Archive for the ‘Quantum’ Category

Consciousness, Nonlocality, Free Will

March 26, 2017

DS asked in Aeon: “Patrice, in what way is consciousness “nonlocal”, and what is the evidence for this?”

DS: Science  and technique progress, and thus so do our visions of the world. Quantum computers are becoming a reality. Quantum computers work in a completely different way from the classical computers we presently have (which, fundamentally are of the same type as those the Greeks had, more than 2,000 years ago!). Present (2017) versions of Quantum computers are primitive relative to what’s coming (Artificial Consciousness computers). And you know what? Full Quantum computers depend crucially upon nonlocality.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/artificial-consciousness/

Descartes located consciousness (“the soul”) in a tiny part of the brain (the pituitary gland).  I guess because Descartes considered it was the only part of the brain with a unique character, just like the soul is unique to the mind? Now we know the pituitary is just a master neurohormonal center…) 

Philosophers And People of Culture Have to Learn New Words and Especially the Concepts Having to Do With Quantum & Nonlocality. Lest they Become the New Barbarians…

Split brain, and other surgeries have revealed that consciousness can’t be localized that way, inside a tiny organ (whereas short-term memory can be localized, to the hippocampus, fear to the amygdala, vision to 17 areas in the cortex, etc.)

So, in that gross sense, consciousness is non-local.

Next, we are now basically certain that basic biology uses the Quantum (we have a few telling examples already, not just chlorophyll). By this I mean that consciousness uses individual quanta and their nonlocal behavior (for example individual photon, or individual electrons, the latter when, and precisely because, delocalized).

Indeed, what is the most fundamental property of the Quantum? Not just that it is quantified. Nonlocality is the Quantum most important property. The Quantum is quantified because it is nonlocal (Einstein did not understand this his entire life, from 1905 to his death). Nonlocality is the crucial difficulty of Quantum Physics (it shows up as Schrödinger cats, EPR paradox, etc.)

Supposing that the most fundamental thing we know of in the universe, consciousness, can, somehow, avoid the most fundamental physics we have found in the universe, is a form of denial akin to climate denial, or parallel universes. Ignoring Quantum Physics, as a fundamental conceptual tool to understand consciousness can only be explained by prejudice.

What prejudice? Most cultured people have no understanding, let alone feeling, for the Quantum. So they desperately clinging to Classical mechanics, something best suited for artillery shells…

As the Quantum is essentially nonlocal, and fundamental to consciousness, so is consciousness.

And what of the Quantum deniers? Well they miss entirely the immensely rich new logic that Quantum logic has offered beyond Classical logic…

The preceding should not be construed as an endorsement of so-called weirdly named “extrasensory perception”. Instead, I have argued that the sensory system itself is nonlocal (pretty much a physiological evidence, too, as we see with 17 areas…)

A trivial, but telling, case could be called “Free Will and Cosmic Rays”. Cosmic rays, cosmic elementary particles, can be millions of times more energetic than the most powerful elementary particles created by man, at CERN (their origin is obscure, logically speaking). It is known that cosmic rays can change the states of present computers (so even present computers are unpredictable!) Now the scale at which present computers operate is classical (as in classical mechanics), it is hundreds of times larger than the scale at which the inner machinery of cells operate.

That means that the inner machinery of neurons will be put in different states by cosmic rays, just like smartphones. There goes the freedom of Free Will. “Free Will” may feel free, but it may well have, and sometimes surely will have been, directed from a galaxy long ago, far away… This spectacular conclusion is not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of science. And I have not even considered the question of (the extremely nonlocal) Quantum Entanglement. Quantum Entanglement is real and makes matters way worse.

Some will say, that’s fine, we don’t need to know all this stuff, we can be happy, and we can still pontificate about our classical notions of “Free Will” and “Consciousness”. Indeed, those who want to stay primitive, should. Yes. Yet, within bounds. There are limits to barbarity that civilization needs to set-up, as a matter of survival.

Those who want to cling to a more barbarian, less scientific past certainly cannot claim to have the will to moral superiority. They are like those who believe Muhammad rode to Jerusalem on a winged mule. One cannot accept the principle that one can believe in anything, accept that anybody can believe in anything, and civilization will go on. Verily, superior morality, superior smarts.

If anything, Quantum Physics show that much more things are connected in mysterious ways than ever thought possible. Even space and time get entangled in “Quantum Procrastination“, and cease to have any conventional meaning.

To believe that this completely new, immensely more subtle than was ever suspected (Quantum) universe, has nothing to do with the way we perceive it, and conceive of it, would be an astoundingly naive, revoltingly obsolete, lack of introspection, a short step away from those winged mules.

Patrice Ayme’

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DARK MATTER, Or How Inquiry Proceeds

September 7, 2016

How to find really new knowledge? How do you find really new science? Not by knowing the result: this is what we don’t have yet. Any really new science will not be deduced from pre-existing science. Any really new knowledge will come out of the blue. Poetical logic will help before linear logic does.

The case of Dark Matter is telling: this increasingly irritating elephant in the bathroom has been in evidence for 80 years, lumbering about. As the encumbering beast did not fit existing science, it was long religiously ignored by the faithful, as a subject not worthy of serious inquiry by very serious physicists. Now Dark Matter, five times more massive than Standard Model matter, is clearly sitting heavily outside of the Standard Model, threatening to crush it into irrelevance. Dark matter obscures the lofty pretense of known physics to explain everything (remember the grandly named TOE, the so-called “Theory Of Everything“? That was a fraud, snake oil, because main stream physics celebrities crowed about TOE, while knowing perfectly well that Dark Matter dwarfed standard matter, and was completely outside of the Standard Model).

Physicists are presently looking for Dark Matter, knowing what they know, namely that nature has offered them a vast zoo of particles, many of them without rhyme or reason (some have rhyme, a symmetry, a mathematical group such as SU3 acting upon them; symmetries revealed new particles, sometimes). 

Bullet Cluster, 100 Million Years Old. Two Galaxies Colliding. The Dark Matter, In Blue, Is Physically Separated From the Hot, Standard Matter Gas, in Red.

Bullet Cluster, 100 Million Years Old. Two Galaxies Colliding. The Dark Matter, In Blue, Is Physically Separated From the Hot, Standard Matter Gas, in Red.

[This sort of pictures is most of what we presently have to guess what Dark Matter could be; the physical separation of DM and SM is most telling to me: it seems to indicate that SM and DM do not respond to the same forces, something that my Quantum theory predicts; it’s known that Dark Matter causes gravitational lensing, as one would expect, as it was first found by its gravitational effects, in the 1930s…]

However, remember: a truly completely new piece of science cannot be deduced from pre-existing paradigm. Thus, if Dark Matter was really about finding a new particle type, it would be interesting, but not as interesting as it would be, if it were not, after all, a new particle type, but from a completely new law in physics.

This is the quandary about finding truly completely new science. It can never be deduced from ruling paradigms, and may actually overthrow them. What should then be the method to use? Can Descartes and Sherlock Holmes help? The paradigm presented by Quantum Physics helps. The Quantum looks everywhere in space to find solutions: this is where its (“weird”) nonlocality comes in. Nonlocality is crucial for interference patterns and for finding lowest energy solutions, as in the chlorophyll molecule. This suggests that our minds should go nonlocal too, and we should look outside of a more extensive particle zoo to find what Dark Matter is.

In general, searching for new science should be by looking everywhere, not hesitating to possibly contradict what is more traditional than well established.

An obvious possibility is, precisely, that Quantum Physics is itself incomplete, and generating Dark Matter in places where said incompleteness would be most blatant. More precisely, Quantum processes, stretched over cosmic distances, instead of being perfectly efficient and nonlocal over gigantically cosmic locales, could leave a Quantum mass-energy residue, precisely in the places where extravagant cosmic stretching of Quanta occurs (before “collapse”, aka “decoherence”).

The more one does find a conventional explanation (namely a new type of particle) for Dark Matter, the more likely my style of explanation is likely. How could one demonstrate it? Not by looking for new particles, but by conducting new and more refined experiments in the foundations of Quantum Physics.

If this guess is correct, whatever is found askew in the axioms of present Quantum Physics could actually help future Quantum Computer technology (because the latter works with Quantum foundations directly, whereas conventional high energy physics tend to eschew the wave aspects, due to the high frequencies involved).

Going on a tangent is what happens when the central, attractive force, is let go. A direct effect of freedom. Free thinking is tangential. We have to learn to produce tangential thinking.

René Descartes tried to doubt the truth of all his beliefs to determine which beliefs he could be certain were true. However, at the end of “The Meditations” he hastily conclude that we can distinguish between dream and reality. It is not that simple. The logic found in dreams is all too similar to the logic used by full-grown individuals in society.

Proof? Back to Quantum Physics. On the face of it, the axioms of Quantum Physics have a dream like quality (there is no “here”, nor “there”, “now” is everywhere, and, mysteriously, the experiment is Quantum, whereas the “apparatus” is “classical”). Still, most physicists, after insinuating they have figured out the universe, eschew the subject carefully.  The specialists of Foundations are thoroughly confused: see Sean Carroll, http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/17/the-most-embarrassing-graph-in-modern-physics/

However unbelievable Quantum Physics, however dream-like it is, physicists believe in it, and don’t question it anymore than cardinals would Jesus. Actually, it’s this dream-like nature which, shared by all, defines the community of physicists. Cartesian doubt, pushed further than Descartes did, will question not just the facts, the allegations, but the logic itself. And even the mood behind it.

Certainly, in the case of Dark Matter, some of the questions civilization has to ask should be:

  1. How sure are we of the Foundations of Quantum Physics? (Answer: very sure, all too sure!)
  2. Could not it be that Dark Matter is a cosmic size experiment in the Foundations of Quantum Physics?

Physics, properly done, does not just question the nature of nature. Physics, properly done, questions the nature of how we find out the nature of anything. Physics, properly done, even questions the nature of why we feel the way we do. And the way we did. About anything, even poetry. In the end, indeed, even the toughest logic is a form of poetry, hanging out there, justified by its own beauty, and nothing else. Don’t underestimate moods: they call what beauty is.

Patrice Ayme’

Crazy Physics Helps With Overall Madness?

April 27, 2016

Quantum Physics has long been a circus. When De Broglie proposed his thesis, his  thesis jury (which comprised top physicists, including a Nobel Laureate) did not know what to make of it, and consulted Einstein. Einstein was enthusiastic, saying de Broglie “lifted a piece of the veil”. Three years later, de Broglie got the Nobel and proposed his pilot wave theory. Pauli made an objection, de Broglie replied to it with the consummate politeness of the Prince he was, and thus the reply was not noticed. Five years after, the great mathematician Von Neumann asserted a “proof” that there was no Quantum Mechanics but for the one elaborated in Copenhagen. De Broglie’s objections were not listened to. Another two decades later, David Bohm presented de Broglie theory at the Institute for Advanced Physics in Princeton. But Bohm was drowned by question about why he had refused to testify at the Committee on Anti-American Activities in Congress (the American born Bohm promptly lost his job at Princeton University and his US passport, and would leave the US forever).

The usual interpretation of Quantum Physics consider that the De Broglie Matter Waves therein are only probability waves. This idea of Nobel Laureate Born has eschewed controversy. However Einstein sourly remarked: “God does not play with dice.” To which Nobel Laureate Bohr smartly replied:”Stop telling God what to do!

Qubits Are Real. But The Multiverse Is Madness

Qubits Are Real. But The Multiverse Is Madness. And Madness Is Contagious.

De Broglie suggested a “Double Solution” theory, which was promptly forgotten as Dirac launched Quantum ElectroDynamics by starting from the simplest relativistic wave, and building the (spinor) space he needed to have said wave wave in it.  Bohm revived (some of) De Broglie’s ideas by proposing to guide an always well defined particle with a (nonlocal) “quantum potential”.

***

And The Madness Set In:

Nowadays, descriptions of Quantum Physics are keen to assert that something can be in two places at the same time, that there are many worlds, or universes, created each time something happen, that cats are dead and alive, that the observer creates reality, etc…

All this derangement affecting physicists has something to do with a collective madness similar to the pseudo-scientific theories behind the Slave Trade, Stalinism, or Nazism.

No, I am not exaggerating. The theory behind enslaving Black Africans (going all the way back to the Middle Ages) was that Black Africans were, somehow, the missing link between man and ape. That’s why the Pope allowed the slave trade.

Neither am I exaggerating about fascism: the Nazis were actually obsessed by the new physics, a world where everything seemed possible. They called it “Jewish Physics”, and several Nobel laureates (Lenard, etc.), top mathematicians (say Teichmuller, who died on the Eastern Front in combat) were its opponents.

It contributed to suggest an overall mood:’if anything is possible, why not surrealism, fascism, Stalinism, Nazism?’

Germany has long led, intellectually (not to say France did not lead too, but it was the great opponent). Thus when top physicists became Nazis even before Hitler did, they no doubt impressed the latter by their attacks on “Jewish Science”.

The madness was not confined to the Nazis, stricto sensu. An excellent example is Max Planck, discoverer of the Quantum.

Planck accepted Einstein’s paper on “The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” without references… When it was sure that Planck knew about the work of Poincare’, Lorentz, Fitzgerald, Michelson-Morley, etc. on Relativity. Poincaré  was a star, and had toured the USA, delivering lectures on “Relativity” the year prior.

So what was Planck up to? Promoting the German arriviste to the cost of the most accomplished mathematician and physicist, because the latter was a Frenchman. (Poincaré , who was as elevated a character as can be found, nevertheless complained about Einstein plagiarism later.) Not only was  Poincaré French, but his family was refugee from the occupation of Lorraine by the Prussians. Raymond Poincaré, who was prime minister of France several times and president of the French Republic during World War I, was Henri’s cousin.

This is of some import, in the understanding of ideas, to this day: Poincaré  discovered the idea of gravitational waves, and explained why all interactions should go at the speed of light. Scientists who published (stole) the same ideas later could not copy all of  Poincaré ’s arguments, it would have been too obvious (that they stole the ideas), so those important details of  Poincaré  have been forgotten… And this haunts physics to this day

I believe that this is how the extremely all too relative, theory of Relativity a la Einstein appeared: Einstein could not duplicate all of  Poincaré’s details, so he omitted (some of) them… Resulting in a (slick) theory with a glaring defect: all classes of frames in uniform motion are supposed to be equivalent, a blatant absurdity (as even the Big Bang theory imposes a unique class of comoving frames). This brought a lot of (on-going) confusion (say about “rest” mass).

Planck did not stop with stealing Relativity from  Poincaré, and offering it to the Great German empire.

Planck endorsed the general excitement of the German public, when Germany attacked the world on August 1, 1914. He wrote that, “Besides much that is horrible, there is also much that is unexpectedly great and beautiful: the smooth solution of the most difficult domestic political problems by the unification of all parties (and) … the extolling of everything good and noble.”

Planck also signed the infamous Manifesto of the 93 intellectuals“, a pamphlet of war propaganda (while Einstein at the academy in Berlin, retained a pacifistic attitude which almost led to his imprisonment, although he was saved by his Swiss citizenship). The Manifesto, ironically enough, enumerated German war crimes, while denying (‘not true’) that they had happened. It did not occur to the idiots who had signed it, that just denying this long litany of crimes was itself a proof that they had occurred… And it’s telling they had to deny them: the German population obviously was debating whether those crimes had happened, now that the war was not doing well.

Planck got punished for his nationalism: his second son Erwin was taken prisoner by the French in 1914. His eldest son Karl died at Verdun (along with another 305,000 soldiers). When he saw Hitler was destroying Germany, Planck went to see the dictator, to try to change his mind, bringing to his attention that he was demolishing German universities. But to no avail. In January 1945, Erwin, to whom he had been particularly close, was sentenced to death by the obscene and delirious Nazi “people” court, the Volksgerichtshof. Because Erwin participated in the failed attempt to make a coup against the criminal Hitler in July 1944. Erwin was executed on 23 January 1945 (along with around 5,000 German army officers, all the way to Feldmarshal).

So what to think of the “Multiverse”, “Dead and Alive Cats”, Things which are in different places at the same time, etc.? Do they have to do with suggesting, even promoting, a global reign of unreason?

I think they do. I think the top mood contaminate lesser  intellectuals, political advisers, even politicians themselves. Thus political and social leaders feel anything goes, so, next thing you know, they suggest crazy things, like self-regulating finance, trade treaties where plutocrats can sue states (apparently one of the features of TPP and TTIP), or a world which keeps on piling CO2, because everything is relative, dead, thus alive, and everywhere is the same, here, there and everywhere, since at the same place, in space, time, or whatever.

Physics, historically, was not just a model of knowledge, but of rational rectitude. This has been lost. And it was lost from technical reasons, discarding other approaches, in part because of sheer nationalism.

In the 1960s John Bell, the Irishman who was director of theory at CERN, published a book with his famous theorem on nonlocality inside:”Speakables and Unspeakables in Quantum Mechanics”. A title full of hidden sense.

Patrice Ayme

QUANTUM FLUCTUATIONS & ARROW OF TIME

January 18, 2016

What is time? Quantum Physics gives an answer, classical physics does not. Quantum Physics suggests that time is the set of all irreversible processes. This is a world first, so it requires some explanations. I have been thinking, hard, of these things all my life. Sean Carroll, bless his soul, called my attention to the new development that mainstream physicists are starting to pay attention to my little kingdom(so I thank him).

***

SCIENCE IS WHAT WE DO:

Sean Carroll in “Quantum Fluctuations”:

“Let’s conjure some science up in here. Science is good for the soul.”

Patrice Ayme’: Why is science good for the soul? Because the human soul is centered on finding truth. Science is truth, thus science is human. Nothing is more human than science. Science is what humans do. Another thing humans do is art, and it tries to both duplicate, distort, and invent new nature, or interpretations, interpolations, and suggestions, of and from, nature:

Claim: Quantum Interference Is An Irreversible Process, Time's Arrows All Over. Quantum Interference Goes From Several Waves, To One Geometry. Soap Bubbles Brim With Quantum Interference..

Claim: Quantum Interference Is An Irreversible Process, Time’s Arrows All Over. Quantum Interference Goes From Several Waves, To One Geometry. Soap Bubbles Brim With Quantum Interference..

SC: …what are “quantum fluctuations,” anyway? Talk about quantum fluctuations can be vague. There are really 3 different types of fluctuations: Boltzmann, Vacuum, & Measurement. Boltzmann Fluctuations are basically classical: random motions of things lead to unlikely events, even in equilibrium.

Patrice Ayme’: As we will see, or we have already seen in my own “Quantum Wave”, Quantum Fluctuations are just the Quantum Waves. Richard Feynman, at the end of his chapter on entropy in the Feynman Lectures on Physics, ponders how to get an arrow of time in a universe governed by time-symmetric underlying laws. Feynman:

“So far as we know, all the fundamental laws of physics, such as Newton’s equations, are reversible. Then where does irreversibility come from? It comes from order going to disorder, but we do not understand this until we know the origin of the order. Why is it that the situations we find ourselves in every day are always out of equilibrium?”

Patrice Ayme’: Is that really true? Are equations time-symmetric? Not really. First, equations don’t stand alone. Differential equations depend upon initial conditions. Obviously, even if the equations are time-symmetric, the initial conditions are not: the final state cannot be exchanged with the initial state.

Quantum Physics make this observation even more important. The generic Quantum set-up depends upon a geometric space S in which the equation(s) of motion will evolve. Take for example the 2-slit: the space one considers generally, S, is the space AFTER the 2-slit. The one before the 2-slit, C, (for coherence) is generally ignored. S is ordered by Quantum interference.

The full situation is made of: (C, S & Quantum interference). it’s not symmetric. The Quantum depends upon the space (it could be a so-called “phase space”) in which it deploys. That makes it time-assymmetric. An example: the Casimir Effect.

***

QUANTUM PHYSICS IS ABOUT WAVES:

Sean Carroll: “Nothing actually “fluctuates” in vacuum fluctuations! The system can be perfectly static. Just that quantum states are more spread out.”

Indeed. Quantum states are, intrinsically, more spread out. They are NON-LOCAL. Why?

One has to go back to the basics. What is Quantum Physics about? Some, mostly the “Copenhagen Interpretation” followers, claim Quantum Physics is a subset of functional analysis. (The famous mathematician Von Neumann, one of the creators of Functional Analysis, was the founder of this system of thought; this scion of plutocrats, famously, yet satanically, claimed that De Broglie and Bohmian mechanics were impossible… Von Neumann had made a logical mistake; maybe that had to do with being involved with the satanic part of the American establishment, as, by then, that Hungarian had migrated to the USA and wanted to be called “Johnny”!).

The Quantum-as-functional analysis school became dominant. It had great successes in the past. It allows to view Quantum Physics as “Non Commutative Geometry”. However, contrarily to repute, it’s not the most fundamental view. (I have my own approach, which eschews Functional Analysis.)

But let’s backtrack. Where does Quantum-as-functional-analysis come from? A Quantum system is made of a (“configuration”) space S and an equation E (which is a Partial Differential Equation). Out of S and E is created a Hilbert Space with a basis, the “eigenstates”.

In practice, the eigenstates are fundamental waves. They can be clearly seen, with the mind’s eye, in the case of the Casimir Effect with two metallic plates: there is a maximal size for the electromagnetic wavelengths between the plates (as they have to zero out where they touch the metal).

The notion of wave is more general than the notion of eigenstate (Dirac pushed, successfully, the notion of wave so far that it created space, Spinor Space, and Quantum Field Theory has done more of the same, extending the general mood of De Broglie-Dirac to ever fancier Lagrangians, energy expression guiding the waves according to De Broglie scheme).

Historically, De Broglie suggested in 1923 (several publications to the French Academy of Science) that to each particle was associated a (relativistic) wave. De Broglie’s reasons were looked at by Einstein, who was impressed (few, aside from Einstein could understand what De Broglie said; actually De Broglie French jury thesis, which had two Nobel prizes, was so baffled by De Broglie’s thesis, that they sent it to Einstein, to ask him what he thought. Einstein replied with the greatest compliment he ever made to anyone: “De Broglie has started to lift the great veil,” etc…).

The De Broglie’s wave appears on page 111 of De Broglie’s 1924 thesis, which has 118 pages (and contains, among other things, the Schrödinger wave equation, and, of course, the uncertainty principle, something obvious: De Broglie said all particles were guided by waves whose wavelengths depended upon their (relativistic) energy. An uncertainty automatically appears when one tries to localize a particle (that is, a wave) with another particle (that is, another wave!)

***

CLASSICAL PHYSICS HAS NO ARROW OF TIME:

Consider an empty space S. If the space S is made available to (classical) Boltzmann particles, S is progressively invaded by (classical) particles occupying ever more states.

Classical physicist (Boltzmann, etc.) postulated the Second Law of Thermodynamics: something called entropy augmented during any process. Problem, rather drastic: all classical laws of physics are reversible! So, how can reversible physics generate a time-irreversible law? Classical physicist have found no answer. But I did, knight in shining armor, mounted on my powerful Quantum Monster:

***

QUANTUM PROCESSES CREATE IRREVERSIBLE GEOMETRIES:

When the same space S is made available as part of a Quantum System, the situation is strikingly different. As Sean Carroll points out, the situation is immediately static, it provides an order (as Bohm insisted it did). The observation is not new: the De Broglie waves provided an immediate explanation of the stability of electronic waves around atoms (thus supporting Bohr’s “First, or Semi-Classical, Quantum Theory”.

What’s a difference of a Quantum System with a classical system? The classical system evolves, from a given order, to one, more disordered. The Quantum system does not evolve through increasing disorder. Instead, the space S, once accessed, becomes not so  much an initial condition, but a global order.

The afore-mentioned Hilbert Space with its eigenstates is that implicit, or implicate (Bohm) order. So the Quantum System is static in an important sense (from standing Quantum Waves, it sorts of vibrates through time).

Thus Quantum Systems have an intrinsic time-assymmetry (at least when dealing with cavities). When there are no cavities, entanglement causes assymmetry: once an interaction has happened, until observation, there is entanglement. Before interaction, there was no entanglement. Two classical billiards balls are not entangled either before or after they interact, so the interaction by collision is fully time reversible.

Entanglement is also something waves exhibit, once they have interacted and not before, which classical particles are deprived of.

Once more we see the power of the Quantum mindset for explaining the world in a much more correct, much simpler, and thus much more powerful way. The Quantum even decides what time is.

So far as we know, all the classical fundamental laws of physics, such as Newton’s equations, are reversible. Then were does irreversibility come from? It does NOT come, as was previously suggested, from order going to disorder.

Quite the opposite: irreversibility comes from disorder (several waves)going to order (one wave, ordered by its surrounding geometry). And we do understand the origin of the order: it’s the implicit order of Quantum Waves deployed.

You want to know the world? Let me introduce you to the Quantum, a concept of wealth, taste and intelligence.

Last and not least: if I am right, the Quantum brings the spontaneous apparition of order, the exact opposite picture which has constituted the manger in which the great cows of physics have found their sustenance. Hence the fact that life and many other complicated naturally occurring physical systems are observed to create order in the universe are not so baffling anymore. Yes, they violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. However, fundamentally, that violated the spirit, the principle of the universe, the Quantum itself.

Patrice Ayme’

Quantum Fluctuates (Not That Much)

January 3, 2016

The Multiverse fanatics use “Quantum Fluctuations” to justify the existence of the… Universe. Their logic rests on the famous, and deep, inequality:

(Time Uncertainty) (Energy Uncertainty) > (Planck Constant).

I have an accompanying drawing of sorts which relates the preceding to the better known inequality called the “Uncertainty Principle”:

(Uncertainty Position) (Uncertainty Momentum) > (Planck Constant = h).

Uncertainty actually is not as much a “Principle” as a theorem (both inequalities are demonstrated below). The entire subject is very interesting philosophically, as we will see. The lessons are far-ranging, and all over. Yet recent physics textbooks have been eschewing the philosophical character of what is done, within the logic of physics, and stick to soulless formalism. The result has been an entire generation ill-equipped to handle philosophical questions (and yet, they are now forced to do so). Before I get into the philosophy, which appear later, let me roll out the basic physics.

Time And Energy Are Entangled, And This Is The Easiest Proof

Time And Energy Are Entangled, And This Is The Easiest Proof

OK, let’s give a few more details (hidden by implication arrows above). The Position-Momentum inequality is rather obvious, once one has got the basic quantum picture of the photon as a wave, and how it relates to energy.

  1. To locate an object V, one needs to see it. That means ricochet a photon of it (we have nothing better than photons to see… Although some French guy got the Nobel for seeing photons with atomic phase changes, but that’s another story).
  2. So throw photon P on V. To hit V, P needs a smaller wavelength W than L, the diameter of V. Otherwise, P being a wave when it moves, or, more exactly, explores space supraluminally, it will turn around V.
  3. The momentum of the photon P is inverse to W. [This is Energy = h (Frequency)]
  4. So the smaller L, the harder the photon P will hit the object V. That is, the smaller the localization of V, the greater the momentum of V.

So localizing a particle kicks it. How do we get to Energy-Time Uncertainty from there? The Standard Model (which is proven and consistent in its present very restricted domain: no gravity, etc.) has three classes of particles, one of them the class of force carriers. Force carriers go at the speed of light, c, and (thus) have zero mass (the Higgs gives them the appearance of mass as an afterthought).

So what do I do? Well momentum is basically energy (make c = 1), and time is space (thanks to c, measuring time is measuring space and reciprocally). Thus Position-Momentum becomes Time-Energy (the “real” proof as found in Messiah’s basic QM textbook involves functional analytic manipulations, but I doubt it really says more!)

[There are slick derivations of Time-Energy relationship using functional analysis. I am not so sure they make sense… As time is not really an observable in Quantum Physics. My primitive derivation found in the drawing is extremely basic, thus much more powerful. Their main advantage would be to mesmerize undergraduate.]

How Quantum Field Theory (QFT) Blossomed:

Philosophically, the rise of QFT is all about inventing new weird logics. Modern logic comprises Classical Logic, but has gone much further (multivalued logic, fuzzy logic, paradoxal logic, to quote just a few). Basically it has gone in realms where all the rules of classical logic fail. And physics has not come short, but made equally impressive contributions in weirdness.

Let me hasten to add that I find all this very valuable. De Broglie made reasonings I still do not understand. Dirac got the idea that the wave (equation) should be the primary axiom (getting spinor space, where electrons roam, from it, and then spin, anti-matter, etc.).

In QFT the Time-Energy Uncertainty plays a central role, and what is done is actually philosophically fascinating, and should inform the rest of philosophy:

  1. Time-Energy Uncertainty prevents to know fundamental processes if the product of uncertainty in Time, multiplied by the uncertainty in Energy is less than a constant (h).
  2. Thus, should such HIDDEN Fundamental Processes (HFP) occur, we won’t be able to detect them directly.
  3. Hence let’s suppose such HFP happen. Then let’s compute. We discover renormalization, and find end results which are different from those without the HFP.
  4. Check experimentally. What is found is that physics with HFP is correct, and physics without HFP is not.
  5. Einstein tried, but gave up on all this, after his friend Ehrenfest tried to teach them to him for three weeks at Princeton.

Philosophical lesson? Something can be hidden, in principle, and still have indirect, observable effects. (Application in politics? Think of the plutocrats’ most vicious ways, unobservable, in principle, as the media they control make sure of it. Yet, indirectly they are poisoning the world, and the world is dying.)

Some of Today’s Physicists Are Easily Philosophically Confused:

But let’s go back to pataphysics, it’s lot of fun. In the so-called Big Boom, time is supposed to go to zero. Pataphysicists reason that, then, as the uncertainty in time goes down to zero, the uncertainty in energy has got to tend to infinity. First problem: it’s not because the uncertainty on something goes to infinity, that this thing goes to infinity.

But the main problem is the easy way in which the time-energy uncertainty was derived above. If only that reasoning makes sense, it applies to particles, and even virtual particles (although some fully active physicists consider those virtual particles do not exist, only fields do, and Feynman himself was not sure, private conversation). Thus the reasoning above justifies Quantum Fluctuations as they are used in Quantum Field Theory… and, indeed, they are clearly a safe and effective theory there. They work so well that, according to EFFECTIVE ONTOLOGY, those virtual particles ought to exist (I am aware of the arguments against them, more on that another time).

Thus that particles can flicker in and out of existence because of Quantum Fluctuations, I have not only demonstrated in my very primitive (and thus very safe and effective) way, but nobody in the know can deny it happens, since QFT works, and proves the concept . During their brief existence, those virtual particles (or field fluctuations represented by particles, some sophists will insist) affect charge, mass, etc. and these renormalizations have been observed.

Notice that I said: flicker in and OUT of existence. Why OUT of existence?  These particles flicker OUT of existence because of ENERGY CONSERVATION. Notice also that the universe does not flicker out of existence.

Pataphysicists Throw The Baby Out, And Drink The Dirty Water:

Physics is the search of basic axioms and the logic to bring them to life. One of these basic axioms is energy conservation.

This is what the pataphysicists propose to violate, as if they were Saudi paedophiles. Now violations can be justified in extraordinary circumstances (after all Aisha, who Muhammad married when she was six, came to love the Prophet more than any of his followers, and defended his work with her life, after His passing).

However the Big Boom theory of the creation of the universe is not such a great miracle, that it has to be preserved at all cost.

One should not throw the baby with the bath. Nor should one throw the baby out to preserve the dirty bath water. The precious baby is the principle of energy conservation. The dirty bath water is the Big Boom theory. That Big Bang already requires space to expand at zillion of times the speed of light. I have nothing against it, except it looks ad hoc. Pataphysicists have also smelled a rotten rat there, with that one and only, ad hoc  inflation, too, so they say:

“Look at a blade of grass. What do you see? A blade of grass. But look beyond: here is another one blade of grass, and another, and another. Zillions of blades of grass. Then look at planets: zillions, And at stars: zillions, and galaxies too: zillions. Thus universes? Zillions too!”

It reminds me of the fable of the frog who wanted to make itself bigger than an ox. It was doing well, inflating itself, until it exploded in a Big Bang. Pataphysicists can inflate their minds as much as they want, it’s still all wind inside. Time-Energy uncertainty applies to Quantum Fields, inasmuch as it respects energy conservation. Agreed, it is only natural that those who got reputations out of nothing, feel now confident that they can get a universe out of nothing. After all, it’s what their existence is all about.

And the weirdest thing? There is a simple, a simpler, alternative to all the madness: the 100 billion years universe. We will see who wins. This is going to be fun.

Patrice Ayme’

Points Against Multiverses

December 31, 2015

Physics, the study of nature, is grounded not just in precise facts, but also a loose form of logic called mathematics, and in even more general reasonings we know as “philosophy”. For example, the rise of Quantum Field Theory required massive Effective Ontology: define things by their effects. The reigning philosophy of physics became “shut-up and calculate”. But it’s not that simple. Even the simplest Quantum Mechanics, although computable, is rife with mind numbing mysteries (about the nature of matter, time and non-locality).

Recently the (increasing) wild wackiness of the Foundations of Physics, combined with the fact that physics, as it presently officially exists, cannot under-stand Dark Energy and Dark Matter, most of the mass-energy out there, has led some Europeans to organize conferences where physicists meet with reputable  philosophers.

Einstein Was Classical, The World Is Not. It's Weirder Than We Have Imagined. So Far.

Einstein Was Classical, The World Is Not. It’s Weirder Than We Have Imagined. So Far.

[Bell, CERN theory director, discovered a now famous inequality expressing locality, which Quantum physics violate. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack thereafter.]

Something funny happened in these conferences: many physicists came out of them, persuaded, more than ever, or so they claimed, that they were on the right track. Like little rodents scampering out in the daylight,  now sure that there was nothing like a big philosophical eagle to swoop down on them. They made many of these little reasonings in the back of their minds official (thus offering now juicy targets).

Coel Hellier below thus wrote clearly what has been in the back of the minds of the Multiverse Partisans. I show “his” argument in full below. Coel’s (rehashing of what has become the conventional Multiverse) argument is neat, cogent, powerful.

However I claim that it is not as plausible, not as likely, as the alternative, which I will present. Coel’s argument rests on a view of cosmology which I claim is neither mathematically necessary, nor physically tenable (in light of the physics we know).

To understand what I say, it’s better to read Coel first. Especially as I believe famous partisans of the Multiverse have been thinking along the same lines (maybe not as clearly). However, to make it fast, those interested by my demolition of it can jump directly to my counter, at the end: NO POINTS, And Thus No Multiverse.

***

Multiverses Everywhere: Coel Hellier’s Argument:

Coel Hellier, a professional astrophysicist of repute, wrote :  “How many Big Bangs? A philosophical argument for a multiverse”:

“Prompted by reading about the recent Munich conference on the philosophy of science, I am reminded that many people regard the idea of a multiverse as so wild and wacky that talking about it brings science into disrepute.”

Well, being guided by non-thinking physicists will do that. As fundamental physicist Mermin put it, decades ago:

The Philosophy "Shut Up And Calculate" Is A Neat Example Of Intellectual Fascism. It Is Increasingly Undermined By The Effort Toward Quantum Computing, Where Non-Locality Reigns

The Philosophy “Shut Up And Calculate” Is A Neat Example Of Intellectual Fascism. It Is Increasingly Undermined By The Effort Toward Quantum Computing, Where Non-Locality Reigns.

Coel, claiming to have invented something which has been around for quite a while, probably decades: My argument here is the reverse: that the idea of multiple Big Bangs, and thus of a multiverse, is actually more mundane and prosaic than the suggestion that there has only ever been one Big Bang. I’m calling this a “philosophical” argument since I’m going to argue on very general grounds rather than get into the details of particular cosmological models.

First, let me clarify that several different ideas can be called a “multiverse”, and here I am concerned with only one. That “cosmological multiverse” is the idea that our Big Bang was not unique, but rather is one of many, and that the different “universes” created by each Big Bang are simply separated by vast amounts of space.

Should we regard our Big Bang as a normal, physical event, being the result of physical processes, or was it a one-off event unlike anything else, perhaps the origin of all things? It is tempting to regard it as the latter, but there is no evidence for that idea. The Big Bang might be the furthest back thing we have evidence of, but there will always be a furthest-back thing we have evidence of. That doesn’t mean its occurrence was anything other than a normal physical process.

If you want to regard it as a one-off special event, unlike any other physical event, then ok. But that seems to me a rather outlandish idea. When physics encounters a phenomenon, the normal reaction is to try to understand it in terms of physical processes.”

Then Coel exposes some of the basic conclusions of the Standard Big Bang model:

So what does the evidence say? We know that our “observable” universe is a region of roughly 13.8 billion light years in radius, that being the distance light can have traveled since our Big Bang. (Actually, that’s how we see it, but it is now bigger than that, at about 90 billion light years across, since the distant parts have moved away since they emitted the light we now see.) We also know that over that time our observable universe has been steadily expanding.

Then astrophysicist Coel start to consider necessary something about the geometry of the universe which is not so, in my opinion. Coel:

“At about 1 second after the Big Bang, what is now our observable universe was only a few light years across, and so would have fitted into (what is now) the space between us and the nearest star beyond our Sun. Before that it would have been yet smaller.”

What’s wrong? Coel assumes implicitly that the universe started from a POINT. But that does not have to be the case. Suppose the universe started as an elastic table. As we go back in time, the table shrinks, distances diminish. Coel:

“We can have good confidence in our models back to the first seconds and minutes, since the physics at that time led to consequences that are directly observable in the universe today, such as the abundance of helium-4 relative to hydrogen, and of trace elements such as helium-3, deuterium, and lithium-7.[1] Before that time, though, our knowledge gets increasingly uncertain and speculative the further back we push.”

These arguments about how elements were generated, have a long history. They could actually be generated in stars (I guess, following Hoyle and company). Star physics is not that well-known that we can be sure they can’t (stars as massive as 600 Suns seem to have been discovered; usual astrophysics says they are impossible; such stars would be hotter than the hottest stars known for sure).

Big Bangists insist that there would have been no time to generate these elements in stars, because the universe is 13.8 billion years old. But that 13.8 billion is from their Big Bang model. So their argument is circular: it explodes if the universe is, actually 100 billion years old.

But back to Coel’s Multiverses All Over. At that point, Coel makes a serious mistake, the one he was drifting towards above:

“One could, if one likes, try to extrapolate backwards to a “time = zero” event at which all scales go to zero and everything is thus in the same place. But trying to consider that is not very sensible since we have no evidence that such an event occurred (from any finite time or length scale, extrapolating back to exactly zero is an infinite extrapolation in logarithmic space, and making an infinite extrapolation guided by zero data is not sensible). Further, we have no physics that would be remotely workable or reliable if applied to such a scenario.[2]

…”all scales go to zero and everything is thus in the same place.” is not true, in the sense that it does not have to be. Never mind, Coel excludes it, although he claims “extrapolating back in time” leads there. It does not.

Instead, Coel invites us to Voodoo (Quantum) Physics:

“So what is it sensible to consider? Well, as the length scale decreases, quantum mechanics becomes increasingly important. And quantum mechanics is all about quantum fluctuations which occur with given probabilities. In particular, we can predict that at about the Planck scale of 10−35 metres, quantum-gravity effects would have dominated.[3] We don’t yet have a working theory of quantum gravity, but our best guess would be that our Big Bang originated as a quantum-gravity fluctuation at about that Planck-length scale.”

Well, this is conventional pata-physics. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. I have an excellent reason why it should not (details another time). At this point, Coel is firmly in the conventional Multiverse argument (come to think of it, he did not invent it). The universe originated in a Quantum fluctuation at a point, thus:

“So, we can either regard our Big Bang as an un-natural and un-physical one-off event that perhaps originated absolutely everything (un-natural and un-physical because it would not have been a natural and physical process arising from a pre-existing state), or we can suppose that our Big Bang started as something like a quantum-gravity fluctuation in pre-existing stuff. Any physicist is surely going to explore the latter option (and only be forced to the former if there is no way of making the latter work).

At times in our human past we regarded our Solar System as unique, with our Earth, Sun and Moon being unique objects, perhaps uniquely created. But the scientific approach was to look for a physical process that creates stars and planets. And, given a physical process that creates stars, it creates not just one star, but oodles of them strewn across the galaxy. Similarly, given a physical process that creates Earth-like planets, we get not just one planet, but planets around nearly every star.”

Coel then gets into the famous all-is-relative mood, rendered famous by “French Theory”:

“It was quite wrong to regard the Sun and Earth as unique; they are simply mundane examples of common physical objects created by normal physical processes that occur all over the galaxy and indeed the universe.

But humans have a bias to a highly anthropocentric view, and so we tend to regard ourselves and what we see around us as special, and generally we need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that we’re normal and natural products of a universe that is much the same everywhere — and thus is strewn with stars like our Sun, with most of them being orbited by planets much like ours.

Similarly, when astronomers first realised that we are in a galaxy, they anthropocentrically assumed that there was only one galaxy. Again, it took a beating over the head with evidence to convince us that our galaxy is just one of many.”

Well, it’s not because things we thought were special turned out not to be that nothing is special. The jury is still out about how special Earth, or, for that matter, the Solar System, are. I have argued Earth is what it is, because of the Moon and the powerful nuclear fission reactor inside Earth. The special twist being that radioactive elements tend to gather close to the star, and not in the habitable zone. So Earth maybe, after all special.

At this point, Coel is on a roll: multiverses all over. Says he:

“ So, if we have a physical process that produces a Big Bang then likely we don’t get just one Big Bang, we get oodles of them. No physical process that we’re aware of happens once and only once, and any restriction to one occurrence only would be weird and unnatural. In the same way, any physical process that creates sand grains tends to create lots of them, not just one; and any physical process that creates snowflakes tends to create lots of them, not just one.

So, we have three choices: (1) regard the Big Bang as an unnatural, unphysical and unexplained event that had no cause or precursor; (2) regard the Big Bang as a natural and physical process, but add the rider that it happened only once, with absolutely no good reason for adding that rider other than human parochial insularity; or (3) regard the Big Bang as a natural and physical event, and conclude that, most likely, such events have occurred oodles of times.

Thus Big Bangs would be strewn across space just as galaxies, stars and planets are — the only difference being that the separation between Big Bangs is much greater, such that we can see only one of them within our observable horizon.

Well, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that those opting for (3) are the ones being sensible and scientifically minded, and those going for (1) or (2) are not, and need to re-tune their intuition to make it less parochial.”

To make sure you get it, professor Coel repeats the argument in more detail, and I will quote him there, because as I say, the Multiverse partisans have exactly that argument in the back of their mind:

“So, let’s assume we have a Big Bang originating as a quantum-gravity fluctuation in a pre-existing “stuff”. That gives it a specific length scale and time scale, and presumably it would have, as all quantum fluctuations do, a particular probability of occurring. Lacking a theory of quantum gravity we can’t calculate that probability, but we can presume (on the evidence of our own Big Bang) that it is not zero.

Thus the number of Big Bangs would simply be a product of that probability times the number of opportunities to occur. The likelihood is that the pre-existing “stuff” was large compared to the quantum-gravity fluctuation, and thus, if there was one fluctuation, then there would have been multiple fluctuations across that space. Hence it would likely lead to multiple Big Bangs.

The only way that would not be the case is if the size of the pre-existing “stuff” had been small enough (in both space and time) that only one quantum fluctuation could have ever occurred. Boy, talk about fine tuning! There really is no good reason to suppose that.

Any such quantum fluctuation would start as a localised event at the Planck scale, and thus have a finite — and quite small — spatial extent. Its influence on other regions would spread outwards, but that rate of spreading would be limited by the finite speed of light. Given a finite amount of time, any product of such a fluctuation must then be finite in spatial extent.

Thus our expectation would be of a pre-existing space, in which there have occurred multiple Big Bangs, separated in space and time, and with each of these leading to a spatially finite (though perhaps very large) universe.

The pre-existing space might be supposed to be infinite (since we have no evidence or reason for there being any “edge” to it), but my argument depends only on it being significantly larger than the scale of the original quantum fluctuation.

One could, of course, counter that since the initial quantum fluctuation was a quantum-gravity event, and thus involved both space and time, then space and time themselves might have originated in that fluctuation, which might then be self-contained, and not originate out of any pre-existing “stuff”.[5] Then there might not have been any pre-existing “stuff” to argue about. But if quantum-gravity fluctuations are a process that can do that, then why would it happen only once? The natural supposition would be, again, that if that can happen once, then — given the probabilistic nature of physics — it would happen many times producing multiple different universes (though these might be self-contained and entirely causally disconnected from each other).”

Then, lest you don’t feel Multiversal enough, professor Coel rolls out the famous argument which brings the Multiverse out of Cosmic Inflation. Indeed, the universe-out of nothing Quantum fluctuation is basically the same as that of Cosmic Inflation. It’s the same general mindset: I fluctuate, therefore I am (that’s close to Paris motto, Fluctuat Nec Mergitur…). Coel:

In order to explain various aspects of our observed universe, current cosmological models suggest that the initial quantum fluctuation led — early in the first second of its existence — to an inflationary episode. As a result the “bubble” of space that arose from the original quantum-fluctuation would have grown hugely, by a factor of perhaps 1030. Indeed, one can envisage some quantum-gravity fluctuations leading to inflationary episodes, but others not doing so.

The inflationary scenario also more or less requires a multiverse, and for a similar reason to that given above. One needs the region that will become our universe to drop out of the inflationary state into the “normal” state, doing so again by a quantum fluctuation. Such a quantum fluctuation will again be localised, and so can only have a spatially finite influence in a finite time.

Yet, the inflationary-state bubble continues to expand so rapidly, much more rapidly than the pocket of normal-state stuff within it, that its extent does not decrease, but only increases further. Therefore whatever process caused our universe to drop out of the inflationary state will cause other regions of that bubble to do the same, leading to multiple different “pocket universes” within the inflationary-state bubble.

Cosmologists are finding it difficult to construct any model that successfully transitions from the inflationary state to the normal state, that does not automatically produce multiple pocket universes.[6] Again, this follows from basic principles: the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, the spatial localisation of quantum fluctuations, and the finite speed at which influence can travel from one region to another.”

The driver of the entire Multiverse thinking is alleged Quantum Fluctuations in a realm we know f anything. Those who are obsessed by fluctuations may have the wrong obsession. And professor Coel to conclude with more fluctuations:

“The dropping out of the inflationary state is what produces all of the energy and matter that we now have in our universe, and so effectively that dropping-out event is what we “see” as our Big Bang. This process therefore produces what is effectively a multiverse of Big Bangs strewn across that inflationary bubble. Thus we have a multiverse of multiverses! Each of the (very large number of?) quantum-gravity fluctuations (that undergo an inflationary state) then itself produces a whole multiverse of pocket universes.

The point I am trying to emphasize is that any process that is at all along the lines of current known physics involves the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, and that means that more or less any conceivable process for creating one Big Bang is going to produce not just a single event, but almost inevitably a vast number of such events. You’d really have to try hard to fine-tune and rig the model to get only one Big Bang.

As with any other physical process, producing multiple Big Bangs is far more natural and in-line with known physics than trying to find a model that produces only one. Trying to find such a model — while totally lacking any good reason to do so — would be akin to looking for a process that could create one snowflake or one sand grain or one star or galaxy, but not more than one.”

Patrice Says: NO POINTS, AND THUS NO MULTIVERSE(s):

Did the universe expand from one point? Not necessarily. It could have been from a line, a plane, a volume, even something with a crazy topology. The Big Bang is the time zero limit of the FLRW metric. Then the spacing between every point in the universe becomes zero and the density goes to infinity.

Did the Universe expand from Quantum Gravity? Beats me, I don’t have a theory of Quantum Gravity.

What I know is that, expanding from what’s known of gravity, if the universe expanded from a “point”, that would be smaller than the Planck volume, thus the universe would be within a Black Hole. From what we know about those, no expansion.

Once we don’t have the universe expanding from a point, we cannot argue that it expanded from one point in some sort of “stuff”. If the universe is the “stuff” itself, and it’s everywhere, and expanding from everywhere, exit the argument about a “point”.

The argument about a “point” was that: why this particular point? Why not another “Quantum Fluctuation” from another “point” in the “stuff”. Why should our “point” be special? Is it not scientific to believe in the equality of points? Except points have measure zero in three dimensional space, and thus it’s more “scientific”, “mathematical” to suppose the universe expanded from a non-measure zero set, namely a volume (and it better be bigger than the Planck Volume).

So the argument that there should be many universes because there are many points and many Quantum (Gravity) fluctuations flies apart.

Remains the argument that we need Cosmic Inflation. Yes, but if the universe expands from all over, all over, there is only one such. Cosmic Inflation does not have to appear at all points generating baby universes, It becomes more like Dark Energy.

Speaking of which, why should we have two Cosmic Inflations when we already have one? Even my spell checker does not like the idea of two inflations. It does not like the “s”. Ah, yes, the existing Big Bang needs its own Inflation.

Yet if there is only one inflation, presto, no more standard Big Bang, But then what of Helium, Lithium, etc? How do we synthesize enough of those? Well maybe we would have much more time to synthesize them, inside stars… Especially super giant stars.

Another word about these Quantum Fluctuations. Are they the fundamental lesson of Quantum Physics (as the Multiversists implicitly claim)? No.

Why? There are several most fundamental lessons about Quantum Physics. Most prominent: the DYNAMICAL universe is made of waves. That fact, by itself implies NON-LOCALITY. It also implies neighborhoods, no points, are the fundamental concepts (one cannot localize a wave at a point). This is the origin of the “Quantum Fluctuations”.

So we just saw that “Quantum Fluctuations” may not be the most fundamental concept. Fundamental, yes, but not most fundamental. When debating fundamentals with the Devil, you better bring exquisite logic, and a Non-Local spoon, otherwise you will be Quantum fluctuated out.

Patrice Ayme’

Black Hole Paradox

September 1, 2015

Photons are the carriers of the electromagnetic field. Each single photon is endowed with a given energy, hf, where f is the frequency of said photon. In some circumstances, the energy a photon possesses is less than the one it needs to get out of a gravitational well. So it cannot get out: a black hole forms.

Essentially, this comes from the fact a photon’s energy is finite, whereas the energy of a gravitational field can grow infinitely… Or so I, and others, used to think, until I became skeptical.

No Doubt There Are Black Holes. Question: How Come?

No Doubt There Are Black Holes. Question: How Come?

Simulated view of a black hole in front of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of many small galaxies satellite to the giant Milky Way. This Black Hole is assumed to be alone, without accretion disk (accretion would make the Black Hole very luminous!). The ratio between the black hole Schwarzschild radius and the observer distance to it is 1:9. Of note is the gravitational lensing effect known as an Einstein ring, which produces a set of two fairly bright and large but highly distorted images of the Cloud as compared to its actual angular size.

The two arcs of circle top and bottom are actually the Large Magellanic Cloud, appearing in two places, as light goes above and below the Black Hole. The Milky Way appears above, strongly distorted by gravitational lensing. [2006 image by French physicist Alain R.]

Gravitons are the (alleged) carriers of the gravitational field. Each of them has some energy. At some point the energy gravitons individually posses ought to be less than the potential energy needed to get out of a gravitational well. (The reasoning is the same as for photons.)

But then what?

In the case of photons, what is blocked is light the electromagnetic field: light, in another word.

What is blocked when gravitons get blocked? The gravitational field itself! Thus a black hole would not just then show up as a black, “frozen star”. A Black Hole should outright violate (apparent) matter conservation. It should disconnect gravitationally.

Following this simple logic, at some point a mass collapsing gravitationally should disappear, not just visually, but gravitationally.

Yet, astronomical observations reveal hyper massive black holes at the center of galaxies. This tends to indicate that physics may happen inside a black hole that we can neither observe, nor predict.

I presented these simple ideas a very long time ago in Stanford, a private university in California, personally or in seminars, to some of the household names in the field. The reaction of my iconoclasm was close to indignant anger. It’s easy to see why. We human beings live lives which are endowed with sense only by forgetting that we make little sense individually, absent others.

A way to make sense is by giving love and care. Another, mostly the obverse, by the will to power. A scientific, or, more generally, an intellectual career (philosopher, poet, writer, etc.)marries both love and power. Science, in particular, unites a potent hierarchy akin to priesthood, with the pretense of great magic vis-à-vis the public and being a gift to humanity. Or so it is perceived by its participants. Break the spell, and scientists feel as insects instead of semi-gods, and the absurdity of their position, that of thieves in full sight, exposed to the pillory, is too much to bear.

Yet, a quick glance at the history of science shows that great errors and lack of understanding, spectacularly erroneous theories could have been detected easily, with simple observations.

I am not saying that science is always simple. Far from it. For example, the heliocentric theory could be only demonstrated to be sure with 100% certainty, only after a careful study of the phases of Venus, through increasingly powerful telescopes, during the middle of the seventeenth century. Before that, geocentrism failed the smell test (it was too contrived, and the sun was so much bigger). True. The smell test is philosophical in nature. Before that, one could only say that it was un-scientific to rule out the most likely theory (heliocentrism), just because one could not prove it, and because it enraged so many people in high places.

It cannot be any different today: the very idea of the priesthood, scientific or not, is making some humans into quasi-gods. Out of this divine hierarchy comes the certainty that metaphysics has been solved.

Thus, when I suggested that, on the face of it, ultimately, Black Holes ought to disconnect gravitationally with the rest of the universe, I undermined the principle that the greatest scientists (I will not write their names as not to enrage them further), covered as they are with great medals, after all, do not understand much more about gravitation, than we did, say, three centuries ago.

I caused these people existential pain: no, you are not the greatest of the great, having achieved greater understanding than anyone did before you, colossally dominating history and humanity, and deservedly so. What you call greatest of the greatness, seems, after all, to be just errors of the smugly ignorant.

Einstein was not that way. He said:

All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, ‘What are light quanta?’ Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

Most importantly, Albert Einstein also suspected that Matter could not be described by field theory:

I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

In my theory, elementary particles are not only non-local (Einstein’s Error was to suppose that they were), but they break (giving rise to Dark Matter). But I will not go as far as to say that “nothing remains”. Far from it, my dear Uncle Albert. Quantum Field Theory remains, as an approximation. Just as the epicycle theory remains, as a sort of Fourier Analysis of a periodic motion.

Some physicists will laugh at the simplicity of the preceding reasoning, and just exasperatedly utter: “that’s ridiculous” as some of the most prestigious specialists of the field did to me, decades ago. Maybe it is. Just tell me why. I am humbly waiting.

Patrice Ayme’  

Quantum Metaphysics Unavoidable

March 5, 2015

 

Quantum everything is unavoidable, because the world is Quantum.

When a non-Quantum explanation is advanced it has to be simple enough to be clearly non-Quantum. Yet, much that was thought to be very simple, turns out to be Quantum!

QUANTUM EFFECTS SHIELD LIFE ON EARTH:

Here is an example: the magnetic shield which protects life originates, everybody agreed, with something more or less like molten iron at more or less at the temperature of the surface of the Sun, circulating below our feet. However, the details did not work out. Researchers at the universities of Washington, Rutgers, Carnegie Institution, just revealed that “Quantum correlations between electrons” were crucial. They help generate twice the thermal convection that the old theory (from 1930), which neglected electron to electron scattering, had found!

Down In Hell, Electrons Collide, Convection Goes Up

Down In Hell, Electrons Collide, Convection Goes Up

“We uncovered an effect that had been hiding in plain sight for 80 years,” Cohen, one of the physicists, said. “And now the original dynamo theory works after all!

Of course the dynamo theory had to work, for the good and simple meta reason that there was nothing else imaginable in sight! This will to make the dynamo theory work, is an example of metaphysics in action.

METAPHYSICS HELPS DISCOVERY, PHYSICALISM IS ALL THERE IS:

Meta-whatever has its use.

Because of this Meta-Physical reason (the Dynamo Theory HAD to works, thus (some) researchers kept on searching). This is a typical aspect of how metaphysics works. The Will To Explanation is intrinsically metaphysical. (Especially when it is a will to a BETTER explanation.)

According to so-called “physicalism”, a philosophical theory, all that exists in our world (including consciousness) is physical.

Indeed, what else could it be? By definition of physis, nature is all there is. Even the god(s) would be part of nature, should they exist.

(That problem, the problem of who created god, should god exist, makes the existence of god unlikely, let me say in passing; or then “god” is another word for nature, physis… Let a million Jihadists faint.)

Nature is all-encompassing (differently from Allah in the Qur’an, who is one actor out of many, including Shatan, Djinns, Believers, Unbelievers, etc.)

Jealousy is part of nature. So is hope.

***

CLASSICAL PHYSICALISM HAS NO UNKNOWNABLE SOUL, HOWEVER, QUANTUM PHYSICALISM DOES:

All this “physicalism” sounded scary and unlikely, even ridiculous, as long as the world was viewed as made of tiny billiard balls. How could small balls, predictably colliding, do it all? What happened to Free Will? Was god himself deprived of Freedom, let alone Will?

Tempers flared.

However, a Quantum peace should have come all over. All over those aware of the Quantum, and its Wave.

The world is made of Entangled Quantum Waves, and no one knows what this entanglement exactly is, if it has a range, if it collapses. Nor does anyone know how these Quantum Waves really behave in all imaginable cases, nor how they achieve their non-locality, or whether they truly collapse, and then why and how if they do.

This is not just all metaphysical sounding, it is also at the core of extremely practical considerations for making a Quantum Computer. Life is a Quantum Computer. Since god does not exist, we need to make our own.

Nobody has any idea what these Quantum Waves are made of. Space? Mind? Even time seems to be sitting on the sidelines, as the Quantum Waves pass by, and fill the universe.

In other words, by going from Classical mechanics to Quantum Physics, our view of nature went from certain, and certainly all-too simple to the point of silliness, to certainly very mysterious, full of baffling possibilities, and nearly as ethereal as consciousness itself.

Quantum Waves can be proven to exist experimentally… with the correct philosophical perspective.

And they don’t reduce to waves a la Bohm (potential waves), or Born (probability waves; Born got the Nobel for that idea). Quantum Waves’ nature and existence can be demonstrated just a bit better than consciousness itself (especially in academic zombies).

A number of physicists, confronted by the sudden possibilities imagination was overwhelmed with, thanks to the Quantum, got over-stimulated, and fell victim of a collective mania, the Multiverse Derangement Syndrome (an attempt to deny the reality of Quantum Waves).

However, it’s somewhat also deranged to consider nature, and consciousness, while trying to go around the elephant in the bathroom, Quantum Physics, as if it did not exist.

This is what all too many thinkers are apparently doing.

In Quantum Physics as we have it, PARTICULAR aspects (when particles show-up) are an epiphenomenon (that’s why, in particular, the definition of a “particle” is not too clear). All the machinery that leads to the particular is wavy, not to say fuzzy. How much? That’s what both Quantum Computer engineers and fundamental physicists such as Haroche are trying to determine. It is both hard physics, and hard philosophy (as not just the motivations are metaphysical, but the subject at hand, Quantum Waves, is certainly metaphysical, in the sense that it is beyond physics as it is commonly understood).

Those who are interested by “grounding” our fundamental views, in particular metaphysics, cannot ignore the Quantum (and, I add, somewhat more controversially, because the conventional, probabilistic (Born), Quantum Interpretation, denies their physicalism), its Quantum Waves.

Should those who claim to try to ground thinking do so, while disdaining the Quantum, they will look deliberately incomplete. Not to say downright silly.

There are non-Quantum explanations. However physics is Quantum, and what is beyond it, metaphysics, has to recognize it is therefore defined by it.

Patrice Ayme’

IS LIFE ALL ABOUT THE QUANTUM?

January 22, 2015

Far From Being Absurd, Life May Be A Quantum Force That Gets Ever More Complex

The most striking feature of the Quantum is that, by doing something somewhere, one can change the state of something else, somewhere else. Einstein found this “spooky”. Philosophically, it just says that, whatever the universe is about, it’s not about old fashion “points”, as found in old fashion mathematics.

This “Quantum Entanglement” and the related, yet diluted “Quantum Discord” constitute the true architecture of the universe. This revelation ought to impact everything. Not just philosophy, but also psychology.

I propose the following. Life, its gathering complexity, adaptability, progress, ethology, meaning, are all animated by the very nature of the Quantum. It’s neither weird, nor absurd, it’s a force that proceeds.

Let me backtrack a bit.

“There is only one really serious philosophical problem,” Camus says in his book, The Myth of Sisyphus, “and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”

What does this mean? Not much. Besides the admission that apparently much of Camus’ life was absurd. Camus should have done like Nietzsche, and go climb mountains solo. There, as Nietzsche did, he would have found meaning.

One does not decide if life is worth living, most of the time, because, most of the time, life is not a choice. One does chose to breathe. One breathes. When one is thirsty, one drinks, and so on. There is a mechanical aspect to animals, who are machines which live. Most of the time, an animal’s systems are on automatic, best described by inertia.

Animals find meaning by experiencing the life that they are made for.

Recent studies have shown that young lions get neurological damage, if they don’t chew hard on tough flesh. Being a lion is meant to be tough, to be fulfilling. Camus and company lived too soft, in their hour of glory.

Lamarck believed that two forces acted on evolution. One had to do with adapting to the environment, the other was the “Pouvoir de Vie”. This “Life Power” brought increasing complexity to biological evolution. It goes without saying that it is observed. It is an open question whether life started on Mars (it probably did). What is clear, though, is that fortunes are spent to sterilize landers sent to other planets (including the Moon), because exobiologists are worried that today’s Earth life would take over: Earth life has become so complex, it can adapt to what space can throw at it.

This “Life Power” made reductionists spiteful, because they saw no science based reason for it. However, if they had been smarter, they would have seen it that it was a fact. They knew too much Classical and Thermo Dynamics… While the true nature of Quantum Physics was hidden by the siren song of the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Quantum Physics depends upon law (unfortunately, that “law” varies; it can be an infuriatingly parachuted wave equation, or another, or, more generally in the “Standard Model”, some manipulation of a hyper complicated Laplacian; in any case, it has to do with waves… Non-linear waves, in the general case!), initial conditions, and also the final space (a Hilbert space generated by eigenstates). This makes Quantum Mechanics somewhat teleological, an inconceivable horror for the classic-mechanical minded.

It means the Quantum looks far ahead, and everywhere, as if it were a god in the machine. It is a god, the god, in the machine…

The final space for genes is the environment. Genes are Quantum machines (a bit like Turing machines, but operated by the Quantum). This interaction between the genetic machinery and the environment means that we have a Quantum mechanism for fast adaptation to the environment.

Someday, soon, Quantum Biology may well become the queen of sciences… Ruling even mathamatics.

But not only this. The Quantum force operates through Quantum Entanglement… Entanglement creates a complexity at a distance, and that complexity propagates, as the Quantum Entanglement does.

So it is as if life progressed by extending Quantum tendrils in all spaces that it can reach, and it can reach a lot. There is Lamarck’ Life Power, there is the increasing complexity, and there is progress. If biology itself progresses, at fortiori culture, the minds’ tendrils.

Why was Camus so obsessed by absurdity? Because he got surrounded by absurdity. He came from a dirt poor environment in Algeria, and, in exchange for valor and work, was given everything by the Republic. This testimony, a celebration of human rights and equal opportunity, was then confronted to “intellectuals” who inverted, and buried all these values… In their names. Camus was told to follow Comrade Stalin, instead. When he begged to differ, he is called a colonial racist.

What is teleology? It’s the logic of the ends, the logic of purposes, logic at a distance. Socrates believed in it. Plato and Aristotle had their own versions. During the Enlightenment, dominated , and inspired as it was by Classical Mechanics, teleology got assimilated to the discredited Christian god, and fell into contempt.

We know more now, and we can afford different, more sophisticated teleologies. I claim that life is teleological, because it evolves not just haphazardly (“stochastically”), but also teleologically (thanks to Quantum Physics, which provides eyes and a feeling… for what is going on at a distance).

Teleology at the level of hydrogen bonds? Most probably (surprise, surprise). Modify the DNA’s environment, and Quantum Computational pressure is exerted on DNA’s hydrogen bonds (among other bonds). Thus the DNA  will evolve much faster than (classical “Darwinian”) haphazard mutations would have it.  It is such an obvious mechanism that evolution is bound to have selected for it. Life’s little secret is the Quantum!

Experiments are planned. All this will be probably viewed as obvious, all along, within ten years.

What this teleology does is to make life ever more adapted and ever more adaptable. If one measures progress by adaptability, progress there has been, as adaptability has progressed.

Philosophically, it means that, in the deepest sense, life, thanks to the Quantum, is behaving as if it were making value judgments. For example, at the molecular level, lowest energy solutions can be evaluated, and selected.

What is the aim of that teleology? Survival of the life form adapting. A question which immediately surges, is what is life? One thing that is clear, though, is the definition of goodness. For a give lifeform, that means survival of said lifeform. So, naturally enough, goodness will vary according to species, but also tribes, and even individuals.

So let the biggest goodness, and the goodness of the strongest lifeform win (as Nietzsche insisted… and this is the way life always has had it… as Nietzsche himself pointed out, following Sade, who was even clearer!)

Experiments in ethology are starting to test this (EJ Winner ought to consider them! ;-)). Basic psychology, such as a sense of fairness, have obvious survival values in social species such as primates.

Intelligence is also teleological. Philosophically, one can argue that intelligence, and even culture, are an extension of the adaptability of life at the nanometer scale, harnessing the Quantum. The extension probably uses the same Quantum machinery that starts to be put in evidence at the molecular level (say in the chlorophyll molecule).

If Homo Is Aware, Is the Universe Aware? It’s a bit like the question of pondering whether a planet harboring life is alive, or not. Earth is certainly alive, because life enables the very conditions on Earth that enable of its on-going existence, so far. The advent of oxygen producing lifeforms enabled the progress of complexity, hence the apparition of intelligence and advanced ethology of the conscious type.

Speaking of this, a question naturally arises: what is the definition of life? Life, so far, has no definition. The greatest minds have been left speechless.

Considering the preceding, clearly, such a definition will have to involve the Quantum, and Entanglement, besides reproduction. Crystals, and Quasi-crystals can reproduce an Entanglement architecture, but they are intensely boring.  They can be described by just one equation.

Life is any Quantum Entanglement architecture which can approximately self-reproduce and adapt while being described by a potentially growing set of equations.

Probably, we are aspects of the Entanglements and Delocalization that the Quantum is capable of, at least in a little corner of the universe. We don’t need no Sisyphus: we can operate on it, at a distance.

Spooky, admittedly, but that’s what we are.

All these revelations  change the overall mood towards the purpose of life. Life is not absurd, it simply is a growing, entangled complexity, our morality and intelligence, hopes, meaning, and consciousness are entangled with it. But the solutions we cling to, all too long, can well be, indeed, all too disjointed, point-wise, disconnected, and thoroughly absurd.

Equally clearly, the (meta, or final!) solution is to have all the absurdities gobbled up by life itself.

Patrice Ayme’

Free Will & Quantum

December 27, 2014

It is natural to suspect that those who evoke the Quantum at every turn are a bit deranged. Has a Quantum obsession replaced God? God died, but not the need to obsess? (Dominique Deux made a wry remark in that direction.)

Nietzsche himself is an example. Having “killed” (his father’s) “God“, Nietzsche obsessed about the (Indian based) “Eternal Return of the Same”, something from the Zeitgeist. Henri Poincare’ soon demonstrated some dynamical systems roughly do this (although I certainly do not believe all Solar Systems will; recent observations have confirmed my hunch: many Solar Systems are very unstable, the Sun-Jupiter harmony may be rare…)

Quasar & Host Galaxy [NASA-ESA Hubble]

Quasar & Host Galaxy [NASA-ESA Hubble]

[The picture, from 1996, is poor, as the Quasar is very far. We need another telescope, but plutocrats don’t want it, because they would have to pay more taxes, thus rendered unable to treat the Commons as dirt as much as they desire. Yet, in spite of the plutocratically imposed low resolution, one can see the mighty ultra-relativistic jets arising from the Quasar’s core.]

Obsessing about the Quantum is obsessing about the true nature of Nature. As it turns out it’s much simpler and magical than the classical picture.

Nature is the Quantum writ large. Relativity, the Standard model, the Big Bang: these are all amusements of dubious veracity. The Quantum is the Real Thing. And it’s everywhere. Most people just don’t know it yet.

Even Biological Evolution Theory, or Free Will, are going to be revealed to be within the Quantum’s empire.

There is something called “Free Will Skepticism” as massaged in Gregg Caruso Scientia Salon’s essays, and his (celebrity) TED talk. It is not so much skepticism about the existence of Free Will, but skepticism that those who loudly believe in “Free Will” have a constructive, progressive attitude in the society of the USA.

Ultimately, the problem of Free Will will have to tackle the problem of what are exactly the free agents in Quantum Physics.

Well, nobody knows for sure. What the free agents are is the central problem of Quantum Computing, and the high energy physicists’ wild goose chase for high energy processes went the other way, for two generations, so we don’t know what determines the evolution of the Quantum systems.

High energy processes are of interest only in high energy places, none of which are found where the biosphere lays. In other words, much physics, high energy physics used the Quantum, but did not try to figure it out.

Not knowing what the free agents, if any, of Quantum Physics are imply that we do not know what determines the evolution of the simplest processes.

The simplest processes are, by definition, the Quantum processes.

As long as we do not really know what controls simplest systems, talking about whether there is Free Will, or not, is shooting the breeze.

Free Will is even a problem in Quantum Non-Local analysis.

On-going experiments on non-locality. In some hard core physics labs. Those experiments aim to turn around the problem that we may have no Free Will.

The situation is this: doing a measurement at point A was found to have an influence at point B. The influence propagates orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light (as the formalism of basic Quantum Physics theory predicts).

French physicist Alain Aspect was able to show this with crafty optico-acoustic devices (he got the Wolf prize for this, and, clearly, ought to get the physics Nobel). The question remained, though, that maybe Alain Aspect himself was a pre-determined phenomenon deprived of Free Will.

To check this, Aspect’s experiment is going to be re-run with distant quasars in charge (rather than just some French guys). MIT physics department is doing this.

Free Will is the last major loophole of Bell’s inequality — a 50-year-old theorem on Spin that, as it is violated by experiments, means that the universe is based not the (topologically separated) laws of classical physics, but on Non-Locality.

Actually this is all very simple. (No need for the fancy high school math of Bell’s theorem, a particular case of Non-Locality with spins.)

Two quasars on opposite sides of heavens are so distant from each other, that they would have been out of causal contact since the (semi-mythical) Big Bang some 14 billion years ago: there are no possible means for any third party to communicate with both of them since the (semi-mythical) beginning of the universe…

Now, of course, if my own version of the universe is true, and the universe is actually 100 billion years old, the “loophole” re-opens…

But of course, as a philosopher, I know perfectly well that I have Free Will, and, as a momentarily benevolent soul, I extend the courtesy to Alain Aspect.

The universe is Non-Local, even my Free Will is Non-Local, it does not have to be like long dead gentlemen thought it should be.

Patrice Ayme’