Quantum Physics

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Thu, 2006-03-02 01:17

I have been discussing quantum physics and the nature of reality with some subjectivist friends... I am very interested in physics, but it has been a while since university. I was wondering where I could find out more about quantum phenomena.

Then I came across this:
http://physics-qa.com/html/QMBOOK.HTM

The Realistic Quantum, by Atilla Gurel

It looks interesting. Has anybody read it?

I know that quantum physics has probably been discussed to death by Objectivists - but not on the new SOLO site! Smiling So could somebody with more knowledge than me, please point me in the direction of the truth?

Cheers
Julian


( categories: )

Your commitment to "truth

Fred Weiss's picture

Your commitment to "truth and accuracy" would have a little more credibility if you didn't repeat the same things over and over again (often verbatim), displaying more a mind frozen in time than one open to reason. You claim to want to correct falsities and errors - except of course your own and despite the fact that they have been pointed out to you many times over the years.

I love the Turth mor than I love Rand.

bobkolker's picture

wngreen hu kutab:

I have a hypothisis I would like to purpose. I think it is Mr. Kolker's duty in life to repeat several phrases in every thread on this web site. I count 3 standard Kolkerisms. I leave as an excercise to the reader which ones these are. Mr. Kolker, if you would like to post your thoughts on the dissent forum I think you will get more feedback and may find people willing to have an dialog. However, this is an Objectivist web site and I think that sprinkling your views like a bad mold will not have a positive effect.

I reply:

My urge is to be truthful and accurate. I do not take kindly to falsifications of history, for example. Nor do I sit silently by while absurdities are presented as truth and wisdom.

There was a little boy in the H.C. Anderson tale -The Emperor and His New Clothes-. The little boy did the good service of telling the Emp that he was bare-ass. I see myself as rendering a similar service. Falsehood and error do no one any good. I try to correct some of the falsities and errors.

If you consider stating facts and accurate history as dissent, then by all means do.

Bob Kolker

We meet again Mr. Kolker.

We meet again Mr. Kolker. The problem with modern QM is the laymens version of the theory is used to predict things that we DO NOT observe and CAN NOT observe. The problem is not that it predicts what it predicts well, but that people use it to undermine the very method they used to discover it by claiming that becuase of QM A can be a non A or even worse, as a support for the primacy of conciousness. If a theory is good at making predictions under certain conditions, even very accurate ones, it does not follow that it speaks to things outside of those conditions or proves untestable claims (or claims that undermine the intellectual foundation of the science who has postulated the theory). A contridiction does not exist in reality. Physics will not proceed in a purposeful and accelerated pace while it ignores the very reality it seeks to study.

I have a hypothisis I would like to purpose. I think it is Mr. Kolker's duty in life to repeat several phrases in every thread on this web site. I count 3 standard Kolkerisms. I leave as an excercise to the reader which ones these are. Mr. Kolker, if you would like to post your thoughts on the dissent forum I think you will get more feedback and may find people willing to have an dialog. However, this is an Objectivist web site and I think that sprinkling your views like a bad mold will not have a positive effect.

Truth in QM

bobkolker's picture

sjw writes:

My opinion: The best a layman can do is confirm that there is indeed a lot of irrational theoretical physics caused from corrupt philosophy, and that the promise is there for a rational explanation, but it's going to require a single-minded and very rational thinker in order to do it as the problem is quite intricate and detailed (even Feynman couldn't solve it and Einstein threw his hands up, explicitly saying that the problem was beyond his abilities).

I reply:

The physics is NOT irrational if it predicts correctly (which, so far, it has). What you see to be irrational is the collision between working sound physical theories and your metaphysical prejudices. I suggest you give up on the metaphysics and go with the results.

The only metaphysics you need is Reality Lite which is:

There is an Out There out there and you are endowed by evolution with the means to understand some of it.

Bob Kolker

Reply to Joe Idoni

bobkolker's picture

Joe Idoni writes:

Submitted by Joe Idoni on Thu, 2006-03-02 13:42.

From what I've read, Quantum Physics seems to be a bad set of ill-defined concepts cobbled together to explain something that they can understand.

I reply:

That's funny. You are using a computer which is the consequence of the quantum theory of solids and quantum electrodynamics. Pretty good for ill defined concepts cobbled together to explain something that they can understand. By the way, Newton's Law of Gravitation is just such a thing.

Joe Continues:

In fact, the only thing I've seen close to making sense (although admittedly incomplete) is Nikola Tesla's research on 'aether'. It's an old concept to be sure, but supposedly he developed it in some detail in accordance with acceptible physical and mathematical theory. Of course, we'll never see it since the government took all his research shortly after his death.

Tesla did pioneer work in radio (he is the rightful inventor of practical radio, not Marconi) and alternating current. Every time you flip on a light, you get the benefit of Tesla's genius. HOWEVER, Tesla also had a coo coo crackpot side to him. First of all Aether is bogus. It has be so shown thousands of times. Second, Tesla's work on death rays is equally bogus. The closest thing we have to a death ray is the laser, which is a consequence of some of Einstein's work in quantum theory(!). Third, Tesla blew away two fortunes trying to transmit power without wires. Not a bad thing if you don't mind breathing in ozone raw and unadulterated.

This conspiracy theory that the government has buried Tesla's best work is tin foil hat stuff. No, men in black helicopters did not come and collect Tesla's -real- work.

I will give you some advice. Forget Aether. Ather is ka ka. Its only charactersitic is that it cannot be detected. Enjoy what Tesla did produce: alternating current generators and motors.

Bob Kolker

Kepler and Newton

bobkolker's picture

James writes:

It is true that quantum mechanics is not a causal theory, but a descriptive theory. I would liken it to Kepler as opposed to Newton in gravitation. However, Kepler's theory was a valid one, it just didn't explain causes. Likewise, quantum mechanics is valid science. It's just not a causal model in terms of how we think of entity-action causality.

I reply:

Newton did not explain gravitation either. In Book III of -Principia Mathematica- he writes "hypothesis non fingo". That is Latin for "I feign no hypothesis". Newton did not know why matter should interact at a distance. But knowing or not, he postulated an optimal first approximation to the gravitational interaction. Newton's Law of Gravitation is false as it assumes instant interaction, but it is close enough to get a wessel to its target just about anywhere in the solar system.

Bob Kolker

Contradiction in Terms

bobkolker's picture

The first hurdle a scientific theory must jump is to -predict- correctly. Explanations emerge in the context of theories and hypotheses that predict well. Without predictions, explanations are vacuous.

Bob Kolker

Aether and other stuff

bobkolker's picture

The Michelso-Morley aether detection experiment complete with null result put a stake through the hear of the aether concept. There is not one phenomenon "explained" by aether that is not explained or predicted better by non-aether physical theories. The main property of aether, it would seem, is that it -cannot- be detect.

As to quantum physics, expanded out to the Standard Model, it is the best physics theory ever developed. A susbset quantum electrodynamics predicts correctly to fifteen decimal places. The only thing the Standard Model does not handle is gravitation. For that we have the General Theory of Relativity, the all time champion (thus far). Phyisics is defective in this regard: we do not have a single, unified theory which, at least in principle, explains everything. That is being worked on, even as we converse, by very smart people.

The sole figure of merit for a scientific theory is that it predict correctly. There is little else that matters. In that regard, quantum electrodynamics is the best theory ever developed. And if it does not conform to your metaphysical prejudices, so much the worse for your metaphysical prejudices. This "corrupt theory" has lead to the computer with which you post your less than educated opionions.

Bob Kolker

Shayne

Jody Gomez's picture

I'll take the time to read Norsen's work. Thanks for pointing it out.

Travis Norsen's Axiomatic article

sjw's picture

Jody: Read this. Einstein was grumpy for good reason as it turns out. There's a lot of history and context there that doesn't normally come out.

Shayne

Jody Gomez's picture

You know, it's hard to argue here. If we're talking about crazy philosophical derivings from QM, especially those that support the status quo, then I agree with you. However, decades of experiments at such places as CERN, SLAC, Fermilab, etc are far from the "pop-sci" shelves of Barnes and Noble, and they all prove Einstein an old and close-minded grumpy old man.

Contradiction in terms

sjw's picture

Jim: I saw this thread and was wondering if you'd be able to walk away...

"Descriptive theory" is a contradiction in terms--the whole purpose of a theory is to explain. If you're not doing that, you may be doing useful stuff (as a lot of QM is useful), but you're not doing theory. And believing that it is theory is why there's so much nonsense related to QM. They treat the relatively superficial understanding they have as if it were the theory, and then say whacky things like "something doesn't exist unless you look at it". (BTW Jody, this is one of the things Einstein was right about, and if you want to see a bunch more things he was right about, see Travis Norsen).

Jody

sjw's picture

Einstein wasn't "proven wrong"--or at least, that statement is far too sweeping to mean anything at all. Einstein said a lot of things about QM, and by no means have they all been "proven wrong". You're just regurgitating the standard line we get out of all those pop physics books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

Read Travis Norsen, and keep an eye out for some future works of his because he's doing some greatly detailed work in this area.

Ether theory

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Joe,

Don't get me started on ether theory. That's not only a rejection of quantum, that's a rejection of Einstein as well and flying in the face of very old experimental facts. Michaelson-Morley and gravitational lensing, just to name a few.

Jim

Quantum

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

Shayne,

I agree that Travis Norsen is doing commendable work on hidden variable theory in quantum mechanics. He has also completely rejected the bogus Theory of Elementary Waves, which is an absolute requirement for a serious physicist. I have not read his paper on Einstein and so cannot comment on it.

The problem that realist philosophers have with quantum, however, is about causative theories of nature. There are lot of problems with hard causality at the subatomic level that have little to do with the statistical nature of quantum mechanics. In the standard model, there are numerous classes of particle collisions that can produce completely different by-products under the exact same physical conditions. The only caveats on which by-products can be formed are several sets of conservation rules.

It is true that quantum mechanics is not a causal theory, but a descriptive theory. I would liken it to Kepler as opposed to Newton in gravitation. However, Kepler's theory was a valid one, it just didn't explain causes. Likewise, quantum mechanics is valid science. It's just not a causal model in terms of how we think of entity-action causality.

(I'm laughing at myself because I can't disengage and do the moving I'm supposed to be doing Smiling.)

Jim

Shayne

Jody Gomez's picture

My reaction was a bit over the top, it was kneejerk because I've seen some kookie science musings by objectivists. I have read Einstein and Debroglie. Einstein has been proven wrong. Experiments have born that out over and over.

Quantum Physics

Joe Idoni's picture

From what I've read, Quantum Physics seems to be a bad set of ill-defined concepts cobbled together to explain something that they can understand.

In fact, the only thing I've seen close to making sense (although admittedly incomplete) is Nikola Tesla's research on 'aether'. It's an old concept to be sure, but supposedly he developed it in some detail in accordance with acceptible physical and mathematical theory. Of course, we'll never see it since the government took all his research shortly after his death.

If it the research does exist AND is complete, then it was supposed to have invalidated special relativity, and I would imagine, it would also carve a big chunk out of quantum physics.

Nobody here works for the US government, do they? Smiling

Idoni

Be careful of what you read

Frizzy's picture

The best way to find out about reality is to stick your finger into it and see what happens (and try to remember, and predict future events to avoid).

In books you will find always find opinions, only some of those opinions may reflect reality.

[Quote QMBook]
...
Chapter 18 Pandora's box

The unverified (even principially neither verifiable nor falsifiable) myth about the role of consciousness in a quantum measurement. How did this myth influence different domains of human culture?
...
[/Quote]

Notice how they jump from 'neither verifiable nor falsifiable' to 'myth'.
Ask yourself if the author is "just a biochemical automaton and not actually containing a consciousness". Remember that they are part of a quantum experiment! and now, so are you.

Remember that there is never direct measurement of a particle, you have to bounce particles off particles and then bounce a whole horde of photons off those particles to get enough information into a lens to magnify the image, etc... etc... and then into your eye and then into your brain, and then what? 'Oh thats interesting'

I suggest learning to master pool before trying to understand QM.

I think understanding QM is overrated anyway, we just need to try all permutations of ideas and see which have a tangible (useful) effect and exploit those, if it works in reality, it works in reality.

Foot in mouth

sjw's picture

Jody: You've not been in the debate long, have you? Because no one claiming that QM *theory* is a lot of nonsense in claims that QM *practice* is useless.

Why don't you go research what QM *theory* critics are actually saying and then come back and let us know what you find. Oh, and you might start with Einstein and DeBroglie, then we'll see about remaining silent "whereof one can not speak".

Shayne

Jody Gomez's picture

I disagree completely. "The best a layman can do" is to follow Wittgenstein's advice and "remain silent whereof one can not speak." Shayne, could you please show where modern physics has been the direct result of "corrupt philosophy"? And please, think long and hard about this question as you formulate a response which you will type out on a computer that owes it's existence to this "irrational theoretical physics" you talk about.

Truth in QM

sjw's picture

Travis Norsen has done a lot of work in this area, his web page is at:

http://akbar.marlboro.edu/~nor...

My opinion: The best a layman can do is confirm that there is indeed a lot of irrational theoretical physics caused from corrupt philosophy, and that the promise is there for a rational explanation, but it's going to require a single-minded and very rational thinker in order to do it as the problem is quite intricate and detailed (even Feynman couldn't solve it and Einstein threw his hands up, explicitly saying that the problem was beyond his abilities).

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