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Interviews with scientists and authors, animated bits, and a storyline involving a deaf photographer are used in this docudrama to illustrate the link between quantum mechanics, neurobiology, human consciousness and day-to-day reality.
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"WHAT THE #$*! DO WE KNOW?!" is a radical departure from convention. It demands a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown, indeed, not even dreamed of since Copernicus. It's a documentary. It's a story. It's mind-blowing special effects. This film plunges you into a world where quantum uncertainty is demonstrated - where neurological processes, and perceptual shifts are engaged and lived by its protagonist - where everything is alive, and reality is changed by every thought. Written by
Depiction of quantum mechanics in the movie bears no resemblance to the real theory of that name. In particular, the common misconception that the "observer effect" is dependent upon a sapient, human observer is incorrect. If any object interacts with any other, and either requires information regarding the current state and properties of the other, then that constitutes an observation. See more »
The Scientists, Mystics and Scholars interviews herein were chosen based on the expertise in the subjects which they discussed. They do not necessarily agree with all viewpoints put forth in the film. Likewise the Filmmakers may not agree with all the viewpoints put forth by the Interviewees. Agreement is not necessary - thinking for one's self is. See more »
Comments arguing against many claims made in the movie.
OK, first I'm going to tear down the "Columbus's ships" thing. I'm fairly certain the Caribbeans had some sort of seaworthy craft, such as rafts or canoes. From these, any normal human intelligence can extrapolate their concept of "boat" to include these ships. Also, where did the writer get this story? Source? Since it's not common knowledge, you need a source.
Next is the direction of time question. In Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," he talks about the 4 arrows of time accepted by the scientific community at large. While it is true that some fundamental (classical/Newtonian) physical laws don't care which direction time is going, many do. The arrow that I remember (it's been a while since I last read the book) is the thermodynamic arrow of time, which causes us to experience events in such a way that the entropy, or disorder, of the universe increases. For example, a cup falls off a table and breaks, not the other way around.
Ah, then the probability discussion. Yes, for subatomic particles like electrons and quarks, the probability wave is spread out enough that the particle can be in >1 place at a time. However, when you look at anything larger than these specks, the waves get exponentially more concentrated, so that a large (visible w/naked eye) object really has an infinitesimal probability of being in more than one state. So small is this probability that you would have to watch a "large" object say, a tennis ball, for more than the present age of the universe (15,000,000,000 years) for it to have an appreciable chance of doing anything strange.
Closely linked to my last paragraph is the talk about particles popping in and out of existence. The answer to "where do they go" is "they turn back into energy." This is what E=mc^2 means. In the "vacuum" of space, particle/antiparticle pairs of subatomic particles are constantly being created from random energy fluctuations, but these particles are existing on borrowed energy, which they very soon have to repay by annihilating with their mate.
Next is the water conversation. First of all, those pictures were of FROZEN water, which the narrator conveniently forgot to mention, only saying the jars were "left out overnight". Next, the claim that our bodies are 90% water is completely bogus. If that were true, there'd be no way we could so much as stand up. Instead: newborns have around 78%, 1-year-olds around 65%, adult men about 60%, and adult women around 55% (http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/may2000/958588306.An.r.html).
This sheds doubt upon the rest of this "experiment."
The claim that if you only believe enough, you could walk on water is another seriously questionable one. If it's true, why didn't they show us? Tape someone walking on water. Even though you could fairly easily fake it with some video editing software, it'd still be a little more convincing than them simply telling us it's so. Using this "positive thinking" idea to then say that you create your own reality is equally flawed. Sure, I can very well believe that I live in a world inhabited by one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people-eaters, but that's irrelevant if the beings you interact with don't see the world this way.
And then the movie goes on to preach to us about God! How can a "scientific" movie propose to do this? Actually, I have a problem with that one guy proscribing what God is and what He isn't. Shouldn't that be up to the individual, thank you very much? Also in this part, one of the women commentators mentions that we have "antigravity." No, we don't. It's that simple.
Biology's not my thing, but there's a point where you just have to bring out a contradiction. One lady says that if you keep bombarding a cell with a certain chemical, the receptors on that cell will decrease. But soon after, a guy comes on and says that this same daily bombardment will cause the cell to produce a new cell when it divides that has MORE of the receptors. Contradiction. Oops.
I also have to comment on the guy who earlier on this board said this movie would appeal to anyone who's read "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene. I strongly disagree; I own and have read that book, and nowhere are its ideas remotely connected to this movie's ideas.
Lastly, I will agree with whoever said the movie is rather drawn out. Especially at the end. They just won't stop talking. They keep on going. Repeating the same stuff over and over. Which is what I'm doing for effect, if you couldn't figure that out.
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