Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ physics

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “quark”, comes with the note, “Refreshing honesty from the lads today.” The boys think quantum mechanics demonstrates “miracles”, but it really doesn’t, because it acts in predictable ways, and wouldn’t if there really were miracles.

According to the standards of the government of Pakistan, my posting of this strip constitutes “blasphemy”, for it implies that both Christianity and Islam constitute beliefs in “bullshit.”  C’mon Pakistan—ban me again!


  1. steve oberski
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Well most xtians think that Islam constitutes beliefs in “bullshit” and most Muslims think that Christianity constitutes beliefs in “bullshit” so each is half way there.

    • phoffman56
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      IIRC, there are or have been 10,000 distinct religions.
      If so, they are even better than half way there; they are (9,999/10,000)-of the way there.

    • Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      And yet they have common beliefs …

      • steve oberski
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        They each believe the other is wrong and going to hell.

  2. savage
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The barmaid is so 19th century!

  3. Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Well, since the behavior of each subatomic particle is distributed into a range of probabilities such that they are at different positions at the same time, so too the behaviors of each being in the universe is continually divided into a range behaviors in ever more divergent, alternate universes.

    So I can have that Klondike bar now since in a nearby but parallel universe, another me is choosing to not have that Klondike bar.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Sounds like the boys took a break from Scripture and started tuning in to Deepak.

  5. rickflick
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Similar to belief from incredulity. Just look at the birds, flowers, and that lovely blue sky! That didn’t just happen. Therefor God.
    Also, similar to God-of-the-Gaps. Since this can’t be fully explained, you need magic to fill in the missing bits.

    • jezgrove
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      It’s one of the miraculous properties of woo that you pour it in and it fills the gaps perfectly – that can’t be coincidence, right?

      • steve oberski
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

        Douglas Adams

        • jezgrove
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Douglas Adams was in my mind when I made my comment. He’s greatly missed.

  6. Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Antirealism of non-locality, the thing that disturbed Einstein should give them some cause to drink more…
    To reach the natural state of religion…, wobbly and a vomit of lies.

  7. Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The really cool part of QM though, is how when you consider really large collections of quarks and electrons – tables and beers and human beings – you get things that for all practical purposes, DO have precise locations, ALL of the time. Or in relativity theory, when you have a bunch of observers moving really slowly compared to the speed of light, they can meaningfully speak as if there were a single “time” coordinate valid for all.

    If we couldn’t recover this well-known behavior of our medium-sized familiar environment, then QM and relativity would stand refuted. On the other hand, when scientists or philosophers try to mix and match scientific ideas (laws of QM and relativity) with intuitive, macroscopic-scale valid ideas (causality, time’s “flow”) then trouble ensues.

    • phoffman56
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      “If we couldn’t recover this well-known behavior of our medium-sized familiar environment, then QM and relativity would stand refuted.”

      I do not doubt that. And I even think I have a good idea how non-relativistic behaviour can be deduced from special and even general relativity in case of low velocities, in the non-quantum cases.

      But, bypassing relativity by low velocities, do you or anyone else here know a good source of a deduction from QM of Newton’s basic laws, or of Lagrangian/Hamiltonian versions? I’m probably just not looking hard enough, but a few standard texts don’t seem to have it.

      I don’t mind having to cope with the math, but the relativistic quantum field theory is so far way too much for me, definitely nowhere near being a physicist of any stripe.

      • Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know of such a derivation, but then, I wouldn’t. Sean Carroll explains how particle-like behavior (definite position) emerges from QM wavefunctions in his “Biggest ideas of the universe” video on QM. That’s about the limit of my understanding.

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