Tag Archives: quantum theory

quantum, Schrodinger's Cat

Vodcast Episode Two: Quantum Absurdities, Part One

Play

Today we are going over quantum absurdities and showing how quantum physics is in fact highly absurd. This is part one of a two part series.

Click here to download the PDF transcript or read below the video.

You may also listen to or download an audio only version above.

[Note: Please note that this transcript may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]

Intro

Metaphysics of Physics is the crucial voice of reason in the philosophy of science, rarely found anywhere else in the world today.

We are equipped with the fundamental principles of a rational philosophy that gives us the edge, may make us misfits in the mainstream sciences but also attracts rational minds.

With this show, we are fighting for a more rational world, mostly by looking through the lens of the philosophy of science.

We raise awareness of issues within the philosophy of science and present alternative and rational approaches.

The irrationality of modern physics is the focus of this channel. We have covered topics such as:

The irrationality of Stephen Hawking. The universe and the Big Bang. The philosophy of Niels Bohr. The achievements of Isaac Newton.Optical illusions and the validity of the senses.

If you think that science is about explaining a knowable reality, then this is the channel for you.

If you want to learn more about the irrationality of modern physics, then you are in the right place.

I am your host Ashna. My husband, Dwayne Davies is the primary content creator and your guide through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science.

We will discuss the problems in modern physics and more and how we can live in a more rational world!

Check out our website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

The Show Itself

Hi everyone! Welcome to the second episode of the Metaphysics of Physics video podcast. Today we are going over quantum absurdities and showing how quantum physics is in fact highly absurd.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it covers many of the essential absurdities.

What is the purpose of this? Yes, the mathematics of quantum theory is incredibly useful and impressive. But we want to show that the physical interpretations of quantum mechanics make no sense.

This is part one of a two-part series.

Particle Wave Duality

Quantum physics asserts that particles can be described as both a wave and a particle.

Albert Einstein had this to say about particle-wave duality:

It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.

Albert Einstein

Until the early twentieth century, light was widely considered to be a wave, as demonstrated by Thomas Young.

Thomas Young
Thomas Young

But then Einstein showed that light seemed to have particle behavior! And Planck showed that light seemed to come in discrete packets.

So, was light a particle or a wave? Which was it? Later physicists alleged to show that light sometimes shows particle behavior and sometimes wave behavior.

This led them to conclude that light is somehow both a particle and a wave at the same time. And that it, somehow, sometimes behaves as a wave and sometimes behaves as a particle.

Does this make any sense? Well, of course not.

A wave is an abstract description. It describes the motion of something. It describes various relationships.

Take a sound wave. It is an abstract description of the movement of air that can be mathematically represented as a wave.

Or take a water wave. When we say “wave” in this context, we are describing water arranged in a certain pattern.

The pattern of rise and fall with peaks and troughs.

The concept of a water wave describes the relationship of positions between water molecules that makes this pattern.

In common speech, it is often said that a “water wave” or the like refers to the water molecules. This is the noun form of “wave” that describes something arranged like this (something that is waving).

We are using wave in its verb form, as a description of motion or behavior, or a description of some kind of relationship.

A wave is a behavior that a physical entity does. Water may move in a wave motion. Air molecules move in a wave pattern and we experience this as sound.

A wave is the behavior of physical entities. It is not a form of physical entity.

Saying that light is a wave is saying “Light is the movement or behavior of something”. It does not tell us what it is that is waving.

It is like if I held up a ball and asked what it is and you said “That is a bounce”.

You have told me something that the ball does but not what the ball actually is. Bouncing is what the ball does, it is not what the ball is.

Physics is the science of explaining the nature of the fundamental physical constituents of the universe. You want to explain what those things are and how they interact.

Saying “light is a wave, an abstract description of behavior” does not further that in any way and evades the question of what is doing the waving.

We do not even have to get into the issue that something cannot be a wave and a particle at the same time. Because a wave is a description of behavior while a particle is a description of what something is, its form.

The idea of particle-wave duality reifies an abstraction and attempts to reduce physical entities to an abstraction.

It also evades the Law of Identity that says that things are what they are. Something is either a particle or not. It is not a particle, a form of matter and also a wave, an abstraction.

Contradictions do not exist. If you think you see a contradiction in reality then check your premises, because one or more of them are wrong.

quantum, Schrodinger's Cat
That means no dead and alive zombie cats…

Indeterminacy

It is said that until they are observed, particles do not have a definite state. Instead, they exist in a state of “superposition”.

That is, they exist in multiple different, mutually exclusive states all at once. And then when an observation takes place, they take on definite values for their properties.

A property is merely an aspect of somethings existence. But any property of any particle can only exist in one state at a time. That particle’s property can only take one value at a time.

That is just another way of saying something is what it is and that it has a nature and its properties are determined by its nature. Its properties are simply an aspect of its nature and cannot be any different than what they are.

This implies that properties must have single, definite values, as determined by the nature of the entities in question.

Saying that particles exist in a superposition of states is equivalent to saying that those properties have no values and do not exist.

It is denying that a particle is what it is and instead treats it as some kind of Platonic combination of possibilities.

This reifies the idea that a particle can have different possible states and pretends that these possible states are all somehow real, independent of the particle and its nature.

Vodcast Episode One: The Cause of Modern Physics is Philosophy

Play

Today we are going over quotes that help to show that the cause of the irrationality in modern physics is philosophy.

Click here to download the PDF transcript or read below the video.

You may also listen to or download an audio only version above.

[Note: Please note that this transcript may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]

Intro

Metaphysics of Physics is the crucial voice of reason in the philosophy of science, rarely found anywhere else in the world today.

We are equipped with the fundamental principles of a rational philosophy that gives us the edge, may make us misfits in the mainstream sciences but also attracts rational minds.

With this show, we are fighting for a more rational world, mostly by looking through the lens of the philosophy of science.

We raise awareness of issues within the philosophy of science and present alternative and rational approaches.

The irrationality of modern physics is the focus of this channel. We have covered topics such as:

The irrationality of Stephen Hawking.The universe and the Big Bang. The philosophy of Niels Bohr. The achievements of Isaac Newton.Optical illusions and the validity of the senses.

If you think that science is about explaining a knowable reality, then this is the channel for you.

If you want to learn more about the irrationality of modern physics, then you are in the right place.

I am your host Ashna. My husband, Dwayne Davies is the primary content creator and your guide through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science.

We will discuss the problems in modern physics and more and how we can live in a more rational world!

Check out our website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

The Show Itself

Hi everyone! Welcome to the first of the Metaphysics of Physics video podcast. Today we are going over quotes that help to show that the cause of the irrationality in modern physics is philosophy.

If you are a long-time fan of Metaphysics of Physics, then you will know that modern physics is full of crazy absurdities. Such as things being particles and waves at the same time. And things not being real unless they are observed. Or the tendency to treat obvious concepts such as that of “dimension” or “time” as though they were physical things. Or that the universe is made from mathematics!

Why do educated people take such nonsense seriously? Is it because reality is as weird as physicists like to believe? And do we just have to accept this?

No! If you examine all these kinds of claims, you will not find any evidence that supports them. All these claims are simply baseless, nonsensical interpretations of experiments and/or mathematical equations. There is never a shred of evidence that supports any of these interpretations.

Ah, but what about all the alleged experimental evidence. Yes, what about it? In no case can it reasonably be interpreted as supporting any such anti-reality position. No experiment ever performed will ever show that reality is not real or that it is unknowable.

If reality was not real, the results of experiments would not be real and they would demonstrate nothing. If reality was unknowable, then you could never learn that by performing experiments that could not reveal that.

Or in other words: you cannot use reality to demonstrate that there is no reality. You cannot claim knowledge that proves that knowledge is impossible.

No experiment will ever show that reality is not real….

Why then do physicists take any of this seriously? It is because of the ideas that physicists have accepted either passively or actively. It is because of the philosophies that those in physics have blindly accepted or have actively embraced. Philosophies which lead them to interpret reality through the twisted lenses of those very philosophies which are hostile to reality and knowledge.

What kind of philosophies might these be? The kind that asserts that what we call reality is an illusion and that we might as well give up trying to understand how it works. Instead, they claim that we should confine ourselves to studying only mathematical appearances. As that is all they believe we shall ever know about.

Today we are going to explore some quotes from physicists. We will start with Niels Bohr and his contemporaries. They started physics down the road of abandoning reality in favor of mathematical appearances. And then we shall turn to more recent physicists who evidently agree with Bohr and his peers.

We shall see that the absurdities of modern physics should come as no surprise. The people inflicting modern physics with these absurdities are simply being consistent with the philosophy of Bohr and the like. The philosophy which dominates science today and which is shaped by the Neo-Kantian philosophies that have dominated our culture for over a hundred years.

Without any further ado, let us look at some of these quotes. And then discuss what kind of philosophical premises motivated them.

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” – Niels Bohr

Bohr believed that we could never know reality as it is. We can merely develop a pragmatic abstract description consistent with what we observe. Which is merely an illusion, not things as they are.

Gee thanks Bohr, thanks for plunging physics into irrationality…

If we cannot know reality, then one might ask “towards what purpose?” do we have science? Creating science-fiction?

That seems rather pointless to me. But pragmatists would assert that there is some use in describing illusions. If they help us live better lives as we navigate our way around all these illusions.

“Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems.” – Niels Bohr.

We are to view things such as an “electron” or a “proton” as abstract descriptions. We should not think that we know anything about what they are. No, we are merely creating abstract descriptions. And then identifying relationships between these abstractions.

After all, if we cannot know reality as it is, and all we have are illusions to work with, then should we not at least try to find out how these illusions are connected? At least then we can learn to live in this world of illusions.

“I consider those developments in physics during the last decades which have shown how problematical such concepts as “objective” and “subjective” are, a great liberation of thought.” – Niels Bohr.

Here Bohr exposes his pragmatism. He does not consider it worthwhile to discuss whether the abstractions he holds so dear are “objective” or “subjective”. He is merely concerned with whether they might prove pragmatically useful.

If we cannot know reality, then what use is it to say whether something is objective or subjective? We can never know. We can only know whether abstractions are useful.

A reasonable person might say that abstractions are only useful if they are objective.

Bohr believed that we cannot know whether something is objective or not, so considers it pointless to consider such things.

“We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections.” – Niels Bohr

Bohr enjoyed the fact that so much of the quantum physics he was developing made no sense. He reveled in its frequent contradictions and insisted that different aspects of the same thing could be in a kind of conflict (but were complementary) with each other. Of course, he urged his peers to accept such conflicts!

He was like one of those deranged poets who enjoys constructing rhymes that make no sense. But who nonetheless insists that his poetry is of great depth and significance.

Except he was not merely some poet filling his victim’s ears with an insult to the Muses. He was detaching physics from reality while insisting that physics does not need it. While insisting that instead it needs beautiful descriptions of contradictions!

“There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about Nature.” – Niels Bohr

That sums it all up. According to Bohr, the point of physics is not to learn about the fundamental nature of the physical world. What then is the point of physics?

According to Bohr, it is about whatever we want to say about reality. Without concerning ourselves with things like objectivity, logic or the true nature of things. It is all about “poetry” and the relationships between meaningless abstractions with no connection to an unknowable reality.

Of course, physics is about explaining the real physical world. But according to Bohr we can not know the real world, let alone explain it!

You can read more about the philosophy of Bohr in episode seven of the podcast. There we cover his philosophy in some depth.

Bohr and his disciples had an enormous influence on physics and later physicists. But he was not the only person to assert such things.

For instance, we have this quote from Werner Heisenberg:

Scare Quotes of Note – Episode One

Introduction

Today we are starting a new series where we take seven quotes from my database of irrational quotes, briefly examine what they mean and what is so terrible about each of the quotes.

Without any further ado, let us look at our first seven quotes. We have several quotes from the physicists Heisenberg and Schrodinger. As well as quotes from the philosopher David Hume and one from the Quran.

Scare Quotes of Note

“Quantum theory provides us with a striking illustration of the fact that we can fully understand a connection though we can only speak of it in images and parables.” — Werner Heisenberg

According to Heisenberg, quantum theory does not tell us of things as they are. The purpose of physics, to allow us to understand the nature of things as they are and to explain how the physical world works on a fundamental level.

What does he mean by images and parables? He means that we can construct mental pictures but those pictures do not describe things as they are. We can construct descriptions of things like atoms, but these descriptions are not true.

Like a parable, they tell a story, one that is not necessarily true. In this case we are just telling ourselves stories for the purposes of describing the quantum world.

That does not sound much like physics to me!

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” — Werner Heisenberg

When he says that the universe is “stranger than we think” he is likely referring mostly to quantum mechanics. Which is certainly very strange and also very false.

“[S]tranger than we can think”? What does he mean by this? He means that not only is the world as strange as quantum mechanics claims but perhaps even stranger! Heisenberg did not believe that we could know reality. He thought we could know only what was exposed to our senses. Which according to him, was not really reality.

He also thought it was so strange, so illogical that it would always remain as an unknowable mystery.

No. Reality is certainly not this strange. Despite what quantum physicists assert to the contrary.

“We have no other notion of cause and effect, but that of certain objects, which have always conjoin’d together, and which in all past instances have been found inseparable.” — David Hume

Hume was an extreme skeptic. He was the sort of person who would question whether just because your car battery died and your car stopped, that there necessarily had to be any casual connection between these two events. No matter whether or not you could actually show that there was a causal connection.

There are many, many people like this today and many of them are getting this directly or indirectly from Hume and other philosophers.

According to Hume, just because your observe A leading to B, you cannot assume that causes B. Well, yes, you should not blindly assume that. It is true that just because A happens and then B happens, that you can assume that A causes B. Perhaps B occurring after A was simply a coincidence and B has no real relation to A. After all,correlation is not causation

However, that does not mean that you cannot show that in some cases A and B must be casually connected. It is simple to show that if you take the battery out of your car, that will cause it not to work anymore.

All you have to do is show the nature of a car engine and show the relationship between the nature of the engine and the battery. Then you can show that yes, removing the battery is casually connected to the car stopping.

Therefore you can in fact prove that A will always lead to B. You simply show that if A occurs, it is in the nature of the entities involved that B happens. It would contradict the nature of the entities involved if B did not happen! Therefore A and B are certainly casually connected.

We do not have to blindly assume a causal connection, we can show that in certain instances, such a connection must be necessity exist!

“I insist upon the view that ‘all is waves’.” — Erwin Schrodinger

How can all be waves? Everything is a wave?

Let us remind ourselves what a wave is. A wave is an abstract mathematical description of relationships. Things wave, but things are not waves.

Saying that matter is a wave is like saying that “an electron is the periodic motion of something”. What? How can an electron be periodic motion? An electron might move in a periodic manner, but an electron is not itself made up of motion!

A wave is something that matter does, not something that matter is.

So why on Earth should we insist that all is waves?

We discuss this issue in this episode of the podcast.

“String theory at its finest is, or should be, a new branch of geometry. …I, myself, believe rather strongly that the proper setting for string theory will prove to be a suitable elaboration of the geometrical ideas upon which Einstein based general relativity.” — Edward Witten

String theory is supposed to be a “unified theory of physics” which serves to unify quantum mechanics and relativity. It is supposed to provide a unified, fundamental and integrated theory of physics from which most, all or at least many other ideas in physics can be derived.

Such a theory should provide a physical explanation for the physical world by describing the nature of physical objects and their interactions. A geometrical theory certainly does not do this. Geometry describes mathematical relationships, it does not describe the fundamental nature of physical objects and their interactions.

While it is fine to use geometry in physics, the end goal of physics should not be to describe a geometrical theory. Mathematics is not the end goal of physics. Physicists have for more than one hundred years pretended as though it is. That does not make it so.

“The laws of physics and chemistry are statistical throughout.” — Erwin Schrodinger

Are they now? Let us ask ourselves what the proper place of statistics is in physics.

We know that there are some phenomena that we do not understand very well. We do not yet understand them well enough to be able to accurately predict how they work. Nor do we have mathematical equations that we can use to accurately predict their behavior.

But suppose we are able to construct a statistical model that gives us the probabilities for certain kinds of behaviors. We might not understand the phenomena very well nor be able to predict the outcome with much certainty, but we can at least use statistics to estimate he chances of certain outcomes.

A good example of this would be most of quantum mechanics. We know so little about the quantum world that we have to resort to probabilities and other statistical methods. We tell ourselves that is all we can do, but that nonsense is a story for another day.

The truth is that if we adopt rational epistemology and if we decide we can learn more about the quantum world, we will and we may not have to rely on statistical methods.

“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” — Quran (8:12)

There are many people that like to pretend that the Quran does not advocate violence. They believe that anyone claiming that Islam is a violent ideology is simply misunderstanding the teachings of Islam.

So, then is this quote directly from the Quran not representative of Islam? It is from its most holy book, so one cannot dismiss it merely as the a misrepresentation of the religion.

Perhaps this passage is an anomaly and there are few passages like this? Nope! There are many other passages such as this which openly call for Muslims to violently murder non-believers. Such violence is a central aspect of the faith and the standard response demanded when in regards to infidels!

So much for Islam not being a religion of extreme violence. Such violence is an inextricable part of the faith!

You can find over 100 such verses of violence here.

probability, dice, die

The Role of Probability in Science.

Today we are looking at the proper role of probability in science. And how this has been subverted by modern physics. Let us first look at what probability is.

Let us suppose that we want to roll a six on a six-sided playing die. We know that on average, we will roll a six about one time per six rolls of the die. That is, if we roll the die six times, we would expect to get a six about one time.

We could throw the die twenty times and get six zero times. But we would be surprised if this happens. We would consider this to be a very unlikely event.

The more superstitious person might consider oneself cursed!

We say that the probability, or chance, of rolling a six is one in six. But what do we mean by this? What does the concept of “probability” describe?

There is much that can be said about calculating and determining probabilities in a huge range of imaginable contexts. Mathematics has much to say on this topic and we can use it to calculate/estimate all sorts of probabilities using very sophisticated methods.

But we will keep things simple and ask what the concept tells us about reality, using simple examples.

Probability is a method of dealing with uncertainty.

It takes certain processes, such as rolling a die or predicting the weather. These kinds of processes are very difficult to predict. We have little ability to be certain what the outcome(s) of these processes might be.

For instance, consider rolling a die. Although it seems to be a very simple process, we cannot track all of the tiny motions of the die. We do not have any way of knowing exactly how it will dance through the air and then strike the table.

probability, dice, die

Such simple looking things, but it is next to impossible to predict the outcome of throwing them!

Or consider the weather. This is an extremely complex thing to predict. Countless factors go into determining the weather on any particular day or even hour. So many that we currently have no reliable way to account for them all and we likely never will.

What do we do? If we cannot account for all of the relevant factors and make any certain predictions, then do we throw our hands in the air and give up? We could, but often that is not a good option.

So, what then are we to do? Should we accept that it is difficult to predict the outcome with any certainty? Or should we try to estimate the relative frequency of certain outcomes?

Can we do this, can we estimate the relative frequency of certain outcomes? And how is this useful?

Here we want to estimate how often certain outcomes will happen relative to others. If the process occurs this many times, how often do we estimate we would get this result or this other result?

In other words: we want some way to determine how likely something is to happen. Is it very unlikely or quite likely to happen? Should we expect it to happen often or not very often? This is what probabilities will help us estimate.

This is all probability is, an estimate of the likelihood of a given event to occur. That is, how often a given even is expected to occur.

This helps us estimate whether we should expect something to happen in a given instance or whether we should expect it not to. As well as to estimate how often a given event might happen.

Since we cannot keep track of all the factors that determine the outcome of certain phenomena, probabilities help us deal with uncertainties. We might not be able to account for everything and predict the outcome with much certainty, but we can estimate what the results might be.

This can help us determine which results to expect and which not to expect and how often those results might happen.

This the proper role of probability in the sciences: dealing with uncertainties typically caused by our inability to track complicated or unpredictable phenomenon.

Say we find it difficult to predict the movements of an electron. We do not understand how to predict precisely where it will be two seconds from now.

However, we do know certain things about electrons. We know enough to predict that it is likely it will be somewhere in this area here. It is not likely to be in these other areas. While we cannot be certain where it will be, we at least have some ability to predict its behaviour and we might be able to do something useful.

Or take the weather. It is very hard to be certain what the weather will do days from now. But we can understand meteorology well enough to be fairly certain that on some days it will most likely rain. Or that rain is unlikely. We might not be certain and we might be wrong, but we know enough to advise people that they should prepare for these outcomes, as they are quite likely.

probability

The weather is a very complicated thing. We need a lot of very, very complicated math to predict probabilities here. And we know how often it can be wrong ….

In all these cases we are dealing with uncertainty and allowing ourselves to have some understanding of what to expect when faced with uncertainty. We might not be certain, but we know enough to say something about what is happening.

Now let us get into something more controversial.

In quantum mechanics, there is the concept of probability. But it is not treated as a method of dealing with uncertainty and making predictions about possible outcomes. There it is treated as … something else.

In quantum mechanics, the behaviour of particles is said to exist in some kind of indefinite limbo state until observed. Particles are neither here nor there but in a superposition of positions. They do not have any definite momentum and so forth. Such properties take singular, definite values only when they are observed.

One might expect that they take some definite value according to some causal mechanism. However, that is not the case, not according to quantum mechanics. Once a particle is observed, it is said that the “probability waveform” of the particle collapses and then each property takes on a definite value.

In other words, particles do not have any definite nature. They are treated as things with no definite nature. As something not fully real.

string theory

String Theory: A Misguided Attempt at Unification

String theory is based on the misguided idea that the “great pillars of 20th-century science”; quantum mechanics and relativity can be unified. Unified into one theory that explains the quantum theory and relativity.

This is meant to unify physics and allow us to come up with a unified “Theory of Everything“. Or, at least to come up with a unified theory that can be used to explain most/all of physics. It is believed that with this theory, pretty much every other aspect of physics could be derived.

How do we know that we should try to unify quantum mechanics and relativity?

Even if we assume that these are reasonable theories, how do we know that we can unify them into a good or even coherent theory? Who says such a theory exists?

Many physicists assume that such a theory must exist. However, I see little or no reason to assume that such a theory must exist.

Why do so many believe that it must? Physicists have noticed how successful quantum theory and relativity have been in making astoundingly accurate mathematical predictions. It is rather hard not to. In terms of their powers of mathematically describing relationships, both of these theories are remarkably accurate to very high levels of precision.

And there has certainly been a trend in physics towards increased unification.  For instance, electricity and magnetism were once considered to be separate things until it was discovered that they are very closely related and that the same set of equations describe how they both work.

So, it is widely considered that there is this increasing trend toward unifying lots of different things under one theory, all describable by one set of equations. As done with electromagnetism and as physicists believe they accomplished with space and time.

They now want to unify quantum physics and relativity so that one theory explains both of these. And that can describe both with one set of equations. They assume that this is possible and that such a theory must exist. Must it?

Is it necessarily the case that a single theory explains the things covered by quantum mechanics and gravity?

I am not sure this is necessarily the case. Nor am I sure that it need not be the case. Until such a reasonable candidate for such a theory comes along, I think it is premature to do more than speculate.

Whether or not there is any such theory, we know that it cannot be a combination of quantum theory and relativity. Not as quantum theory and relativity exist as we know them today.

We should ask ourselves if quantum mechanics and relativity are theories that are ready to be unified.

string theory
And should we try unify them into something like this? Yes, this is the sort of thing string theory likes to talk about.

Do quantum mechanics and relativity make any sense?

If not, should we be trying to unify them? Are they coherent theories and if not, should we expect to be able to unify them into a coherent theory?

Relativity claims to unify space, time and gravity all into one neat bundle, all described by one set of equations. I would argue that it does not. I would argue that the physical interpretations of relativity make no sense. You cannot explain how gravity works by treating mathematical concepts such as space and time as though they were physical aspects of the universe.

Sure, it might work as a mathematical method, but we have to keep in mind that it is just a mathematical method and that space and time are only mathematical concepts. We cannot explain how anything works by treating abstractions as physical aspects of the universe.

Quantum theory is also rather nonsensical.

In fact, it largely avoids trying to explain anything and largely denies that subatomic particles have any reality or act in any consistent way with reality while they are not being observed.

Quantum mechanics explains very little in terms of the actions of physical objects. Instead, it is the action of magical entities that are not fully real and act as ghosts that are somehow made mostly real by the process of observation.

I am going to argue that neither quantum mechanics nor relativity is a coherent theory. Sure, the mathematics of both theories has been verified time and time again to match reality with great precision.

The point of physics is not to merely come up with accurate mathematical descriptions of reality.

Does this look like physics to you? Looks like math to me. But, this is about all string theory has to offer.

The point is to help us understand physical reality as it really is. Not to merely describe mathematical appearances.

The problem is that neither quantum mechanics nor relativity helps us to understand reality. They provide nonsensical, metaphysically invalid descriptions of appearances but do not describe reality or help us to understand it. In fact, they deny reality any place in physics and merely describe appearances.

They describe impossibilities such as particles that exist in contradictory states. Or objects that have different properties for different observers. This is about as far from a rational attempt to help us understand reality as one could imagine.

Why then should we try to make a unified theory out of these two failed theories? We shouldn’t! These are not coherent theories in the first place, so why should we attempt to come up with a theory that somehow accounts for both theories?

Neither theory works to explain reality, so why account for them at all? That would be like if I took Islam and Hinduism and tried to come up with a Unified Theory of Common Religions in India. Given neither Islam nor Hinduism have any truth to them, all I would end up with is yet another body of ideas without any truth to it.

Sure, one could perhaps take the aspects of quantum theory and relativity that work and come up with another theory. But, that would be a very different theory, at least in terms of its physical interpretations.

Sure, a lot of the math might be familiar, but physics is about physical explanations of how reality works. Not merely mathematical descriptions of how reality works.

This is all string theorists could hope to do. To come up with a body of mathematical equations that somehow unifies relativity and quantum mechanics. By that I mean,  the equations would describe things from relativity and quantum theory.

But that does not provide a physical explanation of how physical reality works.

So, it does not qualify as physics. And that is the problem.

Even if we have a mathematical unification of relativity and quantum theory, we still need a physical unification. And where is that going to come from?

From two fields of physics that have no rational physical interpretations to offer? I do not see how that is possible.

So, in as far as it tries to explain two largely false theories, that string theory is doomed from the start. It is not possible to come up with a coherent theory that starts with two other absurdly false theories as its premises.

This should come as no surprise. If so much of modern physics is nonsensical and anti-reality, why then should we expect string theory to be any better?

Other than this, is string theory of any use to anyone? In upcoming articles on string theory, we will see that it is not. The problems with string theory and its practitioners go far beyond what we have outlined here.

Untangling Quantum Entanglement: Realism and Locality

In his article, we are going to study the issue of “quantum entanglement”. This is complicated issue and we will return to the issue of entanglement in a future article. Today we will cover the issues of realism and locality.

First, we will set the stage for why any of this matters by looking at what “quantum entanglement” is and why we might want to discuss it.

Introduction to Entanglement

Entanglement is the physical phenomenon that is said to take place when groups of particles interact in a certain way.

It is said that any number of particles can interact in this way, but for the sake of simplicity, usually it is discussed in the context of two interacting particles.

What is this certain way in which they interact? Well, to understand this we must first introduce the idea of a “quantum state“.

Briefly, the “quantum state” is a mathematical description of certain properties of a particle. The mathematics is fairly complicated, so we will not go into detail.

Entanglement says that if two particles are “entangled”, that their “quantum states” cannot be described independently of the state of the other particle, even when separated by a large distance.

One might well ask what on Earth that means?

Quantum physicists tend to describe fairly simple ideas in an overly complicated manner. So, let me translate this fairly accurately into laymen’s terms.

If two particles are “entangled”, it means that some of their properties are related to one another. If you measure the value of the property of one particle, then that says something about the property of the other particle.

Let us take a hypothetical example and consider the “spin” of two particles that are entangled.

In quantum mechanics, there is a property called “spin”. We will not go into the complicated issue of what spin is (it is not the same thing as rotation from classical mechanics).

Suppose that if you have two entangled particles, A and B. Suppose you then measure the spin of A to be “up”. In our example, this means that the spin of B must be “down”.

One might wonder what the issue here is?

After all, so what if we can deduce something about particle B by looking at particle A? After all, we know that macroscopic things can be related in this way.

If we bring the north poles of two magnets together and magnet A experiences a force pushing it to the left, then we can deduce that there is a force pushing magnet B to the right.

We should not expect any issue with being able to infer things about two different parts of a system. So, again what is the issue here?

The problem is that quantum mechanics tends to make this issue far more nonsensical than it needs to be. Measurements have been performed of “entangled” particles that seem to indicate that particles over very long distances are correlated.

Quantum mechanics being unreasonable? Unheard of!

The problem is that this entanglement is said to work instantly!

That if you observe or change the quantum state of any one of the entangled particles, it may potentially change the quantum states of all the other particles it is entangled with.

Instantly! That is, without any physical interaction! As though the particles are somehow linked by some kind of telepathic magic.

Or, more accurately as though the mere fact of observing/changing the state of one particle can somehow affect the state of the other particles, again without any physical interaction!

Now, we accept that entangled particles might be able to affect other particles. They just need to interact with the other particles by some physical means. Some non-instantaneous physical means.

We reject the notion that simply observing something can cause it to change/acquire states. Or that simply observing an entangled particle magically influences the quantum states of other particles without requiring any physical interaction.

Now let us look at a few terms, “realism” and “non-locality”.

entanglement
Einstein had a lot to say about entanglement, especially locality and realism.

Realism

Realism, as used in physics, is the idea that physical reality exists independently of the human mind. More specifically, as used in quantum mechanics, it is the (allegedly unreasonable) “assumption” that particles have well-defined properties that exist independently of measurement.

That is, particles have certain properties regardless of whether we measure those properties.

For instance, an electron will always have a certain “spin” direction, even if nobody bothers to check what it is.

Perhaps an example from the macroscopic world would help to make this more clear.

Suppose that we consider a ball. It has various properties, even if nobody is currently observing the ball. It has a radius, it has hardness, it has a velocity (which might be zero), it has various chemical properties. These properties exist even if we stop looking at the ball.

This might seem rather obvious and so it should. What we call the “properties” of the ball are simply various aspects of the ball’s nature. The “properties” of the ball simply describe the ball and its nature and/or what it will do under given conditions.

It should be obvious that these properties will exist regardless of measurement. A ball will always have a certain radius or a certain temperature, regardless of whether we are measuring those properties or observing the ball.

The act of observation does not create these properties. We do not create these properties simply by measuring them. Just as we do not create the ball’s radius when we take a measuring tape to it and measure it. We do not create its temperature when we measure its temperature. 

Measuring a property does not create that property. “Property” refers to some attribute of something and those attributes are simply aspects of something. Aspects which exist whether or not they are being observed.

Now, can we apply this to the quantum world? Of course, we can. We should not expect that just because subatomic particles are very tiny, that they are somehow not subject to basic metaphysical principles. These entities also have attributes that exist independently of the human mind.

Gaede

Episode Twenty Three – An Interview with Bill Gaede

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Today we have an interview with the physicist Bill Gaede. We have not presented the transcript of this in web page form. Instead, you can listen to the audio or download the PDF transcript.

You may have problems with the audio if you hit the play button above after jumping part of the way into the audio. We are not sure what this issue is or how to fix it. You can download the episode or simply play it from the beginning.

Gaede and I discuss the problems in modern physics, some of the many ways in which physics is irrational, the improper conflation of mathematics with physics, his rope model and more.

The problems he mentions are largely centered around the idea that we do not have physicists anymore, we have mathematicians. People that try to describe but not explain how this universe works. But, physics is meant to be about explaining how the universe works!

This is where the rope model comes in. It offers an explanation of light, electromagnetism, gravity and more. Gaede discusses this in some depth in his book “Why God Does Not Exist”.

Please note that the transcript has been edited for grammatical purposes. The contents accurately represent the material, however changes have been made to make it easier to read. So,  it will not exactly match the audio.

However, there may be mistakes in the transcript. Any mistakes in transcription represent our own errors or a transcription error we missed.

Click here to download the PDF transcript.

You can find out more about Bill Gaede’s idea on his YouTube page. You can also check out his Quora profile to see him answering some physics questions.

Math-magicians

Episode Nineteen – Math-Magicians and Mad Titans

Play

Today we are going over some of the Bill Gaede video “What is Physics. math-magicians and the genocidal plans of Thanos the Mad Titan.

You can find Bill Gaede’s video here if you want to watch it in advance or watch along with us.

Click here to download the PDF transcript. This episode’s transcript has no illustrations.

Episode Transcript

[Note: Please note that this transcript may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]

Intro

Metaphysics of Physics is the much needed and crucial voice of reason in the philosophy of science, rarely found anywhere else in the world today. We are equipped with the fundamental principles of a rational philosophy that gives us the edge, may make us misfits in the mainstream sciences but also attracts rational minds to our community.

With this show, we are fighting for a more rational world, mostly by looking through the lens of the philosophy of science. We raise awareness of issues within the philosophy of science and present alternative and rational approaches.

We are your hosts and guides through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science. Dwayne Davies, my husband, is the founder, primary content creator and voice for Metaphysics of Physics. I am Ashna and I help out however I can. You can find out more about us on the About page of the website.

You can also find all the episodes, transcripts, subscription options and more on the website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

Hi everyone! This is episode nineteen of the Metaphysics of Physics podcast and Today we are going over the Bill Gaede video “What is Physics”.

If you want to know what a math-magician is, you are going to have to keep listening until right before the end of the segment covering the Bill Gaede video.

After that, we will discuss the Thanos bit and you can see how that is relevant.

Let’s start by diving into the video, shall we?

Math-Magicians

Bill Gaede starts off by discussing answers to a question he asked on some internet forum. The question went something like:

“Is Quantum Mechanics irrational and illogical?”

This is a good question. It sure seems that it is irrational and illogical. If you have listened to this show before, followed us on Facebook or read our blog, then you might know that we certainly think quantum mechanics is both irrational and illogical.

math-magicians
Unless you think this is somehow not illogical or irrational …

What kind of answers do you suppose he received to this perfectly valid question?

Well, Mr Gaede states four such answers given to him:

  1. “Why do we, humans, want everything to be logical?”

  2. “It is NOT irrational and illogical … just non-intuitive.”

  3. “Why should human logic and rationality apply to quantum mechanics?”

  4. “It’s man’s comprehension of such phenomenon that is illogical and irrational.”

We have heard all these responses in some form or another several times. And we imagine Gaede has heard them several times since he encountered them in that forum post.

Let us provide my thoughts on these answers.

1) “Why do we, humans, want everything to be logical?”

Not all of us do. Many of us are perfectly happy with illogical answers. Even though illogical answers do not help us understand the world. Even though such answers generally impede our ability to understand the world.

However, many other people do want everything to be logical, certainly when it comes to science. We know that the only answers which are of any use are those which are true. Those which are reached according to valid, well-supported chains of reasoning and which are in agreement with reality. That is, those which are logical.

Damn Aristotle for making us think science could be logical …

What is the alternative? Answers which are not based on sound reasoning and which do not agree with reality? What use are those? If the answer is not true, then it is of no value. Even if it happens to be true, if it is not based on sound reasoning, then we cannot know whether or not it is true and we have no reason to believe that it is.

That is why some of us want our knowledge to be logical. Because we want answers which are true and we want a basis for knowing whether they are true or not.

2) “It is NOT irrational and illogical … just non-intuitive.”

First of all, it is irrational and illogical. What else would you call it? It asserts all sorts of contradictions, impossibilities and mutually exclusive things. Such as particles being in mutually exclusive states, properties not definitively existing unless observed, things magically traveling from A to B without covering any of the intervening space and so forth.

What else would you call something that makes claims which openly defy what we know to be true about reality? For no reason and against all reason. And against reason on purpose!

Don’t believe us that quantum mechanics is irrational on purpose? Well, listen to our discussion of Niels Bohr, one of its founders. And then consider that essentially everyone in the field agrees with him and holds to very similar philosophical premises.

https://metaphysicsofphysics.com/episode-seven-bohrs-philosophy/

So, yes, it is in fact very illogical, which means it is also irrational. And doubly irrational for trying to be illogical and to pretend reality is not what it is.

Thought experiments.

More on Thought Experiments

Introduction

In this blog post, we briefly touched on computer models and thought experiments.

There we said this:

“They are nothing more than automated thought experiments and prove no more than would a thought experiment. If you conduct a thought experiment in your mind, it proves nothing about external reality. If you want to learn how reality works, you have to study nature by performing experiments and collecting data.”

And this:

“Even if your computer model is based on valid assumptions and happens to correspond with reality, it still proves nothing. It is effectively a thought experiment delegated to your computer.”

But, do thought experiments have any value at all? Yes.

A thought experiment can be very useful. Not as a replacement for conducting experiments, but as part of a process of trying to reason through or illustrate the implications of something. Let me explain …

What is a Thought Experiment?

For the purposes of our discussion, a thought experiment is a mental process of thinking through the implications of a hypothesis. Usually by running through a simplified experiment in one’s mind.

This is basically a process of reasoning where one tries to analyze what might happen if one was to perform an experiment. It is not a substitute for performing the experiment, but it can be a useful precursor to running an experiment.

What is the point of doing this? It can be useful in reasoning through the possible implications of a hypothesis before one performs an experiment. This can help one plan an experiment or decide whether one should run an experiment in the first place.

For instance, suppose you have a hypothesis about the existence of a new kind of particle. You decide to think about how you might try to test for its existence. So, you think about the steps to experimentally verify that the particle exists.

quarks
Lets hope you put more rational thought into your particles than people did into those of quarks …

You realize you will need a particle accelerator. So, you start thinking about how you are going to configure that particle accelerator in order to test for this exotic particle.

You deduce that you will probably need expensive equipment that you do not have. Perhaps you need a particle accelerator beyond the one you have access to. Or, you need to add extra detection equipment to the particle accelerator you have access to.

All this seems to suggest that you might not be able to test your hypothesis the way you were thinking about. Or, perhaps you can. But now you have some idea of how you might be able to do so. And what potential problems you might have to face if you want to detect this theoretical particle.

Sometimes a thought experiment helps you tease out the implications of a hypothesis. You might realize potential complications or ways in which you might be able to test your hypothesis. Or details that you might want to keep in mind when conducting experiments.

More Examples…

This time let us take an example from the exciting field of bio-medicine. Suppose that you have the hypothesis that AIDS is caused by a specific kind of virus, HIV (which we know that it is). And you perform a thought experiment in your head to try to figure out what this implies.

You imagine the process of trying to test this hypothesis and you start to wonder how to differentiate AIDS from HIV, which seems to be related in some way. You then start to wonder if HIV causes AIDS. Well, that is an interesting avenue of investigation, now isn’t it?

Obviously, you thought experiment does not prove that HIV causes AIDS. You have merely uncovered a possible implication of your hypothesis and now have an interesting idea to perform research on.

In both cases, you still need to perform an experiment. You still must perform an experiment to try to detect the particle you think might exist. You still must discover whether HIV and AIDS are connected.

viruses
Besides, experiments can be some of the most interesting parts of science! You get to see intersting stuff like these viruses.

However, now you have a better grasp of how to detect your particle and what kinds of problems you might face when conducting your experiments.

Similarly, you now have an exciting hypothesis about the connection between HIV and AIDS. Only a hypothesis, to be sure, but that is still more than you had before.

Here you have identified other possible implications of your hypothesis. In such cases, this can be useful in identifying what it might mean if your hypothesis was true and other possible avenues of investigation.

The Thought Experiment on Schrodinger’s Cat

Now let us take a classic example, that of Schrodinger’s Cat. In this thought experiment, you imagine the following:

You set up a cat in a box. In the box, you set up a Geiger counter or some other method of detecting radioactive emissions. Now, here is where it starts to get diabolical …

You attach some radioactive substance with a 50% chance of releasing radiation to the Geigercounter. Then you set up some poison in a glass vial and set up a hammer so that if the Geiger counter detects any radiation, it smashes the vial, unleashes the poison and kills the poor cat.

Now, we seal up the box and do not look inside until a little later. We eventually open the box to see what happens. If the Geiger counter has gone off, the cat is poisoned and it is dead. If the Geiger counter does not go off, the cat is not poisoned and is alive. It will certainly be annoyed about being shut up in a box.

Remember, we said that the radioactive substance has a 50% chance of releasing radiation. If it does this, it will kill the cat. So, this means that there is a 50% chance that the cat dies and a 50% chance that the cat lives, right? The cat lives or dies and we will find out which is the case when we look inside the box.

A Rational Cosmology

Episode Seventeen – Reviewing “A Rational Cosmology”, Part One

Play

Today we are going to discuss the book “A Rational Cosmology”. This is part one of a series. You can download the book for free here.

Click here to download the PDF transcript. This episode’s transcript has no illustrations.

Episode Transcript

[Editorial: Please note that this may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]

Introduction

Metaphysics of Physics is the much needed and crucial voice of reason in the philosophy of science, rarely found anywhere else in the world today. We are equipped with the fundamental principles of a rational philosophy that gives us the edge, may make us misfits in the mainstream sciences but also attracts rational minds to our community.

With this show, we are fighting for a more rational world, mostly by looking through the lens of the philosophy of science. We raise awareness of issues within the philosophy of science and present alternative and rational approaches.

You can find all the episodes, transcripts, subscription options and more on the website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

Hi everyone! This is episode seventeen of the Metaphysics of Physics podcast and I am Ashna, your host and guide through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science. Thanks for tuning in!

Today we are going to discuss the book “A Rational Cosmology” by Gennady Stolyarov II. This is part one of a series.

What is this book and why are we talking about it? Is it as rational as it claims to be?

All good questions and today we will answer the first two and start to answer whether or not it is as rational as it claims to be.

Okay, so let’s dive in.

What Is This Book About?

Well, the title gives a not so subtle clue. It is a book intended to present a rational cosmology.

A Rational Cosmology
I wonder what the book could be about? Hmm…

Lets quote the author himself:

“As constructive alternatives to these fallacies, A Rational Cosmology presents objective, absolute, rationally grounded views of terms such as universe, matter, volume, space, time, motion, sound, light, forces, fields, and even the higher-order concepts of life, consciousness, and volition. The result is a system verified by ubiquitous observation and common sense, the underpinnings of objective science which demonstrate a knowable, fathomable reality and set the stage for unfettered progress, confidence in reason, and full-scale logical investigation of just about everything existence has to offer.” – http://rationalargumentator.com/rc.html

[Editorial: What are “these” fallacies? Well, we will soon provide examples of the kinds of fallacies the author has in mind.]

Before we go further, what is cosmology?

Wikipedia defines cosmology as:

“Cosmology (from the Greek κόσμος, kosmos “world” and -λογία, -logia “study of”) is a branch of astronomy concerned with the studies of the origin and evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to today and on into the future. It is the scientific study of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe.” – Wikipedia article on cosmology.

The universe is simply “the totality of all things that exist. It does not make sense to say it has an origin.

The universe is not a thing that can have an origin. It is simply “all the things that exist”. In no sense does this have an origin. What could be the origin of “everything that exists”?

Something outside of existence? No. Something before anything existed? No.

Nor does “everything that exists” evolve. The concept of change does not apply to the concept “universe”. So, it cannot be said to be evolving.

The concept “universe” is a pretty simple one and there is not a lot to discuss.

In episode three, we discussed the “configuration of the universe”. This simply refers to the various relationships between things that exist. This is the kind of “configuration” cosmology might study.

Suppose that we consider various things like galaxies, stars, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and the like. This includes most of the things that exist.

galaxy
For instance, did galaxies always exist?

And we then consider the various relationships between them. That combination, on a large-scale, is what we mean.

For instance, existence, in general, seems to be arranged as a series of stars, solar systems, galaxies. And various things in between. That is one “configuration” of existents. It need not be the only “configuration”.

Perhaps before the “Big Bang”, things were arranged in some other configuration. This is the kind of “evolution” cosmology might validly study. Although, “change” would be a better word than “evolution”.

I don’t really think that there is a lot for us to discuss here. At least not on Metaphysics of Physics. This is not an astronomy show. And philosophically speaking, cosmology does not give us much to talk about.