Why Don't Things Fall Apart

Looking for input from someone with a good science background. This is just an example for discussion but it works: Why doesn’t a rock just dissolve away? By this I mean, as I mentioned in another thread, if you were to look at the atomic level there’d be no difference between a rock, say, and the air next to it, other than density and the type of atoms. But what keeps these two apart? Why don’t they just mix into each other like warm and cold water mix eventually? Or better yet, what about two rocks stuck next to each other. Why don’t they just meld into a single rock?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauli_exclusion_principle
This explains things on the quantum level. On larger scales chemical bonding keeps things together.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_bond
Edit: On the molecular level objects do share material. I learned this in freshman physics when we were measuring the force it takes to move wood blocks across a hard table. If we left the blocks in place for a few minutes it took more force to get them moving than if we set them down and immediately measured the force required to slide the blocks across the table. This does not violate Pauli’s Exclusion Principal as no electrons shared the same space, but the electrons in the molecules would cross orbits and thus require more force to move.

... other than density and the type of atoms.
As they say the devil is in the details. Beside, regarding that rock you mention, give it some time and it will fall apart and 'dissolve'. But more amazing give microscopic phytoplankton enough time and it will become a rock (White Cliffs of Dover, etc.).

For a while I’ve been bugged by people saying atoms are mostly empty space because it turns out not to be true mainly because electrons are not like little planets spinning around a star. They are spread out over covalent shells and if anything are like spherical force fields, not “empty” space. But, that’s just an aside.
This morning for the fun of it I went to YouTube and plugged in
“Matter and physics - Why Don’t Things Fall Apart”
Near the top of the list was this cool short

Empty Space is NOT Empty Veritasium channel - 4:46 min https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3xLuZNKhlY Even has a video clip of "empty space" itself.
same channel also has this gem
Can We Really Touch Anything? Veritasium channel - 8:29 min https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKldI-XGHIw
Fun stuff. Actually this one gets a little silly, but then gets back to the topic at hand.
Looking for input from someone with a good science background. This is just an example for discussion but it works: Why doesn't a rock just dissolve away? By this I mean, as I mentioned in another thread, if you were to look at the atomic level there'd be no difference between a rock, say, and the air next to it, other than density and the type of atoms. But what keeps these two apart? Why don't they just mix into each other like warm and cold water mix eventually? Or better yet, what about two rocks stuck next to each other. Why don't they just meld into a single rock?
Science doesn't answer "why" questions. It has enough tp do trying to answer "what" and "how" questions. Why things are not different from the way they are is beyond the scope of science.
Science doesn't answer "why" questions.
Ouch, tagged by another trick question. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrA3zqDjZ5Q :)
if you were to look at the atomic level there'd be no difference between a rock, say, and the air next to it, other than density and the type of atoms. But what keeps these two apart?
Isn't that the point. Different elements behave differently at various temperatures and pressures. How do oxygen and nitrogen behave on Pluto? I have always regarded the element mercury as very weird. Liquid metal, it sounds like science fiction. :lol: psik

I took physics a long time ago, but there is such a thing as “cohesion” – atoms and molecules of the same kind do tend to have an affinity for one another. So at the molecular level, you actually would see a difference. Atoms of the same element “scrunch up” together. And when you get into the macro level, like rocks, they tend to form crystalline structures. Living things, of course, organize into tissues and organs. In short, this is exactly why naively picture everything on a “quantum level” doesn’t necessary work.

This is from the article Darryl pointed to: “In general, strong chemical bonding is associated with the sharing or transfer of electrons between the participating atoms.” But see, there’s a loaded word there…participating. I remember now about cohesion and whatnot. But what makes a bunch of atoms “participating” in the first place? Take two gold bars. What makes one bar different from the other? If I place one on top of the other and leave it, even say a thousand years, I’ll bet there will still be two gold bars.
Lois - I’m not about the teleogical “why” but the physical why.

Looking for input from someone with a good science background. This is just an example for discussion but it works: Why doesn't a rock just dissolve away? By this I mean, as I mentioned in another thread, if you were to look at the atomic level there'd be no difference between a rock, say, and the air next to it, other than density and the type of atoms. But what keeps these two apart? Why don't they just mix into each other like warm and cold water mix eventually? Or better yet, what about two rocks stuck next to each other. Why don't they just meld into a single rock?
You will find the answer in quantum mechanics except for the White House which is obviously falling apart more each day.
This is from the article Darryl pointed to: "In general, strong chemical bonding is associated with the sharing or transfer of electrons between the participating atoms." But see, there's a loaded word there...participating. I remember now about cohesion and whatnot. But what makes a bunch of atoms "participating" in the first place? Take two gold bars. What makes one bar different from the other? If I place one on top of the other and leave it, even say a thousand years, I'll bet there will still be two gold bars. Lois - I'm not about the teleogical "why" but the physical why.
Will you explain the difference?
This is from the article Darryl pointed to: "In general, strong chemical bonding is associated with the sharing or transfer of electrons between the participating atoms." But see, there's a loaded word there...participating. I remember now about cohesion and whatnot. But what makes a bunch of atoms "participating" in the first place? Take two gold bars. What makes one bar different from the other? If I place one on top of the other and leave it, even say a thousand years, I'll bet there will still be two gold bars. Lois - I'm not about the teleogical "why" but the physical why.
Will you explain the difference?Why did New Orleans get hit by Hurricane Katrina? A) Because a low pressure system off the coast formed .... B) Because homosexuals can get married there. A is the scientifical Why, B is the teleological Why. (And obviously, B is false, but just an example).
For a while I've been bugged by people saying atoms are mostly empty space because it turns out not to be true mainly because electrons are not like little planets spinning around a star. They are spread out over covalent shells and if anything are like spherical force fields, not "empty" space. But, that's just an aside.
Actually, an electron, or any other quantum object for that matter, is 'smeared' over a possible number of locations. It is only when measured that such an object is 'resolved' and 'occupies' a specific position. Essentially, matter is just an expression of a particular bunch of probability waves that have collapsed to form the objects we see in the world. But, it is a possibility that quantum objects do not just occupy a particular position but branch off in other dimensions that we aren't aware of, in terms of 'Many Worlds.' The idea is whenever we are faced with a choice, such as making a decision about what to eat, etc., we are causing a branching off of future events. We might, for example, decide to eat an apple, which from our perspective seems to occur, however, the idea is that not only did the observed event occur but the non-event also occurred, viz: not eating the apple. So all possibilities are covered as long as they are feasible possible probabilities of what quantum objects can satisfy. The implication of this, to take an historical example, is that JFK was not only shot but was also not shot, constituting another world direction. That the assassin or assassins completely missed their target and Kennedy continued to be President, preventing the Vietnam War, possibly. It's hard to say.

The Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is scientifically and philosophicallly bankrupt. It cannot be tested and explains nothing about our universe. A few prominent scientists push it off on the public it many, many more consider it a waste of time.

The Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is scientifically and philosophicallly bankrupt. It cannot be tested and explains nothing about our universe. A few prominent scientists push it off on the public it many, many more consider it a waste of time.
No solution of QM can be tested but the MWI remains one of the most popular ideas because it answers a number of observational problems. DeWitt, Tegmark and Deutsch are among its main proponents. In fact, the whole concept of quantum computing relies on the idea that bits can exist in 'superposition' which, Deutsch believes, are the result of 'other realities' interacting at the quantum level with ours. Where do you get your information from?

Part of it is my admittedly elementary understanding of quantum mechanics and science, part of it is the magical nature of the Many Worlds Iterpretation. Most physicists do not believe in this idea.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/poll-quantum-physicists-shows-agreement-disagreement-and-something-between
According to the survey cited in this article only 18 percent of physicists believe the Many Worlds Theory, Max Tegmark being one leading proponent, but he is known for promoting controversial and often untestable ideas, such as the Mathematical Universe Theory.
This is fascinating stuff. If you want to continue this conversation I’d be happy to find some of the reading material that led me to reject the MWI. I’ve had company the last few days and have some stuff to get caught up on around the house first.

The Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
Makes me think about the folks who try to claim that 'Time' is a figment of our imagination because of some mathematical formula that doesn't have an error attached to it. Or something like that. It seems like another example of mistaking the Map for the Territory. Mathematics is our best method of understanding the Universe at large - but it is not that real Universe. Meaning that simply because a mathematical formula can be manipulated to produce some astounding effects, doesn't mean those effects have a foundation in reality.

Here’s another little side road in this thread from Quanta Magazine
https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-defense-of-the-reality-of-time-20170516/

Not that he thinks they always are. Maudlin, who is a professor at New York University and one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics, made his name studying the strange behavior of “entangled" quantum particles, which display behavior that is as counterintuitive as can be; if anything, he thinks physicists have downplayed how transformative entanglement is. At the same time, though, he thinks physicists can be too hasty to claim that our conventional views are misguided, especially when it comes to the nature of time. He defends a homey and unfashionable view of time. It has a built-in arrow. It is fundamental rather than derived from some deeper reality. Change is real, as opposed to an illusion or an artifact of perspective. The laws of physics act within time to generate each moment. Mixing mathematics, physics and philosophy, Maudlin bats away the reasons that scientists and philosophers commonly give for denying this folk wisdom.
Like many things in physics we will need to develop new mathematics to get a more complete understanding of the fundamental forces guiding how our universe works.
Here's another little side road in this thread from Quanta Magazine https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-defense-of-the-reality-of-time-20170516/
Not that he thinks they always are. Maudlin, who is a professor at New York University and one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics, made his name studying the strange behavior of “entangled" quantum particles, which display behavior that is as counterintuitive as can be; if anything, he thinks physicists have downplayed how transformative entanglement is. At the same time, though, he thinks physicists can be too hasty to claim that our conventional views are misguided, especially when it comes to the nature of time. He defends a homey and unfashionable view of time. It has a built-in arrow. It is fundamental rather than derived from some deeper reality. Change is real, as opposed to an illusion or an artifact of perspective. The laws of physics act within time to generate each moment. Mixing mathematics, physics and philosophy, Maudlin bats away the reasons that scientists and philosophers commonly give for denying this folk wisdom.
Like many things in physics we will need to develop new mathematics to get a more complete understanding of the fundamental forces guiding how our universe works.
My feeling is that in a deep sense QM is making us confront our subjective limitations in interpreting reality. Maybe, as a species evolved from hominids, we are simply incapable of really getting under the skin of QM and may need to evolve more to make real progress. This may be why we cannot presently test any of the interpretations, i.e., because we lack the perceptual ability to do so. Mathematical models alone are not enough to 'experience' deeper levels of the universe.
The Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
Makes me think about the folks who try to claim that 'Time' is a figment of our imagination because of some mathematical formula that doesn't have an error attached to it. Or something like that. It seems like another example of mistaking the Map for the Territory. Mathematics is our best method of understanding the Universe at large - but it is not that real Universe. Meaning that simply because a mathematical formula can be manipulated to produce some astounding effects, doesn't mean those effects have a foundation in reality.
Oh that's great, mistaking the Map for the Territory. I've always felt that about QM, they seem to "reify" math, as if the equations ARE the reality.