Cosmology Intelligent Design Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder asks: Does nature have a minimal length? Could it point to a final theory?

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Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, asks whether anything in nature can be smaller than the Planck length?:

What’s so special about the Planck length? The Planck length seems to be setting a limit to how small a structure can be so that we can still measure it. That’s because to measure small structures, we need to compress more energy into small volumes of space. That’s basically what we do with particle accelerators. Higher energy allows us to find out what happens on shorter distances. But if you stuff too much energy into a small volume, you will make a black hole …

What does this all mean? Well, it means that we might be close to finding a final theory, one that describes nature at its most fundamental level and there is nothing more beyond that. That is possible, but. Remember that the arguments for the existence of a minimal length rest on extrapolating 16 orders magnitude below the distances what we have tested so far. That’s a lot. That extrapolation might just be wrong. Even though we do not currently have any reason to think that there should be something new on distances even shorter than the Planck length, that situation might change in the future.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Does nature have a minimal length?” at BackRe(Action)

Well, hey, if it’s Hossenfelder, you know there won’t be any absolute goofiness involved with this…

See also: Let Us Now Praise Normal Science: Chad Orzel Responds To Sabine Hossenfelder

5 Replies to “Sabine Hossenfelder asks: Does nature have a minimal length? Could it point to a final theory?

  1. 1
    PeterA says:

    Huh?
    🙂

  2. 2
    PeterA says:

    From my personal experience listening to the beautiful ladies that surround me: my wife, my daughters, my granddaughters, listening to Dr Hossenfelder talk about heavy theoretical physics stuff makes me wonder that perhaps she’s a rare case? 🙂

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    She has a good point about extrapolating 16 orders of magnitude in size, without any experimental evidence. It is similar to extrapolating back in time N orders of magnitude from the cosmic background radiation evidence, to some femtosecond (or less) at the start of the Big Bang. Of more to the point for UD readers, it is similar to extrapolating five or more orders of magnitude in time from thousands of years of “observed” micro-evolution to hundreds of millions of years of supposed macro-evolution. without any definitive evidence.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Although Hossenfelder claims that “That extrapolation might just be wrong.”, nevertheless she does concede that Max Planck was basically right when he said, it’s the only unit of dimension length you can create from the fundamental constants, c, the speed of light, G, Newton’s constant, and (Planck’s constant), and “these would be natural units that also aliens would use.”

    Now, this is a neat estimate and it’s not entirely wrong, but it’s not a rigorous derivation. If you start thinking about it, it’s a little handwavy, so let me assure you there are much more rigorous ways to do this calculation, and the conclusion remains basically the same. If you combine quantum mechanics with gravity, then the Planck length seems to set a limit to the resolution of structures. That’s why physicists think nature may have a fundamentally minimal length.
    Max Planck by the way did not come up with the Planck length because he thought it was a minimal length. He came up with that simply because it’s the only unit of dimension length you can create from the fundamental constants, c, the speed of light, G, Newton’s constant, and (Planck’s constant). He thought that was interesting because, as he wrote in his 1899 paper, these would be natural units that also aliens would use.
    – Hossenfelder

    The exact quote from Max Planck about aliens is “These necessarily retain their meaning for all times and for all civilizations, even extraterrestrial and non-human ones, and can therefore be designated as ‘natural units.'”

    Planck length, minimal length?
    Excerpt: The beauty of the Planck units in general and the Planck length in particular is that no matter what units one chooses to make measurements, be it English, metric or Martian, everyone will determine the same Planck length. Planck himself said in his paper to the Prussian Academy of Sciences, “These necessarily retain their meaning for all times and for all civilizations, even extraterrestrial and non-human ones, and can therefore be designated as ‘natural units.'”
    http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/.....dMore.html

    Thus, if Hossenfelder is going to hold that “That extrapolation might just be wrong”, and since the Planck length is derived directly from those fundamental constants, then she must also hold that one or more of the constants are flawed in some fundamental way. She has not shown this and indeed she herself concedes that the “If you combine quantum mechanics with gravity, then the Planck length seems to set a limit to the resolution of structures. ”

    In other words, she has not given us any reason other than her own personal opinion that the “extrapolation might just be wrong.”

    Myself, I personally think that, since the Planck length is ” the only unit of dimension length you can create from the fundamental constants, c, the speed of light, G, Newton’s constant, and (Planck’s constant)”, and since Planck’s length has popped up again and again from a few different methods of analysis,,, I personally think, contrary to Hossenfelder’s personal opinion, that we have very good reasons to be confident that the extrapolation of the Planck length from the fundamental constants is indeed correct. Whereas again, she can give no valid reason, other than her own personal doubt, for why she might question its validity.

    The reason that I bring up the fact that Hossenfelder has not really given us a valid reason, other than her own personal doubt, for us to doubt the validity of the Planck length, and that we in fact have fairly good reasons to hold that the Planck length is valid, is because the Planck length also turns out to be important for us in deriving where the ‘geometric mean’ of the universe is.

    In the following video physicist Neil Turok states that ““So we can go from 10 to the plus 25 to 10 to the minus 35. Now where are we? Well the size of a living cell is about 10 to the minus 5. Which is halfway between the two. In mathematical terms, we say it is the geometric mean. We live in the middle between the largest scale in physics,,, and the tiniest scale [in physics].”

    “So we can go from 10 to the plus 25 to 10 to the minus 35. Now where are we? Well the size of a living cell is about 10 to the minus 5. Which is halfway between the two. In mathematical terms, we say it is the geometric mean. We live in the middle between the largest scale in physics,,, and the tiniest scale [in physics].”
    – Neil Turok as quoted at the 14:40 minute mark
    The Astonishing Simplicity of Everything – Neil Turok Public Lecture – video (12:00 minute mark, we live in the geometric mean, i.e. the middle, of the universe)
    https://youtu.be/f1x9lgX8GaE?t=715

    The following interactive graph, gives very similar ‘rough ballpark’ figures, of 10 ^27 and 10-35, to Dr. Turok’s figures.

    The Scale of the Universe
    https://htwins.net/scale2/

    Whereas Dr. William Demski, in the following graph, gives a more precise figure of 8.8 x 10^26 M for the observable universe’s diameter, and 1.6 x 10^-35 for the Planck length which is the smallest length possible.

    Magnifying the Universe
    https://academicinfluence.com/ie/mtu/

    Dr. Dembski’s more precise interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as the size of a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center, and/or geometric mean, of all possible sizes of our physical reality. This is very interesting for the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions rather than directly in the exponential middle and/or the geometric mean. Needless to say, this empirical finding directly challenges, if not directly refutes, the assumption of the Copernican Principle. (which is the assumption that the earth in general and humanity in particular have no special status in this universe).

    Moreover, besides the geometric mean, I can also appeal to independent lines of evidence from General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, (our two most powerful theories in science), as well I can appeal to ‘anomalies’ in the Cosmic Background Radiation, to overturn the false assumption of the Copernican principle:

    November 2019 – despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principle is now empirically shown, (via quantum mechanics and general relativity, etc..), to be a false assumption.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    One final note, Hossenfelder, as well as every other theoretical physicist in the world, wants to find a purely ‘mathematical’ theory of everything. It is hoped that this purely mathematical theory of everything will eventually be able to describe all phenomena in the universe, apparently including every action that we ourselves may take. As Weinberg explains, the mathematician envisions “a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else”, and ” we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans.”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Hossenfelder herself has argued against free will and for ‘superdeterminism’. The irresolvable dilemma with this purely deterministic/mathematical view of reality is that it directly suggests that the mathematicians themselves are not really discovering the equations that describe the universe but that the equations are somehow inexplicably discovering themselves and informing the mathematician(s) of the discovery after the fact.

    As George Ellis pointed out, “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    For George Ellis to say this “does not seem to make any sense” is an understatement. The denial of free will by determinism undermines all reason, rationality, and the denial of free will therefore undermines all of science itself:

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Indeed, this plays right into the debate for Intelligent Design in that, “the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.”

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    Moreover, it is not as if we do not have empirical evidence for free will. Both evidence from neurology and from quantum mechanics have both given us ample proof for the reality of free will.

    January 2020 – Defense of Free Will
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/welcome-to-the-brave-new-world-of-science/#comment-690567

    Moreover, ‘rightly’ allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    First and foremost, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178

    The evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) – November 08, 2019
    What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault
    https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

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