This is a repost of a section of my original quantum university post. I decided that I wanted to put it up as its own blog entry so that it would have some opportunity to be read in its own right.
A comment has lead me to believe that the august body of Quantum University is stung by my opinion as a professional physicist of their validity. Can you believe it? Right here on my little ol’ insignificant blog. Great! If I’m enough to rattle them, maybe I ought to keep writing articles about them.
If you want me to respect you, next time, bring physics, not pseudo-pop psychology. There is a right way to do quantum mechanics.
I do have some other thoughts about this comment. I will quote it here in its entirety so that you can see what the thinking looks like:
As someone who appears to be heavily indoctrinated in a “material-empirical” orientation with regards to science, it would be very hard for you to appreci- ate the type of education fostered at a place like Quantum University.
The material-empirical science oriented individual tends to live out of touch with Reality, for this to him/her is composed only of particles and myriad physical phenomena proven by math- matical formulas.
What does any of this have to do with your Life, your Consciousness, your Relationships… your own Soul. It’s only a Grand Illusion that you’ve been unable to perceive/discern the connect- ion between these and the brand of physics you’re pursuing.
If you’re ever fortunate enough to transition from the “ordinary mode consciousness,” dominated by obses- sive “left-brained,” rational/analytical thought, and shift toward the higher, more. transrational states for a break, you just may discover that indeed there is a connection to it all.
There is a lot in this little blurb. I think it may even have been written by the same fellow who wrote the “otological prison” quote I used above, though I couldn’t confirm that. He accuses me of being indoctrinated and claims that if only I escaped my rational analytical mind that maybe I would see the truth that we all live in the matrix or some such.
What is indoctrination?
According to the dictionary, it is “the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.” Direct quote from Google by my lazy ass.
The critical word here is “uncritically.” What does this mean?
Uncritically: “with a lack of criticism or consideration of whether something is right or wrong.” Another direct quote from Google by my even lazier and more tired ass.
So, indoctrination is an education where the student is not critical of the content of what they’ve been taught.
You have only my word to take for it, but I’ve walked all up and down physics. I’ve read 1920s articles on quantum mechanical spin translated from the original German trying to see what claims were being made about it. I’ve read Einstein. I’ve read Feynman. I’ve read Schrodinger… the real guys, their own words. I have worked probably thousands of hours rederiving math made famous by people dead sometimes hundreds of years ago just to be certain I understood how it worked (Do you really believe the Pythagorean theorem?) I’ve marched past the appendix of the textbook and gone to the original papers when I thought the author was lying to me or leaving something important out. And yes, I’ve found a few mistakes in the primary literature by noted physicists. Does that sound uncritical to you? In the 3 years since I originally wrote the Quantum U post above, I’ve earned a genuine physicist PhD from a major accredited university.
I would turn this analysis back on the fellow in the comments: have you done this kind of due diligence on what Quantum U taught you? Did you attack them to check if they were wrong? If not, you’ve been indoctrinated. Since they are about as wrong as it’s possible to be, my guess is that no, he didn’t and he isn’t about to… he’s a believer.
The next thought about this comment which pops up is a little claim about my dim-witted nature. I am clearly without a third eye and my life is definitely in the crapper because I am not seeing that other level beyond the workaday world where I could be mystically synergizing with some deeper aspect of reality in the hands of the Real truth. My dreadful left brain is clearly overwhelming my potential as a person. Do you actually believe that you know me?
By design I don’t speak often about my personal life on this blog. Fact is I’m not an unhappy or unfulfilled person. If you take the spine of that comment, the implication that if only I had a Soul, I’d see that Quantum U would have something to give me, truth is that I can say for certain that I need nothing from them in that regard. I came to a point in my life where I don’t need the training wheels… I, as a person, am enough. That has nothing to do with my scientist education, but everything to do with my complicated path through life. That path has lead me a long way and through a lot. Walk one mile in my shoes –I dare you!
Do not make assumptions about the soul of a person you know next to nothing about.
I have one piece of experience that I feel would inform a searcher who sees the allure of Quantum University and it’s “ability” to give students some deeper insight into consciousness, soul and self-actualization. The most difficult thing that people can ever grasp about themselves is the fact that we are all flawed in the sense that our very capacity to interact with reality is fundamentally confused about what’s real. Your brain, the generator of your reality, is not perfect and you can believe in a lie as if it were actually true. Did they find WMDs in Iraq?
I have to laugh at his “transrationalist” higher state of being nonsense because it seems that he’s bitten off the biggest lie imaginable. He believes that everything he thinks about the world is true! Why else would he sneer at material-empirical rationalist analytical mindsets? He wants to disconnect his mind from being connected to tangible reality… you can see that in every word he’s written, right down to the carefully chosen yet inappropriate caps.
The problem I have with that is a simple one: by decoupling your mind from everything else, you remove from yourself the ability to do an external error check based upon what is physically true in the world around you. This is pattern recognition with a broken compass. If you have no way of checking whether or not what you believe matches what is actually real, you have no way of confirming what, if anything, is false in what you see. Everybody can dream and imagine they have psychically contacted a dead relative or telepathically commanded a poodle to piss on a baby. There is no badge of honor to be gained by believing you can lie your hands on someone and heal them with the strength of your Chi because anybody can believe that. You can sit around, do deep breathing, and listen to the white noise in your own anatomy and ascribe all sorts of meanings to it. The hardest thing in a world is sorting out whether anything you imagine is actually true, particularly when you want something to be true. Your mind can dredge up some utter unreality that seems absolutely real in that instant. How can you ever be completely sure?
In my experience, the truth is true regardless of whether or not I believe in it.
That’s the thing about empirical reality. You have a chance to come back and interrogate something, or someone, external to yourself about whether or not you are seeing true things in the world around you. This is a timely subject, I think, because people have turned to filter silos –pocket realities where groups of people are telling you what you want to hear– to avoid having to do really painful self-checks. Empirical reality is imperfect because we never know everything about it, but at least it’s basically invariant and can serve as a good calibration point. That’s the thing about the truth: two contradictory things can’t be simultaneously true. Empiracism at least gives a stationary ground that every observer (literally every observer) can share. If we can all come back and agree that the sky is blue, we at least have something in common to work with, no matter what murmurings are pressing on the backs of our heads. You can’t show that “transrationalist” higher state of being is anything different from a schizophrenic fantasy because they have equal connectedness to the external world; there is no internal frame of reference by which to prove that the first isn’t actually the second. That somebody at Quantum U told you it’s so and you uncritically decided to believe them does not suddenly make it true… that’s almost like a filter bubble; you’re just using someone in particular as your authority whom you wish to believe. Never mind that the person you picked is, maliciously or not, lying their ass off to you.
I think the hardest thing in the world is facing when you’re really wrong about something you deeply want to believe. Sometimes people do get these things wrong. Are you among them? Clearly, the fellow in the comment understands that people can be wrong, or he wouldn’t accuse me of being wrong. Does he never turn his optics against himself?
Now, you may want to call me a hypocrite. Am I a believer? Surely I believe in physics, being a physicist. My answer here might surprise you. Only kind of. Quite a lot of it I don’t fully understand. I’m either agnostic or skeptical about the parts I don’t understand. And, I’ve gone to some pretty extreme ends to try to decide that I understand it well enough to believe certain things about it. This leads to two things, first, I know I don’t know everything and, second, I freely admit that I get things wrong. But that doesn’t mean that I have no idea what I’m talking about… what skill I have with Quantum Mechanics is well earned.
Let this serve as a warning: anybody else making comments about my soul or implying with heavy hand that there is a lack, I will delete what you say out of hand. That’s ad hominem, as far as I’m concerned. You don’t know me. That you make any such statement shows that you didn’t understand word one about human potential that anyone at any school tried to teach you. You have no idea who I am.
Because I made a different set of points in my immediate direct response to the original comment, here is that as well:
I will approve this comment so that people can read it.
First, there is no “brand” of physics. There is physics and then there is not physics. Because of how it’s fundamentally designed, physics is physics. It must truly burn you up that the words “quantum theory” were coined by someone who was indoctrinated to a “material-empirical” outlook on the world. I find it especially funny that the like of you, oh so high and mighty in your supposed depth and vision, are not creative enough to create anything believable without stealing your entire foundation from my ilk. Ask yourself if you would even have a Quantum University to defend if it wasn’t for us.
“The material-empirical science oriented individual tends to live out of touch with Reality” —Wow, that’s an amazing oxymoron. Great job!
“If you’re ever fortunate enough to transition from the “ordinary mode consciousness,” dominated by obses- sive “left-brained,” rational/analytical thought, and shift toward the higher, more. transrational states for a break, you just may discover that indeed there is a connection to it all.” —And if you stopped eschewing the math, you might eventually realize that lying to yourself doesn’t actually get you out of the garden. But, sure, go ahead, put on the blindfold, spin yourself around a few more times and try to pin the tail on the donkey. I don’t mind.
As an aside, I would recommend this guy for a writing gig on Star Trek, he has an amazing capacity for inventing jargon that sounds like it should means something. Transrational? We have rational and irrational. Argue for me as to where it helps to mix the two. I suppose this fellow and I are in agreement about something; nobody who isn’t in some turbid state of translucid parasanity would willfully spend money on Quantum University.
If you doubt the level of bile the idea of Quantum University brings up in me, please understand that if we lived 700 years ago, I would probably be riding out to help put these witches to the sword. If I can help to spread a single genuinely deep thought about them and what they do through the internet, I will.