneration.

angry doc said...

Mr Wang, I don't think you are crazy or being cheeky, I merely think the way you presented the powers of mind-hacking to be misleading.

I actually get what you are trying to say in that the world is illusory from the viewpoint of the Absolute Reality (or Void), but that is a philosophical concept that is not testable. If you recall, I once wrote that I would like to read about your views on spirituality when you announced (on your old blog) that you were considering starting one to blog on such matters.

You can cite evidence that the mind can control certain physiological processes, but that merely shows that the mind can control certain physiological processes, and not that the mind can do anything.

You can change your point of view about certain aspects of the world, but that merely shows that you can change your point of view about certain aspects of the world, but not that the universe will give you anything you want.

You can meditate to the point that you are aware only of your own consciousness, but that doesn't mean that the everyday reality is any less real when you are out of your meditative trance. For that matter, what if you found out that there is a drug that can induce the same state of mind which you have experienced? How would that change your perception of that experience?

I suspect we understand each other, but we just do not agree on this topic.

The powers of mind-hacking aside, I hope you will share (perhaps in a separate post) about how your experience in meditation affects how you live your life. To you, what does the awareness that consciousness is the only reality translate to in terms of moral imperative?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

On Mr. Wang's long reply to Angry Doc,
Actually what you said is a bit like what Einstein said about time dilation and length contraction.

Two space ship. One traveling near the speed of light. Pilot in space ship A switch on front and back beacon at the same time. But to the people on space ship B, the beacons are turned on at different time (due ot time dilation) that become significant when traveling near speed of light.

Another eg: A person go on a space ship that travels near speed of light. To him, 1 hour is still 1 hour. But if he tells someone on earth that one hour has passed, the person on earth would say he is lying, because to the person on earth, it would have been more than 1 hour. So whose time is reality?

SO point is: Reality has been altered in this case "merely" by traveling near the speed of light.

Now if you tell that to Einstein's peers (or in fact, you tell that now to the average man you meet in the street who do not know Einstein's special relativity), they will say you are crazy. But now it is widely accepted.

So we can ask: May it not that the idea that reality can be altered by thoughts be dismissed as crazy now, but be as acceptable as Einstein's relativity, in the year 3000?

Too bad I won't be around them to laugh at those short sighted people then. Then again, doesnt matter, they wont be alive at that time either. lol!

Anonymous said...

A joke about solipism that contains a truth.

Q. What did one solipist say to another?

A. Hi me.

Anonymous said...

I can see why the PAP does not care about Mr Wang's radical views on politics. He undermines hia very own credibility with his blogs about pseudoscience.

ted said...

Not addressing to anyone in particular, and have no idea where all these Sam and Robs are from.

I've read that science progress in sometimes painfully slow ways generally because of peoples' (scientists et al) tendency to hold on to their pet theory (science or otherwise) even in the light of contradictory evidence.

And I also read somewhere that the head honcho of the earliest incarnate of IBM had stated in 1958: "I think there is a world market for about five computers." So much for being a visionary, hehe.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"But if I think that X is possible, then X will be possible in my reality."
_____________

Think that you are a mutant ninja and immortal.

Now go jump off a twenty storey building.

What does what's left of the mushy, tofu like brain tell you?

Will there be a consciousness that reaffirms a reality of your immortality?

Sincerely,
Puzzled

Mr Wang Says So said...

You can meditate to the point that you are aware only of your own consciousness, but that doesn't mean that the everyday reality is any less real

Now, in the previous post, a reader Teck has kindly posted a number of links about quantum physics.

I'm going to oversimplify, because I just want to give you the quick idea. You can click on the links to read the entire articles.

But the gist of it is that at least one explanation offered by the quantum physicists goes like this:

1. subatomic particles are either wave or particle

2. they are NEITHER wave NOR particle until they are observed

3. then it will immediately become either WAVE or PARTICLE

4. observation implies consciousness

5. consciousness is thus required for subatomic particles to exist (either as wave or particle)

6. all things are made up of subatomic particles

Therefore for all things to exist, consciousness is required. Without consciousness (or mind), nothing can exist.

There goes your everyday reality.

Note: this is not the only scientific attempt to explain this phenomena. Another explanation says in effect that every time you try to see if the particle is a wave or a particle, the universe divides into two parallel universes. In one universe, the particle is a particle, and in the other, the particle is a wave. That's Hugh Everitt's "Many Worlds" theory. Yes, yes, he's an extremely well-qualified physicists, and not a science fiction writer.

So even if you choose this alternative, your everyday reality goes as well.

What CAN I do for you? This is what your scientists say.

ted said...

And as a public service for the interested ones, check out this site:

http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/einsteinlight/

It explains one of the important and popular scientific concepts such as Relativity using multimedia presentations.

P.S: People who goes into a pissy fit because of the UNSW Asia fiasco should probably avoid it though.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Think that you are a mutant ninja and immortal.

Now go jump off a twenty storey building.

What does what's left of the mushy, tofu like brain tell you?


The short answer is that it is extremely difficult to convince yourself that you are a mutant ninja.

Since you do not really believe that you are a mutant ninja, you would not be able to survive such a fall.

The argument would then go like this:

But if you did truly believe you could do X, eg walk on water, heal the blind, raise the dead, personally die and rise again, then you could. Jesus has done it. If you truly believed that you could part the Red Sea, then you could. Moses did it.

Of course, if you truly, utterly believe that Jesus is utter hogwash, that none of these things ever happened, Moses never did that, the Bible is mostly fictitious -

while then, your universe WILL be one where Jesus is utter hogwash, that none of these things ever happened, Moses never did that, that the Bible is mostly fictitious ..... and Christians are such utter, superstitious, dumb fools.

Meanwhile, in the reality of a staunch Christian, one who really believes in the Bible, well his universe is one where, long, long ago, someone by the name of Jesus DID walk on water, heal the blind, raise the dead, personally die and rise again. Amd someone by the name of Moses did part the Red Sea. And the Christian feels very, very sorry for you, because he knows you believe in none of this and therefore you cannot attain salvation.

Both you and the Christian are, as usual, perfectly correct. In your respective universes.

----

Did Jesus really raise the dead? Did Moses really part the Red Sea?

Before you ask that, you could ask "Is there an external objective reality?"

That would have a major impact on your answer. If there is no such reality - if reality is indeed a illusion, as Buddha asserts - then each possible answer to your question is not more than an illusion anyway. The Red Sea itself would not exist unless you think it does.

----
Now suppose you DID truly believe something very bizarre. Eg strange voices are talking to you, even though no one is there. Furthermore you truly believe that you are living in an ancient castle from which there is no escape.

In my reality, the people in my reality would consider you mad. In my reality, mad people are to be locked up. So they will lock you up in a padded cell.

Meanwhile, as long as your mind stays the way it is, in YOUR reality you're not mad. Strange voices ARE talking to you. You ARE still living in a strange castle from which there is no escape.

Which reality is more real? It's the Pope and the atheist again, is it not?

angry doc said...

Schroedinger's cat was either dead, or it was alive, and it was dead or alive whether or not someone observed it. (Maybe the tree in the forest fell onto the box it was in or something; I didn't hear it fall though so I can't know for sure...)

Maybe the cat was alive in one universe and dead in an alternate one, but the physicists do not also argue that your consciousness can likewise split or occupy more than one universe.

Once again your error is to look at one aspect on a quantum level, and extrapolate it to say it is applicable on a macro, everyday level i.e. we can mind-hack to make the universe give us anything we want.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang wrote:

6. all things are made up of subatomic particles

Therefore for all things to exist, consciousness is required. Without consciousness (or mind), nothing can exist.
_______________

The Double Slit experiment purports to test and observe things at the sub-atomic level where the "laws" of physics as we know it in our everyday reality does not seem to apply.

To go from this observation to then conclude that since we are made up sub-atomic particles the very same reality that exists at this level also applies to our everyday reality is to commit the "Fallacy of Composition".

Your conclusion is on par with saying that -

"This car is made entirely of low mass components, and is therefore very lightweight."

Sincerely,
Puzzled

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments here reminds me of my first foray into a random philosophy class in my university days where the lecturer was trying to convince the students that a table in front of them does not exist. and that your experience of orange color is not the same as my experience of orange color. I remembered leaving the class bittered and frustrated, thinking it's hogwash. It's pretty funny thinking about it now.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"The short answer is that it is extremely difficult to convince yourself that you are a mutant ninja."

OK then, how about just immortal? Do that experiment again to test your assertion and belief.

"Since you do not really believe that you are a mutant ninja, you would not be able to survive such a fall."

How about the person who truly believes this "theory" as you do is actually quite mad and does actually believe that he is a mutant ninja and immortal? Is his now mushy, smashed up brain still able to conjure a consciousness that he is still alive?

"Jesus has done it. If you truly believed that you could part the Red Sea, then you could. Moses did it."

You adduce stories in the Bible as fact. Are they?

"Of course, if you truly, utterly believe that Jesus is utter hogwash, that none of these things ever happened, Moses never did that, the Bible is mostly fictitious -

No, Jesus was a real person as was Moses. They are not hogwash. However, the claims of resurrection are "stories" told by witnesses and we know how unreliable eyewitnesses testimony can be and and not altogether infallible.

..... and Christians are such utter, superstitious, dumb fools.

Actually an Atheist would think that - since Religion requires as its cornerstone FAITH and by definition it is the suspension of fact, logic and reason - ALL Theists are quite delusional and foolish.

Sincerely,
Puzzled

Mr Wang Says So said...

Schroedinger's cat was either dead, or it was alive, and it was dead or alive whether or not someone observed it

No lah. I could be wrong in my understanding, but I think that Schrodinger's exact point is that he has designed a situation where something at the very micro level (the particle) is going to connect with something that's very macro and "everyday-reality" (the cat)

- leading to bizarre implications for reality.

In other words, subatomic reality is, or could be, affecting our "everyday" reality all the time, or some of the time - and we just don't understand how.

That is why Einstein wrote to Schrodinger:

"You are the only contemporary physicist, besides Laue, who sees that one cannot get around the assumption of reality--if only one is honest. Most of them simply do not see what sort of risky game they are playing with reality--reality as something independent of what is experimentally established. Their interpretation is, however, refuted most elegantly by your system of radioactive atom + amplifier + charge of gun powder + cat in a box, in which the psi-function of the system contains both the cat alive and blown to bits"

Mr Wang Says So said...

You adduce stories in the Bible as fact. Are they?

I don't. You must again try to understand the context.

There is no "fact". It's all illusion. (Caveat: POSSIBLY there may be a few ultimate truths).

A "fact" is a fact only within a particular reality. That reality itself is an illusion within someone's mind.

How about the person who truly believes this "theory" as you do is actually quite mad and does actually believe that he is a mutant ninja and immortal? Is his now mushy, smashed up brain still able to conjure a consciousness that he is still alive?

This takes us to a new area of inquiry which so far we haven't touched upon. What happens to a person's consciousness when he physically dies?

This is a broader sort of enquiry and it need not be confined to people who are "delusional". Essentially, it could extend to all of us or any of us.

Jimmy Mun said...

1) Quantum mechanics apply to everything, not just subatomic particles. It is just more observable at subatomic level.

2) We are both wave and particle simultaneously. But for more massive objects, the wave aspects become very hard to observe. Oh yes, our fat asses are waves too. When you believe this is true, nothing is real or solid any more.

3) Whether we find a particle or a wave depends on what the observer is looking for. If you look for a particle, you will find a particle. If you look for a wave, you will find a wave. This is the essence of Young's Double Slit experiment.

4) While there are remarkable similarities, I think the implications of quantum theory cannot be so directly correlated with the effects of mind hacking.

5) Lastly, not sure if anybody read a comment I left elsewhere about drunks doing better in car crashes than sober people, because their muscles are in a relaxed state. Babies are known to survive mult-storey falls as well. One way of explaining it is that babies do not know that death is imminent and stay relaxed. Meanwhile, full grown adults stiffen as we fall with fear of the "inevitable", ensuring maximum damage.

angry doc said...

My understanding is that it is an illustration of how the wave-particle thingy cannot be applied at the macro scale.

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2007/03/schrdingers_cat.html

Well, at least I'm sure there is an alternate universe where my interpretation is correct. :)

Anonymous said...

If there is no objective reality, then Mr Wang is actually talking with himself. This about it. We don't exist. We exist only to have debates with Mr Wang himself, who is masturbating him.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Mun said

"Lastly, not sure if anybody read a comment I left elsewhere about drunks doing better in car crashes than sober people, because their muscles are in a relaxed state. Babies are known to survive mult-storey falls as well. One way of explaining it is that babies do not know that death is imminent and stay relaxed. Meanwhile, full grown adults stiffen as we fall with fear of the "inevitable", ensuring maximum damage."

_____________


While being in "relaxed state" may increase your odds of surviving a fall from a great height, the law of gravity applies to one and all.

Factors that explain the survival of the baby would also include HOW and WHERE it fell.

Babies DO die when thrown from a great height. Being in "relaxed state" is clearly not the only causal factor.

Sincerely.
Puzzled.

Mr Wang Says So said...

If there is no objective reality, then Mr Wang is actually talking with himself.

*sigh*

This is going to freak you guys out again, folks. But the chap is right, and he has made a very good point.

I hope the explanation doesn't frighten you too much. It goes like this:

1. my reality exists, because my mind is creating it

2. your reality exists, because your mind is creating it

3. if existence is dependent on observation, then even the observer cannot exist unless he himself is being observed ... which implies there's another observer, which implies there's another observer observing that other observer .... and so on ....

4. trace it all back, and we get more and more and more observers, which seems wrong ...

5. UNLESS everything traces back to a single observer, a single consciousness

6. the one that existed before anything else existed

7. the same one that CREATED everything else, by making its first observation

(you can call it "God" if you like)

8. and since it was the ONLY consciousness then

9. it must have began to split and divide itself

10. again and again

11. and each of our consciousnesses is just part of that original consciousness

12. and that is why Buddha says that the "self" is an illusion - none of us are actually separate from anyone else

13. amd that is why the Jainists say that God is all things, including each of us ....

14. and that is why anyone who has a peak experience (Maslow again)will report that he felt a sense of "interconnectednss" with the whole universe ......

Mr Wang Says So said...

15. and that is why in some fields like psychology, you get people like Carl Jun postulating something like the "collective unconscious" - a kind of overarching mind to which ALL our minds belong,

Anonymous said...

Angry Doc and Puzzled,
If something is true at the quantum level, it hold also at the macro level, except that at the macro level, it is more difficult to observe and hence reproduce it.

Eg. Quantum laws, DeBoglie's wave etc all hold in the macro level - we have a 0.0000001% chance of jumping through a wall, just as a quantum particle has a much high chance of tunneling through a wall. And yes, we all do have waves associated with us, just that our wave-like properties are insignificant and hence unmeasurable due to our size. Likewise when we are in a car, time dilates in accordance to Einstein's law though it is only by 0.000..01% since we are not traveling at speed of light.

So, we can argue that if thought can alter reality in the quantum realm, it can alter reality by a very small tiny weeny bit in the macro realm.

BUT, if we can magnified these thoughts by a million time via mind hacking or concentrated meditation, then perhaps this 1000X thoughts can now alter reality sufficient for us to detect.

ninja said...

If you can REALLY convinced yourself that you can jump 10 floors, maybe you really can!

After all, there are many historical cases of people who can do that on account of their high meditation, deep hypnosis etc. Only problem is: do you choose to believe it or not. Haha!

Ned Stark said...

Perhaps God exists because ur mind says he exists?

ninja said...

I meant: do you choose to believe those eyewitness accounts of such cases or not.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang says:

"3. if existence is dependent on observation, then even the observer cannot exist unless he himself is being observed ... which implies there's another observer, which implies there's another observer observing that other observer .... and so on ....

4. trace it all back, and we get more and more and more observers, which seems wrong ...

5. UNLESS everything traces back to a single observer, a single consciousness

6. the one that existed before anything else existed"

________________________


We are digressing somewhat into the the argument for God's Existence.

Yours is a variation of the Cosmological Argument, which very briefly, goes like this.

1. Every effect has a cause.

2. This cause effect relationship cannot go on ad infinitum.

3.Therefore there must be a FIRST CAUSE ... and that FIRST CAUSE is God.

And accordingly it too suffers from the same logical flaws.

If every effect has a cause in an endless chain of events then who or what caused the so-called FIRST CAUSE?

The Theological Answer: The FIRST CAUSE is self-causing.

Rebuttal: It negates the very premise of the Cosmological Argument that "every cause has an effect".

Since there can be self-causing events, then God need not have created the Universe. It too could possibly be self-causing.

Ultimately, God's existence cannot be proven through words, logic and reason.

So too the Tautological Argument, Teleological Argument, St Anselm - The Five Ways suffers from flaws in argument and the List goes on...

So why even try?

"The words of a scholar is be understood through logic and reason. The word of God cannot be understood. It is to be listened to like the sound of the waves on a beach or the song of the bird.

If you listen closely enough, it will stir and awaken something in your heart that is beyond all knowledge"

I am paraphrasing Fr. Anthony De Mello where his "quote" can be found in his book - "The Song of the Bird."

Sincerely,
Puzzled

geriatric_eunuch said...

Who knows, maybe HE would have some idea of how to grow a new limb.

Well, HE certainly will have to do so if HE wants to replace his feet of clay!

Sorry, couldn't resist that Mr W. I appreciate your blog for its caring insights into the human condition (and in particular, S'pore's) but certainly the last few posts alluding to mind-over-matter and reality-is-what-you-wish-to-make-of-it reach deep into metaphysics territory that's highly speculative and contentious, as some of your contributors here make clear. I suppose I should've listened to your caution to read no further but was to weak to resist seeing if the X-files, astral flying, and psychokinesis would shyly creep into the conversation. I'm with the feet-firmly-on-ground views of Angry Doctor and Teck on this issue.

We know about implanting stem cells and collagen scaffolding to help repair damage but don't you think it rather fanciful to then speculate that if the brain sends out the right electrical signals, what the article mentioned should be achievable. The blastema will form. A new limb will grow. It all depends on whether you can manipulate your brain in the right way.? Have you read any research that states that a salamander's brain is involved in explicitly signalling its severed limb to regenerate (because that's what you're implying)? It seems to be more of an automonous genetic reflex rather than a mentally-driven command. Notice that embryos/larvae - with no brain to speak of - appear to be the champs at regeneration.

It's all very well to assert that mind over matter "might" be possible in the far future as some posters here are doing, but that's quite simply to indulge in wild speculation. One might as well take that thought to its logical conclusion and state without fear of contradiction that at some very distant unspecified point in time, adult humans will be able, by sheer force of will, to go into a larval stage and metamorphose into an entirely different construct. After all, caterpillars do it all the time so why shouldn't we? Fantasy doesn't carry the inconvenient burden of reason.

If I read you correctly, you maintain that reality is an artifact of the mind, a virtual universe that varies infinitely depending upon the thinker. Do you aver then that if I psych myself into believing that S'pore is truly a beacon of truth and light in a cruel world then that is in fact how it is? It might very well be MY reality, but an awful lot of other minds would beg to disagree. And if those other minds are in general accord, then I suspect it might be time to seriously reconsider my perception of reality (heheh, so long as my name isn't David Icke, of course).

The philosophy that one’s self or one’s mind is the only thing that exists is a curiously seductive concept, isn't it? Regrettably, real life has the upleasant habit of intruding and pouring cold water upon that particular illusion.

As for the quantum mechanics matter, take heart that the late Richard Feynman, one of the leading pioneers in the development of modern quantum theory, once quipped: "If you meet someone who claims to understand quantum mechanics, the only thing you can be sure of is that you have met a liar"!

rse said...

There are lots of misconceptions here on basic QM principles, and since I can't stand bad QM, I shall attempt to clarify:

Wave-particle duality applies to to all objects. But on a large scale, the effects of this duality are too insignificant to be considered. QM isn't the only thing that's a waste of time on our scale, relativistic effects too. Also, it is the same reason school teachers will never catch girls with skirts shorter than the official limit by 1 nm.

When people say that observing a system effects it, they are referring to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, a different but related concept from particle/wave duality. It means you can only know either the momentum or position of the system with certainty. You can actually derive this very easily.

Schroedinger's cat is just a thought experiment of how one should interpret those pesky equations represent reality. My interpretation is that it is a mathematical function with no actual physical meaning. If I flip a coin, will it will be simultaneously heads/tails at the same time before I look at it (Since p=0.5 for both H and T)?

Actually, what does this have to do with mindhacking? Or limb regeneration?

My view is that proper 'mindhacking' has far more to do with the Sapir-whorf hypothesis and cognitive psychology

Mr Wang Says So said...

Do you aver then that if I psych myself into believing that S'pore is truly a beacon of truth and light in a cruel world then that is in fact how it is?

:)

This is a useful illustration.

Yes, if you believe that Singapore is a great place to live in, then in your reality it WILL be a great place to live in.

And you know that there are many Singaporeans who do feel that way, don't you.

Now if many other people disagree with you that Singapore is a great place to live, what is happening is
is that you ar receiving sense data

(eg you hear a person says, "My life is terrible in Singapore because of A, B, C ...")

and your mind attaches a meaning to what you hear, which COULD be, (and I lay out just a few possibilities):

(a) "This person is talking nonsense. Singapore is a GREAT place to live."

OR

(b) "Hey, this person has a point. He could be right. Maybe Singapore is not so great"

OR

(c) "Gasp. How come I never realised this before? The person is right! A, B and C make Singapore a *terrible* place to live in!"

and depending on which meaning your brain has attached, your universe changes again - for example, if your mind had attached meaning (c), your universe changes such that Singapore starts becoming a less-great place to live.

-----

The key point to note is that people generally don't have unlimited capacity to change their thoughts. We have SOME ability to change & choose our thoughts, and SOME of us have more ability than others.

Where you can change your thoughts, your reality changes. In fact your reality is changing all the time because you are thinking all the time.

Your thoughts are just illusions you see, and so is reality.

Are you rich? Suppose you earn $4,000 a month. You may think that's a lot, or you may think that's little. Someone else your age, with similar qualifications, experience etc, may also earn $4,000. But he may hold an entirely different view from you as to whether $4,000 is a lot. You may feel poor with $4,000; he may feel very wealthy.

In his reality, he is rich. In your reality, you are poor. In his reality, YOU may be rich (since you earn as much as him), but in your reality HE may be oor (since he earns as little as you).

Mr Wang Says So said...

If I flip a coin, will it will be simultaneously heads/tails at the same time before I look at it

Hugh Everitt, a quantum physicist, says that at the moment you flip the coin, the universe will split into two.

In one universe, the coin will be heads.

In the other universe, the coin will show tails.

I am sorry - but he's the scientist.

Mr Wang Says So said...

When people say that observing a system effects it, they are referring to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, a different but related concept from particle/wave duality.

No lah, the particle/wave duality also has theories involving observation.

Teck the physics teacher supplied some links in the other post - go and click.

Anonymous said...

So far, limb regeneration is still proven, and QM is Buddhism go hand in hand. All on Mr Wang's blog.

I wonder what would happen if someone submitted this to be graded by a real physicist. I wonder if Mr Wang would score an A or an F.

I am taking bets. 10 to 1 it's an F folks. Queue up!

Anonymous said...

So sorry for being stupid Mr Wang, but I have a coin and I don't flip it. I merely cover it up and don't let you see whether it's heads or tails.

Is there a universe branch where the coin is heads up and another when the coin is tails?

A coin is a classical object. So where's the quantum in all of this?

Enquiring minds want to know.

angry doc said...

"In his reality, he is rich. In your reality, you are poor."

Now you are committing the error of equivocation. You are saying that the 'reality' of whether one is rich or poor is on the same order as the 'reality' of whether our amputee has a leg or not.

The fact is most people will understand (and accept) 'reality' in the first instance to mean a value judgement which understandably varies from person to person, and the 'reality' in the second instance as a measurable fact which does not vary from person to person.

Anonymous said...

Sorry lah Mr Wang, I used to like your post, but lately things have started to look like a very long sit underneath a Bodhi tree - its really a pain in the ass. Time to move on, I am afraid.

Bye Bye

lau min-tsek said...

Someone said:

"So far, limb regeneration is still proven, and QM is Buddhism go hand in hand. All on Mr Wang's blog.

I wonder what would happen if someone submitted this to be graded by a real physicist. I wonder if Mr Wang would score an A or an F.

I am taking bets. 10 to 1 it's an F folks. Queue up! "



Well, my guess is that this physicist would probably say: "Hey, what is the big deal, I wrote this 30+ years ago!"

http://www.amazon.com/Tao-Physics-Fritjof-Capra/dp/1570625190/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8478862-1772634?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182422660&sr=8-1

(sorry, I know how to do html links)

As for the growing limb theory, one ongoing research is to try to induce mature cells to return to its original stem cell like state, from there, the cells can then differentiate and grow to form organs, body parts etc. This is not fantasy, although we are still many years from any useful results. But the point is, it does not look implausible. Just difficult.

Or why bother with this? Why not just use harvested stem cells?

The application is not just missing limbs. But also for diabetes (regenerate missing insulin producing cells), spinal cord injury (grow a new spine!), organ transplant (no more waiting list), burn victims (nu-skin anyone?) etc.

(for the uninitiated: Stem cells are the earliest undifferentiated cells of humans when we are in the womb. The stem cells, through a yet unknown mechanism, is able to differentiate into many different cells and tissues that form the human body. The thing is, after stem cells differentiate, the new cell types loses the ability to regenerate and differentiate further. That is why there is so much interest in cord stem cells banks -- where you freeze your stem cells at birth into storage in case you need them in the future.)



BTW, I don't think supporters of this line of thinking in this blog is trying to say that:

Physics = Buddism

or even

Buddism = Physics

It is just that, as physics progresses, the implication of the theories and findings have many parallels with eastern zen like philisophies.

Like: why do we remember the past but not the future? Do we live in a pre-determined world? And if so, is there such a thing as free will?

Fascinating stuff.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Actually I had written more on that point. I had gone on to write:

"Now what happens if you are earning only $4,000 but you decide to plant the thought in your head:

"I am earning $8,000"" - How might reality then change?"

but I felt it was a digression and perhaps something I should address in a future post. So I deleted.

If you'd like me to write about that in a separate post, let me know.

Maybe it is more fun & practical that way.

Anonymous said...

Angry doc - it is worse than that. If the rich/poor distinction was as malleable as what Mr Wang says, why should one take financial education seriously?

Why bother doing anything that Mr Wang tells you. Just like the one advice that reality is malleable and run with it. It's the only real message left on his blog.

lau min-tsek said...

I meant I DON'T know how to do html links.......

Anonymous said...

This is a secondary school science teacher speaking. I am afraid I am not as well known as the most of you. I am actually saving this as negative examples for my students about how to argue. It appears that lots of anonymous authors are sharper than Mr Wang. This is a tragedy as I often point to Mr Wang's blog as an example of well-argued writing. I guess the reality is not as perfect as one hoped for.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Is there a universe branch where the coin is heads up and another when the coin is tails?

A coin is a classical object. So where's the quantum in all of this?"


I think you could be right, my mistake. Maybe it only works when you observe subatomic particles.

So let's imagine you're sitting in your electron lab on your blue cushion, wearing a white coat, black spectacles and you have a Rolex on your wrist. Your girlfriend happens to be in Malaysia. You're studying subatomic particles.

The particle in question could be a wave or a particle. You make a measurement. At this point, according to Everitt's theory, the universe split into two.

In the first universe:

You're sitting in your electron lab on your blue cushion, wearing a white coat, black spectacles and you have a Rolex on your wrist. Your girlfriend is in Malaysia. ThAnd the particle is a wave.

In the second universe:

You're sitting in your electron lab on your blue cushion, wearing a white coat, black spectacles and you have a Rolex on your wrist. Your girlfriend is in Malaysia. And the particle is a particle.

The point is - you, the blue cushion, the white coat, the black spectacles, the Rolex, your girlfriend, Malaysia -

now exist in two different dimensions.

That's what Everett tells you. Hey he's the scientist, not me. I think reality is very strange, do you?

Anonymous said...

You still have not explained to me what the error is in NOT FLIPPING the coin, merely covering it up so that you can't observe it.

As far as I can see, what is the mystery of the coin flip that you have asserted is the same mystery as covering it up so that it is unknown to observers.

Please don't dodge the question and answer it.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I should add, especially for the benefit of readers who are totally unfamiliar with QM, that Everett developed his theory so that "everyday objective reality" can be preserved.

Very simply:

1. scientists had obtained very strange experimental results

2. they developed various theories to explain the results.

3. some of the theories were extremely strange and suggested that "ordinary reality" was nothing like what it seems

4. Everett (like most of you) wanted to argue that "ordinary reality" is real

5. Faced with the experimental results, the only theory he could offer was:

whenever you do that kind of experiment, the universe splits into different dimensions. Within each reality, however, "ordinary reality" is real. (This conclusion can be reconciled with the experimental results).

That's basically how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks that Wang San is much better in the socio-political arena.

All these pseudo-scientific mambo jumbo sounds so detached from reality... then again, what's reality?

Anonymous said...

What has High Everitt published since his PhD thesis of the many-worlds intepretation of QM? If he has published nothing since the 1960s, do you think he is still has well-regarded as you think he is?

Mr Wang Says So said...

"You still have not explained to me what the error is in NOT FLIPPING the coin, merely covering it up so that you can't observe it.

As far as I can see, what is the mystery of the coin flip that you have asserted is the same mystery as covering it up so that it is unknown to observers"

---

well, you'll have to assume that the coin is quantum then (see earlier comment).

Everett's theory is that the universe will split into as many universes as there are possible results. The split happens whenever the measurement is made.

If you flip and hide, such that you don't look at it and no one else looks at it, the universe will not split.

If you flip and hide and LATER you look at it, then at that time, the universe will split into two.

Here, you can read about it. Link.

I just googled around and found this too: it's very good, actually.

http://www.hedweb.com/manworld.htm

It answers 41 FAQs on Everitt's theory.

Mr Wang Says So said...

What has High Everitt published since his PhD thesis of the many-worlds intepretation of QM? If he has published nothing since the 1960s, do you think he is still has well-regarded as you think he is?

This is a fair question. I tried to find the answer. From the Hedweb link:


"L David Raub reports a poll of 72 of the "leading cosmologists and other quantum field theorists" about the "Many-Worlds Interpretation" and gives the following response breakdown [T].

1) "Yes, I think MWI is true" 58%
2) "No, I don't accept MWI" 18%
3) "Maybe it's true but I'm not yet convinced" 13%
4) "I have no opinion one way or the other" 11%

Amongst the "Yes, I think MWI is true" crowd listed are Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman. Gell-Mann and Hawking recorded reservations with the name "many-worlds", but not with the theory's content. Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg is also mentioned as a many-worlder, although the suggestion is not when the poll was conducted, presumably before 1988 (when Feynman died). The only "No, I don't accept MWI" named is Penrose.

The findings of this poll are in accord with other polls, that many- worlds is most popular amongst scientists who may rather loosely be described as string theorists or quantum gravitists/cosmologists. It is less popular amongst the wider scientific community who mostly remain in ignorance of it.


As you can see, Everett's theory is the most widely accepted theory among physicists.

angry doc said...

So how many times do you think our amputee has to flip the coin until he ends up in an alternate universe where he has two legs?

Or does he have to? Can he just mind-hack his way into an alternate universe where he has two legs?

Mr Wang Says So said...

I freely admit that if Everett is right, consciousness may not be necessary for the universe to exist, and there may be no God after all.

However, we'll just have to accept that the universe keeps splitting.

Since world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking agrees with Everett, I guess Stephen Hawking may not believe in God.

Anonymous said...

So if I cover up a coin so it is not observed by you, the universe splits into two when I uncover it.

If that is the case, can you guess how many universes are going to be born when I show you the contents of my purse?

Don't you think that all of these universes are UNOBSERVABLE and hence UNPROVABLE and hence, no part of science?

I mean if you believe that a tiger hides outside the door and goes away when you try to look for it, then this is an unprovable claim and hence science should not discuss it. Science is about empiricism.

It is quite sad to see school-teachers, doctors and other folk leave this blog simply becuase you, Mr Wang have this pseudoscientific worldview that refuses to be corrected by others.

angry doc said...

In other words: while Everett might postulate that the universe splits each time you flip a coin, that is not evidence that the flipper (or anyone for that matter) can influence which way the coin lands, or which universe his consciousness ends up in. You can postulate that his consciousness also split into as many worlds as there are possibilities, but being an untestable proposition, it remains a theory and still does not prove your assertion that mind-hacking can make the universe give you everything you want.

angry doc said...

"can you guess how many universes are going to be born when I show you the contents of my purse?"

Damn you. I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

I am a little tempted to leave this thread of discussion, but I certainly won't stop visiting Mr Wang's blog to read his posts on other topics (in fact I requested a post on how his experience from meditation translates into moral imperative for him).

Anonymous said...

Quote: However, we'll just have to accept that the universe keeps splitting.

This is exactly the point. We don't have the accept it. Even if there are all these famous names who believe it or another. Science is about empiricism, and if these famous people go mad, I refuse to go mad along with them!

Argument by authority. No wonder secondary school teacher complained.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Angry Doc:

Why do you keep harping on that? I thought I already gave a very long reply, and we had agreed to agree.

I wish you could face the enormity of what I'm saying here abt Everett's theory.

You keep going on and on about your limbs and amputees, when the world's most brilliant physicists are telling you that the universe is constantly splitting into separate realities. Come on, open your eyes and try to see.

Mr Wang Says So said...

while Everett might postulate that the universe splits each time you flip a coin, that is not evidence that the flipper (or anyone for that matter) can influence which way the coin lands, or which universe his consciousness ends up in.while Everett might postulate that the universe splits each time you flip a coin, that is not evidence that the flipper (or anyone for that matter) can influence which way the coin lands, or which universe his consciousness ends up in. You can postulate that his consciousness also split into as many worlds as there are possibilities, but being an untestable proposition, it remains a theory and still does not prove your assertion that mind-hacking can make the universe give you everything you want.


You are right!

Everitt's theory is NOT consistent with mine.

You see, there are several theories to explain the experimental results.

My own views are more consistent with those other theories which suggest that existence depends on observation which in turn requires consciousness (meaning if there is no mind, there can be no existence).

This is exactly what Everett rejected. His theory does NOT require consciousness to be present, for reality to exist. But his theory requires the universe to keep splitting.

In the other post, Teck is talking about another interpretation (David Bohm's interpretation). Bohm's interpretation ALSO preserves "ordinary reality" except that Bohm is forced to breach the principle of locality. In other words, in his theory, a particle X in one place can *instantly* affect another particle Y in another place, even though they are very, very far apart. Eg if X is observed to be a wave, Y will immediately turn into a particle. If X is observed to be a particle, Y will immediately turn into a wave; even though X and Y may be on different planets. Distance becomes irrelevant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohm_interpretation

(This Bohm is the same David Bohm who was in the Manhattan Project, building the world's first atomic bomb)

As you can see, whichever way you turn, reality is very strange!

angry doc said...

Mr Wang,

I keep harping on that because I think your arguments (and you have presented many) do not prove your claim about the powers of mind-hacking, and I chose the rather (if you'll excuse the bad taste) clear-cut example of an amputated limb to minimise the wriggle room.

I may accept that consciousness is the only reality and that it is the same as the Ultimate Reality.

I may accept that there are infinite universes.

I also accept that reality is very strange.

But none of that goes towards supporting your claim about the powers of mind-hacking, or if they do, you have not demonstarted the proof in a way that in understandable to me (and I suspect many of the other readers).

Mr Wang Says So said...

"This is exactly the point. We don't have the accept it. "

Haiyah. You DON'T have to accept Everett's theory. You CAN choose to accept some other theory.

The point is - all of them show reality to be very, very strange!

Either things cannot exist without being observed; or the universe keeps splitting into separate realities; or things very, very far apart can instantly influence each other's behaviour; or ....

the list goes on. Reality is very strange, whichever physics theory you prefer! There is no point blaming Mr Wang for this.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"But none of that goes towards supporting your claim about the powers of mind-hacking, or if they do, you have not demonstarted the proof in a way that in understandable to me (and I suspect many of the other readers)."

Okay, then. I will address this point in future posts. I promise.

angry doc said...

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang, I share Teck's sentiment.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, this limp thingy is finally over!

Mr. Wang, I doubt you can prove to Angry doc. He is requesting for proof in his 'reality' which requires scientific proof with the power of mindhacking. He had been harping for too long for you to realise it?

Try proving the chinese saying 'nothing is impossible unless there is doubt in your heart'.

Your post is interesting I must say.

Anonymous said...

Quote:I can see why the PAP does not care about Mr Wang's radical views on politics. He undermines hia very own credibility with his blogs about pseudoscience. Unquote

Mr. Wang is very sharp on his socio-economic and political postings. If only the environment in Singapore is more tolerant, he will be even better.

Anonymous said...

Me think :

1. Artificial limbs will be greatly improved.
2. 30 to 70 years down the road, we may be able to grow human parts in the lab.
3. We might evolve to grow our limbs in a million years time.

The stuffs Mr Wang raised lately is interesting to a few, highly controversials to many and to some even crazy.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Wang, different levels of consciousness have different effects. On a personal level each person's mind will affect his own subjective reality. Some people can affect the subjective reality of a group of people. The objective reality of the lower level of consciousness are determine by higher level consciousness. The objective reality of earthlings are pre-determined by much higher level consciousness - some call it God consciousness. These are my personal views.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

You are very inspiring.
And your patience is even more so.

Yau-ming's blog!! said...

Isn't Science in a state of flux? 500 years ago scientists (then) thought the world was flat. 100 years ago, the scientific community would have declared you were insane if you argued that Space Travel was possible. I wouldn't be surprised if 500 years from now, the scientific community would declare that Darwin's Theory of Evolution was a load of rubbish and declare that the Universe was made by an Intelligent Creator.

geriatric_eunuch said...

Where you can change your thoughts, your reality changes. In fact your reality is changing all the time because you are thinking all the time.

Your thoughts are just illusions you see, and so is reality.


Well, that's slick semantics and frankly, I don't think I'd put it quite as grandiloquently as that. I see a change of mind through observation as akin to simply different parameters in an equation leading to an altered conclusion. No modified states of being are necessary for this to happen, no Da Vinci codes, no late cats, and certainly no parallel universes need be magically created as a result.

Doubting the truth of your ordinary common senses in favour of an imaginary reality can have deadly consequences.
Anon 21-6-07 9:59 PM who said Try proving the chinese saying 'nothing is impossible unless there is doubt in your heart'. should read the accounts of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

"The most characteristic features of the Boxer movement in its expansionist phase included its name and principal slogans, its practice of mass spirit possession, its invulnerability beliefs and rituals, its "boxing" and deep-breathing exercises (qigong)... The "Boxers United in Righteousness" united two streams of influence: the notion of invulnerability associated with the Big Sword Society (Dadaohui), and the mass spirit possession rituals practiced by groups calling themselves Spirit Boxers..."

Thus-armed with their new reality of invulnerability to the far superior modern arms of the Western powers they rose and were duly slaughtered because someone had neglected to inform the guns and bullets that these people were incapable of being hurt. That's the state of the world asserting itself as it really is rather than as you might want it to be.

An aberration perhaps? Unfortunately, no. On April 28 2004 around Thailand's Krue Se mosque in Pattani, hundreds of teenage boys and young men wielding only machetes attacked police and army outposts, utterly secure in the certain knowledge that the charms they carried would protect them from all harm. M16 vs. Alice In Wonderland, Score: 107 - 0.

Maybe in another universe the Boxers and Thai lads prevailed in triumph. But until someone proves to my satisfaction that the ground I stand on is in reality the back of a monstrous turtle paddling through space and that the stars in the night sky are in truth pinholes in a velvet curtain, I'll stick with my illusory 'real world' if it's all the same to you guys, thanks v. much!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"My own views are more consistent with those other theories which suggest that existence depends on observation which in turn requires consciousness (meaning if there is no mind, there can be no existence)."

"3. if existence is dependent on observation, then even the observer cannot exist unless he himself is being observed ... which implies there's another observer, which implies there's another observer observing that other observer .... and so on ....

4. trace it all back, and we get more and more and more observers, which seems wrong ...

5. UNLESS everything traces back to a single observer, a single consciousness

6. the one that existed before anything else existed"
___________________

Strangely enough, your tracing back of observers leads you to doing fanciful leaps of pretzel logic to explain your theory where miraculously you find that First Observer who can exist without having to be observed. So existence can occur after all without having to be observed!

If this is true, then you have just demolished the very premise you begin with ... that "existence is dependent on being observed" and with it your whole theory.

As said earlier, your theory is merely a variation of the Cosmological Argument and all its attendant logical flaws.

Sincerely,
Puzzled

Anonymous said...

Is reality very strange? Maybe QM is just inconsistent, one whose inconsistency the physicists haven't figured out yet? If they haven't figured it out, what chances are there of mere mortals like us figuring it out?

QM is not reality. It is just a theory of reality.

Moreever, in another thread quoting Einstein, you have stated that time is an illusion, and to do so, you have to reject QM.

So you either accept QM and accept time as it is, or you accept Einstein, and reject QM.

Even those physicists have yet to reconcile QM with general relavity.

Or maybe QM is just weird, but we ourselves are not weird.

Like Feynman once said, nobody understands QM, so why bother constructing a worldview out of it?

And furthermore adopting your worldview does not make me accept limb regeneration, or mindhacking.

So what is the big deal Mr Koh Chin Wang?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Mr. Wang, I share Teck's sentiment.

LOL. Which one of Teck's sentiments?

Teck, a physics teacher, started off saying that I was illogical and not understanding physics and talking nonsense basically.

But now you may want to read the latest exchanges between Teck and myself, in the other post.

Teck really knows his physics very well. That after all is his area of professional training. We reached the point where I asked him to explain physics to me. I would ask him very "simple" questions, one by one, and he would give me the answer, one by one.

My last question to Teck had only 4 words.

"Does the universe exist?"

Teck's reply is:

"My genuine answer is ... I'm not sure! I'm quite confused myself."

If you believe that I am lifting the quotes out of context, I invite you to click on the link and read the entire exchange for yourself.

Teck's reply is NOT stupid. It is a very intelligent reply. Many of you currently reading this post may not have read very much about physics at all. But surely you must accept that there's plenty of food for thought, when I ask a physics teacher this question:

"Does the universe exist?"

and his reply is:

""My genuine answer is ... I'm not sure! I'm quite confused myself."

Many people probably think that Einstein was only joking or kidding around when he said:

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

They don't understand that Einstein was completely serious. But I think that Teck sees it now.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Strangely enough, your tracing back of observers leads you to doing fanciful leaps of pretzel logic to explain your theory where miraculously you find that First Observer who can exist without having to be observed.

I agree. I did make some big leaps there. In the other post, I told Teck that I would take back all those steps and we would in effect walk through the process, step by step, starting from the most basic facts and theories in quantum physics.

We did not however get very far. It was only around the 3rd question that I asked:

"Does the universe exist?"

and Teck's reply was:

"My genuine answer is ... I'm not sure! I'm quite confused myself."

We stopped there. Would there be any point in going on?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Let me make clear that I say "universe", I mean entire universe.

Stars, sun, moon, planet earth, oceans, trees, buses, you and me ... not just subatomic particles.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang wrote:

"Does the universe exist?"

and Teck's reply was:

"My genuine answer is ... I'm not sure! I'm quite confused myself."

We stopped there. Would there be any point in going on?
_____________________

LOL...

This attempt to find answers about the existence of God or if you like Universal Spirit, through science, logic and reason - one that has stumped philosophers since the days of antediluvian troglodytes - is most amusing, not unlike a dog chasing its own tail :-)

Perhaps the following Zen tale might throw some insight into this endeavour ... for some.

During a Q$A session between a Zen Master and his disciples one asked:

"Master, what is God?"

Another followed with, "What is HIS nature?"

The Master replied, "Don't ask me about God. Every statement I make about God would be a distortion of the truth."

The puzzled disciples chorused, "Then why do you speak of HIM?"

In typical Zen fashion, the Master asked, "Why does the bird sing?"

The disciples dispersed to meditate and contemplate their masters question.

Indeed.

Why does the bird sing?

Anyone?

All the best.
Puzzled.

Mr Wang Says So said...

This attempt to find answers about the existence of God or if you like Universal Spirit, through science, logic and reason

You don't even need to put "God" or "Universal Spirit" or any such thing into the equation. In other words, I don't ask that you assume or presuppose the existence of God / Universal Spirit / Whatever.

My question to Teck was simply - "Does the universe exist?"

I didn't ask "Does God exist?", or "Did God create the universe?" or even "how was the universe created?".

I merely asked - "Does the universe exist?"

And well, Teck the physics teacher, answered what he answered.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang wrote:

I didn't ask "Does God exist?", or "Did God create the universe?" or even "how was the universe created?".
______________

No, you did not.

However, your line of inquiry throughout this whole exchange have been tangential and varied, which included "existence and the First Observer".

Yoga's Patanjali speaks of breaking through the mirror of illusion of our current worldview in order to see the True Reality, not unlike what have been covered here.

We have been discussing these very
same things from different starting points except some of us do not realise it yet.

All the best.
Puzzled.

angry doc said...

Yau-ming,

I am not sure of the point you are trying to make, but the fact that science is in 'a state of flux' is its strength, not weakness.

Leaving aside the fact that scientists 500 years ago did not believe that the world was flat, or that space travel *was* 'technologically' impossible 100 years ago... Fact is, today we know the world is round and that space travel is possible *because* we have evidence indicating so, and not in the absence of such evidence.

Science requires evidence, and it continues to review the available evidence to 'remake' the way it explains the workings of the universe. If new evidence comes along that shows that evolution is wrong, science *will* revise the theory of how the diversity of life came about.

If we reject this process, then the alternative is one in which we require no evidence for claims. Granted you may be right sometimes if you accept as facts certain things without requiring evidence, but chances are also that you will be wrong without knowing so. More importantly, if you do not require evidence, how do you decide which claim is correct?

Here's a letter which explains the concept well:

http://www.straitstimes.com/ST%2BForum/Online%2BStory/STIStory_124981.html

Anonymous said...

all these talk about string theory and muti-dimensional universes are based on mathematics or to be more precise, the language of mathematics.

perhaps it is not obvious but it seems possible there are things in our universes that defy description by mathematics. in other words, mathematics is insufficient to describe the phenomena. then what somewhat insisted that our universe must have 10,11 or 27 dimensions is just hogwash.

of cousrse mathematics itself is changing. for example, we can look at the evolution of numbers we started with counting numberss, then some smart alec came up negative integers and then on to rationals, real and complex.

even with this current discussion. perhaps the linguistics is just not sufficient to express some of the ideas that need expression.

Mr Wang Says So said...

QM is not reality. It is just a theory of reality.

This is correct.

Your perception of reality is also not reality. It is just your perception.

I'm not being cheeky here. Honestly. In fact, this is the crux of the matter.

You look around you, at your chair, your table, your hands and legs. You form a perception of what reality is.

But it is just your perception.

The scientists also have their chairs, tables, hands and legs. They also have their own perceptions of what "everyday reality" is.

But it is just their perception.

The scientists then go on to do experiments. The results startle them. These are the smartest scientists of our time. And they find that the results defy their perception of everyday reality.

The scientists have come up with about 7 different theories to explain the results.

These theories are known as the Copenhagen interpretation, the Bohm interpretation, the Everett "Many Worlds" theory, the "consciousness causes collapse" theory etc etc.

But in each of these theories, some aspect of "everyday reality" has to be destroyed, if you take the theory to be true.

Either you must accept that consciousness is needed for the universe to exist;

or you must accept that something in one place can instantly affect something else in a very, very distant place (in other words, physical distance loses its ordinary meaning);

or you must accept that the universe is constantly dividing into separate realities;

or you must accept some other conclusion which also says that some other vital feature of our "everyday reality" .... is basically false.

In some of these theories, scientists are concluding that the very act of observing or measuring (or perceiving) the experimental result .... is what makes the experimental result happen.

That's basically how consciousness comes into the equation. If there is no consciousness, there can be no observation, measurement or perception. Consequently there will be no result, and consequently there is no "reality".

In brief, reality depends on consciousness.

Consciousness depends on mind.

If there is no mind, there is no consciousness, and therefore no reality.

Reality depends on mind.

And now you know why Teck, the physics teacher who earlier suggested that I just stick to writing about sociopolitical issues, ended up saying that:

he's not sure whether ....

.... the universe exists.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"all these talk about string theory and muti-dimensional universes are based on mathematics or to be more precise, the language of mathematics."

This is incorrect. The theories I have been talking about arise from actual experiments in the laboratory which have been done many times.

You can read about the different kinds of experiments done, over here.

lee hsien tau said...

Mr Wang should spend his time on more relevant issues like kelong courts, tt durais', christopher lees', and such.

Even if Mr Wang want to play doctor, he could talk about issues such as lengthening a penis.

What's all this about a limb?

Anonymous said...

theoretical physics is based on mathematics.

string theory is very much theoretical physics.

experiments supply data that correlates your mathematical theory making it more viable. uncorrelated data can certain disprove a theory by way of a counter-example. but no amount of experimental data can
prove a theory.

when u solve a bunch of equations and find that there are only soutions when the number of dimensions are 10,11 or 27. u are saying that your mathematics predict that 10,11 and 27 are the only possiblities.

u cannot say the same thing for the actual universe. it is only so for your representation of the universe using the current state of mathematics.

Anonymous said...

lee hsien tau said...

Mr Wang should spend his time on more relevant issues like kelong courts, tt durais', christopher lees', and such.

Even if Mr Wang want to play doctor, he could talk about issues such as lengthening a penis.

What's all this about a limb?

June 22, 2007 1:33 PM

***

I'm just wondering who died and made you king?

You never heard of philosophical inquiry? It requires a lot of "reading" and mental gymnastics.

You should try it sometime.

I recommend - Introduction to Modern Philosophy by Edwards and Paps for starters and work your way up.

You might discover a whole new world opening up for you beyond the mundane, when you start to see familiar things in an unfamiliar light.

Why you might even discover a whole new reality...

Have a nice day.

Yours truly,
Pissed.

geriatric_eunuch said...

Mr. W, aren't you indulging in a little bit of sophistry with your reality argument?

In the gamut of the earth's life forms from prion through Mankind, would you insist that they all have minds?

If not, then some subset of them must perforce be unconscious since by your definition Consciousness depends on mind.. They can neither measure, observe nor perceive. Neither therefore can they be a part of reality since you assert that If there is no mind, there is no consciousness, and therefore no reality.

Thus the HIV virus disappeared in a puff of logic. If you reason that your reality thesis applies only to higher organisms, where would you then draw the line?

Shurely there hash been shum mishtake here?

Anonymous said...

dear geriatric_eunuch,

I love your comments. You make so much sense and go right to the heart of the issue.

Do you have a blog of your own? Kindly provide URL if you do. :)

adam said...

Since there are many interpretations of quantum mechanics and we still have no evidence on which one is the most true, taking the agnostic position on this is quite reasonable, don't you think?

It's really alright to say, "Sincerely, I do not know", in the absence of evidence. But to make a claim that one of the interpretations correct would be intellectually dishonest because we frankly do not know.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Thus the HIV virus disappeared in a puff of logic. If you reason that your reality thesis applies only to higher organisms, where would you then draw the line?

Good question, Geriatric Eunuch. Basically you are asking:

"What kind of living things have enough intelligent consciousness to make things real? Where do you draw the line?"

I'll help you to ask even more difficult questions. For example, you could have asked:

"Before there was ANY kind of life on earth at all, the earth itself must have existed. How could this be, since there were no living things to observe it?"

In fact, an even more fundamental form of the same question would be:

"Even before planet earth existed, other older planets and galaxies must have already existed. But how could they have existed, if there was no one to observe them?"

Now, quantum physicists have INDEED considered these questions. Professor Fred Alan Wolf's theory goes something like that:

1. Before ANY wave or particle can exist as a wave or particle, there must first be consciousness / observation

2. In fact, before any part of the universe can exist, there must first be consciousness/observation

3. therefore, once upon a time, before the universe existed, there must already have been a consciousness

4. this consciousness made the very first observation

5. the universe was created.

You don't havw to use the word "God". Professor Alan Wolf doesn't.

Don't blame me, ok? It's not my theory, it's his. He's the scientist with the multiple PhDs!

Of course, as I said, you don't have to accept any of this. You could for example accept Everett's Many Worlds theory, which finds more acceptance generally, among physicists.

Anonymous said...

Traditional issues in the philosophy of the mind and consciousness can be found in the works of Descartes, Aristotle and Plato.

How does the mind work? How does it relate to physical reality?

Are the spiritual and physical realms really separate?

Those who are interested to know more and get a better understanding of this topic can watch an interview with John Searle in the "Conversation With.." series of UCTV at the URL below.

Searle claims to have resolved this traditional mind-body problem and does it eloquently and quite persuasively too.

http://www.uctv.tv/library2.asp?
Date=&summary=show&title
=&keyword=conversations
%20with%20history&showID=

All the Best.
Puzzled.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Since there are many interpretations of quantum mechanics and we still have no evidence on which one is the most true, taking the agnostic position on this is quite reasonable, don't you think?

Sure. Everitt's separate realities interpretation is agnostic. So is Bohm's interpretation.

Both avoid the need for consciousness. However, they create other sorts of problems for "ordinary reality".

With Everett's theory, the universe keeps splitting into different realities.

Bohm's interpretation violates the principle of locality. It means, for example, that distance no longer matters, and one event in one place can instantly affect another event in another place, even though it's far, far away.

It's really alright to say, "Sincerely, I do not know", in the absence of evidence. But to make a claim that one of the interpretations correct would be intellectually dishonest because we frankly do not know.

Sigh. You still do not understand. I do not claim that any one of the interpretations is correct.

However, ALL the interpretations make "ordinary reality" look weird.

Jimmy Mun said...

Let's get something straight here: quantum mechanics is real science verified by real experimentation. For example, quantum mechanics predicts the existence of exotic particles and countries have built particle accelerators to create the conditions for the particles to exist, and the particles were found just as predicted.

Similarly, relativity is real verified science. The path of star light had been shown to be bent by gravity of massive objects and time had been measured to slow down in fast moving spacecraft.

String theory, is an attempt to unify the two, but at the moment, we cannot verify String theory in anyway with experimentation. In fact, it ought to be relegated to a hypothesis.

QM and relativity shows that the world is not as Newtonianly "real" as we think it should be. If there is one thing QM shows, it is that nothing is impossible, only improbable. For example, violating the "laws" of Newton or Thermodynamics is possible, but extremely rare.

But to link this to altering the universe with mindhacking is tenuous at best.

For myself, I can at best subscribe to the belief that my mind affects me, which in turn affects my environment, which then may even affect my luck. Where the limits of the influence of the mind stops, I don't know, so I would not dare say Mr Wang is wrong.

Can we prove that we are not living in a "Matrix", and our reality is just a collective computer controlled dream, just like the movie? And what is our equivalent of a particle accelerators to test this "Matrix Hypothesis"? Mindhacking sounds like one way, although it may not be the only way.

When we see Mr Wang flying around like Superman, we will know. Meanwhile, I will keep myself from falling out of buildings, knowing that I cant convince myself I can fly, yet.

Why this is more important than any socio-political issues Mr Wang normally blog about? If this whole world is just a dream, why should we get upset over what TT Durai does?

If we believe there is no god, no supreme being, no morality, no purpose in life because we are all random electrical and chemical processes, then life is truly meaningless indeed, and it is meaningless no matter what we achieve in life. Climbing to the top of the Everest is no different from a fart. Is that the reality you want to believe in?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang said,

3. therefore, once upon a time, before the universe existed, there must already have been a consciousness

4. this consciousness made the very first observation

5. the universe was created.

You don't havw to use the word "God". Professor Alan Wolf doesn't.

Don't blame me, ok? It's not my theory, it's his. He's the scientist with the multiple PhDs!
_______________

So who "observed" this First Consciousness? Surely *IT* too could not have existed if *IT* was not first observed?

Yet another variation of the Cosmological Argument.

*Sigh*

Sincerely,
Puzzled

Mr Wang Says So said...

experiments supply data that correlates your mathematical theory making it more viable. uncorrelated data can certain disprove a theory by way of a counter-example. but no amount of experimental data can
prove a theory.


Actually, in this particular area of science, the EXPERIMENT happened first. The results were UNEXPECTED. The THEORIES developed after that, to explain the results.

If you need an analogy to understand the situation, it's like you're living in your "ordinary reality", and then one day you accidentally see something really amazing and inexplicable - eg men who can walk on water and raise the dead.

You ask your friends to confirm what you're seeing, and they do. You and your friends investigate more and more, and you find more and more men who can really walk on water and really raise the dead.

You then develop 7 possible theories to explain why men can walk on water and raise the dead. All your theories successfully explain how men can walk on water and raise the dead.

But in all 7 theories, your understanding of "ordinary reality" no longer applies. Your everyday understanding of "water"; "gravity", "death" and "men" has to change forever.

That's an analogy to explain what's happening in quantum physics. Except that what has to change forever is your everyday understanding of "everyday reality".

Mr Wang Says So said...

"So who "observed" this First Consciousness? Surely *IT* too could not have existed if *IT* was not first observed?"


The answer, also by Professor Fred Alan Wolf, is very simple.

Consciousness is neither wave nor particle. Therefore it does not need to be observed, in order to exist.

Anonymous said...

geriatric_eunuch said...

"In the gamut of the earth's life forms from prion through Mankind, would you insist that they all have minds?

If not, then some subset of them must perforce be unconscious since by your definition Consciousness depends on mind.. They can neither measure, observe nor perceive. Neither therefore can they be a part of reality since you assert that If there is no mind, there is no consciousness, and therefore no reality.

Thus the HIV virus disappeared in a puff of logic. If you reason that your reality thesis applies only to higher organisms, where would you then draw the line?
_______________

According to this theory, for anything to exist it needs only to be observed by *your* consciousness.

For instance, an inanimate object say a table, does not possess any consciousness but yet can exist in *your* reality.

Similarly, the HIV virus does not have to vanish in a puff of logic because it is not in possession of a consciousness.

*Your* consciousness and awareness of the object observed dictate its existence regardless whether the HIV virus is a conscious entity.

Sincerely,
Puzzled.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang said:

The answer, also by Professor Fred Alan Wolf, is very simple.

Consciousness is neither wave nor particle. Therefore it does not need to be observed, in order to exist.
_______________

So as a conscious being, I can exist without having to be observed too.

Where does it leave *your* existence-observation theory and tracing?

Sincerely,
Puzzled

Anonymous said...

You then develop 7 possible theories to explain why men can walk on water and raise the dead. All your theories successfully explain how men can walk on water and raise the dead.

if u can develop 7 theories, why not 700 or 7000. or perhaps the 70000000 that u have not come up with.

i say that at least some of these theories will require an even more radical approach than quantum mechanics or the next fashionable thing. and some of these will be so simple that we'll marvel at our own stupidity. the point is, with 70000000 u'll likely see both.

whatever conclusion u arrive at. it is only correct or reasnable up to our current level of understanding and the power of expression of our mathematics.

i keep going back to mathematics because it is the only rigorous tool we have today. and rigour is extremely important.

Mr Wang Says So said...

So as a conscious being, I can exist without having to be observed too.

No. Your consciousness can exist without being observed (as it is neither wave nor particle).

Your physical body, however, cannot.

The next intriguing question you're probably going to ask me is whether the existence of your consciousness is dependent on the existence of your physical body.

Since, according to Professor Wolf, the original, ultimate consciousness that first observed the universe must have existed BEFORE the universe existed,

we have at least one example of a consciousness that existed without being "attached" to any physical matter.

Therefore it would appear that the existence of your consciousness may possibly not be dependent on the existence of your physical body.

Here we leave quantum physics. I'm not aware of any quantum physicist that has ventured into these lines of inquiry.

And bear in mind, we only got here because we chose one particular interpretation in QM. We don't have to. We could, for instance, have chosen Everitt's Many Worlds theory instead.

So those of you who are uncomfortable with the idea of a soul can, heheh, opt for separate realities instead. :P

Of course, as we leave aside the quantum physicists, we will encounter other scientists and researchers who have investigated this idea of consciousness existing without a physical body.

Did you know what Thomas Edison's last project was? Type "Thomas Edison" and "ghosts" into Google and you will see. He was trying to invent a machine that would allow, ummm, non-physical consciousnesses to communicate easily with us. Basically a much more sensitive version of the telephone (which, of course, he DID invent).

Edison died before he could finish his final project. Too bad, otherwise he could have tried to dial in from the other side, haha.

There are other scientists and researchers who, from a surprising number of different angles, studied the idea of life after death. But I think I should stop here. Anyway this has nothing to do with quantum physics.

Another day, perhaps. ;)

Mr Wang Says So said...

"if u can develop 7 theories, why not 700 or 7000. or perhaps the 70000000 that u have not come up with."

Sure. If in future quantum physicists develop any more theories to explain the phenomenon, I would be most interested to hear them.

Meanwhile, in our analogy, the men still walk on water and they still raise the dead.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, you are amazing.

I have been reading your blog for some time now. At first I thought you were good, then I thought you were brilliant, then earlier this week, I thought you had become crazy .... but now, once again, I think you're brilliant.

pj said...

Mr Wang mentioned men who walk on water, and raising the dead.

How about something less unbelievable for the skeptics...monks who are able to turn freezing cold wet towels into smoking hot sheets. I have heard, years ago, that Tibetan monks had been seen meditating in the snow mountains clad only in their normal robes, and they were unaffected by the freezing cold. Now read this Harvard report here: http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/04.18/09-tummo.html

Some local practising tai chi masters have claimed that their teacher were able to stand on nothing but just leaves...much like what you see in the Crouching Tiger movie (yes, I heard it from my tai chi instructor. No, he's not off the rockers.)

Anonymous said...

pj, the article's cited evidence was... flimsy.

"the room was not cold enough to do the tests properly."

Wouldn't that make it easier for the monks?

Your tai chi master is not crazy, he's simply a liar.

Teck said...

on June 22, 2007 4:23 PM, Mr Wang wrote:
Everitt's separate realities interpretation is agnostic. So is Bohm's interpretation.


I don't know about Everitt's interpretation. Many worlds/universes splitting sound too fanciful for me. Many science fiction writers have taken a liking to this interpretation though.

But Bohm's interpretation of quantum mechanics is that there is objective reality and it is deterministic. Bohm's is not an agnostic interpretation.

====================
On June 22, 2007 9:26 AM, Mr Wang wrote:
Teck really knows his physics very well.


Oh dear, I stated before that I have limited understanding of this "interpretations of Quantum Mechanics and reality" issue. So in that sense, I really don't understand enough to honestly say I know this area of physics very well.

Anonymous said...

Wow! So fantasistic! take this from a uneducated guy; if mindhacking can make the impossible possible, mindhack yourself to heaven. You don't need regeneration there! Be in heaven guys! From an atheist, good luck!

Mr Wang Says So said...

I think both the anonymous commentator and I used the word "agnostic" wrongly. Both of us meant "atheistic". I think the guy was basically saying that I shouldn't use the interpretation to argue that God exists, and I was trying to say that I'm not doing that - I'm happy to talk about the other interpretations as well.

Anyway, that aside, Teck, if you decide to think more about it and then revisit my last question to you - "Does the universe exist?" - I would be happy to continue the discussion.

For now, let's talk about Bohm's interpretation, which you've raised again.

My understanding is that it breaches the principle of locality. This means that we can expect some very bizarre results in everyday reality.

Already we have the paradox of Schrodinger's cat - a cat in the box that is neither dead nor alive, until observed.

Once you allow the principle of locality to be breached, as Bohm's interpretation does, then it seems that we could devise even stranger ideas using Schrodinger's cat.

For example, suppose I live in Changi and you live in Woodlands. In my home, I have a cat in a box which is neither dead nor alive, as it has not yet been observed.

In your home, you also have a cat in a box which is neither dead nor alive, as it has also not yet been observed.

If we have managed to entangle the quantum aspects of the equipment in both boxes, we can throw in the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.

What happens next?

My cat in Changi is neither dead nor alive.

Your cat in Woodlands is neither dead nor alive.

In Changi, I open my box and look inside.

Whether your cat is dead or alive in Woodlands ..... depends on what I see in Changi!!

Everyday reality is shattered again.

Consider this - when I think, electrical impulses are moving in my head. Electricity is the movement of electrons. Electrons are subatomic.

As I sit in Changi thinking, that very process could be affecting some event in Woodlands! Or China! Or even on planet Jupiter! Because distance no longer matters.

That is what happens when you allow the principle of locality to be breached. And Bohm's interpretation breaches that principle.

Once again, if my understanding of physics as set out above is wrong, please feel free to correct me.

Now, Teck, I'm going to frighten you with one more statement:

The effects of quantum entanglement are NOT confined to the infinitesimal world of subatomic particles.

Quantum entanglement can produce effects that are measurable on macroscopic scales.

And this has been scientifically, and experimentally, demonstrated!

Article.

You know what madness this implies, don't you.

Even a voodoo doll could work. In Changi, I stick a needle into a voodoo doll of Teck. In Woodlands, Teck immediately collapses in pain.

(Hey I'm kidding lah, I don't do any stuff like that). :P

But this is what happens when you choose Bohm's interpretation.

No wonder the majority of physicists prefer Everett's Many Worlds interpretation. At least it doesn't permit voodoo to work.

dh said...

anonymous said:
[[[[You don't need regeneration there! Be in heaven guys! From an atheist, good luck! ]]]]

Wait a second. Who says we ALL just wanna go heaven? Come on, it's more fun being here -- bonking around with sexy sluts, living in multi-million-dollar homes, partying in happening entertainment cities around the world, enjoying great food, and bonking more sexy sluts. I'm buying up all the mindhacking books now.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Let's be very clear -

IF Everett's Many Worlds theory is correct, THEN quantum physics lends no support to mindhacking.

Anonymous said...

If the West Indies Zombies qualify as foreign talents, we may not have the time or conversely have all the time bonking all the sexy sluts for leisure!

Mr Wang Says So said...

Hey Teck:

You should really read that article I linked. Shockingly, it says that even different moments in time can be entangled at the quantum level.

"... examines how quantum theory links successive measurements of a single quantum system. Measure a photon's polarisation, for example, and you will get a particular result. Do it again some time later, and you will get a second result. What Brukner and Vedral have found is a strange connection between the past and the future: the very act of measuring the photon polarisation a second time can affect how it was polarised earlier on. "It's really surprising," says Vedral.

This entanglement between moments in time is so bizarre that it could expose a hole in the very fabric of quantum theory, the researchers believe. The formulation does not allow messages to be sent back in time, but it still means that quantum mechanics seems to be bending the laws of cause and effect.


What happens in the future determines / influences what happened in the past!

This sounds like an argument for inevitable fates! Reverse karma.

Quantum Mechanic said...

I came over from Angry Doc's place. As a guy who works on quantum entanglement for a living, I am quite amused at how it has been dragged into a pop culture discussion. A sign that we must be doing something right!:)

I will use Mr Wang’s June 23nd, 1:31am post as the entry point into the discussion, and I will stick to the curious thing we call quantum entanglement and reality.

You should really read that article I linked. Shockingly, it says that even different moments in time can be entangled at the quantum level.

From a physics viewpoint, this is not shocking. Time is just another parameter. You can entangle time with polarization, momentum, energy and any other parameter you wish. You can even use it in actual applications (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
/Quantum_cryptography).
“Voodoo dolls” are possible, but not exactly how Mr Wang envisions it. In the context of entanglement, it is just as likely for the voodoo doll to affect him as it will affect his victim. The action-at-a-distance of entanglement is spooky and deterministic, but only deterministically statistical :) Hehehe. Confused? Don’t worry, everyone is.

The possibility of entangling different parameters has been known for a long time, and was so shocking at first, that Einstein objected, and tried to show that this notion is possible only because QM was incomplete (google for EPR paradox and http://home.southernct.edu/
~watsonm4/mermin_moon.pdf).

Einstein insisted on an “objective reality”, that is technically called local reality. Local because there must be no faster than light signaling (a main postulate of Einstein’s Relativity and no, you may not question why the postulate states that). Realistic, because physical entities (quarks, nuclei, atoms, molecules, etc) must carry an “instruction set” on how to behave. Realism of this type had been a fundamental assumption for centuries.

Unfortunately for Einstein, John Bell came up with a test to check if entities do carry around an “instruction set”. This test is known as a Bell test – and basically you look for statistical correlations. If the correlations add up to a certain value, then no instruction set is available, and local reality does not exist. This has been shown to be true to some extent (loopholes do exist, but have been closed independently) ,http://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/Bell_test_experiments, but it is now widely accepted that objective reality in the traditional sense is in great doubt.

That leaves us with other possible explanations of how nature (however you define it) works:
1. You may have non-local realism (some kind of faster than light signaling)
2. You may have local non-realism (a weird case where your measurement defines your results)
And various other interpretations that get quite far out (e.g. MWI). When working, most physicists adopt agnosticism. We simply do not have good enough models of “nature” to decide how it works. We only know what our measurement devices tells us (and so far the devices all tell a very consistent, if weird, story).

Over beer, we ponder the big mystery of why the world is so weird, yet so consistent. :) 'nuff said.

geriatric_eunuch said...

Basically you are asking:

"What kind of living things have enough intelligent consciousness to make things real? Where do you draw the line?"


Er, no, that isn't quite what I'm asking. Phrasing the question in that way would imply that I subscribe to the notion that intelligent consciousness is an essential prerequisite for reality to spring into existence. I merely ask as a child might: "What about those humble living things that don't have minds, daddy? Are they real?". And if you reply "Yes, my little dumpling, of course they're real", the inevitable awkward response would likely be "But daddy, you said they need minds to be real, do germs have minds?". At which point it might be wise to fall back to the classic defensive position of "Go ask mummy, darling" while you slink off down the pub to ponder the meaning of life.

I'll help you to ask even more difficult questions.

I'd rather you didn't, if it's all the same to you! I prefer the simple questions which I can get my dim-witted head around. When you posit the proposition that If there is no mind, there is no consciousness, and therefore no reality. with no supporting evidence other than the divided opinions of eminent scientists (to the best of their knowledge and belief, I might add, for that is what in essence they amount to), and scientific theories that are by no means ubiquitously bleeding obvious, then you sail perilously close to the shores of False Proposition.

Here, anything may be implied, including the little-known fact that I am indeed LKY. For if you
Assume 0=1, Then 1=2 (by adding 1 to both sides of the equation).
LKY and I are two people (this is obvious).
Then LKY and I are one person, since 2=1.
Then I am LKY, since we are the same person.
(with apologies to G.H. Hardy (or possibly Bertrand Russell)).
So watch it Mr. W, I have one rheumy eye on you!

Of course, as I said, you don't have to accept any of this. You could for example accept Everett's Many Worlds theory, which finds more acceptance generally, among physicists.

Quite. I do not have to accept ANY of these hypotheses, all of which might be shot down in flames tomorrow when an even more convincing explanation hits the front. It would be a bit of a bummer if I'd just dumped my view of invariant physical reality in favour of a stochastic one, eh? Rather, I would simply prefer to wonder as Anon June 22 2007 7:00 AM did: is there in fact a problem with accepting the reality of the physical world - or is that troubling state of being unsure actually the pernicious child, an insidious imp, of defective theory and credulous thought?

It is one thing to say "I think, therefore I am" and quite another to assert "I think, therefore everything else is", wouldn't you agree? The latter would be tantamount to the olympian proclamation of a Divinity. And while I do find many of your insights delightfully divine in their humanity, you'll be relieved to know the idea that Wang = God hasn't quite made my reality just yet. :)

geriatric_eunuch said...

Puzzled said:

Similarly, the HIV virus does not have to vanish in a puff of logic because it is not in possession of a consciousness.

*Your* consciousness and awareness of the object observed dictate its existence regardless whether the HIV virus is a conscious entity.


Hmmm. I can quite categorically avow that I am completely and utterly oblivious to the physical characteristics and the very existence of 99.99999..9% of the humanoids inhabiting this lovely blue planet called Earth. This is quite simply because I have never met them, ever. It follows, of course, that I have never observed any of them, nor do I have a clue whether or not any particular individual does or does not exist.

Are you saying these individuals somehow magically winked into being by the mere fact that *MY* attaining consciousness dictated their existence? Would my 'awareness' be at the moment of my birth or at some earlier or later stage, do you suppose?

I should say that I deliberately chose the human example because they are sentient and to avoid a verbal punch-up over whether virii or table legs have minds. These people that *I* dictated into existence are each uniquely conscious and aware and not automatons, so did they each simultaneously dictate *MY* existence in an endless, re-entrant cascade of subjective reality, ad hoc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum?

I have to ask this before I vanish up my own fundament, but on what evidence do you base your extraordinary claim?

Anonymous said...

Why Mr Wang is a crackpot -

Most students learn at an early age not to ask questions about God, especially about God in relation to physics. There are many reasons for this, one of the simplest is that the God explanation is incompatiable with the scientific agenda. Anything resembling God gets the same treatment, for example "consciousness".

The philosopher Ludwig Wittenstein called this language games. In other words, it is possible to say very fancy things becuase of the way we use language. They have no correspondance with reality.

In particular, when we say "there is a multiverse" is one of those semantic games. We only have one universe. If it should split, the consequences of such a split are not observable to us. You are playing semantic games if you insist that that interpretation is correct over someone who needs evidence (which is lacking) to accept this.

Thus according to Ludwig Wittenstein, Mr Wang is only playing a game of semantics and is not actually talkingt about multiple universes.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Quantum Mechanic:

I am REALLY excited that you are here! Please stick around. I am sure there will be more questions.

Anonymous said...

Another ridiculous assumption about Mr Wang is that he thinks he is lecturing to a philosophically naive people. As far as I can tell, Angry_Doc, Teck, geriartic_eunuch are all very philosophically sophisticaled people who already know and are not fooled by the semantic games of "Many Worlds", "mindhacking" and "limb regeneration".

And so my conclusion is that you shuhldn't wrestle with a pig in a mud. Not only do you get dirty, the pig likes it.

Mr Wang Says So said...

". I merely ask as a child might: "What about those humble living things that don't have minds, daddy? Are they real?"."

Oh. Then basically you have not been following what I've been talking about.

Let me put it this way. The scientist makes a measurement. A particle becomes, say, a particle.

No, of course the particle is not ALIVE, in the way that you are "alive".

But the particle has become "real", in the way that you are "real".

Consciousness (so say some of the theories) is therefore key to the existence of the particle. The scientist needs to be conscious in order to make the measurement.

But of course the particle is not conscious!

Haiyah, I wrote so much, and you seem angry, but it seems you didn't understand a little of what I was talking about.

Are you saying these individuals somehow magically winked into being by the mere fact that *MY* attaining consciousness dictated their existence?

Ah, no. Your question is already incorrectly framed. But I know what you're trying to ask. I won't give you the long tedious explanation - I'll offer you the sweet short version over here. Start reading from about the 26th paragraph onwards.

Mr Wang Says So said...

In particular, when we say "there is a multiverse" is one of those semantic games.

You don't get it, do you.

This is not one of those semantic games.

Something has happened in the lab. It's right there. It's "real", as real as anything else, it shows up on the computer printout measuring your experimental results.

The scientists look at it and they are trying to explain it.

Everett's explanation is: "The universe just split into a separate reality."

This is NOT a semantic game. He really means it. It is a theory to explain a real, observable result in the laboratory.

You don't have to agree with him, of course.

You are playing semantic games if you insist that that interpretation is correct over someone who needs evidence (which is lacking) to accept this.

For goodness sakes.

I am not asking you to accept any particular interpretation.

Everett could be wrong, maybe Bohm is right,

Bohm could be wrong, maybe the Copenhagen interpretation is right.

Copenhagen interpretation could be wrong, maybe one of the other 7 theories is right.

Maybe all of them are wrong. Maybe there is some other correct explanation which einstein, feynman, bohm, stephen hawking etc etc all haven't thought of yet.

Ok?

Meanwhile, we only have 7 theories to explain a very real result.

You CAN say that you disbelieve all of them.

In my earlier analogy, what is happening would be that you're walking around in your everyday reality, and all around you, men are walking on water and raising the dead. And scientists are offering all sorts of theories to explain why this could be possible, and Mr Wang is explaining those theories to you as best as he can, in his layman way. And your response is:

"No, no, no! The men are NOT raising the dead. The men are NOT walking on water. Mr Wang and the scientists are all mad! I reject all these theories!"

And meanwhile, the men go on raising the dead and walking on water.

Now if I tell you about the Big Bang theory and what physicists now say about "dark matter" and "dark energy" which no one on earth can detect with any scientific equipment whatsoever, but which is secretly manipulating the rate of expansion of the universe,

once again you'd say I'm crazy. Is it my fault that science sounds crazy sometimes?

Mr Wang Says So said...

As far as I can tell, Angry_Doc, Teck, geriartic_eunuch are all very philosophically sophisticaled people who already know

I asked Teck a 4-word question:

"Does the universe exist?"

He replied:

""My genuine answer is ... I'm not sure! I'm quite confused myself."

That was two days ago.

There is no semantic game going on there. The question only has 4 words.

As of 11:59pm, I have invited Teck to re-answer the question again, if he would like to. I wrote:

"Anyway, that aside, Teck, if you decide to think more about it and then revisit my last question to you - "Does the universe exist?" - I would be happy to continue the discussion."

Anonymous said...

Geriatric Eunuch questioned:

"I have to ask this before I vanish up my own fundament, but on what evidence do you base your extraordinary claim?"

You have not been following this thread closely AND misunderstood this theory.

It's merely a *theory* and I am not making any claims, extraordinary or otherwise.

What this theory posits is that consciousness precedes existence.

While Descartes says the same thing in *philosophical* discourse, what's interesting is that the genesis this time around is from the *hard science* - Quantum Mechanics.

"Are you saying these individuals somehow magically winked into being by the mere fact that *MY* attaining consciousness dictated their existence?"

No. The theory posits that in order for an object A to exist it must be *observed* by a consciousness. Merely *attaining* consciousness is quite different from your consciousness OBSERVING an object.

The Consciousness-Reality debate really comes under the "Philosophy of Mind" which tackles questions like:

Does an external world really exist independent of our consciousness?

If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, is there sound?

What is consciousness?

Is the brain the mind?

Can there be consciousness without the brain?

Cheers,
PZ

ah said...

Mr Wang:

Go and read some Brian Greene and come back when you have a vague understanding of quantum physics.

You are just embarrassing yourself.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I keep telling people here, feel free to tell me what's wrong, if I'm wrong.

See my above comment to Teck the physics teacher, for instance. I wrote:

"Once again, if my understanding of physics as set out above is wrong, please feel free to correct me."

If I'm wrong, tell me where and how, lor. Then I can also learn something.

Tell you what, I happen to know a real physicist. His name is Bernard Leong; and he has a PhD in Theoretical Physics in Cambridge University. He also happens to be one of the contributors to the Singapore Angle blog.

http://bleongcw.typepad.com/about.html

I will email him and invite him to comment here (or contribute an article to my blog).



If I am an idiot, I welcome him to say that I am an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang Says So replied:

"So as a conscious being, I can exist without having to be observed too."

No. Your consciousness can exist without being observed (as it is neither wave nor particle).

Your physical body, however, cannot.
_____________________

Yes, I understand that.

However, *I* am a consciousness no less. Accordingly, *I* can exist independent of outside observation as premised.

No?

PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

More about Bernard's background:

http://web.mac.com/bleongcw/iWeb/BL%27s%20Scientific%20Abode/Home.html

Anonymous said...

so mr wang is submitting himself for peer review. :) very good. plus points for this.

what, however, is the exact thesis that is to be reviewed? Mind over matter? Regrowing Limbs? Subjective reality? Something else?

It would please us if Mr Wang would summarize his stand.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"However, *I* am a consciousness no less. Accordingly, *I* can exist independent of outside observation as premised. No?"

Ok, so by the word "I", you mean your consciousness, not your physical body.

If we stick to the Fred Alan Wolf reasoning so far, we only know that there is at least one kind of consciousness can exist without physical matter. We *don't* know whether YOUR consciousness will exist WITHOUT *your* physical body. We know that your consciousness can exist WITHOUT being observed, but Fred's theory does *not* actually say that your consciousness can exist without your body.

Surprisingly, this will have a connection to Christian debates on ethical issues relating to abortion - where they argue about *when* a foetus will have a soul *(because if at a certain point in time, the foetus does not yet have a soul, then abortion will not be murder).

Of course, if we turn instead at this point to Buddhism, we will encounter the idea that yes, *your* consciousness can exist without a physical body, and in fact your consciousness is constantly being recycled, through the process of reincarnation, into many different bodies.

That's beyond the inquiry of quantum physics, though.

Teck said...

On June 23, 2007 9:06 AM, Mr Wang wrote:

Anyway, that aside, Teck, if you decide to think more about it and then revisit my last question to you - "Does the universe exist?" - I would be happy to continue the discussion.


As I said, Mr Wang, I'm not sure what to think of the question.

If one treats QM, Buddhism and sensory experiences SERIOUSLY, then it's really hard to reconcile the differences.

One can think about it, have personal convictions about it, but unless one can PROVE one's believes, all talk is frivolous coffeeshop talk (or beer talk, in reader Quantum Mechanic's words).

I believe that verification of one's belief must come from experiment and true insight comes from within (within where, one dares not ask).

So without that, I cannot continue this discussion, Mr Wang.

Many apologies.

=====================
On June 23, 2007 2:39 AM, Quantum Mechanic wrote:

...When working, most physicists adopt agnosticism. We simply do not have good enough models of “nature” to decide how it works. We only know what our measurement devices tells us (and so far the devices all tell a very consistent, if weird, story).

Over beer, we ponder the big mystery of why the world is so weird, yet so consistent. :) 'nuff said.


I think reader Quantum Mechanic explained the physics -- entanglement, realism, etc -- best.

He said it well, and I second his opinion "'nuff said" and leave this online beer chat. =)
==========================
Teck

Anonymous said...

Basically, Geriatric Eunuch is very "classical Newtonian" in his (her?) thinking.

100 years ago, GE's views would be regarded as completely correct. But science has moved so much since then.

The thing is that quantum thinking hasn't found its way into the mainstream society yet. I bet you could do O-level Physics, score an A1, and never come across the word "quantum" even once.

That's why people will say, "This is all nonsense, how can there be separate realities etc etc, you think reality is a science fiction movie?"

Not knowing that actually, all those science fiction movies stole their ideas from quantum physics. :)

But really, Mr Wang, I admire yr patience with these people.

Anonymous said...

Quote:

Oh. Then basically you have not been following what I've been talking about.

Let me put it this way. The scientist makes a measurement. A particle becomes, say, a particle.

No, of course the particle is not ALIVE, in the way that you are "alive".

But the particle has become "real", in the way that you are "real".

Consciousness (so say some of the theories) is therefore key to the existence of the particle. The scientist needs to be conscious in order to make the measurement.

--------------
Does this sound reasonable to you?

The equipment, the detectors are all registering and recording something ... it's all real. But the human being NEEDS to be there, you say.

It sounds like you only need the measuring equipment, which are not conscious.

Ever heard of the expression "stone-soup", where the stone is your so-called consciousness?

Mr Wang Says So said...

There IS this ongoing debate about whether observation requires consciousness, and when exactly does observation constitute observation. Example is this article here:

"Koch and Hepp suggest we could distinguish empirically whether ‘observation’ (and hence collapse of the quantum state) occurs purely when a physical interaction occurs or whether it actually requires full-blown ‘consciousness’ to collapse the probability wave. By making the observation procedure intermittent, for example by suppressing the observer’s view of the cat by using binocular rivalry, the state should either collapse (i) as soon as photons reflected from the cat strike the retina (especially if it is the retina of the suppressed eye, thus definitely precluding the presence of consciouness), or (ii) only when rivalry suppression lifts and the cat in the box becomes consciously visible to the person observing.1 Until such speculations can really become testable, Koch and Hepp suggest we continue our research without worrying about quantum theories of consciousness."

http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780198792949/01student/updates/0612/ch06/

But I think I've had enough of this discussion for now, I'll just sit and wait for Bernard, and hope he agrees to write something.

Anonymous said...

Why use the Schrodinger's cat example? After all, Schrodinger designed the cat thought experiment to confound us.

Just talk about an ordinary QM example. A photon counter registers a photon. Later a human being reads it out to determine that it registered a photon and so, writes an paper about it.

The experiment ended at where the photon was registered. Everything quantum ended at that point. Where's the requirement of consciousness in that?

Anonymous said...

LOL, I guess the best people to ask would be Koch & Hepp.

Anonymous said...

They r assuming that the cat has no consciousness which is not true.
Animals do have consciousness albeit at a lower level.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang said:

"We *don't* know whether YOUR consciousness will exist WITHOUT *your* physical body. We know that your consciousness can exist WITHOUT being observed, but

Fred's theory does *not* actually say that your consciousness can exist without your body."
________________

Exactly!

Prof Wolf *conveniently* leaves it out.

The weakness in his *theory* is that he doesn't distinguish "cognitive consciousness" from "spiritual consciousness" but uses them interchangeably.

The observer/consciousness-existence
QM theory clearly assumes a *cognitive consciousness* since the observer is human.

He then uses regression logic through a series of metaphysical questions and concludes that there must be an Ultimate First Consciousness. A spiritual one, since there is no physical body.

Are we even talking about the same "consciousness" at this point?

He needs to first square this pesky little circle of "cognitive consciousness" from "spiritual consciousness" before he can logically reach the conclusion he does.

Perhaps you can elucidate?

PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

Well, from the Buddhist perspective, the answer would be that self is an illusion and actually there is no separation from everything else.

In other words, "your consciousness" is part of the original first consciousness.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Just talk about an ordinary QM example. A photon counter registers a photon. Later a human being reads it out to determine that it registered a photon and so, writes an paper about it.

The experiment ended at where the photon was registered. Everything quantum ended at that point. Where's the requirement of consciousness in that?"


See the earlier commentary about quantum entanglement involving time, specifically how a future measurement affects a past measurement.

If we take the photon counter registering a photon as the past measurement,

and the human reading the photon counter as the future measurement,

then this could be a case of future measurement affecting past measurement.

The wave collapses when the photon counter does the first measurement,

only because there is going to be a future measurement by the conscious human being.

heheh, sounds weird.

Anonymous said...

Your grasp of "always", "never", "sometimes" surprises me.

Most of the time, a photon counter registers a photon and that's it. No consciousness is needed to interpret it. When the photon is registered, no more quantum mechanics is needed.

But you know something? Mr Koh Chin Wang is too full of himself to even understand the fine distinction needed to comprehend that. MOST OF THE TIME, ENTANGLEMENT IS NOT NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND SUCH SIMPLE EVENTS. A photon goes into a counter quantum mechanically. It registers and quantum mechanics stops. Thereafter the world is classical.

If he can't accept this, then you would say this idiocy is kinda special. He can accept Quantum Weirdness, but cannot accept that there are places when QM stops (as it were), and classical reasoning takes over.

He needs the world to be observer-laden. It answers a psychological need and is a defect of character.

It is no longer an issue of logic.

Anonymous said...

Another example of Mr Wang's idiocy is his need to lecture others. As it has been pointed out, many responders on this forum have a grasp of physics exceeding him. He actually does not know who I am, what my background in physics is. He does not bother. He still thinks he is right about the metaphysics of QM and Einstein when time and time again, he has been corrected by many others on his own blog.

Idiots don't know their own idiocy.

angry doc said...

Mr Wang,

Now I'm almost sorry I brought the amputee into this discussion... :)

Actually, my only disagreement with you is over this claim which you made in a comment on the post "Mindhacker 101":

"EVERYTHING in your life,

from the big to the small to the very important to the trivial to the obvious to the subtle,

is the result of your thoughts and intentions.

Therefore if you are sufficiently skilled and adept at choosing and controlling your thoughts, the universe will deliver to you what you want."

Now if you meant that *figuratively*, then my amputee and I will hop right out of this discussion.

But if you meant that *literally*, then there is actually a way to test that claim without resorting to quantum mechanics.

If we ignore the actual mechanics of how mindhacking can give one everything, then all we need to do is:

1. Find a 'sufficiently skilled' mindhacker.
2. Set him or her to achieve everything.

It really is that simple.

PZ said...

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Well, from the Buddhist perspective, the answer would be that self is an illusion and actually there is no separation from everything else.

In other words, "your consciousness" is part of the original first consciousness.'
________________

If Wolf is arguing purely from a *metaphysical* standpoint that would be a tenable response.

However, he doesn't. He starts with QM and human observers, hence cognitive consciousness and from a cognitive standpoint, there is no more consciousness when the brain dies.

If it's *this* "cognitive consciousness" he begins with then how can there be
a First Consciousness without a physical body?

He has made a quantum illogical leap too far by avoiding to make clear these distinctions and using "consciousness" a little too loosely.

PZ

Mr Wang Says So said...

I may not be presenting Fred Alan Wolf's theory correctly. I used to have a book of his entitled "Taking the Quantum Leap" but that was many years ago and I don't have it anymore.

You could try googling, either for the book, or directly for other articles etc by FAW.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Well Angry Doc, I think that the ultimate mindhackers so far in the history of mankind would be men like Jesus and Buddha. There would be some others as well, less well-known and probably a lot less formidable.

Thing is that they would not be particularly interested in "achieving everything" for the sake of demonstration.

Within the respective framework of Christian/Buddhist teachings (just assume for the sake of present discussion that they are true, although of course it is very possible to disbelieve):

1. Jesus already refused to perform miracles for the Pharisees, when they challenged him. He would walk on water, raise the dead, heal the blind, pluck out 5,000 loaves of bread, personally rise from the dead etc etc, for other purposes, but not to entertain the Pharisees. You can think of his Transfiguration, three days after his death, as a return to the original consciousness (Heaven, the Christians call it; compare to Buddha's case below).

2. Meanwhile Buddha basically transcended desire and achieved the state of being able to create no more karma (ummm, yeah, the usual features of enlightenment).

In other words, he reached the point when his thoughts need no longer affect reality, unless he chose to. (Unlike your thoughts, which affect your reality whether you like it or not).

But anyway - the point is, he transcended desire. So he has no desire for stuff like achieving material success, money, riches, fame etc etc (although he's undoubtedly famous).

He doesn't even need to be reborn anymore; he has escaped the cycle. According to Buddhist teachings, returning is possible but entirely optional, for enlightened consciousnesses.

Buddha's main intention

(note: intention is different from desire; in that there is no attachment - another key idea in Buddhism and in fact, in various metaphysical theories about thought)

while he was still alive on earth was probably just to show those who want to learn, a way to avoid suffering and gain happiness. 2,000+ years later, the teachings still survive, so I guess I would say that yes, Buddha achieved everything he wanted.

Highly unsatisfactory, from the scientific method perspective, certainly.

angry doc said...

I see, Mr Wang.

So what you are doing here is to take the Jesus and Buddha mythos, assume they are true, then interprete them using the doctrine of karma, again assuming that it is true, use quantum mechanics to explain the 'science' behind the doctrine of karma, then state your claim about mindhacking as if it were a scientific fact.

Schematically, your argument would run something like:

1. Jesus and Buddha mythos are true.
2. Jesus and Buddha had achieved everything they wanted.
3. Jesus and Buddha achieved everything they wanted using mindhacking.
4. Mindhacking works through the doctrine of karma.
5. Karma works through quantum mechanics/quantum entaglement.
6. Quantum mechanics/entanglement is science.
7. Therefore science says that mindhacking can make the universe deliver everything you want to you.

The premises and connections between each step require too many assumptions and leaps of logic, I think.

PZ said...

Mr Wang said:

"I may not be presenting Fred Alan Wolf's theory correctly."
______________

You have.

He does begin his variation of the Cosmological Argument from the basis of Quantum Physics.

"My mind reached out for understanding, and by 1974 I felt that quantum physics and consciousness were deeply connected. I began to realize that the brain may be governed by the laws of quantum physics rather than the laws of biology or neurophysiology. As a result, such feelings as love and hate, commonly thought to be God-given or incapable of scientific understanding, could be translated into the language of quantum physics." - Fred Alan Wolf

PZ

geriatric_eunuch said...

Hi Mr.W,

Returning, I'm somewhat nonplussed to read you think I'm angry:

Haiyah, I wrote so much, and you seem angry, but it seems you didn't understand a little of what I was talking about.

Aiyah, how could I possibly be angry with my favourite must-read S'pore blogger, har? I've re-examined my comment and am baffled how that impression might have come about. Maybe the line "I'd rather you didn't, if it's all the same to you!" is the culprit? If so, I hastily point out that it's roughly the equivalent of the Singlish "Aiyo, don' be so like dat lah. Gimme chance, can or not?" spoken while wearing a pained expression and in a mock-weary tone. I assure you there isn't a particle or wave of ill-temper intended in anything I've written.

Perhaps my sense of drollery hasn't travelled quite as well as I'd fondly imagined and for that I do apologise and will try to put a sock in it. Regrettably, a colour coding scheme to signal intent isn't yet available on blog posts.

Thanks for your infinite patience with those of us who just don't get *it* (<---colour: ultramarine with a hint of sunflower orange). I'm sure you're perfectly aware of New Age philosophers with a quasi-mystical bent who really love QM for its alleged bizarre effects and association with uncertainty which they mistakenly believe can be appropriated to support their views on the nature of reality and the cosmos. Extrapolation of aspects from the sub-atomic level and applying them to the macro with careless abandon, as both Angry doc and Puzzled have repeatedly pointed out here.

Some scientists, too, have been clearly dazzled, amongst them the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (a physicist by training). Also Dr. Fred Alan Wolf, who having abandoned peer-reviewed research for some years now, has become both a very successful writer blending hard QM with mysticism and something of a minor movie star. Their fringe views have been described dimissively as Quantum Mysticism, an area of 'science' which mainstream theoretical physics regards with some, how shall I put it, wariness. Notice poster Quantum Mechanic's careful caveats and reservations.

Not being a theoretical physicist myself, I'd like to quote from the opening chapter of physics and astronomy professor Dr. Victor J. Stengler's book The Unconscious Quantum, since he articulates points I'd like to, far more eloquently than I could possibly hope to:

The insignificance of humanity is almost impossible for most humans to accept. Humans, for evolutionary reasons, or no reason at all, possess egos that listen largely to their own counsel, most often ignoring other conflicting messages. These egos are so massive that they are the foci toward which all other bodies gravitate. The ego can hardly conceive of a universe in which it is not an active participant. Ask yourself: Can you imagine a universe without you? As much as I try to be objective, to accept the judgment of reason, I still find it very difficult to develop that image...

...The most economical conclusion to be drawn from the complete library of scientific data is that we are material beings composed of atoms and molecules, ordered by the largely-chance processes of self-organization and evolution to become capable of the complex behavior associated with the notions of life and mind. The data provide us with no reason to postulate undetectable vital or spiritual, transcendent forces. Matter is sufficient to explain everything discovered thus far by the most powerful scientific instruments...

...The jargon of quantum mechanics has inspired some people to extract mystical messages that were never intended to be there. In particular, deep meaning has been found in the unfortunate way physicists often describe the process of measurement. Sometimes they make it sound as though the conscious act of observation, by itself creates the quantity that is being measured. You will frequently read the statement that physical objects do not possess a certain property until that property is measured: An electron in an atom has no position until that position is determined by measurement...


And so forth - from a post-Everett point of view. Incidentally, Stengler examines every one of the points you have brought up in this thread in support of your thesis (experiments, consciousness, cast of characters, etc), while striving to keep the narrative metaphysics-free. It might be worth your while reading it as a counterpoint to Wolf's approach.

Apologies for the verbal diarrhea, but it would be fair to say this is where I'm coming from. Maybe it's an uncool century-old classical Newtonian Dodo's reality, huh? But there y'go, I have this dreadful character flaw where I really need to see the beef before I accept that it's a beefburger. :)