Posts Tagged ‘Many Worlds’

Perverse Logic: Saving the Multiverse with Unhinged Cosmic Inflation!

February 1, 2018

When The Unobservable Universe Is Used To Justify Various Follies, Such As The Multiverse, Civilization Is In A Bad Way:

Physics is the laboratory of reason. This where the most advanced, most subtle logics are forged (even more so than in pure mathematics, where the navel’s importance is too great). So what physicists ponder, matters to the entire civilization which nurtures them. When physics goes to the dogs, so does civilization. The follies of state of the art theoretical physics, reflect an ambient madness which pervades civilization. (If you don’t believe this, may I sell you some imaginary bitcoins for millions of dollars?)

Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, a continual source of excellent articles in physics, wrote an interesting essay which I disagree with. His reasons are interesting, and have the merit of honesty. My answers are even more striking, and I bring the full weight of 24 centuries of history as meta-evidence for crushing the feeble, pathetic, short-sighted considerations of my fellow physicists. Ethan’s essay is entitled: “Yes, The Multiverse Is Real, But It Won’t Fix Physics
Surprisingly, the evidence points towards the existence of the unobservable multiverse. But it isn’t the answer you’re looking for.

Ethan proposes to use cosmic inflation to provide for the proliferation of Schrödinger cats and Wigner’s friends. One folly would thus provide for the other, and they would thus stay up, like two drunks falling into each other’s arms. I will instead humbly suggest to do away with madness altogether. But first a little recap.

The universe is expanding. This experimental evidence was established around 1920, by a number of astronomers in Europe and the USA, the most famous of whom was lawyer turned astronomer, Edwin Hubble. Hubble had the biggest telescope. The expansion is presumed to be looking everywhere the same, and this is what seems to be observed. That also means that, if one looks far away, galaxies will seem to be receding from us at speed ever closer to the speed of light. As the apparent speed of these galaxies approach c, their light gets shifted to lower and lower frequencies, until they become invisible (same reason as why Black Holes are blacker than black).

Where the transition to invisibility occurs is called the “event horizon”. Beyond the event horizon is the unobservable universe (we can’t detect it gravitationally, as gravity goes at the speed of light, a theoretical prediction now experimentally verified).

The observed universe is “flat” (namely there is no detected distortion in the distribution of clouds, filaments and superclusters of galaxies). That sounds unlikely, and indicates that the observed universe is a tiny portion of a much larger whole.

This unobservable universe has nothing to do with the “Multiverse” brandished recently by many theoretical physicists who have apparently run out of imagination for something more plausible. Eighty years ago, Schrödinger pointed out that Quantum Mechanics, as formalized then (and now!) was observer dependent, and filled up the universe with waves of dead and live cats (when applied to macroscopic objects). That’s called the Schrödinger Cat Paradox. Instead of calling for a re-thinking of Quantum Mechanics (as I do!), Ethan Siegel (and many other physicists and astrophysicists) embrace the dead and alive cats, settling them in “parallel universes”. So basically they reenact Solomon Judgment: instead of cutting the baby in two, they cut the universe in two. Zillions of time per second, in zillions of smaller places than you can possibly imagine… Here is a picture of Schrödinger cat: as the branches separate in that movie, two universes are created. This is what Ethan Siegel wants to justify, thanks to cosmic inflation…

Ethan’s revealing comment: “The idea of parallel Universes, as applied to Schrödinger’s cat. As fun and compelling as this idea is, without an infinitely large region of space to hold these possibilities in, even inflation won’t create enough Universes to contain all the possibilities that 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution have brought us. Image credit: Christian Schirm.”
To explain crazy, we will go more crazy, thus making the previous crazy sound more rational, relatively speaking…

The Multiverse”, with baby universes all over the universe, has more to do with the “Many Worlds Interpretation” of Quantum Mechanics, a theory so absurd that the great popes of physics ruling around 1960 rejected it outright. Wheeler was ashamed of himself for having had a PhD student, Everett, who suggested this folly(Everett couldn’t get an academic job, at a time when academic employment in physics was booming!)

Ethan wrote: “In the region that became our Universe, which may encompass a large region that goes far beyond what we can observe, inflation ended all-at-once. But beyond that region, there are even more regions where it didn’t end.”

This sort of statement, and I say this with all due respect to the divine, is equivalent to saying:”Me, Ethan, having checked all that exists, observable by simple humans, or not, thereby informs you that I am either God, or that She is an interlocutor of mine. We checked that cosmic inflation thing, and saw it all over all the possible universes. Don’t talk, just learn.”

There is no way for us humans to know, for sure, or not, what is going on beyond the observable universe (aside from having no gravitational field distortions when approaching the event horizon, as I said above when considering “flatness”).

Ethan notices that Many Worlds fanatics have tried to use cosmic inflation to save their (ridiculous) theory. (“Many Worlds” is ridiculous, as Schrödinger tried to show, long ago, because there would be as many ways to cut the universes into “Many Worlds” as there are observers. So, so to speak, the “Many World Interpretation”, call it MWI, is actually MWI ^ {Observers} (MWI to the power of the set of all possible Observers, the latter set being itself something of an uncountably infinite function of MWI.)

Ethan says: “But just because variants of the Multiverse are falsifiable, and just because the consequences of its existence are unobservable, doesn’t mean that the Multiverse isn’t real. If cosmic inflation, General Relativity, and quantum field theory are all correct, the Multiverse likely is real, and we’re living in it.

What Ethan is saying is that if a number of crazy (cosmic inflation), or incomplete (Quantum Field Theory), ideas are “all correct”, then something as useful as angels on pin heads is real.Yes, indeed, if one believes that Muhammad flew to Jerusalem on a winged horse (!), one may as well believe all the rest of the Qur’an. That is a proof by crystal balls. After Ptolemy and company had established their (half correctly) predicting “epicycles” theory, one could have used it in turn to “prove” Aristotle ridiculous theory of motion.

23 centuries ago a much saner theory existed, that of Aristarchus. It was rejected at the time, precisely because it was not insane, and even though it was used to make a nearly correct prediction of the distance of the Moon. Aristarchus underestimated the distance of the Sun, but a telescope could have changed this (by showing more precisely the angle of the terminus on the Moon). If astronomers had the time had accepted heliocentrism as a possibility, it would have led them to invent the telescope. Similarly, right now, rejecting Many Worlds and Multiverse will lead to develop instruments which don’t exist yet (I have proposed at least one).

Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel suggests that: “The Multiverse is real, but provides the answer to absolutely nothing.” My opinion is that the Multiverse is worse than useless: the unhinged mood it provides prevents to develop more fruitful avenues of research, both theoretically and experimentally.

Insanity is the rule in crowds (Nietzsche). Thus follies are the truths crowds love, at first sight, before being corrected by higher minds. Why? Follies bind, because they are so special.

In Aristarchus’ times, heliocentrism, the fact Earth and its Moon rotate around the Sun, should have been obvious. Indeed, people, let’s think for a moment: where was the Sun supposed to be, considering the phases of the Moon? If the Sun turned around Earth, the Moon’s illumination should have changed all day long! It didn’t require much geometrical analysis to discover that this source of light could only be where Aristarchus computed it to be, far away from the Earth-Moon system.

It took 19 centuries to correct that (obvious!) mistake. Interestingly, Jean Buridan, circa 1350 CE, did it in the most theoretical fashion.

Buridan first showed that Aristotle’s ridiculous theory of motion made no sense, and had to be replaced by inertia and momentum (what Buridan called “impetus”). Having done this, the motion of the planets in a heliocentric system could be explained by “circular impetus”, Buridan pointed out (then he observed sardonically that we couldn’t observe the difference between epicycles and heliocentrism, so may as well go for “Scripture”).

Similarly, nowadays, instead of arguing with the “angels on a multiverse pinhead” authorities, we better point out to the glaring inconsistencies of Quantum Mechanics.

Civilization without reason is like a chicken without a head: it can run, but not forever.

Patrice Aymé


No Many-Worlds Consciousness

September 2, 2016


Consciousness is not part of science… Yet. Science will be complete, when it is. Except, and that is a huge ‘except’, possibly, most people would have to admit, consciousness may already haunt the foundations of Quantum Physics: this is what the ‘Schrodinger Cat’ paradox is all about (the lives of cats depends upon what we think!). And, indeed, I believe consciousness has to do with the Quantum.

But first I have to dispose of those who claim that consciousness is a non-problem. The famous academic philosopher Dennett asserts that consciousness has to do with brain parallelism. My friend Karen Eilbeck, a ‘biomedical informatics’ professor: “I never was satisfied with [Dennett’s] explanation of consciousness”. Indeed. Consciousness and ‘multimodal parcellationare completely unrelated.

It is now considered that there are around 180 different areas of the cortex, per hemisphere, each doing different things (it used to be 83 different “areas”). 

The Brain Is An Orchestra With More Than 180 Players

The Brain Is An Orchestra With More Than 180 Players, Per Hemisphere

As the authors of  “A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex” (August 11, 2016), have it:

Understanding the amazingly complex human cerebral cortex requires a map (or parcellation) of its major subdivisions, known as cortical areas. Making an accurate areal map has been a century-old objective in neuroscience. Using multi-modal magnetic resonance images from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and an objective semi-automated neuroanatomical approach, we delineated 180 areas per hemisphere bounded by sharp changes in cortical architecture, function, connectivity, and/or topography in a precisely aligned group average of 210 healthy young adults. We characterized 97 new areas and 83 areas previously reported using post-mortem microscopy or other specialized study-specific approaches. To enable automated delineation and identification of these areas in new HCP subjects and in future studies, we trained a machine-learning classifier…”

Thus the science of finding regions in the brain is more than a century old, it was not viewed as, nor has anything to do with trying to make a theory of consciousness . Yet, Dennett confuses brain activity here, there, and every way, with consciousness. 

Dennett observes that there are “various events of content-fixation occurring in various places at various times in the brain”. (everybody knows this: reach synapse, each neuron, even each axon and dendrite, etc.) The brain consists of a “bundle of semi-independent agencies“; when “content-fixation” takes place in one of these, its effects may propagate so that it leads to the utterance of sentences that make up the story in which the central character is one’s “self”.

A pretty useless ‘explanation’, dear Dennett, and not the problem of consciousness: consciousness is a feeling we all have, not just an utterance. If consciousness were an utterance, the speaking robots we are now interacting with, would be conscious. They are not. They are just algorithms. An algorithm does not have any more consciousness than a canal system. (Philosophers love to pontificate by calling what Dennett did, a ‘category error’; namely one confuses unrelated categories.)

Dennett followers claim that “subjectivity” can NEVER be made a subject to objective inquiry. That is a contradiction with the entire history of science, ever since the first Homo made the first fire.

What do I mean by this? ANY scientific theory started from a subjective experience. The first hominid who realized he could generate sparks with flints was subjectively engaged. So was the first who realized rubbing sticks could also generate incandescence. So the entire history of science, in the last three million years, has consisted, again and again and again, into turning subjectivity into objective inquiry.

When Dennett’s followers claim to have discovered that ‘subjectivity’ can never turn ‘objective’, they fail to understand that science rests precisely on this. In other words, they think as if they did not know that science is possible. Sorry to ask them to jump three million years.

Dennett looks a bit like Socrates with a big bushy beard, he is paid to utter statements viewed as philosophical, and has no doubt many other duties to attend to his enthusiastic following. So much thinking to produce, so little time, drowning in an ocean of fame. Can’t be easy.

How can fame and mental depth coincide? They are adverse to each other. It would be like getting money from oligarchs or financial monopolists, while claiming to want to help average people.

Is there really no connection whatsoever between the brain’s cortex working in plenty of little areas (brain parallelism) and consciousness? I did not say that. Dennett identifies consciousness and parallelism. That’s wrong. But that does not mean that consciousness did not evolve to make arbitrage between all these little areas, being the conductor of that otherwise discordant orchestra.

So Dennett confuses one evolutionary advantages of consciousness and the nature of consciousness. That nature probably has to do with the nature of the Quantum, and the difference between vegetal and animal. “Animal” comes from anima (soul in Latin). The soul is Quantum, this is what the Schrödinger(-Einstein) Cat thought experiment says.

Why the allusion to the “Many Worlds” Interpretation of Quantum Physics in the title? It is more than an allusion. The Many Worlds interpretation of the Quantum consists into sweeping the difficulty of how one goes from many possible outcomes to just a single one, under the rug of formalism. Instead of figuring out what is really going on, Many Worlders of physics say basically that everything and anything goes (all outcomes are ‘real’). One can say that Many World physicists shrug and answer the way Valley Girls do:”Whatever!“. Dennett does just the same. And this is not just a meta-analogy. If I am correct, and consciousness is intrinsically Quantum, the reason is exactly the same: evading a serious attempt at a deeper explanation… of the same phenomenon.

I don’t really expect celebrity physicists and celebrity philosophers to acknowledge that their cute little reasonings are shallow cope-outs, and popular, precisely because they are shallow and cute. However, the last nail in their coffins consist in pointing out that they offer an endearing, yet really terrible example of superficiality to the rest of debating society. Civilization rots by its head.

Patrice Ayme’  

TO BE AND NOT TO BE? Is Entangled Physics Thinking, Or Sinking?

April 29, 2016

Frank Wilczek, a physics Nobel laureate, wrote a first soporific, and then baffling article in Quanta magazine: “Entanglement Made Simple”. Yes, all too simple: it sweeps the difficulties under the rug. After a thorough description of classical entanglement, we are swiftly told at the end, that classical entanglement supports the many World Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. However, classical entanglement (from various conservation laws) has been known since the seventeenth century.

Skeptical founders of Quantum physics (such as Einstein, De Broglie, Schrodinger, Bohm, Bell) knew classical entanglement very well. David Bohm found the Bohm-Aharanov effect, which demonstrated the importance of (nonlocal) potential, John Bell found his inequality which demonstrated, with the help of experiments (Alain Aspect, etc.) that Quantum physics is nonlocal.

Differently From Classical Entanglement, Which Acts As One, Quantum Entanglement Acts At A Distance: It Interferes With Measurement, At A Distance

Differently From Classical Entanglement, Which Acts As One, Quantum Entanglement Acts At A Distance: It Interferes With Measurement, At A Distance

The point about the cats is that everybody, even maniacs, ought to know that cats are either dead, or alive. Quantum mechanics make the point they can compute things about cats, from their point of view. OK.

Quantum mechanics, in their busy shops, compute with dead and live cats as possible outcomes. No problem. But then does that mean there is a universe, a “world“, with a dead cat, happening, and then one with a live cat, also happening simultaneously?

Any serious philosopher, somebody endowed with common sense, the nemesis of a Quantum mechanic, will say no: in a philosopher’s opinion, a cat is either dead, or alive. To be, or not to be. Not to be, and not to be.

A Quantum mechanic can compute with dead and live cats, but that does not mean she creates worlds, by simply rearranging her computation, this way, or that. Her various dead and live cats arrangements just mean she has partial knowledge of what she computes with, and that Quantum measurements, even from an excellent mechanic, are just partial, mechanic-dependent measurements.

For example, if one measures spin, one needs to orient a machine (a Stern Gerlach device). That’s just a magnetic field going one way, like a big arrow, a big direction. Thus one measures spin in one direction, not another.

What’s more surprising is that, later on, thanks to a nonlocal entanglement, one may be able to determine that, at this point in time, the particle had a spin that could be measured, from far away, in another direction. So far, so good: this is like classical mechanics.

However, whether or not that measurement at a distance has occurred, roughly simultaneously, and way out of the causality light cone, EFFECTS the first measurement.

This is what the famous Bell Inequality means.

And this is what the problem with Quantum Entanglement is. Quantum Entanglement implies that wilful action somewhere disturbs a measurement beyond the reach of the five known forces. It brings all sorts of questions of a philosophical nature, and make them into burning physical subjects. For example, does the experimenter at a distance have real free will?

Calling the world otherworldly, or many worldly, does not really help to understand what is going on. Einstein’s “Spooky Interaction At A Distance” seems a more faithful, honest rendition of reality than supposing that each and any Quantum mechanic in her shop, creates worlds, willy-nilly, each time it strikes her fancy to press a button.

What Mr. Wilczek did is what manyworldists and multiversists always do: they jump into their derangement (cats alive AND dead) after saying there is no problem. Details are never revealed.

Here is, in extenso, the fully confusing and unsupported conclusion of Mr. Wilczek:

“Everyday language is ill suited to describe quantum complementarity, in part because everyday experience does not encounter it. Practical cats interact with surrounding air molecules, among other things, in very different ways depending on whether they are alive or dead, so in practice the measurement gets made automatically, and the cat gets on with its life (or death). But entangled histories describe q-ons that are, in a real sense, Schrödinger kittens. Their full description requires, at intermediate times, that we take both of two contradictory property-trajectories into account.

The controlled experimental realization of entangled histories is delicate because it requires we gather partial information about our q-on. Conventional quantum measurements generally gather complete information at one time — for example, they determine a definite shape, or a definite color — rather than partial information spanning several times. But it can be done — indeed, without great technical difficulty. In this way we can give definite mathematical and experimental meaning to the proliferation of “many worlds” in quantum theory, and demonstrate its substantiality.”

Sounds impressive, but the reasons are either well-known or then those reasons use a sleight of hand.

Explicitly: “take both of two contradictory property-trajectories into account”: just read Feynman QED, first chapter. Feynman invented the ‘sum over histories’, and Wilczek is his parrot; but Feynman did not become crazy from his ‘sum over history’: Richard smirked when his picturesque evocation was taken literally, decades later…

And now the sleight of hand: …”rather than  [gather] partial information spanning several times. But it can be done — indeed, without great technical difficulty.” This nothing new: it is the essence of the double slit discovered by that Medical Doctor and polymath, Young, around 1800 CE: when one runs lots of ‘particles’ through it, one sees the (wave) patterns. This is what Wilczek means by “partial information“. Guess what? We knew that already.

Believing that one can be, while not to be, putting that at the foundation of physics, is a new low in thinking. And it impacts the general mood, making it more favorable towards unreason.

If anything can be, without being, if anything not happening here, is happening somewhere else, then is not anything permitted? Dostoyevsky had a Russian aristocrat suggests that, if god did not exist anything was permitted. And, come to think of it, the argument was at the core of Christianism. Or more, exactly, of the Christian reign of terror which started in the period 363 CE-381 CE, from the reigns of emperor Jovian to the reign of emperor Theodosius. To prevent anything to be permitted, a god had to enforce the law.

What we have now is way worse: the new nihilists (Wilczek and his fellow manyworldists) do not just say that everything is permitted. They say: it does not matter if everything is permitted, or not. It is happening, anyway. Somewhere.

Thus Many-Worlds physics endangers, not just the foundations of reason, but the very justification for morality. That is that what is undesirable should be avoided. Even the Nazis agreed with that principle. Many-Worlds physics says it does not matter, because it is happening, anyway. Somewhere, out there.

So what is going on, here, at the level of moods? Well, professor Wilczek teaches at Harvard. Harvard professors advised president Yeltsin of Russia, to set up a plutocracy. It ruined Russia. Same professors made a fortune from it, while others were advising president Clinton to do the same, and meanwhile Prime Minister Balladur in France was mightily impressed, and followed this new enlightenment by the Dark Side, as did British leaders, and many others. All these societies were ruined in turn. Harvard was the principal spirit behind the rise of plutocracy, and the engine propelling that rise, was the principle that morality did not matter. because, because, well, Many-Worlds!

How does one go from the foundations of physics, to the foundations of plutocracy? Faculty members in the richest, most powerful universities meet in mutual admiration societies known as “faculty clubs” and lots of other I scratch-your-back, you scratch-my-back social occasion they spend much of their time indulging in. So they influence each other, at the very least in the atmospheres of moods they create, and then breathe together.

Remember? It is not that everything is permitted: it’s happening anyway, so we may as well profit from it first. Many-Worlds physics feeds a mood favorable to many plutocrats, and that’s all there is to it. (But that, of course, is a lot, all too much.)

Patrice Ayme’


August 2, 2014

Physicist Sean Carroll, “explaining why the many-worlds approach is not completely insane“, says: “If the particle can be in a superposition of two states, then so can the apparatus.”

This fundamental error, that everything is a superposition of states, is the essence of the idiocy of the Many World and Multiverse error.

Why Mr. Physicist Carroll? Why is it that, for you, if something is a superposition of two possibilities, then so can be something else? Where is the logic in that? There is none whatsoever. Let me show you why. Why that’s illogical.

Maybe, sometimes, because something can be cut in two, say a fish, another fish can be cut in two, or a million fishes can be cut in two, indeed.

The fact that fishes can be cut in two, because one fish can be cut in two, does not imply that everything else can be cut in two.

For example, the fact that one can cut fishes in two does not imply that the sea can be cut in two. Such is the Multiverse error, a very fishy argument.

Quantum Dot: Fuzzy, Not Discrete!

Quantum Dot: Fuzzy, Not Discrete!

Transmission Electron Microscope Image of a single InAsP/InP Quantum dot (left; “In” is for Indium); such dots exhibit discrete electronic energy levels (Right Top), and this allows, upon spatial and spectral filtering, the generation of single photons on demand (Right bottom).

That some process can result ultimately in two states, does not mean that the sea, or anything else, will be a “superposition of two states”.

When we mention “the particle” (whatever that is) and the apparatus (whatever that is) we are talking here about things of completely different natures, obviously.

What’s the difference? Or differences?

Obviously, “the particle” is being measured. And it’s measured by “the apparatus”.

One is “Quantum”, “the particle”. The other is classical, the “apparatus”.

What’s the most basic difference between “Quantum” and “Classical”? “Quantum” is dominated by DISCRETE states. “DISCRETE” here is in the strict mathematical sense (in bijection with a subset of the natural numbers, N).

Discreteness of light emission is how Planck explained the Blackbody Radiation and resolved the Ultra Violet Catastrophe.(1900 CE)

Discreteness of light reception is how Einstein explained the Photoelectric effect. (1905 CE.)

Discreteness of electronic orbitals is Bohr explained the structure of atoms. (1912 CE.)

Discreteness of non-self-interfering-to-destruction waves is how De Broglie explained all the subjacent discreteness, uncertainty, interference and basic dynamics. (1923.)

Classical mechanics is NOT discrete. We do not understand why. It’s a major mystery.

But the passage from Quantum to Classical has been studied experimentally in simple, particular (namely made of PARTICLES) systems.

Let’s go back to Sean’s statement:

“If the particle can be in a superposition of two states, then so can the apparatus.”

I just said that “Quantum” is characterized, as its name indicates, by discreteness, a superposition of states.

In other words, in Sean’s view the foundation of the Many World Interpretation/Multiverse theory is that Quantum = Classical.

Yet, the very concept of “Science” comes from the ability of scindere, to cut in two, to make distinctions.

By ignoring the most basic distinction, that between Quantum and Classical, the Many Worlds/Multiverse theory reveals itself to not be science.

Yet, it’s even worse than that. The Multiverse error is reminiscent of the blind alley of the Epicycle theory of Ptolemy and company, 2,000 years ago.

Patrice Ayme’

Notes: 1) The error was inaugurated by Everret, a student of Wheeler, 1963 CE. At the time it was viewed as horrendous (probably for the reasons above, but they were left unsaid; the preceding is my reasoning, entirely). Everret was driven out of research physics (although there were lots of jobs at the time).

2) Bohr and his followers had got the ball rolling, by murky attacks against reality itself. It was debatable at the time, as some then-not-discovered particles (say neutrinos) led to apparent violation of energy-momentum conservation.

3) The philosopher Heidegger, maybe inspired by some of the less wise, contemporaneous statements of Bohr and company, insisted that the distinction between “subject” and “object” be eradicated. Unsurprisingly, he soon became a major figure of Nazism, where he was able to apply himself to further lack of distinction.