Thursday, December 15, 2011

Now is a great time to use the word "Quantum" again.

I think I've mentioned this before, but my husband and BFF and I have a really big pet peeve known as psuedo-science.  Basically when someone tries to pass off something non-scientific with scientific theory and it just doesn't add up.  A lot of people use the term "skeptic" to describe that irritation with psuedo-science but I don't generally identify with that group either because they often also identify as athiest and will say that the lack of proof of God proves that God doesn't exist.  Actually, if you look at things from a scientific standpoint  - current lack of proof of existence does not actually prove lack of existence.  It just proves that there is no proof and there is still a question.  And personally, I believe that when you're talking about a philosophical concept like "God" it is apples to oranges to compare it to science.  Anyway, I was reading some humorous thing about "what to do when your psuedo-science is challenged by a real scientist" and one of the responses was "Now is a good time to use the word "Quantum" again." Which occasionally has become my husband and my catch phrase.

Recently Schrodinger's Equation came up in conversation with my daughter and myself.  Sadly, I don't understand the math behind Schrondinger's Equation but I understand the concept.  That subatomic particles can exist in two dual states at once and will remain as such until measured and then they take on just one state.  My husband said it has to do with Wave Particle Duality theory, but I think that's what it is - I need to look that up.  Anyway, I've finally decided that I need to learn the math behind some of these physics theories that I find so interesting.  So, I'm starting with algebra and re-visiting that because I don't remember any of it anymore.  And I'll work my way up.  Yes, I'm crazy enough to think I can learn this on my own with some text books and some questions to my scientist friends. We'll see if this experiment in free learning (well free except for the text books) works or not.  I'll let you know in a few years when I get to the point where I hopefully understand the math in Schrodinger's Equation.

Meanwhile, I like my 7 year old daughter's answer to the analogy of Schrodinger's Cat.  I was trying to explain to her how the cat in the box could be both alive and dead to us, giving it a dual reality in our perception, until the box is opened and we observe it.  That is how the cat can be both alive and dead at the same time.  To which she answers, "Or the cat could be a zombie.  Then it would alive and dead too."  Well yes.  Subatomic zombies.  That works.

Then yesterday I did the unheard of - I compared religion to science.  Although I don't think I actually went into psuedo-science.  Maybe I did.  Somebody call me out if I did happen to accidentally dip my toe into psuedo-science.  My daughter was asking me why God and Mother Nature (because of course it is a two-parent family ...???) don't punish people for being bad.  Like, why doesn't it snow on the birthday of good kids and then not snow on the birthday of bad kids?  I said that God and Mother Nature are all about forgiveness.  But then I didn't want to give the impression to be a good Christian one must be a doormat - I hate that and think that is so wrong.  So I said, "God and Mother Nature live in a different state of being than us so it is easy for them to forgive everyone.  It's not practical for us to forgive everyone who is bad or they will keep hurting us if they are really mean.  Kind of like subatomic particles - different laws apply in the quantum world of subatomic particles than apply in the Macro world."  Hmmm ... may have strayed into a territory there where I could've fallen to the level of "saying the word Quantum".  I think a better analogy may have been "It's easier to forgive ants in an ant farm for killing each other and genocide (or the ant equivalent) than it is to forgive your fellow human."

Parenting is hard.  It was much easier when she was a baby and all I had to do to make her happy was to swaddle her like a burrito and carry her around in a sling.  Now I actually have to think on my feet and I'm not always that good at that.  Especially in the morning.  Like the pre-coffee Saturday morning I will never forget when I said, "No, you can't watch Kick Buttowski cause it's about a kid who's really fucked up."  Sigh.


  1. The correct response was: "Ask your father."

  2. Oh come on ... I can slog my way through science too. Kind of. OK, about as well as you can slog your way through horse questions. But still. I tried. Anyway, she wanted the Christian answer to the God/Mother Nature question. I'm sure she'll come to your for the atheist answer too.