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Our tax dollars now tell us that Star Trek's "transporters" are not possible.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jack Briggs, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    Steeve, can you clarify something for me?

    Do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy exist? And I don't mean the concept of these characters - I mean do they literally exist. If you answer no, do you believe that their existence is impossible? What is it about their existence that would make it impossible?

    I ask this because I'm curious about how far you'll extend your disdain for claims of impossibility. You won't accept that there is anything that is universally true, but will you accept that there are things which are universally false?

    Obligatory joke portion of the post: My dragon really wants to know if the Easter Bunny exists because he's grown tired of eating unicorns all the time. [​IMG]

    Brad
     
  2. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Brad, that's a good question. I look forward to seeing Steeve's response.

    Also, if I may, I'd like to point out what I see as a contradiction:It looks to me like you're trying to have it both ways. Certainly anything under the sun (and the sun itself) is fair game for general discussion. If your concerns are general and consist of notions that are outside the scope of science, that's perfectly fine. But if you insist on discussing things outside the scope of science and then criticize scientists for refusing to explain these notions in their work, then I think you can count on every scientist here to cry “foul”. It seems to me that scientists are often put in the position of defending what they don't do in discussions like these, and I would really like to understand why. Honestly, why scientists as opposed to gymnasts? I don't see gymnasts acknowledging the existence of these notions in their work. Why not pick on them?
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    That does not make your argument supporting the attitude any more correct. I hear the same attitude all the time - "Scientists (engineers) are frequently wrong, therefore I have the right to overrule anything you say simply because some engineer screwed up back in 1996". They do not look at track record, they do not look at experience, they do not look at talent, they simply rely on the old saw that "some scientist once thought the earth was flat (not really true), so you could be wrong".

    One thing I noticed, the non-scientists always go back to some time in history when a scientist was famously wrong for a reason even they could understand or research. It's always "they once thought the world was flat" or "they once thought the sun revolved around the earth" or they get tricky with a famous one like "Einstein never believed in quantum mechanics". They never go for the more subtle "Bohr's model of the atom had inconsistencies" or "Newtonian kinematics breaks down at the molecular level" or "look at the glaring holes in multi-dimensional string theory". It's always the same three with these guys - flat earth, non-Copernican solar system, and Einstein. The obvious, the understandable, and the famous. Next thing you know, someone will be talking about "billions and billons" [​IMG]
     
  4. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    Steve,

    I have to jump back on the science bandwaggon also (temporarily at least). I think you are mixing up the two concepts we discussed (as are some of us scientists [​IMG] ). We can have facts and truths. Facts need to be held to the burdon of scientific requirements (you can't displace a fact until you find another fact that discounts it). You can't theorize hypothetical facts and the burdon of proof for facts needs to remain high. This is why Newton's ideas are Laws (sufficient facts to prove them) while Einstein's remain theories (still a few facts missing).

    Truths on the other hand can get a little subjective sometimes. Different people can get totally different truths from the same facts. Both Newton and Einstein are considered truths for most scientists. Although it would be nice if truth was held to the same criteria as facts, that is not currently the case and probably never will be, while humans determine the truths (we are too subjective by nature).

    As an aside, to give Steve a little breathing room (as long as we don't return to different physical laws [​IMG] ) although the facts are not conclusive I do believe in spirits (good and evil) which allows for things like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. I believe in extraterrastrial life (the statistics are just too compelling) but NOT UFO's (the statistics are just too compelling [​IMG] ). They don't make scientific sense based on the facts but I am also entitled to a couple of truths of my own :p) (besides the Cthulhu babies [​IMG] )

    Cheers,

    Kenneth
     
  5. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    I don't think Steeve can say they don't exist. Nor, for that matter, Superman, Thor, Darth Vader, Gandalf, Fred Flintstone, Zeus, Peter Pan, perpetual motion machines, circles that aren't round, things that are simultaneously true and untrue, people that are simultaneously dead and alive, or any number of things or characters, no matter how fanciful or illogical it may seem. After all, he's not even sure logic itself applies "elsewhere", so nothing can be ruled out by him.
     
  6. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Heck, Brian, I've seen plenty of posts from you showing how smart you are. [​IMG]
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    People cannot be simultaneously dead and alive, only cats. How could you squeeze a person into the little box Schrodinger made? It's impossible unless physical laws change in some parts of the universe and then we would know nothing about the universe. We would not even know if cats are cats or cats are people. We could be talking about Schrodinger himself in the box. But then who would do the experiment, the cat? Maybe the cat is inside the box and outside the box, only inside the box he's a physicist and outside he's a, a, ... oops, I've gone crosseyed.
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Yeesh, you would have to bring up Schrodinger, Jeff. [​IMG] Ok, let's make it observed to be simultaneously dead and alive (as discussed here: http://www.mtnmath.com/faq/meas-qm-3.html) [​IMG] I'll add Dracula and other "undead" characters to the list of things Steeve can't rule out.
     
  9. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    I know, but I need to hear him say that. Then I can feel assured that there is absolutely no point in debating any further and I can go talk about Survivor in the TV Forum instead. [​IMG]

    Brad
     
  10. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    It's not the Tooth Fairy, but this news story is about scientists who believe in an invisible galaxy.

    And no, the laws of nature do not appear to be different in that galaxy, even though it's invsible. [​IMG]
     
  11. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    Anecdotal evidence from family members who I know and trust (my Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, children, and brother) who provide first person incidents where they came into direct contact with a dead person's spirit (different times and multiple times). I would hold anecdotal evidence to be inconclusive for the general world but can give them the benefit of the doubt for my personal world [​IMG]

    Also, since I think we have insufficient facts to understand 100% of what our brain does, I am unwilling to completely rule out effects I can attribute to as yet undiscovered capabilities of the human mind (a cop out, I know). Again, I am unwilling to impose these requirements on the general population but allow for my own personal world to accept these items.

    Hopefully it doesn't get me voted off the science island [​IMG]

    Kenneth
     
  12. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Wow, a lot of activity here.

    Robert, darn tootin' I'm smart! And I could have proved it, too, if it hadn't taken me four days to find the word "Leprechaun" in the dictionary.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo
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    Are you saying that people can only be cats??? What if I really want to be a human?
     
  14. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

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    "The universe has all sorts of secrets still to reveal to us, but this shows that we are beginning to understand how to look at it in the right way," said astronomer Jon Davies of Cardiff University. "It's a really exciting discovery."

    Look at that, the universe still has a lot of secrets to reveal. How surprising. You wouldn't think that by reading this thread.
     
  15. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    To come to Kenneth and Steeve's aid, wasn't it Plato (or Socrates, I never studied much Greek phil.) who when asked of what they knew said:

    "I know that I know nothing"

    I think this idea of keeping an open mind to what we don't know is as important as holding up what we do know. If medicine hadn't kept an open mind about infection and disease, we'd still be using leeches and bloodletting instead of antibiotics (ok, not really but you get the point.) There is no way they could understand bacteria and infection with the tools they had available to them, but once the science progressed to that level they had to accept it or be left behind.

    So to further this thinking, who knows what we will discover in the future past quantum physics and the machinations of life genetics? Little green men may or may not exist, but how can we explicitly state that they are impossible?

    Obviously, using what we have discovered so far is the place to continue from. But keeping respect for the universe's secrets and an open mind to what we may discover next is crucial. The American Indians didn't know squat about smallpox, but it still killed just as dead.
     
  16. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Based on what?
     
  17. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    I don't know anyone who does explicitly state that. I also don't think the bacteria analogy works, because no scientist said their existence was impossible. The idea of their existence was coincident with their observed reality, so there was nothing to deny the possibility of. It's the nonscentists who have wanted to persecute the scientists for challenging the current world view, not the other way around.
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I thought you had established that in your mind, scientists are arrogant. Given this, tell me how I am supposed to discuss science with a non-scientist and not sound condescending and arrogant? This is an example of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Priciple at work. The observation of a phenomenon becomes immediately changed by the influence of the observer.

    It's OK, I've been called arrogant before, but my "arrogant" decisions have never made me miss a deadline, ever. Wish I could say the same for the arrogant (and uniformed) non-scientists I know.[​IMG]
     
  19. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Steeve, thanks for your response to my queries. I never would have known that English is not your first language.

    One thing that gets scientists riled up is asking them to prove something doesn't exist, because that is proving a negatve -- something that cannot logically be done. However, I would agree that anyone who categorically or emphatically states that something doesn't or cannot exist should be prepared to say why he believes so.

    One thing, though: You state that the difference between Fred Flintstone, et al, and the universe is that a fictonal character is made up, so everything is known about it, which is not the case with the universe. That's a good point. But then you go on to say that "if we don't know everything about [the universe], then we shouldn't dismiss other possibilities." I think you will get from the scientists here (including me) that the presumably unobserved "other possibilities" are as made up as -- and therefore no different from -- Fred Flintstone (et al).
     
  20. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Most entertaining thread ever on the HTF.

    Seriously though, I would think that a true "transporter" is impossible, but an elctronic "duplicator" would not be. Think of a FAX machine, it holds the physical material at both ends and transmits the blueprint electronically. Or like sending an electronic document, although the one I print might not be the original printing, or every intent and purpose it can be just as good.

    So if we had a machine that could read the DNA of the subject and or record exactly what material was where at the time of transport, and a reciever station with some sort of mass that it could manipulate any way it wished, you could "teleport" something or someone at the speed of light. No mass is converted to/from energy and entropy is preserved.

    The real dilemma after that is an ethical one. What happens to the person that was transported? Are they destroyed to preserve their identity, or are there then two of them running around? And once this sort of thing is possible, why limit it to teleportation? With access to someone or something's "blueprint", you could just crank out duplicates to your heart's content (just as long as you had more mass to use for convertion.)

    This is sci-fi type BS here, but it is fun to think about. I'm not betting on seeing anything like this in my lifetime, but I also wouldn't bet that it would be impossible in the next 500 years.

    Anyone want to have some fun with this idea?
     

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