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FQXi FORUM
January 24, 2020

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: The Quantum Supremacy by Kyle Miller [refresh]

Author Kyle Miller wrote on Jun. 15, 2012 @ 12:24 GMT
Essay Abstract

The following essay considers the assumptions in reductionist thinking and how they pertain to the search for quantum gravity. Other perspectives are presented and various examples are contemplated.

Author Bio

Kyle Miller has worked in a physics lab.

Georgina Parry wrote on Jul. 14, 2012 @ 08:48 GMT
Dear Kyle Miller,

I enjoyed reading your essay very much. It is full of interesting things and it is very beautifully and skill-fully written. I don't agree with everything you said but you said it so nicely I don't really want to argue and give the impression that there was anything I didn't like about the essay itself. However.....

Although reductionism is very useful, not all control of pattern generation in the "material" universe is best explained at the smallest scale, in my opinion. Ecology is an area of biology where the interconnections of whole species and population dynamics are considered, rather than the function of individual organisms or biochemistry. Many things can not be understood by looking at the parts alone.

Perhaps in physics too the interconnection and relationships of patterns may be seen as being more relevant to the ongoing creation of the universe than an individual particle's habits. I'm enthusiastic about the potential of the big picture, while appreciating what reductionism has already given us; understanding more about nature and enabling us to develop modern technology. That's not a criticism of the essay but just my opinion on something relevant to the content.

I hope you get lots of appreciative readers. I really like your writing, you have a lovely way with words. Good luck in the competition.

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Georgina Parry replied on Jul. 29, 2012 @ 05:43 GMT
Re-read your essay and I enjoyed it as much as the first time. It is so very well written, full of beautifully expressed ideas.

I found the quantum computer universe creating the computer, in its image, an amusing idea. I think it was also probably an intentionally provocative suggestion.

I really hope lots more people read this and like it as much as I do.

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Georgina Parry replied on Aug. 19, 2012 @ 00:13 GMT
Dear Kyle,

Love your essay. There is very little for me to disagree with in it. I've not been looking to find fault with it but just something debatable.

Kyle Miller wrote re. LSD: "How it affects a certain user is a function of their brain and their surroundings, however, the efficacy of the drug can only be explained by an appeal to a more metaphysical line of reasoning. Moments after the Big Bang, the universe came to be filled with an asymmetrical abundance of matter, rather than anti-matter. Teleology might offer an account of the universe where LSD, being the "ultimate forbidden fruit," is the final cause-hence fostering many episodes of original sin under the stars."

That is well written, clever and amusing. However, you have said "can only be explained..." and then given an account of the Big bang. You have in this circumstance taken Big bang as fact. Is it fact? What if that cosmological curtain of EM radiation is not the material content of the universe shown to us? It might be more like the magician's curtain or cloak that obscures the truth, rather than revealing it. Then isn't our accepted model of the universe founded upon the deception?

Some might think that rather than replaying the error built into human beings (by Big Bang creation event), taking hallucinogens is an attempt to explore the uncharted territory beyond the confines of normal sensory perception. I can recall the very enthusiastic lectures, on the effects of various natural hallucinogenic agents, including a certain cactus, when I was at university many years ago. It wasn't a subject that I perused by personal experimentation but interesting non the less. The malleability of the perception of reality is a clue that what we experience is no more than an internally generated fabrication. Formed from processing of the data obtained by interacting with with the cloak of potential sensory data filling space.

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Georgina Parry replied on Aug. 19, 2012 @ 06:03 GMT
Hi Kyle,

I agree the Big Bang is a great story. With Inflation its a very complex and well developed theory accounting for a lot of observations. However despite that I also think it is terrible, costly and most likely untrue.

There is more matter than antimatter. There does also seem to be a lot of 'not matter', what ever its called. Like the fish content of the ocean, matter seems to be widely distributed in patches, with a lot of "emptiness" in between (However it is described eg. Higgs field, quantum vacuum seething with virtual particles, aether, the vacuum of space, through which photons travel). The'not matter'is also very important.

There are cultures that use hallucinogens to obtain a religious trance where they have access to alternative knowledge or feel in touch with their Gods. That could also be regarded as their function (giving the teleological cause), if one thinks that the effects are anything more than a biochemically induced malfunction. Not as entertaining as your scenario though.

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 18, 2012 @ 16:49 GMT
Kyle,

I enjoyed your scalar quest. It's like my own metaphysical sojourn.

You end with one of my favorite poems.

Jim

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Dirk Pons wrote on Aug. 8, 2012 @ 08:16 GMT
Kyle

You make a good case that reductionist thinking and analysis can only take us so far. What do you think could be the solution .... how do we break out of that problem-solving approach and find a more integative solution? Do we just wait and hope that string theory can grow into being a full solution?

Thank you

Dirk

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 28, 2012 @ 00:54 GMT
Dear Kyle,

I just finished reading your interesting submission, which I found refreshing different from the others. A few thoughts come to mind.

1. Regarding LSD, magic mushrooms, etc., it’s striking to consider the profound effect of fungus on human civilization, and also that many of the most influential derivatives were discovered within a few years of each other. Penicillin, anyone?

2. Regarding reductionism versus holism, I tend to believe that holism arises precisely because of quantum effects. If you try to combine Richard Feynman’s sum-over-histories method of quantum theory with general relativity, you get a situation in which the entire universe is relevant to “what happens next.”

3. On the subject of graphene, I’m sure you’ve read about the ideas for a “space elevator” maid of carbon nanofibers (closely related to graphene). I’ve read that a cable of this a centimeter across could support 10000 tons. What’s funny is that the stress is distributed in such a way that the thinnest part of the cable would be the part attached to the earth’s surface.

4. I’m one who is optimistic that quantum computing may give us indirect knowledge about the fundamental structure of spacetime. At the end of my essay here I propose using quantum computers as “virtual laboratories” to precisely model interactions many orders of magnitude smaller.

Anyway, thanks for the great read! Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Oct. 1, 2012 @ 05:23 GMT
Dear Kyle Miller

If you agree with the concept of "reductionist" please relax and you might consider and make suggestions for the ABSOLUTE theory is "a draft for proposal of T.O.E " of me in this topic (topic/1417- outside of my essay)

Kind Regards !

Hải.Caohoàng of THE INCORRECT ASSUMPTIONS AND A CORRECT THEORY

August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 09:45 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
$R_1$
and
$N_1$
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
$S_1=R_1 N_1$
of points. After it anyone give you
$dS$
of points so you have
$S_2=S_1+ dS$
of points and
$N_2=N_1+1$
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
$S_2=R_2 N_2$
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
$S_2/ N_2>S_1/ N_1$
or
$(S_1+ dS) / (N_1+1) >S_1/ N_1$
or
$dS >S_1/ N_1 =R_1$
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
$dS$
then the participant`s rating
$R_1$
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process. I hope the FQXI community will change the rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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Georgina Parry wrote on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 05:05 GMT
Dear Kyle,

I don't know why your inteligent and beautifully crafted essay did not get more readers. IMHO it deserved more attention and to ranked higher than it was. I hope more readers will yet find and appreciate it. Best regards, Georgina

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Georgina Parry wrote on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 19:20 GMT
"Giving graphene the bends makes it transistor ready"New Scientist.