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What the Creation Museum did to me
#31
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 11, 2012 at 8:21 am)Zen Badger Wrote: Ever heard of chaos theory?
Yes, and chaos is outdated. We know too well that stable predictable structures and systems can be built upon the random chaotic nature of the underlying systems. Chaos has its basis in determinism, a concept that is not required to explain our universe.
Quote:You mean someone to forgive you for the crime of being the way he made you in the first place?
I'm not here to judge you for your beliefs. This is an Atheist forum, I wouldn't be here if I thought you were not allowed to make your own choices. Only an idiot believes what he is told to believe.
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#32
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 12, 2012 at 4:51 am)Daniel Wrote:
(November 11, 2012 at 8:21 am)Zen Badger Wrote: Ever heard of chaos theory?
Yes, and chaos is outdated. We know too well that stable predictable structures and systems can be built upon the random chaotic nature of the underlying systems. Chaos has its basis in determinism, a concept that is not required to explain our universe.

The point about chaos thoery is that complex systems will arise from simple systems based on simple rules. And that they are emergent systems.
Please be good enough to explain how determinism comes in to it.

Quote:You mean someone to forgive you for the crime of being the way he made you in the first place?
I'm not here to judge you for your beliefs. This is an Atheist forum, I wouldn't be here if I thought you were not allowed to make your own choices. Only an idiot believes what he is told to believe.
[/quote]

How is this a reply to my comment about you thinking you need to be saved?
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If you're not supposed to ride faster than your guardian angel can fly then mine had better get a bloody SR-71.
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#33
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 11, 2012 at 10:50 am)Stimbo Wrote:
(November 11, 2012 at 8:15 am)Daniel Wrote: The size of the universe is necessary, it's not an accident or chance.
No-one apart from creationists says it was either.
Life is just one (of many) manifestations of physics.
Quote:Physics is demonstrable, repeatable, predictable, reliable. Know what else shares these properties? Not your god.
Physics is guided by bias and opinions, you know this. Consider Pi. Pi is a transcendental number, its decimals recess infinitely. But we actually only need the first 11 decimal places. All the practical uses of Pi you would ever need only require the first 11 decimals. Thus you can use Pi = 3.14159265358, isn't that simpler?

According to Occam's Razor the simplest theory is more likely to be correct (although tell that to Einstein). If it was physics, you would derive the number experimentally, and then call it a constant - ah, isn't that much simpler than having an irrational number? Of course it is! According to physics the simpler option is preferred - according to Mathematics, physics can get stuffed because Pi is one of the most complicated numbers known to man.

The universe was structurally different 3 billion years ago. If you don't believe me, then go ask an astrophysicist what the size of the universe is today, and what it was 3 billion years ago. Of course you can't repeat what you had 3 billion years ago, in the same way that it's impossible to re-create the big bang.

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Zen Badger Wrote: The point about chaos thoery is that complex systems will arise from simple systems based on simple rules. And that they are emergent systems.
Please be good enough to explain how determinism comes in to it.
I'll do you one better. Chaos, at its basics, imagines a set of very simple rules from which complexity is derived. Crystallography is one such example, however, of the exact opposite. The starting conditions are randomized, the rules are complicated, but the result ultimately converges into a simple outcome. You can get the same outcome (or similar outcomes anyway) from any number of randomized starting conditions. A random system full of complexity becomes simple when simple rules take over. You can't use a complicated string of rules based on quantum mechanics alone to describe and predict the behaviour of the laws of chemistry - if there is a pathway to those laws, it is too complicated to follow; yet the simple rules are there built ontop of this seemingly impossibly complex inner-structure.

Nobody really knows how the universe works, they simply imagine what might be. Chaos was popular at a time when everyone saw the universe in one particular way, times have moved on and we now know that simplicity doesn't always lead to complexity.
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#34
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote:
(November 11, 2012 at 10:50 am)Stimbo Wrote: No-one apart from creationists says it was either.
Life is just one (of many) manifestations of physics.

Exactly my point, although chemistry would still like a word with you. However, now you've switched gears; you began this point by stating that "The size of the universe is necessary, it's not an accident or chance"; in other words you didn't mention life. I repeat, nobody apart from creationists insist that it had to be either of those things.

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote:
Quote:Physics is demonstrable, repeatable, predictable, reliable. Know what else shares these properties? Not your god.
Physics is guided by bias and opinions, you know this. Consider Pi. Pi is a transcendental number, its decimals recess infinitely. But we actually only need the first 11 decimal places. All the practical uses of Pi you would ever need only require the first 11 decimals. Thus you can use Pi = 3.14159265358, isn't that simpler?

Bollocks. Now you've switched gears again - from physics to mathematics without pausing for breath. You're going to get whiplash if you carry on like this, arguing without due care and attention. The fact that we can, indeed must, round down the value of Pi for all practical purposes does not mean that physics is therefore guided by bias and opinion. There have been documented cases in history in which people have demonstrated their opinion about the laws of gravity, testing their blind faith in some pet god of their own subscription (more often than not, depressingly, the same one). There is a very good reason why one hundred percent of these people are now a part of history; and presumably a part of geography as well. Any idea what that might be? The video of the swinging ball holds a clue.

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote: According to Occam's Razor the simplest theory is more likely to be correct (although tell that to Einstein).

Nope; Occam's Razor is a principle of parsimony, that one should not multiply the number of entities more than necessary; or given competing hypotheses, the one more likely to be correct is the one making the fewer assumptions. It's by no means a fundamental law of nature, more a labour-saving guideline for sorting the potentially fruitful wheat from the potentially inconsequential chaff, and it's hardly infallible.

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote: If it was physics, you would derive the number experimentally, and then call it a constant - ah, isn't that much simpler than having an irrational number? Of course it is! According to physics the simpler option is preferred - according to Mathematics, physics can get stuffed because Pi is one of the most complicated numbers known to man.

Without maths, theoretical physics would be practically impossible since the discipline relies on describing physical laws mathematically. Conversely, maths can get along quite happily without physics and is more than capable of quite startling and impossible things that physics can only stand and watch on the sidelines with a note from its mother. Does that mean that maths is superior to physics? Well, unless you want to produce some physical effect in the real Universe, then you're pretty much reduced to crawling on your hands and knees, begging for physics to take you back.

In short, when it comes to feats of raw computational 'magic', maths is the Golden Age Superman to physics' Dazzler. On the other hand, when you want something you can see, hear and touch, then maths is left talking to itself at parties while physics is in the bedroom getting hummers.

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote: The universe was structurally different 3 billion years ago.

"No shit, Sherlock," said Watson drily.

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote: If you don't believe me, then go ask an astrophysicist what the size of the universe is today, and what it was 3 billion years ago.

So mischaracterising a reliance and a knowledge of the workings of physics as "blind faith" doesn't prevent you from accepting what astrophysicists have to say, then?

(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote: Of course you can't repeat what you had 3 billion years ago, in the same way that it's impossible to re-create the big bang.

Why would you even need to do that? What Georges Lemaître and others before, and contemporary with, him did is take the state of the Universe as we see it today, apply the knowledge that the Universe is expanding, then extrapolate backwards to investigate what the early Universe must have been like and how long ago it was like that. The whole of the rest of the science in that area is based on examining varous aspects of that early state experimentally. For instance, by examining the Universe with a microwave detector, Bell lab technicians Penzias and Wilson discovered - completely accidentally - the long-sought-after cosmic microwave background, essentially the glow from the Big Bang now Doppler shifted down into microwave region of the spectrum. This CMB radiation has since been mapped and can be, in fact has been, investigated by anyone with an interest in it.

Bottom line, for now, would be: while it would be extremely difficult to recreate the Big Bang, though not impossible given the technology and a colossal amount of energy (remember the fuss about the LHC from the perennial doomsayers?), we don't need to.
At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist.  This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways - with relief or with despair.  Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, 'Wait a second.  That means there's a situation vacant.'
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#35
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm)Stimbo Wrote: Exactly my point, although chemistry would still like a word with you. However, now you've switched gears; you began this point by stating that "The size of the universe is necessary, it's not an accident or chance"; in other words you didn't mention life. I repeat, nobody apart from creationists insist that it had to be either of those things.
The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, while the universe itself was still too hot to support life. Its formation occured at exactly the right time to allow life to start, life started and began evolving 3 billion years ago. If the universe is 13.7 billion years old, this means that for the first 10 billion years, while it couldn't support life, it was expanding - ultimatly to the size it is now. Thus, the size of the universe is a direct side-effect of its ability to support life.
Quote:Nope; Occam's Razor is a principle of parsimony, that one should not multiply the number of entities more than necessary; or given competing hypotheses, the one more likely to be correct is the one making the fewer assumptions. It's by no means a fundamental law of nature, more a labour-saving guideline for sorting the potentially fruitful wheat from the potentially inconsequential chaff, and it's hardly infallible.
My point is that it isn't infallible, in fact sometimes it's downright detrimental. The problem though is that there is an infinite number of theories which you could "simplify" into any current theory. You can create exactly the same predictions as general relativity, for instance, by complicating the theory further, and further, and further. You may be on the correct path, or you may just be creating unnecessary complications where simplicity should reside, it's difficult to know. You could just be finding interesting coincidences.

My example on Pi is that you can't derive the number from physics - despite the fact that it is used in physics. What if you had something else absolutely essential in physics, that can be derived no other way except through physics - how would you ever know if your theory on it is actually correct, or, if it is simply a good approximation?
Quote:So mischaracterising a reliance and a knowledge of the workings of physics as "blind faith" doesn't prevent you from accepting what astrophysicists have to say, then?
It's blind faith because it shows belief in a certain unproven scientific discipline. Thus it is perfectly logical for people to reject the notion that life can self-start if they don't have my world-view, and they can still derive their position from physics.
Quote:Why would you even need to do that? What Georges Lemaître and others before, and contemporary with, him did is take the state of the Universe as we see it today, apply the knowledge that the Universe is expanding, then extrapolate backwards to investigate what the early Universe must have been like and how long ago it was like that. The whole of the rest of the science in that area is based on examining varous aspects of that early state experimentally. For instance, by examining the Universe with a microwave detector, Bell lab technicians Penzias and Wilson discovered - completely accidentally - the long-sought-after cosmic microwave background, essentially the glow from the Big Bang now Doppler shifted down into microwave region of the spectrum. This CMB radiation has since been mapped and can be, in fact has been, investigated by anyone with an interest in it.

Bottom line, for now, would be: while it would be extremely difficult to recreate the Big Bang, though not impossible given the technology and a colossal amount of energy (remember the fuss about the LHC from the perennial doomsayers?), we don't need to.
Okay, why don't you forget everything you just wrote there. Think about this. Supposedly, the laws of quantum mechanics give rise to the laws of chemistry which themselves give rise to the laws of biology which give rise to the laws of evolution. Typical reductionism 101. So what if the big bang is an event which gives rise to the laws of quantum mechanics? That would mean there's something more fundamental to nature upon which the laws of quantum mechanics work. Now, clearly, nobody can work backwards from the laws of chemistry to get the laws of quantum mechanics, so nor can they work backwards from the laws of quantum mechanics to arrive at the fundamental law of nature.
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#36
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, while the universe itself was still too hot to support life. Its formation occured at exactly the right time to allow life to start, life started and began evolving 3 billion years ago. If the universe is 13.7 billion years old, this means that for the first 10 billion years, while it couldn't support life, it was expanding - ultimatly to the size it is now. Thus, the size of the universe is a direct side-effect of its ability to support life.
Surely (assuming we grant you all of this without qualm-which no one has to) you mean:

"thus, the ability to support life is a direct side-effect of the size of the universe"

......................................................................................?
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#37
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
Quote:According to Occam's Razor the simplest theory is more likely to be correct (although tell that to Einstein). If it was physics, you would derive the number experimentally, and then call it a constant - ah, isn't that much simpler than having an irrational number? Of course it is! According to physics the simpler option is preferred - according to Mathematics, physics can get stuffed because Pi is one of the most complicated numbers known to man.

Pi doesn't actually exist in nature (there are no perfect circles, only very good approximations). Nature isn't "written in a mathematical language". That was Galileo's idea, and while he was right in his use of mathematics to make science simpler, mathematics is just a tool we use to understand reality. A very effective tool (if used wisely) but still, just a tool. The perfect mathematical forms and numbers are pure speculation.

Quote:If the universe is 13.7 billion years old, this means that for the first 10 billion years, while it couldn't support life, it was expanding - ultimatly to the size it is now. Thus, the size of the universe is a direct side-effect of its ability to support life

It's other way around: the ability to produce life is a side-effect of the size of the universe.

Quote:My example on Pi is that you can't derive the number from physics - despite the fact that it is used in physics.

So? Mathematcs is just a tool to express a theory in a simple and effective way. Its results are always supposed to be approximation of reality, not reality itself.

Quote:What if you had something else absolutely essential in physics, that can be derived no other way except through physics - how would you ever know if your theory on it is actually correct, or, if it is simply a good approximation?

What do you mean?

Quote:Think about this. Supposedly, the laws of quantum mechanics give rise to the laws of chemistry which themselves give rise to the laws of biology which give rise to the laws of evolution. Typical reductionism 101. So what if the big bang is an event which gives rise to the laws of quantum mechanics? That would mean there's something more fundamental to nature upon which the laws of quantum mechanics work.

Probably. It'd be called Great Unifying Theory, if someone was able to come up with it.

Quote:nor can they work backwards from the laws of quantum mechanics to arrive at the fundamental law of nature.

Do you know how the laws of quantum physics were discovered?
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#38
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 12, 2012 at 5:10 am)Daniel Wrote: The universe was structurally different 3 billion years ago. If you don't believe me, then go ask an astrophysicist what the size of the universe is today, and what it was 3 billion years ago ...

An astrophysicist would answer : " do you mean the infinite or the observable universe ? " ...
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#39
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote:
(November 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm)Stimbo Wrote: Exactly my point, although chemistry would still like a word with you. However, now you've switched gears; you began this point by stating that "The size of the universe is necessary, it's not an accident or chance"; in other words you didn't mention life. I repeat, nobody apart from creationists insist that it had to be either of those things.
The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, while the universe itself was still too hot to support life.

No it wasn't. I'm sorry, but it wasn't. It's rather like saying the rate at which paint will dry on your front door is determined only by the temperature of Mars. The temperature of the early proto-Universe dropped, primarily if not solely by expansion, at most several million years after its formation. The conditions that allow the formation of life on individual planets is governed by the temperature at and/or below its surface, which is governed chiefly by the temperature of its star(s); though there are obviously atmospheric considerations as well, greenhouse conditions and all that. Once the temperature of the Universe had dropped below that required for atomic structures to form, it became a non-factor.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: Its formation occured at exactly the right time to allow life to start, life started and began evolving 3 billion years ago.

... some 'billion' and a half years after the Earth's formation. If the Earth had formed a 'billion' years earlier, or later, the arrival of self-replicating molecules and hence life would still follow the same basic schedule, all else being equal.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: If the universe is 13.7 billion years old, this means that for the first 10 billion years, while it couldn't support life, it was expanding - ultimatly to the size it is now. Thus, the size of the universe is a direct side-effect of its ability to support life.

There is no 'ultimate', at least not yet - the Universe is still expanding. Once the Universe could start forming atomic structures, which clumped together in accordance with physical laws, the first stars began to appear. They progressed through their life cycles towards their end, fusing heavier elements in their cores as they try in vain to remain viable, then faced the inevitable as stars of appropriate mass exploded, seeding nearby molecular clouds with these new, heavier elements, forming new stars with the added bonus of rocky and metallic planet-forming material. Once suitable planets had formed and the system stabilised, as long as conditions were appropriate then life could arise, at least potentially. The size of the Universe at this point had nothing to do with it.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote:
Quote:Nope; Occam's Razor is a principle of parsimony, that one should not multiply the number of entities more than necessary; or given competing hypotheses, the one more likely to be correct is the one making the fewer assumptions. It's by no means a fundamental law of nature, more a labour-saving guideline for sorting the potentially fruitful wheat from the potentially inconsequential chaff, and it's hardly infallible.
My point is that it isn't infallible, in fact sometimes it's downright detrimental.

Only when it becomes inconvenient. If one is making far too many assumptions, or multiplying non-essential and unproven entities to the point at which you fall faul of the Razor, then it's a sign to stop and re-evaluate your argument. It may be the case that the points you wish to establish are indeed valid and sound, but Occam's razor provides a useful guideline to correct reasoning.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: The problem though is that there is an infinite number of theories which you could "simplify" into any current theory. You can create exactly the same predictions as general relativity, for instance, by complicating the theory further, and further, and further. You may be on the correct path, or you may just be creating unnecessary complications where simplicity should reside, it's difficult to know. You could just be finding interesting coincidences.

Which is where Occam's Razor comes in. See, one of the guiding principles that can make a good theory out of a plain old ordinary theory is that of economy. If I was asked for directions to a place and I gave a route that took you every which way but up before your destination (what we in the Black Country refer to as "going all round the Wrekin"), though it gets you where you want to go, it's clearly a less satisfying route than one that takes you straight there. Some detours may be inevitable, but essentially the most direct route is often the best; though not always, if you're driving then fuel economy may be your guiding principle.

Apart from being simple, another benchmark for a good theory is, believe it or not, elegance - a simple, elegant explanation is often preferred to a tortuous, ugly one.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: My example on Pi is that you can't derive the number from physics - despite the fact that it is used in physics.

What, like this you mean?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ-HwrOpIps?rel=0

Fairly long video, though the only parts pertinent to this thread are those involving Professor Roger Bowley at his draftboard. Incidentally, I can recommend wholeheartedly subbing to the Numberphile channel, as well as their related ones. You won't be sorry.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: What if you had something else absolutely essential in physics, that can be derived no other way except through physics - how would you ever know if your theory on it is actually correct, or, if it is simply a good approximation?

There are plenty of mathematical things essential for physics - Tau for instance, or the Golden Ratio, Phi. Even if they could only be derived by physics, they must still be describable mathematically. There's your independent verification. But let's assume that you are correct, that there is something that can't be verified mathematically and independently. It would still have practical use in the real world. Your red herring of Pi, for instance. for all practical purposes we tend to use the number only to the first half dozen decimal places, yet the number snakes off into infinity. That in no way prevents us from creating circles, and other things that derive from the concept, that are good enough for everyday use.

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote:
Quote:So mischaracterising a reliance and a knowledge of the workings of physics as "blind faith" doesn't prevent you from accepting what astrophysicists have to say, then?
It's blind faith because it shows belief in a certain unproven scientific discipline. Thus it is perfectly logical for people to reject the notion that life can self-start if they don't have my world-view, and they can still derive their position from physics.

You're still ignoring chemistry in all this obsession with physics, and I'm starting to wonder why. However, to reiterate what I said earlier, there is a vast difference between a working knowledge and reliance - faith, if you really must - in physical laws as they have been described and understood, and blind faith which is faith in something without reason. As a wise philosopher once said, "you can tell me you put your faith in God to put you through the day, but when it comes time to cross the road, I know you look both ways."

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote:
Quote:Why would you even need to do that? What Georges Lemaître and others before, and contemporary with, him did is take the state of the Universe as we see it today, apply the knowledge that the Universe is expanding, then extrapolate backwards to investigate what the early Universe must have been like and how long ago it was like that. The whole of the rest of the science in that area is based on examining varous aspects of that early state experimentally. For instance, by examining the Universe with a microwave detector, Bell lab technicians Penzias and Wilson discovered - completely accidentally - the long-sought-after cosmic microwave background, essentially the glow from the Big Bang now Doppler shifted down into microwave region of the spectrum. This CMB radiation has since been mapped and can be, in fact has been, investigated by anyone with an interest in it.

Bottom line, for now, would be: while it would be extremely difficult to recreate the Big Bang, though not impossible given the technology and a colossal amount of energy (remember the fuss about the LHC from the perennial doomsayers?), we don't need to.
Okay, why don't you forget everything you just wrote there.

Why should I, just because you did?

(November 13, 2012 at 3:26 am)Daniel Wrote: Think about this. Supposedly, the laws of quantum mechanics give rise to the laws of chemistry which themselves give rise to the laws of biology which give rise to the laws of evolution. Typical reductionism 101. So what if the big bang is an event which gives rise to the laws of quantum mechanics? That would mean there's something more fundamental to nature upon which the laws of quantum mechanics work. Now, clearly, nobody can work backwards from the laws of chemistry to get the laws of quantum mechanics, so nor can they work backwards from the laws of quantum mechanics to arrive at the fundamental law of nature.

Now perhaps you will explain to the class why you arrive at that conclusion, that we can't work backwards as you suggest? It should be easy, if it's so clear. Be careful not to trip over the glaring non-sequitur you've left lying around.
At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist.  This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways - with relief or with despair.  Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, 'Wait a second.  That means there's a situation vacant.'
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#40
RE: What the Creation Museum did to me
(November 13, 2012 at 11:21 am)Kirbmarc Wrote: Pi doesn't actually exist in nature (there are no perfect circles, only very good approximations).
You have limited Pi to being concerned only with circles. How do you suppose planetary orbits work? Every planet's orbit in our solar system is always described as elliptical, not as a string of approximate straight lines... Consider that Phi is found in nature, and it is an irrational number.
Quote:Do you know how the laws of quantum physics were discovered?
Yep, a brilliant, brilliant person named Thomas Young - who translated the entire Bible by himself (Young's Literal Translation) - who was the first person in history to successfully decipher ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs (it took him 22 years to fully translate the Rosetta Stone) - and he never even saw the stone, he did it with a rubbing of it! Young designed the double-slit experiment to show that light is a wave. This would mean that matter isn't made up of tiny balls and classical physics believed. This of course, paved the way for key concepts to arise - wave-partial duality and quantum uncertainty, which ultimately lead to QM.

(November 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm)Stimbo Wrote: Now perhaps you will explain to the class why you arrive at that conclusion, that we can't work backwards as you suggest? It should be easy, if it's so clear. Be careful not to trip over the glaring non-sequitur you've left lying around.
Because quantum mechanics is not the only way that you can get the laws of chemistry. QM is a well established theory for the microstructure of the universe, but most of the time we never use it. We use the laws of chemistry, and other "laws" that we find more convenient and more useful. The only reason we have a theory for QM is because of the observations we made of the "quantum world". As I've said repeatedly - crystals supposedly form from laws implicit in QM, but nobody knows how or why. Is QM the only way that you can have them? No. Thus, if there's a structure smaller and more fundamental than QM which we can't observe, we can't possibly know what it is because there'll be multiple ways to make QM in the first place.
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