Monday, February 21, 2005

Belief and Psi

Your browser might not be up to showing Greek symbols. Capitol Psi, in a modern physics context, stands for the wave equation. It says in effect that if you know how much energy the particle is carrying and the disposition of forces that may act on a particle [e.g. in the case of an electron, where the nucleus is and that it exerts electrical attraction, where other electrons swarm and that they exert repulsion] then you can describe the shape of a "cloud" of probable presence for the particle. That is, a shaped region of space is defined by the equation allowing you to say for points within the shape that there is such-and-such a chance of detecting the particle at (x1,y1,z1) and much less chance of finding it at (x2,y2,z2) etc. If you actually make a measurement, stick an antenna or a thermometer or shoot a laser beam through the atom, you may detect the electron but having done so, you are, at that instant able to say the electron is 100% HERE and not smeared all around the space taken up by the touched it and the wave equation collapsed or became momentarily meaningless. Likewise, absent any particular context or trying events, who the hell can say what they really believe? I certainly can't. It is so much slipperier than you dare admit. Todays installment is uncharitable as there are also good reasons and good effects for which we have invented gods. But those most riled by this idea will be those who are most scared of what truth it may be digging for:

Men invented gods so they could be at peace with a world they did not understand. They invented devils so they could be at war without taxing their conscience. Women invented the goddess out of loneliness.

1 comment:

mistipurple said...

wow.. i can only say 'wow'. should i be honored a being like you would care to post on a simpleton's blog like mine? i am half happy and scared you bumped into me. thanks anyway! have a good life.. eh..we shall not go into that!