Is Reality Digital or Analog?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by David J Taylor, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions, this
    may be of interest:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-digital-analong

    George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    American co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The essay
    question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    essay-writing is to question the question."

    OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Jun 24, 2011
    #1
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  2. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:59:50 +0100, "David J Taylor"
    <> wrote:
    : "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions, this
    : may be of interest:
    :
    : http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-digital-analong
    :
    : George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    : announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    : American co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    : essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The essay
    : question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    : option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    : essay-writing is to question the question."
    :
    : OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".

    Actually, that depends on how it (reality) got to be that way. ;^)

    But the original question is an excellent one. The older I get, the less sure
    I am about the answer. I guess I still think the answer is "digital", but I've
    become increasingly less certain that there's a difference.

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 24, 2011
    #2
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  3. "rwalker" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    []
    > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    > at large scale, it acts "analog." Neither is really a good
    > characterization of reality.


    So the answer may be: "It depends how closely you look".
    Nice quantum mechanical answer!

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Jun 25, 2011
    #3
  4. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 14:21:35 +1200, Eric Stevens <>
    wrote:
    : On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 16:52:50 -0400, Robert Coe <> wrote:
    :
    : >On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:59:50 +0100, "David J Taylor"
    : ><> wrote:
    : >: "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions, this
    : >: may be of interest:
    : >:
    : >: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-digital-analong
    : >:
    : >: George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    : >: announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    : >: American co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    : >: essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The
    : >: essay question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : >: continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    : >: option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    : >: essay-writing is to question the question."
    : >:
    : >: OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".
    : >
    : >Actually, that depends on how it (reality) got to be that way. ;^)
    : >
    : >But the original question is an excellent one. The older I get, the less sure
    : >I am about the answer. I guess I still think the answer is "digital", but I've
    : >become increasingly less certain that there's a difference.
    : >
    : Is time quantised? - Possibly.

    I guess it's fair to say that in some formulations, spacetime is effectively
    quantized by its dimensionality.

    : Is gravity quantised? - Doesn't appear to be.

    Because nobody has identified a "graviton"? At least to a first approximation,
    gravity depends only on the curvature, not the dimensionality, of spacetime. I
    suppose the curvature itself may be quantized, but would that necessarily give
    rise to gravitons? Of course particle physicists have a longstanding tradition
    of eventually convincing themselves that they've found any particle they've
    been looking for, no matter how bizarre or improbable. ;^)

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 25, 2011
    #4
  5. > OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".

    In general: one bullet, one kill. So reality have to be discrete! :)

    --
    @~@ You have the right to remain silence.
    / v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
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    ^ ^ 19:01:01 up 14 days 3:10 1 user load average: 1.02 1.06 1.05
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    Man-wai Chang, Jun 25, 2011
    #5
  6. David J Taylor

    J. Clarke Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    >
    > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 23:04:24 -0400, rwalker <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > snip
    >
    > >
    > >I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    > >"digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    > >at large scale, it acts "analog." Neither is really a good
    > >characterization of reality.

    >
    > I guess I should have added, in my opinion.
    >
    >
    > Reality IS. Digital and analog REPRESENT.


    And according to the best understanding of reality that physics has been
    able to develop, reality comes in discrete steps. If you think it does
    not you are welcome to come up with a competing model and show that it
    is more satisfactory in describing and predicting reality than is
    quantum theory.
    J. Clarke, Jun 25, 2011
    #6
  7. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 09:14:28 +0300, "G Paleologopoulos"
    <> wrote:
    : "Robert Coe" <> wrote in
    : news:...
    : >
    : >..............................................
    : >
    : > rise to gravitons? Of course particle physicists have a longstanding
    : > tradition of eventually convincing themselves that they've found
    : > any particle they've been looking for, no matter how bizarre or
    : > improbable. ;^)
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    :
    : The Higgs seems to be giving them trouble!!

    Yeah, how dare it not exist?!

    Like Richard Nixon's "Silent Majority" that inexplicably failed to come to his
    rescue.

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 25, 2011
    #7
  8. >> OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".
    >>
    >> Cheers,
    >> David

    >
    > It is not really any worse than things like 'ongoing' instead of
    > continuing.
    >
    > --
    > Neil
    > Linux counter 335851
    > delete ‘l’ and reverse ‘r’ and’a’


    OK, but it sounds awful to me!

    Cheers,
    David
    David J Taylor, Jun 25, 2011
    #8
  9. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 07:56:06 -0400, "J. Clarke" <> wrote:
    : In article <>,
    : says...
    : >
    : > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 23:04:24 -0400, rwalker <>
    : > wrote:
    : >
    : > snip
    : >
    : > >
    : > >I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    : > >"digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    : > >at large scale, it acts "analog." Neither is really a good
    : > >characterization of reality.
    : >
    : > I guess I should have added, in my opinion.
    : >
    : >
    : > Reality IS. Digital and analog REPRESENT.
    :
    : And according to the best understanding of reality that physics has been
    : able to develop, reality comes in discrete steps. If you think it does
    : not you are welcome to come up with a competing model and show that it
    : is more satisfactory in describing and predicting reality than is
    : quantum theory.

    Your point is well taken, but let's not exaggerate the descriptive power of
    quantum theory. Some of its experimental results have proven to be very
    difficult to square with any generally accepted concept of reality. Quantum
    theory has undoubtedly advanced our understanding of the way the universe
    works, but it has posed its share of new dilemmas as well. The work of the
    theoretical physicist is far from done.

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 26, 2011
    #9
  10. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 11:09:26 -0700, Doug Bashford <> wrote:
    : rwalker wrote:
    : > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 22:24:33 -0400, Michael <>
    : > wrote:
    : >
    : > >On 2011-06-24 12:59:50 -0400, David J Taylor said:
    : > >
    : > >> "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions,
    : > >> this may be of interest:
    : > >>
    : > >>
    : > >> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-digital-analong
    : > >
    : > >George
    : > >>
    : > >> Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute announced
    : > >> the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific American
    : > >> co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the essays,
    : > >> and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The essay
    : > >> question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : > >> continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    : > >> option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    : > >> essay-writing is to question the question."
    : > >>
    : > >> OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".
    : > >>
    : > >> Cheers,
    : > >> David
    : > >
    : > >I think the answer is neither digital nor analog, but quantized. That
    : > >is probably closer to digital than to analog in concept, but maybe
    : > >closer to analog than digital in "appearance." And then there's the
    : > >principle that once you get to the quantum level, things get really
    : > >really weird.
    : >
    : > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    : > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    : > at large scale, it acts "analog." Neither is really a good
    : > characterization of reality.
    :
    : The unknown.
    : There are some things we know we don't know,
    : and others we don't know that we don't know
    : we don't know. It's prolly the latter.
    : Pity that doesn't trigger more curiousity.

    Indeed.

    : Silly humans!
    : Sometimes you appear to have qualities of
    : being alive, God said before he changed
    : channels.
    :
    :
    : The insane twist the facts to fit their world view.
    : The rational change their world view to fit the facts.

    The wise constantly re-examine the depth of their understanding of what the
    facts are, taking nothing for granted simply because it is widely believed.

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 26, 2011
    #10
  11. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 06:44:15 -0500, Neil Ellwood
    <> wrote:
    : On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:59:50 +0100, David J Taylor wrote:
    :
    : > "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions, this
    : > may be of interest:
    : >
    : > http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-
    : digital-analong
    : >
    : > George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    : > announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    : > American co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    : > essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The
    : > essay question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : > continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    : > option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    : > essay-writing is to question the question."
    : >
    : > OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".
    : >
    : > Cheers,
    : > David
    :
    : It is not really any worse than things like 'ongoing' instead of
    : continuing.

    And with that statement you inadvertently perpetuate one of the most durable
    traditions of the English language: denigrating words of Saxon origin in favor
    of their Latin-based equivalents. ;^)

    But if we take this thread off into historical linguistics, we may never get
    back to photography!

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 26, 2011
    #11
  12. David J Taylor

    RichA Guest

    On Jun 24, 12:59 pm, "David J Taylor" <david-
    > wrote:
    > "Is Reality Digital or Analog?"  In view of the recent discussions, this
    > may be of interest:
    >
    >  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-dig...
    >
    > George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    >
    > announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    > American co-sponsored.  (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    > essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.)  The essay
    > question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    > continuous or discretized?  You can make a powerful case for either
    > option.  Or both options.


    It doesn't matter. At human perception levels, it's analog and always
    will be.
    RichA, Jun 26, 2011
    #12
  13. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 17:32:42 -0700, Doug Bashford <> wrote:
    :
    : Re: Is Reality Digital or Analog?;
    : Robert Coe wrote:
    :
    :
    : > On Sat, Doug Bashford wrote:
    : > : rwalker wrote:
    : > : > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011, Michael wrote:
    : > : >
    : > : > >On 2011-06-24 12:59:50 -0400, David J Taylor said:
    : > : > >
    : > : > >> "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions,
    : > : > >> this may be of interest:
    : > : > >>
    : > : > >>
    : > : > >> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-digital-analong
    : > : > >
    : > : > >George
    : > : > >>
    : > : > >> Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute announced
    : > : > >> the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific American
    : > : > >> co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the essays,
    : > : > >> and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The essay
    : > : > >> question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : > : > >> continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    : > : > >> option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    : > : > >> essay-writing is to question the question."
    : > : > >>
    : > : > >> OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".
    : > : > >>
    : > : > >> Cheers,
    : > : > >> David
    : > : > >
    : > : > >I think the answer is neither digital nor analog, but quantized. That
    : > : > >is probably closer to digital than to analog in concept, but maybe
    : > : > >closer to analog than digital in "appearance." And then there's the
    : > : > >principle that once you get to the quantum level, things get really
    : > : > >really weird.
    : > : >
    : > : > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    : > : > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    : > : > at large scale, it acts "analog." Neither is really a good
    : > : > characterization of reality.
    : > :
    : > : The unknown.
    : > : There are some things we know we don't know,
    : > : and others we don't know that we don't know
    : > : we don't know. It's prolly the latter.
    : > : Pity that doesn't trigger more curiousity.
    : >
    : > Indeed.
    : >
    : > : Silly humans!
    : > : Sometimes you appear to have qualities of
    : > : being alive, God said before he changed
    : > : channels.
    : > :
    : > :
    : > : The insane twist the facts to fit their world view.
    : > : The rational change their world view to fit the facts.
    : >
    : > The wise constantly re-examine the depth of their understanding of what the
    : > facts are, taking nothing for granted simply because it is widely believed.
    :
    : Yet Science blindly accepts scientific consensus until
    : there is strong evidence to the contrary.
    : --Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    A quintessential 20th-Century example being the notion of continental drift,
    which led to the theory of plate tectonics. The man who proposed it was
    dismissed as a crackpot until late in life, the truth of his assertions having
    been verified beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was finally acclaimed a genius.

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 26, 2011
    #13
  14. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 16:55:02 -0700 (PDT), RichA <> wrote:
    : On Jun 24, 12:59 pm, "David J Taylor" <david-
    : > wrote:
    : > "Is Reality Digital or Analog?"  In view of the recent discussions, this
    : > may be of interest:
    : >
    : >  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-dig...
    : >
    : > George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    : >
    : > announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    : > American co-sponsored.  (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    : > essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.)  The essay
    : > question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : > continuous or discretized?  You can make a powerful case for either
    : > option.  Or both options.
    :
    : It doesn't matter. At human perception levels, it's analog and always
    : will be.

    I guess Rich can't perceive, say, an electron microscope (never mind a pixel).
    But the most breathtaking word in that assertion is "always".

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 26, 2011
    #14
  15. David J Taylor

    Nervous Nick Guest

    On Jun 25, 12:52 am, "David J Taylor" <david-
    > wrote:
    > "rwalker" <> wrote in message
    >
    > news:...
    > []
    >
    > > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    > > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    > > at large scale, it acts "analog."  Neither is really a good
    > > characterization of reality.

    >
    > So the answer may be: "It depends how closely you look".
    > Nice quantum mechanical answer!


    A quantum mechanical answer would be "It depends on whether you look."
    Nervous Nick, Jun 26, 2011
    #15
  16. David J Taylor

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 23:51:40 -0700, Doug Bashford <> wrote:
    :
    : Re: Is Reality Digital or Analog?;
    : On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 22:05:33 -0400, Robert Coe wrote:
    :
    :
    : > On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 17:32:42 -0700, Doug Bashford <> wrote:
    : > :
    : > : Re: Is Reality Digital or Analog?;
    : > : Robert Coe wrote:
    : > :
    : > :
    : > : > On Sat, Doug Bashford wrote:
    : > : > : rwalker wrote:
    : > : > : > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011, Michael wrote:
    : > : > : >
    : > : > : > >On 2011-06-24 12:59:50 -0400, David J Taylor said:
    : > : > : > >
    : > : > : > >> "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions,
    : > : > : > >> this may be of interest:
    : > : > : > >>
    : > : > : > >>
    : > : > : > >> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-digital-analong
    : > : > : > >
    : > : > : > >George
    : > : > : > >>
    : > : > : > >> Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute announced
    : > : > : > >> the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific American
    : > : > : > >> co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the essays,
    : > : > : > >> and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The essay
    : > : > : > >> question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    : > : > : > >> continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for either
    : > : > : > >> option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    : > : > : > >> essay-writing is to question the question."
    : > : > : > >>
    : > : > : > >> OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply "discrete".
    : > : > : > >>
    : > : > : > >> Cheers,
    : > : > : > >> David
    : > : > : > >
    : > : > : > >I think the answer is neither digital nor analog, but quantized. That
    : > : > : > >is probably closer to digital than to analog in concept, but maybe
    : > : > : > >closer to analog than digital in "appearance." And then there's the
    : > : > : > >principle that once you get to the quantum level, things get really
    : > : > : > >really weird.
    : > : > : >
    : > : > : > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    : > : > : > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    : > : > : > at large scale, it acts "analog." Neither is really a good
    : > : > : > characterization of reality.
    : > : > :
    : > : > : The unknown.
    : > : > : There are some things we know we don't know,
    : > : > : and others we don't know that we don't know
    : > : > : we don't know. It's prolly the latter.
    : > : > : Pity that doesn't trigger more curiousity.
    : > : >
    : > : > Indeed.
    : > : >
    : > : > : Silly humans!
    : > : > : Sometimes you appear to have qualities of
    : > : > : being alive, God said before he changed
    : > : > : channels.
    : > : > :
    : > : > :
    : > : > : The insane twist the facts to fit their world view.
    : > : > : The rational change their world view to fit the facts.
    : > : >
    : > : > The wise constantly re-examine the depth of their understanding of what the
    : > : > facts are, taking nothing for granted simply because it is widely believed.
    : > :
    : > : Yet Science blindly accepts scientific consensus until
    : > : there is strong evidence to the contrary.
    : > : --Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
    : >
    : > A quintessential 20th-Century example being the notion of continental drift,
    : > which led to the theory of plate tectonics. The man who proposed it was
    : > dismissed as a crackpot until late in life, the truth of his assertions having
    : > been verified beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was finally acclaimed a genius.
    : > Bob
    :
    : Perfect example!
    : My 1970ish Geology textbook had nothing but a
    : side bar on plate tectonics, but the teacher
    : taught it...with caveats.
    :
    : Yet because scientific consensus moves so slowly;
    : 1) you can normally take it to the bank, and
    : 2) it's easy to find.
    :
    : Sadly, since about 1988 there has been a movement
    : deeducating America. Everything is only a matter
    : of (political) opinion these days. All once-respected
    : inputs from reality are now in on or victim of the Great
    : Evil Liberal Conspiracy Plot! Evidence today is bombastic
    : delivery and soundsgoodism with a bit of feelsgoodism.

    Often soaked in a religious certitude that would have embarrassed a Medieval
    pope.

    Bob
    Robert Coe, Jun 26, 2011
    #16
  17. David J Taylor

    Irwell Guest

    On Sun, 26 Jun 2011 05:03:21 -0500, Neil Ellwood wrote:

    > On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 19:47:07 -0400, Robert Coe wrote:
    >
    >> On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 06:44:15 -0500, Neil Ellwood
    >> <> wrote: : On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:59:50
    >> +0100, David J Taylor wrote: :
    >>: > "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" In view of the recent discussions,
    >> this : > may be of interest:
    >>: >
    >>: > http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-
    >>: digital-analong
    >>: >
    >>: > George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    >>: > announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific :
    >>> American co-sponsored. (I helped to decide on the question, judge the

    >>: > essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.) The
    >>: > essay question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at
    >> root, : > continuous or discretized? You can make a powerful case for
    >> either : > option. Or both options. Or neither. A venerable tradition
    >> in : > essay-writing is to question the question." : >
    >>: > OT: what an awful word "discretized"! It should be simply
    >> "discrete". : >
    >>: > Cheers,
    >>: > David
    >>:
    >>: It is not really any worse than things like 'ongoing' instead of :
    >> continuing.
    >>
    >> And with that statement you inadvertently perpetuate one of the most
    >> durable traditions of the English language: denigrating words of Saxon
    >> origin in favor of their Latin-based equivalents. ;^)
    >>
    >> But if we take this thread off into historical linguistics, we may never
    >> get back to photography!
    >>
    >> Bob

    >
    > When did this group talk about photography? :)


    Did you miss the exciting discussion on Daguerrotype technology?
    Irwell, Jun 26, 2011
    #17
  18. David J Taylor

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Jun 24, 9:52 pm, Robert Coe <> wrote:
    > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:59:50 +0100, "David J Taylor"<> wrote:
    >
    > : "Is Reality Digital or Analog?"  In view of the recent discussions, this
    > : may be of interest:
    > :
    > :  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-dig...
    > :: George Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute
    >
    > : announced the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific
    > : American co-sponsored.  (I helped to decide on the question, judge the
    > : essays, and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.)  The essay
    > : question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    > : continuous or discretized?  You can make a powerful case for either
    > : option.  Or both options.  Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    > : essay-writing is to question the question."
    > :
    > : OT: what an awful word "discretized"!  It should be simply "discrete"..
    >
    > Actually, that depends on how it (reality) got to be that way.  ;^)
    >
    > But the original question is an excellent one. The older I get, the less sure
    > I am about the answer. I guess I still think the answer is "digital", butI've
    > become increasingly less certain that there's a difference.
    >
    > Bob


    I think everything's digital but we tend to see things in the easiest
    way
    to understand them which tends to be analogue.
    Whisky-dave, Jun 27, 2011
    #18
  19. David J Taylor

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Jun 25, 7:09 pm, Doug Bashford <> wrote:
    > rwalker wrote:
    > > On Fri, 24 Jun 2011 22:24:33 -0400, Michael <>
    > > wrote:

    >
    > > >On 2011-06-24 12:59:50 -0400, David J Taylor said:

    >
    > > >> "Is Reality Digital or Analog?"  In view of the recent discussions,
    > > >> this may be of interest:

    >
    > > >>http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=susskind-reality-dig...

    >
    > > >George

    >
    > > >> Musser writes: "Last week, the Foundation Questions Institute announced
    > > >> the winners of its third essay contest, which Scientific American
    > > >> co-sponsored.  (I helped to decide on the question, judge the essays,
    > > >> and hand out the awards at the World Science Festival.)  The essay
    > > >> question was, "Is Reality Digital or Analog?" Is nature, at root,
    > > >> continuous or discretized?  You can make a powerful case for either
    > > >> option.  Or both options.  Or neither. A venerable tradition in
    > > >> essay-writing is to question the question."

    >
    > > >> OT: what an awful word "discretized"!  It should be simply "discrete".

    >
    > > >> Cheers,
    > > >> David

    >
    > > >I think the answer is neither digital nor analog, but quantized. That
    > > >is probably closer to digital than to analog in concept, but maybe
    > > >closer to analog than digital in "appearance." And then there's the
    > > >principle that once you get to the quantum level, things get really
    > > >really weird.

    >
    > > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    > > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    > > at large scale, it acts "analog."  Neither is really a good
    > > characterization of reality.  

    >
    > The unknown.
    > There are some things we know we don't know,
    > and others we don't know that we don't know
    > we don't know.  It's prolly the latter.
    > Pity that doesn't trigger more curiousity.
    >
    > Silly humans!
    > Sometimes you appear to have qualities of
    > being alive, God said before he changed
    > channels.


    Was he watching digital or analogue TV .
    Whisky-dave, Jun 27, 2011
    #19
  20. rwalker <> wrote:

    > I'd say neither, though at very small scales reality acts more
    > "digital" in that it comes in quanta, which are discrete packages, but
    > at large scale, it acts "analog."


    That's neither true (you get quantum effects in macrosopic sizes,
    just think magnetism, Schroedinger's cat and double slit) nor
    an artifact of reality (all digital behaves 'analog' if you have
    enough headroom and a high enough sampling rate).

    > Neither is really a good
    > characterization of reality.


    Reality is digital, and if you have high enough resolution and
    enough headroom, digital can be is indistinguishable from analog.

    Vice versa, if you notice something is digital, you either have
    exhausted the headroom, run into too low resolution (spatial,
    time or quantity) for the test or ... your known analog methods
    aren't as good as the digital results. (In that case simply
    degrade the digital output.)

    -Wolfgang
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jul 31, 2011
    #20
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