Hyksos

I apologise for the length of this reply, but so many things have been thrown at me.

I am truly astonished by the level of contention that my comments on maths and inevitability have generated in you.

I have

not said that the mathematics of QM is invalid,

nor that proves things which contradict the traditional laws of physics. It isn’t and it doesn’t. Neither have I said that Dr.Arkani-Hamed doesn’t believe in that mathematics. I don’t know why you suggest that I have, because I believe that he does justifiably do so.

But the mathematics of QM does approach things in a fundamentally different way to traditional mathematics – and that fundamental difference lies in the deployment of probabilities to account for different outcomes. That said, if the factors we observe do allow us to narrow the odds to 100% then QM will exactly recreate traditional laws.

I thought it was undeniable that the mathematics of Newton and Einstein produces single outcomes as part of a balanced equation. However where experiments repeatedly produce more than one outcome to a given start point, for unknown reasons, then the use of probabilities is the only way in which the mathematics could cope with it.

We might speculate that it is down to hidden factors, (determinist theory), or we could accept that true randomness and spontaneity exist – ie.

Spontaneity – an outcome without a prior cause

Randomness – more than one outcome from a specific/precise start point

The case is not proven either way, and you cannot say that it has been. But if true spontaneity or randomness do exist then it must surely be true that traditional maths could not work because the equations wouldn’t balance.

It would be foolish for anyone to deny experimental results that give us multiple potential outcomes from a precise start point, so nobody denies the validity of using QM maths with probabilities, but that doesn’t answer the philosophical point of what is causing those differences.

In terms of inevitability Dr.Arkani-Hamed said these specific words….

“These two ideas about Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are so incredibly constraining that they make the structure of the universe around us, inevitable. So you can imagine that if you handed some reasonably competent theoretical physicist the laws of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics and locked him up in a room; didn’t allow him to observe the outside world; and asked him just from the power of his thoughts, to describe what the world could possibly look like, ….. he should come out and describe the world exactly as we see it.

This is a quite amazing fact, and you need both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics for it to be true. So in a sense, the structure of the world around us is inevitable. That’s one of the real intellectual triumphs of the 20th century.”

That comment is very specific and unequivocal, and it is very much in line with determinist principles and the basis of traditional maths. It doesn’t say anything about the factors which we observe but struggle to explain. But as we see, he does state specifically that they do lead to inevitability.

But Dr.Arkani-Hamed does go on to say that Relativity and QM pose some impossible questions in relation to time and the scale of the universe etc., (ie. questions of origin), so they almost certainly need to be modified in our next description of reality. Indeed, (as I mentioned before), he says that

“Almost all of us believe that spacetime doesn’t exist – spacetime is doomed, and has to be replaced by some more primitive building blocks. And it is also conceivable that …. we may have to put limitations on Quantum Mechanics.”

And he says this by reference to resolving some aspects of cosmology, and also why the ‘microscopic universe’ (as he describes it), exists at all.

To be honest, I hear this a lot from almost all of the senior physicists I have heard/encountered. It is nothing new – and nothing which I thought was in dispute. But it is also very different from our ability to

predict the outcomes of particular QM experiments.

It is true that the widest versions of Quantum Theory have allowed people to explore wider possibilities, but they are not proof and have certainly not nailed the philosophical questions.

As mentioned before, I personally do believe in some level of true randomness and spontaneity, but the thing that stops me from expecting chaos is that generally the range of possible outcomes in most scenarios is limited – which implies that there is some form of pattern/structure that stops an infinite set of possibilities in all circumstances. But the truth is that none of us really know.

You asked me to be specific about where physical principles seem to be being broken as a way of showing the potential for a 2nd type of stuff – but ignore the 3 examples that I have already given.

The various permutations of the dual slit experiment, from ‘Wheeler’s Delayed Choice’ to the ‘Quantum Eraser’ experiments have thrown out a series of dilemmas that cannot be resolved on existing principles about the nature of matter. Wave particle duality was a vague notion to describe the observed effects but not to explain them, at least, not in any way that we understand physical matter to work normally. Even the very nature of a wave, (as described), is at odds with the descriptions which some people throw out.

Whether we look at waves on the surface of a pond created by someone’s finger, or pressure waves caused by a train going through air, it is not the finger or the train which transforms to generate the waves – it is the pool of fluid through which the finger or train is passing that produces the wave. Yet wave particle duality says that it is (effectively) the finger or the train which magically transforms into a wave – contrary to everything we know and understand.

Neither does this notion of wave particle duality explain the various experimental results above, without suggesting and relying on a particle’s supposed ‘sense’ of what is coming and in some cases, going back in time to change previously detected results. Doesn’t sound very convincing to me.

On the other hand, a hidden/undetected pool of other stuff would explain all results very simply and in ways which conform to our basic understanding of how physical matter operates. The only thing that stands in the way of that simple explanation is the fact that we haven’t detected any other type of stuff. The same could be said of Dark Energy – which might be a potential candidate for this stuff. But whatever it is, it could equate to a dualist 2nd type of stuff.

In relation to my second example, while I am not a theoretical physicist, I have heard the outcomes of the experiments to test Bell’s Theorem, in different ways but with the same basic conclusion. On a UK science programme, (Secrets of Quantum Mechanics), which I saw recently, a well known physicist (Jim Al-Khalili) described the essence of experiments to track paired particles which had been structured in such a way that the results could never possibly/logically generate a value greater than 2 – but it did – time and time again. The principles had therefore been broken.

The same is true of the faster than light experiments – and by the way, I never said that the paired particles communicated via some hidden messenger particle – just that the effects equated to faster than light communications – by many orders of magnitude.

So please, let’s have your responses to these specific examples that I gave before.