Sabine Hossenfelder, author of *Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray,* Her message from the “ depth of abstract math” is that “We know that quantum mechanics is wrong”:

You can use this theory to make predictions for any experiment where the creation and destruction of particles does not play a role. This is the case for all your typical quantum optics experiments, Bell-type tests, quantum cryptography, quantum computing, and so on. It is not merely a matter of doing experiments at low energy, but it also depends on how sensitive you are to the corrections coming from quantum field theory. So, yes, quantum mechanics is technically wrong. It’s only an approximation to the more complete framework of quantum field theory. But as the statistician George Box summed it up “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” And whatever your misgivings are about quantum mechanics, there is no denying that it is useful.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Quantum Mechanics is wrong. There, I’ve said it.” atBack(Re)Action

Do we know that quantum mechanics is wrong and, if so, how can it be useful?

*See also:* Sabine Hossenfelder: Has The Large Hadron Collider “Broken Physics”?

and

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor: Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder Is Really Confused About Free Will

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Hossenfelder writes, “So, yes, quantum mechanics is technically wrong. It’s only an approximation to the more complete framework of quantum field theory. But as the statistician George Box summed it up “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

Excellent quote, and a point I made, with different words, a number of times in our previous threads about math.

QM is useful because it can mathematically predict results in certain situations with great accuracy and reliability. It doesn’t have to be complete, nor does it have to have a clear and widely accepted explanation of the what it says about reality. But it does work in a practical way.

As to:

Poppycock. If anything Quantum Mechanics is verified to a far more accurate level of precision than Quantum Field Theory is

Moreover, she is presupposing that Quantum Field theory is the ‘correct step’ towards a ‘theory of everything’. Yet, “Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.”

In other words, this particular renormalization in QED where ‘infinity was brushed under the rug’, just so happened to also “brush the measurement problem under the rug” and thus in the process also “brushed conscious observation itself under the rug.”

As should be needless to say, conscious observation is a rather important detail to be left on the cutting room floor in that particular renormalization of infinity. And since consciousness itself is indeed something very important that needs to be explained, (i.e. science would not be possible if conscious observation did not first exist), then any purported theory of everything that tosses conscious observation by the wayside, in its attempt to find the ‘theory of everything’, necessarily cannot be the right first step in that direction.

Such an endeavor is misguided at best.

But if theoretical physicists can’t even get the first step right in their quest to find a ‘theory of everything’ it would seem that all our efforts to find that ‘final theory’ thus far have been in vain. But all hope is not lost. As touched on yesterday, the correct theory of everything is found when we rightly allow the Agent Causality of God back into physics (which is now empirically warranted by the way). That solution might not sit well with atheists who have a bias against God, but it is still scientifically true nonetheless:

Models. They are useful simplifications or limiting cases or analogies, often because they are more tractable than full orbed theories. Though, computing power has somewhat shifted the balance. In logic the false can entail the true, but the inherent instability of a premise inaccurate to reality obtains, that’s why it is vital to identify domains of validity; which is one reason for empirical testing. KF

“Do we know that quantum mechanics is wrong and, if so, how can it be useful?”

In the sense that Newton’s Laws of Motion are wrong since they ignore relativistic effects but are still a good approximation at low speeds.

Models are always wrong because they are essentially summaries or simplifications that leave out provisos etc.

I like the exchange between an interviewer and Paul Dirac,

Interviewer: Can you put that in simpler terms?

Dirac: (thinks) No.

Belfast,

Einstein reputedly said that everything should be as simple as possible; but not simpler than that.

There is a cult of the simple that tends to become unrealistically simplistic. It is in that sense that “popular[iser]” and “encyclopedic” become terms equivalent to superficial dabbler. In this context, “journalistic” can take the same import. Journalists and popularisers or even educators must strike a delicate balance. Hence the significance of XYZ 101.

We need to seek clarity, coherence, substantial truth, but must expect that some things require considerable depth and breadth of knowledge and often experience.

In that context, models that are tractable are helpful, but we had better watch their zones of validity.

Where, scientific theories are only ever provisionally supported by empirical evidence, so it is relatively easy for theories to get demoted to models or limiting cases.

KF

As to the claim of “It’s only an approximation”

Science has a history of looking for ‘platonic perfection’, and assuming the Mind of God to be behind that ‘platonic perfection’. That is to say, that science has a history of reaching for perfect agreement between the immaterial mathematics that describe a facet of this universe and the experimental results that measure those mathematical predictions.

Copernicus, (who was heavily influenced by Platonic thinking), imagined (incorrectly) that the planets move in perfect circles (rather than ellipses). Later, Newton, for allowing God could adjust the orbits of the planets, was chastised by Leibniz, (and Laplace) for having a “very narrow ideas about the wisdom and the power of God.”.. i.e. For having a narrow view of the perfection of God.

It is also important note that ‘normally’ mathematical concepts do not have a precise instantiation in nature,,

And indeed for most of the history of modern science in the Christian west, finding ‘platonic perfection’ for the mathematical descriptions of the universe has been a very elusive goal. This all changed with the discoveries of Special Relativity, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. That is to say, as far as experimental testing will allow, there is no discrepancy to be found between what the mathematical descriptions of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics predict and what our most advanced scientific testing of those predictions are able to measure.

As well, quantum electrodynamics (QED), which is a combination of special relativity and quantum mechanics, also now joins the list of perfect mathematical descriptions of the universe in which we can find no deviation from what the mathematics predict and what our best experimental testing can discern. In other words, as far as we can tell, ‘platonic perfection’ is reached for QED:

As Nima Arkani-Hamed, the discoverer of the amplituhedron, stated “It seems inconceivable that this intricate web of perfect mathematical descriptions is random or happenstance. This mystery must have an explanation.”,,,

Another very important place where ‘platonic perfection’ is now shown to be ‘perfectly reached’ in the universe, (as far as our most precise testing will allow), is for the ‘flatness’ of the universe.

Moreover, this ‘insane coincidence’ of ‘plantonic perfection’ being reached for the axiomatic ‘primitive object’ of the line just so happens to be necessary for us to even be able to practice math and science, (and apply technology in our world), in the first place:

Simply put, if the universe were not ‘ever-so-boringly’ flat (and if the universal constants were not also ‘ever-so-boringly’ constant), but the universe were instead governed by randomness, as atheists presuppose, or governed by some other of the infinitude of ‘platonic topologies’ that were possible, modern science and technology would have never gotten off the ground here on earth.

Nor, if platonic perfection were not present for the flatness of the universe would we have eventually been able to deduce the ‘platonic perfection’ that is revealed in the ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics that lay behind Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

More interesting still, these findings of ‘platonic perfection’ for the higher dimensional mathematics that lay behind Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are VERY friendly to overriding Christian presuppositions of life after death as well as the presupposition of God upholding this universe in its continual existence:

Of supplemental note, 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”.

Verse:

As we can clearly see by now, Sabine Hossenfelder does not hold quantum mechanics to be “only an approximation” because of disagreement with experimental results, but she holds it to be an approximation because ” It’s only an approximation to the more complete framework of quantum field theory.”

Yet, besides having no empirical warrant for her claim that quantum mechanics is ‘only an approximation’ to a more complete framework, Sabine Hossenfelder also has no mathematical warrant for her claim that quantum mechanics is ‘only an approximation’ to a more complete framework:

Peter Woit states that string theory’s math is “a gory mess.”

Dr Bruce Gordon states that “string theory and its extension, M-theory,, is a mathematical fantasy.”

Roger Penrose said that “M-theory isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations.”

In fact, general relativity and quantum theory are formulated in two very different mathematical languages, differential geometry and functional analysis.,,,

Moreover, there are an infinite number of mathematical theorems that could have described the universe instead of just Quantum Theory and Relativity:

On top of all that, mathematics itself, via Godel, is now shown to be ‘incomplete’. Hawking himself stated that, due to Godel’s incompleteness theorem, “Kurt Gödel halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem.”

Thus, besides empirical evidence giving her no warrant, mathematics itself certainly does not give Sabine Hossenfelder any hint that there should be just one single mathematical theory of everything.

So just where does this presupposition of Sabine Hossenfelder for a ‘complete theory’ come from?

I hold that the reason that Sabine Hossenfelder, and everybody else, automatically presupposes that there should even be just one overarching mathematical theory of everything is because they (we) are operating on hidden theistic presuppositions.

As John D Barrow stated “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”

Professor Steven Fuller articulates the hidden Theistic presumption, that undergirds the belief that there should even be a single overarching mathematical ‘theory of everything’, very well in the following quote;

Likewise, Father Robert Barron weighs in here:

In fact, Newton’s “first major unification in physics” was directly based on his belief in God

The first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization that “the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth”,,

In regards to this first unification, Sir Isaac Newton stated: “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One;,,,”

Thus in conclusion, since neither mathematics nor empirical evidence give us any hint that there should even be just one rational form of all things, then atheists, and everybody else working on string theory, (or M-Theory, or etc.. etc.. theory), whether they are even consciously aware of their own hidden Theistic presuppositions or not, in so far as they “blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things,” are, in reality, instinctually presupposing that God should be behind the single unifying rational order of the universe.

As as was already mentioned in the post 8, 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”.

BA77, would limiting, special case of an in principle more general framework (which is less tractable) help? KF

Well kf, while I consider the ‘brushing infinity under the rug’ in order to derive QED at the expense of also ‘brushing quantum measurement under the rug’ to be an unacceptable price for any theory that seeks to call itself the final ‘theory of everything’, I also note that without that ‘limit on infinity’ then Nima Arkani-Hamed would have never been able to deduce the higher dimensional object of the amplituhedron.

It is sort of a weird paradox, they sacrificed quantum measurement and/or conscious observation in the limiting and/or ‘renormalization’ of that particular infinity between special relativity and quantum mechanics, but in the process they gained the ability to deduce the higher dimensional geometric structure of the amplituhedron.

It is truly weird, only by blinding ourselves to quantum measurement, were we able to eventually see the geometric structure of the amplituhedron that lays behind the unification of special relativity and quantum mechanics.

A strange paradox indeed.

BA77, I suggest we remember that structurally, theories are explanations that as such are not generally proved. What is tested is empirical reliability. I think a reasonable summary is that a good theory is a possibly true model (i.e. it has not been falsified yet). KF

“

QM is useful because it can mathematically predict results in certain situations with great accuracy and reliability. It doesn’t have to be complete, nor does it have to have a clear and widely accepted explanation of the what it says about reality. But it does work in a practical way.”If a model is useful, i.e. allows one to predict experimental outcomes, this suggests that the model bears some congruence with (some portion of) reality, however narrow that portion may be in space, time, or any other aspect.

But this is rather beside the point.

The limited applicability of Newtonian Mechanics demonstrated that NM is wrong, not merely in that it fails to accurately predict certain behaviours of reality, but it is wrong

as an explanation of the fundamental nature of reality.Ditto for Quantum Mechanics.

It’s usefulness is irrelevant to the point that it has been shown to be deficient as an explanation of the fundamental nature of reality, just as was Newtonian Mechanics before it.

Given the long and distinguished history of all human models being reduced to this status over time, we should not be gulled into relying too heavily on the most current replacement candidates.

It’s revealing that only revealed truth has successfully withstood the test of time, while humanly-imputed truths have not.

Well kf if there were a whisper of empirical deviance I might agree with you, but seeing the extreme nature to which these theories have been tested, without a whisper of deviance, I have to hold that they are “platonically perfect’. Since you yourself concede that “What is tested is empirical reliability” then the assumption that other models may come along some day in the future with better empirical reliability is simply an unwarranted assumption since there is in fact no empirical deviation that has ever been found..

That both GR and QED are based on geometric principles in and of themselves only further bolsters my case that they are for all intents and purposes ‘platonically perfect’ ,,, And that they even fulfill Kepler and Copernicus’s original theistically based vision of expecting to find platonic perfection in the cosmos.

Here are a few more notes that show that there is no empirical nor mathematical warrant for reductive materialists to ever expect a ‘theory of everything’ to be forthcoming from their framework:

Whereas the infinity between Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity was ‘renormalizable’ (at the cost of tossing Quantum Measurement and/or Conscious Observation itself by the wayside), General relativity simply refuses to be mathematically unified with quantum mechanics in any acceptable way. In technical terms, Gravity has yet to be successfully included into a theory of everything since the infinities that crop up in that attempt are not renormalizable as they were in Quantum-Electrodynamics.

As Professor Jeremy Bernstein states, “there remains an irremediable difficulty. Every order reveals new types of infinities, and no finite number of renormalizations renders all the terms in the series finite.”

Likewise, the empirical evidence also gives the reductive materialist no warrant for his belief that there will be a unification between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity within his materialistic framework into the much sought after ‘theory of everything’.

Moreover, as Ethan Siegel pointed out, “The models of supersymmetry or extra dimensions that give the right dark matter abundances through the weak interactions are ruled out by these experiments.” Siegel further quips that the “search is now reminiscent of the drunk looking for his lost keys beneath the lamppost. He knows they’re not there, but it’s the only place where the light enabling him to look shines.”

Thus, reductive materialists simply have no mathematical nor empirical warrant for presupposing that a ‘theory of everything will ever be forthcoming within their reductive materialistic framework.

On the other hand, especially with the closing of the free will loophole in Quantum Mechanics, and as was mentioned at the bottom of post 8 and 9, Christianity is very well supported in its claim to be the correct ‘theory of everything’.

Here is another empirical test that also gives the reductive materialist no warrant for his belief that there will be a unification between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity within his materialistic framework