Monday, September 26, 2022

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are Not Enough

Social Pscyhology professor Jonathan Haidt writes:
I was going to attend the annual conference in Atlanta next February to present some research with colleagues on a new and improved version of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. I was surprised to learn about a new rule: In order to present research at the conference, all social psychologists are now required to submit a statement explaining “whether and how this submission advances the equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals of SPSP.” Our research proposal would be evaluated on older criteria of scientific merit, along with this new criterion.

These sorts of mandatory diversity statements have been proliferating across the academy in recent years. ...

The SPSP mandate, however, forced us all to do something more explicitly ideological. Note that the word diversity was dropped and replaced by anti-racism. So every psychologist who wants to present at the most important convention in our field must now say how their work advances anti-racism. I read Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist in the summer of 2020, so I knew that I could no longer stay silent. 

Diversity is not enough anymore. Now it has to be anti-racist.

The word anti-racist is defined by Kendi's book. It means anti-White hatred. See the book for yourself. He is very much against eqaal opportunity, non-discrimination, and other such liberal values. He wants to promote Blacks, and demote Whites, so that Blacks will achieve cultural and economic superiority.

This is crackpot anti-White stuff, and it has taken over academia.

I predicted that “the conflict between truth and social justice is likely to become unmanageable … Universities that try to honor both will face increasing incoherence and internal conflict.” It’s now six years later, and I think it’s clear that this prediction has come true.
Universities are going into a decline.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

NewScientist Magazine is Against Free Speech

Left-wing science journals are now opposed to free speech. From a NewScientist article:
It turns out that information overload is just as toxic to democracy as censorship is. We need to chuck out the US myth that bad speech can be “cured” with more speech. Without moderation, ground rules for debate and thoughtful regulation in our digital public squares, it is impossible for us to reach agreement on anything.
Wow. When does Science ever require that we reach agreement?

There is no consensus on covid-19, global warming, causes of crime, or the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Nor should there be. The vaccine might be good for you, and not someone else.

Nor does democracy require consensus. Democracy is rule by a 51% majority.

It is increasingly clear that the Left wants to impose its program on everyone, with no dissent. Allowing free speech to express alternative views will wreck their plans.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Anti-White Propaganda Creeps into Physics Journals

Here is a new anti-White Physics education paper that is absurd as it looks:
Observing whiteness in introductory physics: A case study

Authors’ positionalities.—Robertson is a chronically ill and disabled, physics-Ph.D.-holding, thin wealthy white woman. Her analysis and writing were shaped by these identities, including her “insider” status in physics: because of her socialization in the discipline, she is able to name and make sense of physics values, representa- tions, and practices.

For most of Robertson’s life, whiteness (including whiteness as social organization) has been invisible to her; this invisibility is rooted in part in the hegemony of whiteness and in Robertson’s position of power within white-dominant culture [36,51]. Her efforts to “make whiteness visible” in the writing of this paper, then, reflect her position as a learner and as a white person; in writing this paper, she is sharing her in-progress learning, as someone who is waking up to the world as it is, with gratitude for the support of Friends, Scholars, and Activists of Color. Her position as a learner about whiteness has been deeply informed by her own marginalization and oppres- sion as a chronically ill person.

It was funded by the National Science Foundation. Watch this excellent video mocking it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Superdeterminism does not Save Locality

A new paper argues:
This paper addresses a particular interpretation of quantum mechanics, i.e. superdeterminism. In short, superdeterminism i) takes the world to be fundamentally deterministic, ii) postulates hidden variables, and iii) contra Bell, saves locality at the cost of violating the principle of statistical independence. Superdeterminism currently enjoys little support in the physics and philosophy communities. Many take it to posit the ubiquitous occurrence of hard-to-digest conspiratorial and coincidental events; others object that violating the principle of statistical independence implies the death of the scientific methodology.
This paper is really misguided. First, superdeterminism is not an interpretation of quantum mechanics. As you can see, it is not listed as such on the Wikipedia page. The premise of superdeterminism is that QM is wrong. It only appears correct in some cases, because we cannot properly test it.

Second, superdeterminism does not save locality. QM is local, while superdeterminism requies nonlocal conspiracies.

Bell’s theorem is almost universally considered as conclusively showing that nature is fundamentally non-local. ...

If so, Bell’s argument shows once and for all that no local hidden variables are possible and that nature is fundamentally non-local. Or so the vast majority believes.

Superdeterminism offers an alternative approach to this. In a nutshell, superdeterminism amounts to an attempt to save locality despite Bell’s experiment.

No, competent physicists do not believe that. Bell's argument shows that a classical hteory of local hidden variables cannot explain the predictions of QM. That leaves two obvious possibilites. Nature could be nonlocal classical, or local quantum.

Local quantum is what everybody believes, and what the textbooks say. You only get nonlocality if you insist on pre-1925 classical mechanics.

To justify the superdeterminism conspiracies, it invokes time travel arguments.

As it is well known in the time travel literature, time travel cannot result in changes in the past (see, among others, Lewis 1976 and Arntzenius and Maudlin 2002). Suppose a time traveler travels back in time and tries to kill his younger self. We know the time traveler will not succeed, or else contradictions will ensue. For if the time traveler kills his younger self (and we bar resurrection), he will not grow up to later jump back in time and kill his younger self. Even if time travel were possible, autoinfanticide by exploiting time travel is not.4 Time travelers who attempt to kill their younger selves will fail. Why do they fail? The standard answer in the literature is that they would fail for ordinary reasons: a sudden change of heart, the bullet will surprisingly miss the target, a bird would just pass through and stop the bullet, failure of nerves, or (famously) the time traveler would slip on a banana peel. In an interesting twist, Horwich (1987, ch. 7) discusses a thought experiment devised to cast some doubts on this idea. What would happen, so goes the thought experiment, if a future Time Travel Institute for Autoinfanticide were to send back in time thousands of time travelers attempting to kill their younger selves. Despite (we can imagine) their training, their loaded weapons, their strong motivations, and the easy unprotected targets, they would all fail---for autoinfanticide is impossible. A big series of coincidences must be guaranteed to happen to stop their attempts.
So if a big series of coincidences can stop you from kill yourself when you travel back in time, then then could also make QM appear to be true when it is really false.

No experiment can tell you what is going on, because the superdeterminist rejects it.

The third argument against superdeterminism that is voiced by authors as Shimony et al. (1976), Maudlin (2019), Baas and Le Bihan (2021), and Chen (2021), boils down to the idea that the enterprise of doing science would not be possible in a superdeterministic world. Maudlin (cited by Chen 2021) phrases it this way (2019):
“If we fail to make this sort of statistical independence assumption, empirical science can no longer be done at all. For example, the observed strong robust correlation between mice being exposed to cigarette smoke and developing cancer in controlled experiments means nothing if the mice who are already predisposed to get cancer somehow always end up in the experimental rather than control group. But we would regard that hypothesis as crazy.”
Again, the idea is that experimental science is only possible if our choices of testing conditions are independent of the physical properties that determine experimental outcomes – an assumption violated by superdeterminism.
That is all correct. But this paper goes on to advocate superdeterminism, because it is supposed to be a way of saving locality from Bell's argument.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Man has Not Even an Illusion of Free Will

Here is a comment from a leftist-atheist-evolutionist blog. Somehow it keeps coming back to denying will.

I’ve never understood the idea, expressed by both compatibilists and incompatibilists, that “it feels like we have free will,” or that “we have the illusion of free will.” Never mind the fact that the concept of “free will” seems only to be found in W.E.I.R.D. cultures, and seems mostly tied to monotheistic theology; I find that my own lack of free will is powerfully salient in the manifest image. To me it feels like my thoughts, including decisions and choices, just appear in my brain. When I pay close attention, when I carefully observe what is actually going on, I get no sense whatsoever that I conjured up these thoughts. They seem thrust upon me and I sometimes even wish them away to no avail.

I don’t think I am alone here. There is plenty of evidence all throughout our language that everyone notices our complete lack of free will. “She made me laugh” or “he made me cry” or “I fell in love” or “it made me sad” or “I was overcome with joy.” Consider the extent to which all of your decisions and choices are based on what makes you laugh, cry, love, or become depressed. If you examine our language it appears that the reality of determinism, at least biological determinism, is more than just an accepted fact. It seems like everyone knows it with virtual certainty.

Consider the moment in the restaurant when you are looking at the menu and you’ve read all of the items but it still takes you a while to male a choice because you “can’t decide’ what you want. You are waiting for your determined unconscious to make that decision for you. If you had free will you’d decide right away. In this moment you should “feel” and notice your lack of free will. You shouldn’t need physics or biology to point it out to you.

When people say “we feel like we have free will” I don’t know what they mean. I don’t feel that way at all. To the extent that I ever felt like I had “free will” I would blame it on my W.E.I.R.D. upbringing and I would be thankful that I eventually noticed it wasn’t true and got over it.

I have also never understood any of the proposed downsides to accepting determinism. Life is like watching a movie or riding a rollercoaster. The fact that you are not driving takes nothing away from the thrill and meaning of the experience. Relax and enjoy the ride. Of course I know that you can’t just decide to relax and enjoy the ride, but I hope that me saying these things will help determined you to do just that.

St. Augustine was a great proponent of free will and while you might class his society as Western, it was not educated, industrialized, rich, or democratic.
It is amazing to me that he has no feeling of free will. Sam Harris says something similar.

On the last point, W.E.I.R.D. is a euphemism for White Christian culture. The claim is that other cultures do not appreciate free will. White Christians are the only ones who are fully conscious.

If he says he does not feel free will, then I believe him, but it is like saying he follows voices in his head. It is a symptom of schizophrenia.

Another comment:

I don’t think it’s quite right to call the Everettian (many-worlds) interpretation of quantum mechanics either pseudoscience or religion, even if it’s untestable in principle. A better term might be something along the lines of “coherent conjecture”, or “theoretical extrapolation”.

One associates pseudoscience with preposterous “theories” like astrology, psychokinesis, or clairvoyance. It’s neither accurate nor fair to put the many-worlds hypothesis in the same group. And it’s less appropriate still to equate it to religious beliefs, which tend to be even more preposterous.

Whether you agree with him or not, Sean Carroll can cogently explain why he thinks the many-worlds interpretation is a coherent and sensible inference, something that neither an astrologer nor the pope could do to defend their beliefs. That difference would be lost if we labeled Carroll’s position “pseudoscientific” or “religious”. One could even be induced to think him, in this respect at least, a charlatan or a religious nut, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

No, Sean M. Carroll cannot cogently explain many-worlds. I have heard him try, and there is nothing scientific at all. The more I listen to him, the more I am convinced that he has a fundamentally anti-scientific worldview.

Here is also a recent Michael Shermer interview of Sabine Hossenfelder, where she denies free will at the end.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Particle Physics Goes Diversity Mad

Particle physics has become a boring field. The only new discovery in decades was the Higgs particle, confirming a 1964 prediction.

So what to do? Get rid of the White males, and bring in the BIPOC trannies!

Nature reports:

What particle physics can do to improve diversity

Kétévi Assamagan describes how US particle physicists are trying to make their field work for people of all genders, ethnicities and backgrounds.

This year, thousands of particle physicists thrashed out the future of their field in the United States, in a roughly once-in-a-decade planning exercise called Snowmass. For the first time, the process — which influences US federal funding — elevated diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues to sit among the ten major topics, or frontiers, that were discussed. ...

George Floyd’s death in 2020, and other times that police have killed Black people, have made people more aware that something needs to be done. Many institutions and organizations have started paying attention to DEI issues and to the climate in the workplace.

But it doesn’t necessarily translate into action. In an anonymous survey we did at Snowmass, we saw that men, in general, believe less that there is an issue with diversity. They are the biggest group in physics and the people who need to be convinced if we are to translate all the things we talk about into change.

The group also wants to build a muon colliders, if it can be done without White men.

George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose, while the police were getting an ambulance for him and he was resisting. I watched the trial. No evidence of racial animosity was presented. The police had no reason to believe that they were doing anything harmful, and I don't think that they were. He would have died faster if the police were not there.

It is pretty crazy to think that incident has anything to do with Physics research. I think that the govt should do more to stop fentanyl poisonings. But it is also crazy to complain about police killing Black people. Blacks are only killed in proportion to them violently resisting arrest. Blacks are actually killed less than one would expect, based on crime incidence.

But regardless, is the LHC collider going to hire some incompetent Black physicists because of the behavior of some no-good criminal junkie like George Floyd? Maybe the thinking is that the LHC is never going to do any worthwhile Physics again anyway, so we as might as well take some Black junkies off the streets to showcase diversity, and let the White men do something productive elsewhere.

In case you think this is offensive, I am not the one comparing Black physicists to George Floyd. That was Nature magazine and the Snowmass committee. I am not even sure of the point of the analogy. Do they think that Whites should be more accommodating of Black drug addiction and criminal and antisocial behavior? Or that White secretly want to strangle Blacks before they get jobs as particle physicists? Maybe some reader can explain the logic to me.

Update: Here is a Princeton Anthropology professor defending the science journals going woke, complete with derogatory comments about "older white cis-male" scientists.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Einstein did not Understand Relativity Better

Physicist Sean M. Carroll says:
Albert Einstein was not as good at math as Henri Poincare, but he did better at understanding relativity, because his physical insight was completely unmatched.
No, this is backwards. Einstein had no relativity physical insights that were not already articulared by Poincare. Not until after Poincare died, anyway. Those who credit Einstein for relativity often point to the lack of experimental justification in Einstein's 1905 paper. While Poincare and other derived relativity from the Michelson-Morley experiment, Einstein does not mention it. Einstein's approach is to postulate what Lorentz and Poincare proved.

One of Poincare's key 1905 insights was that realtivity was a spacetime theory, ano not just an electromagnetism theory. So Poincare recognized the need for relativistic gravity, while Einstein ignored the issue.

Carroll also says a lot of nonsense about many-worlds, simulation, etc. At 2:01:00, he says Einstein was right to rail against Copenhagen because Copenhagen is terrible. He says Bohm and Everett interpretations are much better, as they are well-posed scientific theories.

It is sometimes said that QM is the most successful theory ever, as there is a trillion dollar industry based on it. And it is 100% Copenhagen. No one has ever used Bohm or Everett for a practical application.

Carroll advocates canceling a physicist because he believed in eugenics a century ago, but then advocates eugenics himself at 2:41:00.

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Quantum Computing Bubble

Dr. Quantum Supremacy writes:
Several people have asked me to comment about a Financial Times opinion piece entitled The Quantum Computing Bubble (subtitle: “The industry has yet to demonstrate any real utility, despite the fanfare, billions of VC dollars and three Spacs”). The piece is purely deflationary — not a positive word in it — though it never goes so far as to suggest that QC is blocked by any Gil-Kalai-like fundamental principle, nor does it even evince curiosity about that question.
The article is paywalled, so I don't know anything about it.

Aaronson always likes to draw a distinction between saying something is impossible, and saying something is impossible because it is blocked by a fundamental principle.

For example, saying that perpetual motion machines are impossible is not as satisfying as saying perpetual motion machines are impossible because the First Law of Thermodynamics says energy is conserved.

Okay, maybe, but it depends on how convincing the principle is.

Aarson concedes that the article is right that it is not yet known whether it is "possible to build a large-scale, fault-tolerant quantum computer."

As for applications, my position has always been that if there were zero applications, it would still be at least as scientifically important to try to build QCs as it was to build the LHC, LIGO, or the James Webb telescope.  If there are real applications, such as simulating chemical dynamics, or certifiable randomness — and there very well might be — then those are icing on the cake. 
That is because he likes to study quantum complexity theory. But the practical applications may well be negative.

It is possible that the biggest practical application of QC will be to destroy the security of internet communications that everyone uses everyday.

Human Behavior Journal goes Woke

Nature, perhaps the world's leading group of science publications, announces:
Science must respect the dignity and rights of all humans

New ethics guidance addresses potential harms for human population groups who do not participate in research but may be harmed by its publication.

So the Nature Human Behavior journal will now reject papers based on these principles:
1. Content that is premised upon the assumption of inherent biological, social, or cultural superiority or inferiority of one human group over another based on race, ethnicity, national or social origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political or other beliefs, age, disease, (dis)ability, or other socially constructed or socially relevant groupings (hereafter referred to as socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings).

2. Content that undermines — or could reasonably be perceived to undermine — the rights and dignities of an individual or human group on the basis of socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings.

3. Content that includes text or images that directly or indirectly disparage a person or group on the basis of socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings.

4. Submissions that embody singular, privileged perspectives, which are exclusionary of a diversity of voices in relation to socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings, and which purport such perspectives to be generalisable and/or assumed.

Steve Pinker and other prominent scientists criticize it here and here. Separately, the same ones attack a NY Times op-ed denying the maternal instinct. These scientists are all old and retired, and academia is not producing truth-tellers anymore.

This seems to be saying: We are tired be being called racist for publishing research that Black people are inferior. So we are going to ban articles that even hint at the facts. Because George Floyd, we have to be more woke.

Human behavior does vary among racial and ethnic group. Good research about it is needed for social policy. We will not get it anymore. You might have to read century-old papers to get the truth.

Update: Noah Carl writes:

The reason I want to congratulate the editors of Nature Human Behaviour is that they are being open and honest about a policy that most social science journals already have. While many commentators have rightly criticised the absurd editorial, they seem to be operating under the illusion that it’s a one-off. It isn’t. Many journals follow exactly the same policy – they just don’t say so, or if they do, they hide it in the small print.

Even Intelligence, a supposedly controversial journal, has guidelines for the “use of inclusive language”. These specify that submissions must “contain nothing which might imply that one individual is superior to another on the grounds of age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability or health condition.” ...

And it isn’t just journals. The owners of some datasets explicitly forbid you from testing certain hypotheses. To access data held by the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium, you now have to promise that you “will not use these data to make comparisons of genetically predicted phenotype levels across ancestral groups”.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Is There Causation in Fundamental Physics?

Emily Adlam tries to justify quantum causation in a new paper:
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation plays no role in science: it is ‘a relic of a bygone age, surviv- ing, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to do no harm.’ [1] Cartwright [2] and later writers moderated this conclusion somewhat, and it is now largely accepted that in a macroscopic setting causal concepts are an important part of the assessments we make about possible strategies for action.

But the view that causation in the usual sense of the term is not present in fundamental physics, or at least that not all fundamental physical processes are causal, remains prevalent [3, 4] - for example, Norton writes that ‘(causes and causal principles) are heuristi- cally useful notions, licensed by our best sciences, but we should not mistake them for the fundamental principles of nature’ [5].

Furthermore, many influential philosophical analyses of causation posit that causation arises only at a macroscopic level, as a result of the thermodynamic gradient [6,7], interventions [8,9], the perspectives of agents [10], or some such feature of reality which plays no role in fundamental physics.

In light of this widespread orthodoxy, it may seem surprising that in recent years a significant literature around causation has sprung up within quantum foundations.

[1] Bertrand Russell. On the notion of cause. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 13:1–26, 1912.
[2] Nancy Cartwright. Causal laws and effective strategies. Noˆus, 13(4):419–437, 1979.

The opinion against causation is so bizarre that it is hard for me to understand it. In my view, causation is fundamedental at all levels of science. Events are influenced by events in the backwards light cone, and science is all about explaining that.

How can philosophers be so against causation?

I see different arguments.

If time travel into the past is possible, then it is hard to see what causation means.

If you use a Lagrangian formulation of physics, then you often find a solution for all times at once, as opposed to strictly deducing future events from past events. However there is usually another formulation where the past causes the future.

Russell's argument was in 1912, before quantum mechanics. He seemed to think that there were universal mathematical laws determining the future. In his view, that was not really causation, like a human causing something to happen.

Quantum uncertainties lead to other questions. Some people seem to think that probabilities cannot be caused, but that is plainly untrue, in the ordinary English language usage. People say that smoking causes lung cancer, even thought the connection is probabilistic.

Some say that causality cannot explain the Bell correlations:

note that the proof of the Bell inequality can be regarded as telling us that any causal model for correlations violating the Bell inequality must postulate a causal connection between the choice of measurement on one particle and the outcome of the measurement on the other particle, but the quantum mechanical no-signalling theorem ensures that at the statistical level there will be no dependence of the outcome on the measurement choice, so if we wish to represent these statistics by a causal model we must carefully ‘fine-tune’ the parameters of the model to ensure that the underlying causal influences exactly cancel out so as to be invisible at the level of the empirical statistics.
I think that the problem here is that if you think that Bell proved nonlocality, and if causation is a local mechanism, then there is a problem.

But Bell did not prove nonlocality. Quantum mechanics is a local theory, consistent with causation. Many people misunderstand this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Weyl's unified field theory

New paper:
In 1918, H. Weyl proposed a unified theory of gravity and electromagnetism based on a generalization of Riemannian geometry. With hindsight we now could say that the theory carried with it some of the most original ideas that inspired the physics of the twentieth century. ...

Although Weyl’s theory was not considered by Einstein to constitute a viable physical theory, the powerful and elegant ideas put forward by the publication of Weyl’s paper survived and now constitutes a constant source of inspiration for new proposals, particularly in the domain of the so-called “modified gravity theories” [3].

Despite Einstein’s objections, Weyl’s unified theory attracted the attention of some eminent contemporary physicists of Weyl, among whom we can quote Pauli, Eddington, London, and Dirac[4]. However, the great majority of theoretical physicists in the first decades of the twentieth century remained completely unaware of Weyl’s work.

The amazing thing to me is that Weyl had a theory similar to the geometric formulations of electromagnetic gauge theory t hat became widely known 50 years later.

Weyl's theory did become widely known, but didn't anyone improve it until much later? Or maybe they did, and I haven't heard about it.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Formal Math v Human Math

David Ruelle wrote and essay on human math, and remarked:
Mathematics consists in deriving consequences (theorems) from a set of assumptions (axioms) by application of given logical rules. The set of axioms mostly used currently is ZFC (Zermelo-Fraenkel-Choice set-theoretical axioms). Axioms and theorems can be formulated in a formal language. ZFC is fairly believable by mathematicians (a typical axiom is ‘there exists an infinite set’). We remind the reader that the consistency of ZFC cannot be proved (this follows from Godel’s incompleteness theorems).

Human mathematics is based on natural languages (ancient Greek, English, etc.) which can in principle be translated into formal language (but is hardly understandable after translation).

This is all true, but it leads people to the conclusion that formal axiomatized math does not really prove what it is supposed to prove, so human math is better.

ZFC is not supposed to prove the consistency of ZFC. It doesn't make sense. Consistency is only proved in a larger system. Goedel's theorems are widely misunderstood.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Still No Quantum Supremacy

Dr. Quantum Supremacy just got back from a conference on the subject, and reports:
Of course there’s a lot still to do. Many of the talks drew an exclamation point on something I’ve been saying for the past couple years: that there’s an urgent need for better quantum supremacy experiments, which will require both theoretical and engineering advances. The experiments by Google and USTC and now Xanadu represent a big step forward for the field, but since they started being done, the classical spoofing attacks have also steadily improved, to the point that whether “quantum computational supremacy” still exists depends on exactly how you define it.

Briefly: if you measure by total operations, energy use, or CO2 footprint, then probably yes, quantum supremacy remains. But if you measure by number of seconds, then it doesn’t remain, not if you’re willing to shell out for enough cores on AWS or your favorite supercomputer. And even the quantum supremacy that does remain might eventually fall to, e.g., further improvements of the algorithm due to Gao et al. For more details, see, e.g., the now-published work of Pan, Chen, and Zhang, or this good popular summary by Adrian Cho for Science.

If the experimentalists care enough, they could easily regain the quantum lead, at least for a couple more years, by (say) repeating random circuit sampling with 72 qubits rather than 53-60, and hopefully circuit depth of 30-40 rather than just 20-25.

Considering how he has staked his professional reputation on quantum supremacy, this is an admission that it has not been achieved. It will require will require both theoretical and engineering advances, and they better come quickly, or Google and a lot of big-shots are going to be very embarrassed.

I am skeptical that quantum computers will ever have any advantage over Turing machines.

There are a lot of book hyping quantum computers. Here is a skeptical one that I have not read: Will We Ever Have a Quantum Computer?, by Mikhail I. Dyakonov.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

New Lecture on Many-Worlds

Physicist Sean M. Carroll has a new lecture on The Many Worlds of Quantum Mechanics. Here is a 2-year-old lecture on the same subject.

A question at 1:04:00 asks for observable evidence for many-worlds. For example, could you prepare a Schroedinger Cat, and somehow verify that it is alive in one world and dead in another?

The correct answer is that there is no such evidence, and the whole concept of many-worlds is unscientific and unverifiable.

He dodges the question, and says that there are experiments that could disprove quantum mechanics.

Yes, of course, but textbook (aka Copenhagen) QM does not say the two cats can be observed.

His lecture is a pretty clear explanation of QM and many-worlds.

He says, at 35:40 that many-worlds is a theory, not an interpretation. I agree with that. The interpretations of QM all have the same predictions and observations. The interpretation is just a philosophical explanation for what the variables mean, but no experiment can say that one interpretation is any better than any other.

The Copenhagen interpretation is what Bohr and Heisenberg said. And maybe Schroedinger and Dirac. The textbook interpretation is the version of it found in modern textbooks.

Many-worlds is, in essence, the theory of QM with the part about observations and predictions removed. So many-worlds cannot make predictions, and cannot be tested or verified.

Carroll is a big proponent of many-worlds, but only because he believes it gives a better explanation of what is going on. But it does not explain anything, and is an unscientific theory.

In the older lecture, he admits at 37:00 that many-worlds cannot be tested. He excuses this by saying that the assumptions that go into many-worlds can be tested. Those assumptions are the same as with quantum mechanics, so every test of QM is also a test of many-worlds.

This is just a dodge. There is no test that can show a preference to many-worlds over textbook QM.

He then goes on to say that many-worlds is an unfinished theory, maybe some day someone will figure how many-worlds could make testable predictions. With the current knowledge of the theory, it deterministically predicts that all things happen in branched universes, so all predictions come true in some universe. The theory cannot be tested.

Israeli physicist Lev Vaidman has a new paper on Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation?:

A brief (subjective) description of the state of the art of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (MWI) is presented. It is argued that the MWI is the only interpretation which removes action at a distance and randomness from quantum theory. Limitations of the MWI regarding questions of probability which can be legitimately asked are specified.... Some speculations about misconceptions, which apparently prevent the MWI to be in the consensus, are mentioned.
I give you arguments for many-worlds, as otherwise you would not believe that the theory is as stupid as it is.

Note that he says that MWI removes randomness and fails to predict probability, as if that were an advantage.

The only part of our experience, which unitary evolution of the universal wave function does not explain, is the statistics of the results of quantum experiments we performed. ...

Thus, the MWI brings back determinism to scientific description [8]. (Before the quantum revolution, determinism was considered as a virtue of scientific explanation.) We, as agents capable of experiencing only a single world, have an illusion of randomness. This illusion is explained by a deterministic theory of the universe which includes all worlds together.

Got that? It it deterministic about things we never see and fails to predict the probabilistic events we do see.
The MWI provides simple answers to almost all quantum paradoxes. Schr ̈odinger’s Cat is absurd in one world, but unproblematic when it represents one world with a live cat and a multitude of worlds with the cat which died at different times of detection of the radioactive decay. ...

The paradoxical behaviour of Bell-type experiments disappears when quantum measure- ment does not have a single outcome [9]. ...

The reluctance of a human to accept the MWI is natural. We would like to think that we are the center of the Universe: that the Sun, together with other stars, moves around Earth, that our Galaxy is the center of the Universe, and we are unhappy to accept that there are many parallel copies of us which are apparently not less important.

There you go. Your rejection of the idea that you are constanting splitting into parallel universes is just a natural human conceit about your own self-importance. You are like those narrow-minded astronomers who put the Earth at the center of the universe.

This is crackpot stuff. It is anti-science. It is saying that you can get paradoxes out of a theory by removing all predictions.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Grad Schools to Stop Using Standardized Tests

From an AAAS Science magazine editorial:
Earlier this year, the University of Michigan became the first US university to remove the requirement that applicants to its nonprofessional doctoral programs take a standardized test—the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This decision will not, on its own, address inequities in admissions practice, nor the broader education barriers that many applicants face. But it is a major step toward an admissions process that considers all dimensions of a candidate’s preparation and promise—a holistic view that should be adopted by all universities if equity in education and opportunities is to be achieved. ...

What are the costs for admissions committees that use the GRE in admissions decisions? In short, the loss of talented applicants at every stage of the process.

This is the dumbing down of science grad schools. The purpose is to admit incompetent women and BIPOCs. There is no example of a talented applicant being lost. The talented ones are able to score well on the tests.

Test scores are the main way that talented students get into good schools, when they have deficiencies in their records. Ignoring the scores serves no purpose, example to enable sex and race discrimination. It is amazing to see America's leading science journal going along with this nonsense.