Conventionally, physicists have assumed that if the black hole is large enough, Alice won’t notice anything unusual as she crosses the horizon. In this scenario, colorfully dubbed “No Drama,” the gravitational forces won’t become extreme until she approaches a point inside the black hole called the singularity. There, the gravitational pull will be so much stronger on her feet than on her head that Alice will be “spaghettified.”I haven't read these papers, but this conflict sounds crazy to me. Unitarity is not a fundamental tenet of quantum mechanics. It is not a physical principle at all, and there is no physical evidence for it. It is only thought to be important by those with some philosophical disagreement with wave function collapse.
Now a new hypothesis is giving poor Alice even more drama than she bargained for. If this alternative is correct, as the unsuspecting Alice crosses the event horizon, she will encounter a massive wall of fire that will incinerate her on the spot. As unfair as this seems for Alice, the scenario would also mean that at least one of three cherished notions in theoretical physics must be wrong. ...
Paradoxes in physics have a way of clarifying key issues. At the heart of this particular puzzle lies a conflict between three fundamental postulates beloved by many physicists. The first, based on the equivalence principle of general relativity, leads to the No Drama scenario: Because Alice is in free fall as she crosses the horizon, and there is no difference between free fall and inertial motion, she shouldn’t feel extreme effects of gravity. The second postulate is unitarity, the assumption, in keeping with a fundamental tenet of quantum mechanics, that information that falls into a black hole is not irretrievably lost. Lastly, there is what might be best described as “normality,” namely, that physics works as expected far away from a black hole even if it breaks down at some point within the black hole — either at the singularity or at the event horizon.
The idea that Alice will be incinerated by a massive wall of fire upon entering a black hole sounds a little bit like the story of Lot's wife in the Bible.
A comment gives the source for Einstein's "spooky action at a distance":
"I cannot make a case for my attitude in physics which you would consider at all reasonable. I admit, of course, that there is a considerable amount of validity in the statistical approach which you were the first to recognise clearly as necessary given the framework of the existing formalism. I cannot seriously believe in it because the theory cannot be reconciled with the idea that physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance. I am, however, not yet firmly convinced it can really be achieved with a continuous field theory, although I have discovered a possible way of doing this which so far seems quite reasonable...But I am quite convinced that someone will eventually come up with a theory whose objects, connected by laws, are not probabilities but considered facts, as used to be taken for granted until quite recently. I cannot however, base this conviction on logical reasons, but can only produce my little finger as witness, that is I offer no authority which would be able to command any kind of respect outside of my own hand." (Einstein to Born, 2 Mar. 1947.)Einstein wants to reject quantum mechanics in favor of some sort of hidden variable theory, and his buddy Max Born cannot convince him that the probabilities are essential. In my opinion, they were both wrong.
Born comments: "I too had considered this postulate [that physics should represent a reality in time and space] to be one which could claim absolute validity. But the realities of physical experience had taught me that this postulate is not an a priori principle but a time-dependent rule which must be, and can be, replaced by a more general one."
String theorist Lumo adds his criticism of Ouellette's article:
Well, more precisely, it's nice and informative if you assume that her task was to uncritically promote the views of Joe Polchinski, Leonard Susskind, Raphael Bousso, and a few others. From a more objective viewpoint, the article's main message is wrong and the text misinterprets the state of the research, too.
Over the last decade or so, my great respect for some of the most famous names in high-energy physics was diminishing and this trend has become undeniable by now. It seems to me that my previous worries about the apparent deterioration of meritocracy within the field have turned out to be a tangible reality.