Friday, April 12, 2019

Smolin joins quantum mysticism

Smolin's new book gets this SciAm review:
Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies beyond the Quantum
by Lee Smolin.
Penguin Press, 2019 ($28)

Quantum mechanics—the basis for our understanding of particles and forces—is arguably the most successful theory in all of science. But its success has come at a price: unresolved mysteries at the theory's heart, such as the paradoxical wave-particle duality of quantum objects, can make modern physics seem decidedly metaphysical. Simply put, if mainstream interpretations of quantum mechanics are true, then the central, most cherished tenet of physics — that an objective reality exists independently of our mind but is still comprehensible — must be false. Smolin, a member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, argues against this vexing status quo: “It is possible to be a realist while living in the quantum universe.” —Lee Billings
His Amazon blurb has even more contradictions:
In Einstein's Unfinished Revolution, theoretical physicist Lee Smolin provocatively argues that the problems which have bedeviled quantum physics since its inception are unsolved and unsolvable, for the simple reason that the theory is incomplete. There is more to quantum physics, waiting to be discovered. Our task -- if we are to have simple answers to our simple questions about the universe we live in -- must be to go beyond quantum mechanics to a description of the world on an atomic scale that makes sense.
I haven't seen the book, but he obviously buys into the Einstein foolishness that quantum mechanics needs to be completed by adding some hidden variables, or some such nonsense.

It is simply not true that mainstream interpretations of quantum mechanics deny that an objective reality exists independently of our mind. Obviously there is an objective reality, and almost all scientific work is based on that assumption whether it is true or not.

The interpretations do deny that there is an objective reality that is codified in classical hidden variables. That's all. That has been the understanding since 1930 or so. Based on the above, Smolin's is just going to confuse people. But I haven't read it, so I cannot be sure.


  1. Dear Roger,

    Guess I will have to buy this book, too.

    But what I think is a better alternative is right here:

    ... And, they don't even understand the Lagrangian mechanics right! Esp. in regards to time-varying vs. time-independent quantities / fields!

    Such thorough idiots, morons, retards, and intellectual goons, all these physicists are.

    Anyway, best,


  2. Reality is not a figment of an observers limited attention span. Quantum mechanics is very much a kludge (an incomplete kludge at that), like epi-cycles, it serves a purpose as a mathematical place holder, but it is not an understanding of what it claims to describe.

  3. "Obviously there is an objective reality, and almost all scientific work is based on that assumption whether it is true or not."

    Funny coming from a guy who doesn't believe in unicity.