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Is there something about quantum theory that we are missing?

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Beyond Weird From Natalie Wolchover, reviewing Philip Ball’s Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics Is Different at Nature:

Along with the historic discoveries, Ball brings readers up to speed on today’s “quantum renaissance”. This active intellectual period is fuelled by quantum-computing research and the rise of quantum information theory, pioneered by researchers including David Deutsch, Peter Shor and Charles Bennett. Quantum mechanics is now seen as, more than anything, a set of rules about how information can be shared and processed. That, Ball says, is why quantum computing has proved so stimulating: what’s possible and impossible to compute “follow from the same rules that govern what is knowable and what is not”. Additionally, physicists, starting with Dieter Zeh in the 1970s and Wojciech Zurek in the 1980s, have developed a decent understanding of the quantum–classical divide: the reason particles can exist in superpositions of many possible states, but cats are only ever dead or alive. Classical physics is now seen as emerging from underlying quantum laws because of ‘decoherence’. That is, brushes with the environment cause quantum superpositions to lose coherence as information about them leaks out — and the bigger the system, the faster it happens. More.

See also: Information as real and irreducible to physics? – David Deutsch’s surprising response

5 Replies to “Is there something about quantum theory that we are missing?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The quantum/classical divide is not so neatly brushed off with ‘decoherence’. For one thing, entanglement, which is a thoroughly quantum affair is, in the words of Charles Bennett, ‘ubiquitous’:

    Information is Quantum – Charles Bennett – video
    39:30 minute mark: “Entanglement is ubiquitous: Almost every interaction between two systems creates entanglement between them… Most systems in nature… interact so strongly with the environment as to become entangled with it almost immediately.”… 44:00 minute mark: “A classical communications channel is a quantum communication channel with an eavesdropper (maybe only the environment)… A classical computer is a quantum computer handicapped by having eavesdroppers on all its wires.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/philip-cunningham-offers-information-is-quantum/

    Moreover, Steven Weinberg himself rejects decoherence:

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    The trouble is that in quantum mechanics the way that wave functions change with time is governed by an equation, the Schrödinger equation, that does not involve probabilities. It is just as deterministic as Newton’s equations of motion and gravitation. That is, given the wave function at any moment, the Schrödinger equation will tell you precisely what the wave function will be at any future time. There is not even the possibility of chaos, the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions that is possible in Newtonian mechanics. So if we regard the whole process of measurement as being governed by the equations of quantum mechanics, and these equations are perfectly deterministic, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?
    One common answer is that, in a measurement, the spin (or whatever else is measured) is put in an interaction with a macroscopic environment that jitters in an unpredictable way. For example, the environment might be the shower of photons in a beam of light that is used to observe the system, as unpredictable in practice as a shower of raindrops. Such an environment causes the superposition of different states in the wave function to break down, leading to an unpredictable result of the measurement. (This is called decoherence.) It is as if a noisy background somehow unpredictably left only one of the notes of a chord audible. But this begs the question. If the deterministic Schrödinger equation governs the changes through time not only of the spin but also of the measuring apparatus and the physicist using it, then the results of measurement should not in principle be unpredictable. So we still have to ask, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?,,,
    Today there are two widely followed approaches to quantum mechanics, the “realist” and “instrumentalist” approaches, which view the origin of probability in measurement in two very different ways.9 For reasons I will explain, neither approach seems to me quite satisfactory.10
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

    Moreover, Richard Conn Henry states that (interaction free) “Renninger-type” experiments, falsifies decoherence as a rational explanation:

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    Further notes on ‘interaction-free measurement:

    The Renninger Negative Result Experiment – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3uzSlh_CV0

    An Interaction-Free Quantum Experiment (Zeilinger Bomb Tester experiment, and in the double slit experiment, the Detector can be placed at one slit during the double slit experiment and yet the photon or electron still collapses in the unobserved slit) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOv8zYla1wY

    Elitzur–Vaidman bomb tester
    Excerpt: In 1994, Anton Zeilinger, Paul Kwiat, Harald Weinfurter, and Thomas Herzog actually performed an equivalent of the above experiment, proving interaction-free measurements are indeed possible.[2] In 1996, Kwiat et al. devised a method, using a sequence of polarising devices, that efficiently increases the yield rate to a level arbitrarily close to one.
    per wikipedia

    As well, The following video also explains why decoherence does not solve the measurement problem:

    The Measurement Problem in quantum mechanics – (Inspiring Philosophy) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE

    And at the 16:34 minute mark of the following video the reason why detector interference does not explain quantum wave collapse is explained (i.e. observation changes the nature of what we are observing not just the activity of what we are observing): Outline of Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment is also discussed)

    Quantum Physics And How We Affect Reality! – video – (16:23 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/90F2R_eoAPc?t=1064

    Of related note: Dr Bruce Gordon, in the following video and article, does an excellent job of examining the various models in quantum mechanics, pointing out their fatal weaknesses, and then defending Theism as the most rational explanation for the ‘weirdness’ that is seen in Quantum Mechanics:

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

    Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature – Bruce L. Gordon – 2017
    Excerpt page 295: In light of this realization, the rather startling picture that begins to seem plausible is that preserving and explaining the objective structure of appearances in light of quantum theory requires reviving a type of phenomenalism in which our perception of the physical universe is constituted by sense-data conforming to certain structural constraints, but in which there is no substantial material reality causing these sensory perceptions. This leaves us with an ontology of minds (as immaterial substances) experiencing and generating mental events and processes that, when sensory in nature, have a formal character limned by the fundamental symmetries and structures revealed in “physical” theory. That these structured sensory perceptions are not mostly of our own individual or collective human making points to the falsity of any solipsistic or social constructivist conclusion, but it also implies the need for a transcendent source and ground of our experience. As Robert Adams points out, mere formal structure is ontologically incomplete:
    [A] system of spatiotemporal relationships constituted by sizes, shapes, positions, and changes thereof, is too incomplete, too hollow, as it were, to constitute an ultimately real thing or substance. It is a framework that, by its very nature, needs to be filled in by something less purely formal. It can only be a structure of something of some not merely structural sort. Formally, rich as such a structure may be, it lacks too much of the reality of material thinghood. By itself, it participates in the incompleteness of abstractions. . . .
    [T]he reality of a substance must include something intrinsic and qualitativeover and above any formal or structural features it may possess.117
    When we consider the fact that the structure of reality in fundamental physical theory is merely phenomenological and that this structure itself is hollow and non-qualitative, whereas our experience is not, the metaphysical objectivity and epistemic intersubjectivity of the enstructured qualitative reality of our experience can be seen to be best explained by an occasionalist idealism of the sort advocated by George Berkeley (1685-1753) or Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). In the metaphysical context of this kind of theistic immaterialism, the vera causa that brings coherent closure to the phenomenological reality we inhabit is always and only agent causation. The necessity of causal sufficiency is met by divine action, for as Plantinga emphasizes:
    [T]he connection between God’s willing that there be light and there being light is necessary in the broadly logical sense: it is necessary in that sense that if God wills that p, p occurs. Insofar as we have a grasp of necessity (and we do have a grasp of necessity), we also have a grasp of causality when it is divine causality that is at issue. I take it this is a point in favor of occasionalism, and in fact it constitutes a very powerful advantage of occasionalism. 118
    http://jbtsonline.org/wp-conte.....ressed.pdf

  2. 2
    ronvanwegen says:

    Quantum Physics And How We Affect Reality! – video – (16:23 minute mark) https://youtu.be/90F2R_eoAPc?t=1064

    Blocked on copyright grounds… 🙁

  3. 3
    FourFaces says:

    The single biggest unanswered question in all of physics is this one: Why does a body in inertial motion remain in motion?

    Nope, you don’t know the answer, especially if you think you do. A correct answer would change everything in physics and also change the world as we know it.

  4. 4
    Tom Robbins says:

    They can brush off the double slit with decoherence even though it does not explain the perfect relationship – it should measure something in between a wave and particle if the detectors are interfering and causing decoherence, it should be something of a mess(as it certainly would not interfere with every particle, and would have different interactions with the detector, not perfect interations – BUT OH that quantum eraser experiment – that cannot be claimed to be do to artificially collapsing the waveform..

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    ronvanwegen, thanks for the correction,,,

    The 3:00 minute mark of this following video touches on that blocked video:

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism
    https://youtu.be/AK9kGpIxMRM?t=185

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