(Aaronson) Misleading “Quantum Talk”

Of Those For Whom Despising Others Fosters One’s Sense Of Existence:

Aaronson, a renowned Quantum Computation expert thought funny to pretend that what he studies (programming Quantum amplitudes) is the end-all, be-all of the universe. So this is out in a cartoon, complete with arrogant child and even more stupid mom. Although the fact the mom is stupid is not revealed by the cartoon, quite the opposite. When does she go wrong?

Besides having no eyes to speak to, or from? So here is the cartoon. It starts pretty well. It ends up as badly as possible, with plenty of lies about Quantum Mechanics and unsupported assertions that consciousness has nothing to do with Quantum Mechanics (when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, including that QM is at the core of biology). Anyway here is the silly cartoon, from a respected Quantum Computational authority:

I condescend and lie, therefore I think, hence I exist? Too many physicists have succumbed to that temptation, due to their otherwise modest position in society.

There is a partially correct message above not well known by the unwashed multitudes: yes, Quantum Mechanics compute with complex amplitudes. Why is that? Let me reveal it: consider light. It’s the simplest Quantum phenomenon,and it requires Complex Numbers to be described as compactly as possible. Light is made of entangled electric and magnetic fields at an angle to the propagation direction. More precisely: E is the electric field vector, and B is the magnetic field vector of the EM wave. For electromagnetic waves E and B are always perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of propagation. The direction of propagation is the direction of E x B.

Electromagnetic waves are the solutions of Maxwell’s equations in a vacuum, which abstract the experiments pioneered by at least half a dozen physicists (Monge, Ampere, Faraday, Fresnel, etc.).

E (and thus B!) can rotate, or be in any directions, as long as they are perpendicular to each other and light wave propagation. However one can also fix E, by letting the light through a grid. This is a standard experiment, it’s use in polarized sunglasses, etc.  However it’s very deep, deeper than Aaronson can understand, or that present physics understand: this means the light is somehow extended… If if it’s a single, proverbial photon.

Any light wave coming from the left. The first vertical grid forces the E electric field of the light vertically (any other direction gets captured by the vertical grid). The second horizontal grid kills the vertically polarized light.

In general, the electric field E can adopt any direction or rotate. To depict this mathematically, there is a handy instrument: the Complex Number field, which is the one and only generalization of the Real Number field [1]. Light is also the simplest Quantum phenomenon known. Thus, to fully depict the simplest Quantum, one needs Complex Numbers. More Quantum will naturally mean more Complex Numbers.

Aaronson claims that “physicists had a customs when describing these matters with outsiders, they want to avoid being… too graphic too explicit … too *gulp* mathematically correct“.

The Schrodinger Cat, and nonlocality are caused by “talking to outsiders”? This is what Aaronson says explicitly lower down in the cartoon. This is hogwash bullshit. Physicist didn’t understand much of the very basics of the Quantum Mechanics they were in the process of inventing. Even the most trivially blatant features of Quantum mechanics were not understood for more than a generation, although they were the first thing one wrote on the subject. Let me explain.

The basic equation (De Broglie-Schrodinger) reads basically as:

i(change W relative to time) = (change acceleration of W) + (W)(A)

More “mathematically”: i dW/dt = ddW/dxdx + AW

Where W is a complex wave, and A a potential W interacts with (say the electromagnetic field for an electron) [2].

It’s obvious from this most basic equation, that W reacts to the potential A. However, it took 33 years or so to notice this: Bohm and Aharonov did it… and all the big geniuses of Quantum Mechanics, even Einstein and De Broglie, let alone Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli, Born, the hyper arrogant Von Neumann, Dirac, etc… Didn’t notice it.

Notice Aaronson describes physicists as “insiders“. In other words, physicists make a tribe… just like many philosophers around “French Theory” have claimed…

However, the real truth is that physicists were too ignorant to describe WHY the COMPLEX Quantum Wave well to “outsiders“, because there was not enough inside the heads of these insiders. But here I come.

So I take my right arm, and project it forward, like your standard Kung Fu master. I open three fingers. My index points in the direction of motion of my arm, ready to punch inside the eye of the tribal physicist “insider”. My major points perpendicular to the index (because physicists insiders get my symbolic finger; it also represent the E field above). My thumb, representing the B field, is perpendicular to the other two extended fingers. At this point the whole assembly of these three fingers progressing forward can be described by three real numbers. But then I impose a rotation of the entire hand: there is your Complex Numbers field. The rotation requires the complex numbers

Some could sneer that one complex number is a pair of real numbers with weird multiplication rules, so we don’t really need Complex Numbers, bla bla bla… But Mathematics is not just a language: mathematics is the most compact, most efficient language: it does that by compactifying the logic maximally.

What does Patrice mean by “compactifying the logic”? How to measure that? Simple, count the symbols: the fewer symbols, the most compact… [3]


Aaronson claims that “classical events have probabilities and quantum events have amplitude“. That’s false. They have probabilities too (from the square root of the norm squared of the amplitude). Before Aaronson showed he had no modesty, didn’t know the history of physics and was a tribalist. Now he throwing through the window not just the philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, but also the entire Theory of Measurement, and what the refined analysis of what an “event” is.

A basic axiom of Quantum Mechanics is that an unobserved event is not an event. As long as one has “amplitudes”, the quantum system computes quantum mechanically, but one had no “event”. “Event” happens after the collapse, when there are no more amplitudes. I call that singularization. Other more or less equivalent concepts are “collapse” and “decoherence” (collapse frightened the children so they opted for decoherence as they became snowflakes).

So what Aaronson presents as the one and only axiom of Quantum Physics is actually a self-contradicting ERROR.

Actually Wikipedia offers nine different complicated and independent axioms for Quantum Mechanics.

So why does Aaronson speak only of amplitudes? Because it’s all he needs for his job, computer programming. Forget physics: Aaronson doesn’t seem to know the difference between “amplitudes” and “waves”: waves have “amplitudes”, but do not reduce to “amplitudes”. Moreover, Quantum waves don’t behave like classical waves with their (only) local behavior: Quantum waves are global. In the author’s own SQPR,, the waves propagate at an enormous speed, tens of trillions of trillions times faster than the speed of light (so they appear “instantaneous” as the present Quantum mechanical axiomatics has it…)


The  (so-called “Heisenberg”) Uncertainty Principle is a direct consequence of De Broglie hypothesis. Yet, the basic idea is pre-Quantum… Or rather Quantum in the pure electromagnetic sense… as I said, the very basics of Quantum mechanics is electromagnetics, thus optics. Let me explain a bit more.

To find out where something is, one shines a light on it, one hits it, say, with light. However the light’s precision is greater, the shorter its wavelength (otherwise light turns around objects for the exact same reason as radio waves do). But the energy of the light is proportional to its frequency which is inversely proportional to its wavelength. So the more precise one tries to ascertain where an object is, by looking at it, the greater the kick one imparts to it. It’s obvious one will get an uncertainty, and, at this point, one doesn’t even need De Broglie’s equation, the relation between wavelength and momentum, but plain 19th century physics, mostly that light has momentum… the very same property tremendous genius Jules Henri Poincaré used in 1899, to demonstrate E = mcc, the famous mass-energy relationship usually attributed to fluffy parrot Einstein, then a young brat who tried to make us believe he invented all of physics besides telling God how to organize the universe (as Quantum Founder and nobel Niels Bohr told him).

To get the best numbers of the exact inequality, one needs De Broglie…

Notice that what is important here is WAVES, not just amplitudes. And the relationship between momentum, energy, and wave frequency, direction. Right the waves are complex and they have amplitudes.

By the way, Waves are not all one needs for Quantum Mechanics: SPIN, for example comes from a different logical source, purely geometrical. Spin was discovered by another tremendous French genius, Elie Cartan, before World War One. A generation later, Spin surfaced in Dirac’ s fertile mind: Dirac wanted the most simple equation possible to describe the electron… That required a new space, to enable spinors to live on it… (The mathematics of all this are not well understood at the deepest level; it’s a bit as if one took the square root of space, I have not much clue beyond that, nor does anyone else…)

Aaronson also claims that Quantum nonlocality is just a matter of amplitudes. Well, it’s not. Between the EPR paper of 1935 and Bell’s inequality of 1966, there were 33 years during which physicists were perplexed more than perplexed: they ignored nonlocality all together (until Bohm-Aharonov). Experimental tests started much later, and some physicists have received the greatest prizes for it … Albeit not the Nobel… which was attributed for realizing the Bose-Einstein condensate, some 70 years after it could become theoretically imaginable…

With the end of his silly cartoon, Aaronson demonstrates he doesn’t know physics (the beginning is pretty good though…), and it is teaching lies.

Aaronson demonstrated that he may have had a condescending mechanical mom without eyes, and the arrogance simpletons comes with, by definition.


Authorities (such as politicians, economists, media owners and physicists in position of authority) have several reasons to lie. Yes it manipulates people but more precisely:

  1. It prevents people to access to truth, thus power.
  2. It confuses people, leveraging on 1).
  3. It fills the public with awe, because, confused and powerless, they view the authoritative figure as quite a bit of a magician, because lying enables the authority to apparently master the (otherwise) incomprehensible.
  4. In manipulating We The People into submission, it is crucial not to reveal that the incomprehensible has been made incomprehensible by the authorities, by deliberate design of an immense distraction (following the misleading Aaronson, good luck trying to deduce nonlocality from “amplitudes”: there are “amplitudes” in my bathtub, but that doesn’t make nonlocal… So this is an impossible task, which Aaronson pretends to have mastered; economist and politicians, bankers and other high finance types, even ecologists on government payroll, do the same. day in, day out, 24/7: outrageous lying, to confuse the multitude)

All too many “intellectuals” in recent decades have been for sale…

Teaching Quantum Physics to all is teaching the universe as it is to all. Knowing Quantum Physics enriches one’s arsenal of understanding schemes, all over. So teaching it correctly is a mission civilisatrice. When humanity is more intelligent in the future, it will be in part because of this. For example the meta observation that everything is made, in the small, of waves is most enlightening, and impact sensibilities…

Thus la trahison des clercs, here lying about the nature of the Quantum, while posing as an “insider” is the sort of pseudo-intellectual posturing humanity really doesn’t need. This sort of deliberately dishonest and malicious posturing has brought deplorable racism such as imposing the notion that fearing Wahhabism is racist… and has distracted from the most major problems at hand such as global plutocratization and the man-made mass extinction.

Patrice Ayme



P/S: A friend of mine, a professional university researcher in Quantum Computing, long working for a GAFAM, sent me the cartoon above, in an apparent slight to my essay on brain modularity making consciousness necessary. I am grateful as the paper was intelligently stupid.


[1] Quaternion make a non-commutative division algebra.


[2] i is the square root of (-1), a rotation by 90 degrees in the complex number field. I put Planck constant = 1… As I am limited by the WordPress software, I denote the second (partial) derivative relative to space as dd/(dx)(dx) which is what it is… but different from the usual symbolic… which also use the psi Greek letter instead of W…


[3] Maxwell equations initially covered an entire page. Now they can be reduced to nine symbols: dF = 0 and d*F = A.

To understand that, you have to learn more advanced differential geometry: exterior differentiation, the * operator, etc. But will admit, that’s compact… And thus in the only sense that makes sense, MOST intuitive.

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3 Responses to “(Aaronson) Misleading “Quantum Talk””

  1. John Goldman Says:

    Minor correction:
    i(change in W relative to time) = – (divergence of the gradient of W) + A(W)…

    More “mathematically”: i dW/dt = – ddW/dxdx + AW

    The Bohmian rearrangement of this equation is:
    -∂S/∂t = kinetic + potential – div.grad(info)/2m.info
    This is the Hamilton-Jacobi equation.
    S is the phase of the wave function W, which also represents the action, and the last term is David Bohm’s quantum potential.
    Clearly the wave frequency is proportional to each of the potential energy terms.
    The amusing cartoon is from 3 years ago, and the graphics are by Zach Weinersmith.
    Here is Scott’s view on the cartoon remark on consciousness, taken from his blog;

    Scott Says: 
    Comment #30 December 15th, 2016 at 3:12 am

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t mean to take a swipe at the idea that there’s some sort of interesting connection between the conceptual problems of quantum mechanics and those of consciousness—an idea that, even if it’s wrong, is obviously not obviously wrong. (See, e.g., my 85-page Ghost in the Quantum Turing Machine essay, which takes the idea very seriously even while rejecting many variants of it.)

    On the other hand, even if (like me) you think that consciousness does sometimes unavoidably come up in discussions about the foundations of QM, and vice versa, it’s still undeniable that the vague, mangled idea of a connection has by now inspired generations of pure cringe-inducing woo, by hucksters who couldn’t correctly explain the first thing about QM but just find its mysteriousness convenient. And I’m happy to poke fun at that.
    I must say I felt Scott wasn’t very clear in his interview for the “What is Information” episode on “Closer to Truth” from 2015, which has recently been recycled on YouTube. You can read my comment there.


    • Gmax Says:

      Isn’t’t there something called WIGNER FRIEND connecting consciousness and quantum mechanics? Wasn’t Winger a serious guy? Can someone explain this?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      EXTREMELY interesting, John! I got distracted, and present my excuses… Lots to do from health, to continents, to plutocracy to earning living, etc… But I am going to seriously consider what you wrote. The Aaronson part was illuminative. He sounds like one more Prima Donna… Everything and its opposite. I have known lots of these, including the biggest…
      I have an EPR abstract initially written for a PhD physics friend, just out…


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