Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Carlo Rovelli: Theories of everything ill-conceived but we can learn to understand quantum mechanics


From physicist Carlo Rovelli, author of Reality Is Not What It Seems:  The Journey to Quantum Gravity, interviewed by Cody Delistraty, at Nautilus:

You’ve said before that space and time don’t “really exist.” Why say that?

We study in school that fixed space is like a table over which things happen and time just passes. We have this quantitative view from Newton. With Einstein we understand that this container is in fact an active thing in the universe. Space and time, as Einstein said, is like a big jellyfish in which we’re immersed. This theory has stood up. So we know that all this dynamical stuff is quantum. We need a quantum description of this jellyfish, but a quantum description means that we cannot think of it anymore as something fixed and stable.

We have to think of it like a quantum electron: something that can open up and spread in a cloud of probability—like the probability cloud in quantum mechanics. A probability cloud in space is plural and time is plural, so we can no longer think of the universe as contained in a single space in a single time. We need something richer. It’s not that our sense of space and time is wrong; it’s just that it’s approximate, and nature is far richer than that. That’s why.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg recently wrote in the New York Review of Books, “There’s no argument about how to use quantum mechanics, only how to describe what it means. So perhaps the problem is merely one of words.” Is he right?

I don’t like in his vision that we don’t understand quantum mechanics. No—we use it to explain the world. When new ideas come out, they’re very counterintuitive. When we discovered the Earth was round, the idea that people were upside-down on the sides of the Earth was not the most sensible idea comparatively. Now it is. I think quantum mechanics requires more discussion, but we will understand it nicely, I think. More.

One problem might be with what we mean by “understand” something. That is, are we prepared to understand it as it reveals itself or only insofar as we can fit it into a framework? Are we prepared to live with warranted uncertainty?

See also: Physics flowering — yet in one of its “deepest funks” ?


Unvarnished: Why scientism helps sell books

Follow UD News at Twitter!

The irresolvable dilemma for atheists with quantum mechanics is that quantum mechanics strongly points to "Mind" and yet atheists deny the reality of not only their own mind but also deny the reality of the infinite Mind of God. Thus, since they deny the reality of their own mind and also the reality of the infinite Mind of God, then atheists will forever be hoping to 'someday' understand quantum mechanics. One of the biggest distinctions to be made of subjective 'mind', when compared to space-time, is that the subjective 'mind' has its own distinctive frame of reference, i.e. 'the now', that is set completely apart from the passing of time. Simply put, the subjective mind stays still while it watches time passing. Stanley Jaki puts the unique distinction of subjective mind compared to passing time like this:
The Mind and Its Now - Stanley L. Jaki, May 2008 Excerpts: There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,, Three quarters of a century ago Charles Sherrington, the greatest modern student of the brain, spoke memorably on the mind's baffling independence of the brain. The mind lives in a self-continued now or rather in the now continued in the self. This life involves the entire brain, some parts of which overlap, others do not. ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind's ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows. ,,, the now is immensely richer an experience than any marvelous set of numbers, even if science could give an account of the set of numbers, in terms of energy levels. The now is not a number. It is rather a word, the most decisive of all words. It is through experiencing that word that the mind comes alive and registers all existence around and well beyond. ,,, All our moments, all our nows, flow into a personal continuum, of which the supreme form is the NOW which is uncreated, because it simply IS. http://metanexus.net/essay/mind-and-its-now
In fact, this distinction between the 'now' of the subjective mind and the passing of space-time is one of the primary reasons that Einstein failed to receive a Nobel prize for relativity
Einstein vs Bergson, science vs philosophy and the meaning of time - Wednesday 24 June 2015 Excerpt: The meeting of April 6 was supposed to be a cordial affair, though it ended up being anything but. ‘I have to say that day exploded and it was referenced over and over again in the 20th century,’ says Canales. ‘The key sentence was something that Einstein said: “The time of the philosophers did not exist.”’ It’s hard to know whether Bergson was expecting such a sharp jab. In just one sentence, Bergson’s notion of duration—a major part of his thesis on time—was dealt a mortal blow. As Canales reads it, the line was carefully crafted for maximum impact. ‘What he meant was that philosophers frequently based their stories on a psychological approach and [new] physical knowledge showed that these philosophical approaches were nothing more than errors of the mind.’ The night would only get worse. ‘This was extremely scandalous,’ says Canales. ‘Einstein had been invited by philosophers to speak at their society, and you had this physicist say very clearly that their time did not exist.’ Bergson was outraged, but the philosopher did not take it lying down. A few months later Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the law of photoelectric effect, an area of science that Canales noted, ‘hardly jolted the public’s imagination’. In truth, Einstein coveted recognition for his work on relativity. Bergson inflicted some return humiliation of his own. By casting doubt on Einstein’s theoretical trajectory, Bergson dissuaded the committee from awarding the prize for relativity. In 1922, the jury was still out on the correct interpretation of time. So began a dispute that festered for years and played into the larger rift between physics and philosophy, science and the humanities. Bergson was fond of saying that time was the experience of waiting for a lump of sugar to dissolve in a glass of water. It was a declaration that one could not talk about time without reference to human consciousness and human perception. Einstein would say that time is what clocks measure. Bergson would no doubt ask why we build clocks in the first place. ‘He argued that if we didn’t have a prior sense of time we wouldn’t have been led to build clocks and we wouldn’t even use them ... unless we wanted to go places and to events that mattered,’ says Canales. ‘You can see that their points of view were very different.’ In a theoretical nutshell this expressed perfectly the division between lived time and spacetime: subjective experience versus objective reality.,,, Just when Einstein thought he had it worked out, along came the discovery of quantum theory and with it the possibility of a Bergsonian universe of indeterminacy and change. God did, it seems, play dice with the universe, contra to Einstein’s famous aphorism. Some supporters went as far as to say that Bergson’s earlier work anticipated the quantum revolution of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg by four decades or more. Canales quotes the literary critic Andre Rousseaux, writing at the time of Bergson’s death. ‘The Bergson revolution will be doubled by a scientific revolution that, on its own, would have demanded the philosophical revolution that Bergson led, even if he had not done it.’ Was Bergson right after all? Time will tell. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/science-vs-philosophy-and-the-meaning-of-time/6539568
Years after Einstein’s run in with Henri Bergson, Einstein had another encounter with another respected philosopher on a train. The philosopher's name was Rudolf Carnap. During that meeting, Einstein was asked by Rudolf Carnap:
“Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”
Einstein’s answer was categorical, he said:
“The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”
The statement Einstein made to Carnap on the train, ‘‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement’, was an interesting statement for Einstein to make to the philosopher since ‘the now of the mind’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, established itself as central to quantum theory. Here is my favorite
New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015 Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts. “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,, “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said. Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer. http://themindunleashed.org/2015/06/new-mind-blowing-experiment-confirms-that-reality-doesnt-exist-if-you-are-not-looking-at-it.html “We have become participators in the existence of the universe. We have no right to say that the past exists independent of the act of observation.” – John Wheeler “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!” – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor quantum computation - Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables
i.e. 'the Now', as philosophers term it, and contrary to what Einstein (and Jaki) thought possible for experimental physics, and according to advances in quantum mechanics, takes precedence over past events in time. Moreover, due to advances in quantum mechanics, it would now be much more appropriate to phrase Einstein's answer to the philosopher in this way:
"It is impossible for the experience of 'the now of the mind' to ever be divorced from physical measurement, it will always be a part of physics."
Moreover, if we rightly let the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, (Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, and Planck, among others), then an empirically backed reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity readily pops out for us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Specifically, we have evidence that both Gravity and Quantum Mechanics were dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead:
THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox. http://shroud3d.com/findings/isabel-piczek-image-formation Turin shroud – (Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHVUGK6UFK8 The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete (quantum) values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008 Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril. http://cab.unime.it/journals/index.php/AAPP/article/view/C1A0802004/271 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. https://www.ewtn.co.uk/news/latest/astonishing-discovery-at-christ-s-tomb-supports-turin-shroud
Verses and Music:
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. Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth. “Alive” – W,Lyrics, By Natalie Grant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AFpgzjRD44

Leave a Reply