Friday, January 30, 2015

Faith and Physics

Quantum mechanics: Where religion and science meet.

Izzy said with the Frazer readings that science and religion both require faith. I present to you quantum physics. We can't see orbitals or subatomic particles. We have no affirmation that we are right about how things work within individual particles. So, if we have no proof, why do we have the field of quantum mechanics?

Faith. That's pretty much what it comes down to. I'm not saying that quantum physics is all BS that makes no sense. A lot of the theories we have make sense and work for practical uses. We must have faith in the laws of nature and that they will be consistent even at the subatomic level in order to believe that quantum physics works.

Before y'all call BS, I fully acknowledge that a lot of science does involve a bit of faith. I'm just picking on quantum mechanics because it is probably the most extreme "leap of faith."

Thoughts?

1 comment:

Joe D said...

We may have to use some faith when discussing subatomic research, there is an extremely strict standard of definitiveness that any well-regarded experiments must pass. It's called 5 sigma. Using statistical methods and data they receive from expensive research equipment and data analyzers, scientists at CERN have arrived at a 99.999999999% certainty that they discovered the famed Higgs Boson. This isn't a faith-based thing: it's an honest-to-goodness particle. Just because we can't see something doesn't mean we should discount it entirely as something we can only understand with faith.
For instance, when the sun is behind clouds, I still feel the indirect effect of light and sight, and from there I deduce that the sun still exists. In the moment that it is behind cloud cover, I am not believing the sun is still there through faith: I am scientifically asserting (albeit implicitly) that it is. In a similar way, I cannot see the Higgs Boson, but I notice its effects indirectly, id est mass.

Check out this article on the Higgs Boson and sigma-levels of certainty: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/143497-cern-now-99-999999999-sure-it-has-found-the-higgs-boson.