Ask A Genius 494 – Ontological Lower Limits and Upper Limits

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 494 – Ontological Lower Limits and Upper Limits

January 4, 2019

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the limit of the knowledge from physics?

Rick Rosner: You were talking to a cosmologist who is working towards a theory of multiverses. You were saying that our knowledge is limited in terms of a global view because we’re in the system and not the system.

I have been thinking about how advances in physics are a combination of reasonable suppositions in terms of common sense deduction and then throwing mathematics at what we don’t know.

For instance, Newton sees the apple fall. He sees something fall. He gets the idea that the falling of the small object to the Earth is related to a large orbiting object that has orbital momentum and is constantly orbiting the Earth that pulls its path into a circle or an ellipse.

It is a manifestation of matter being attracted to all other matter. It is one of the simplest suppositions you can make given those equivalences. It turns out to be true as he applied his mathematical instincts to invent the idea of matter being attracted to all other matter.

A couple hundred years later, I forget who; they invented the raisin pie theory of atoms. It is the idea of the raisins being stuck in a pie, as a ball. It is not quite it. But it is a good first pass as to what an atom might be like.

People came up with the idea of electrons orbiting the nucleus. It is a good second pass and a good conclusion someone could draw from the evidence at the time. Then more information comes out, the Quantum Theory is developed.

It is replaced somewhat. People think in terms of orbits. It is still quantized probability clouds. An electron with different quantized amounts of kinetic energy will be found in different shaped clouds in orbit, but it does not quite orbit. It will be in different places within a probability cloud.

Mathematical tools along with conceptions of what the world is like that in retrospect that seems sensible. People like to say that quantum physics is inherently weird and absurd and doesn’t make sense compared to the macro world.

That was mostly said by the first, second, and third generations of quantum physicists. Now, I feel they simply accept this, as quantum systems inherently lack complete knowledge about themselves.

I bet you there are plenty of people who have a mostly intuitive feel of quantum phenomena.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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