Monday, July 7, 2014

Magazines promote nonlocal pilot waves

Smithsonian Mag has an article against quantum mechanics:
What If There's a Way to Explain Quantum Physics Without the Probabilistic Weirdness?
An old idea is back in vogue as physicists find support for "pilot wave theory," a competitor to quantum mechanics ...

According to modern notions of quantum physics, at the very smallest scales — in the realm of electrons and photons and quarks — the world is not obvious, direct and deterministic. Rather, the world is one of probabilities. Electrons seem to exist in a cloud of possibilities, inhabiting an area but no particular space. It isn't until you look that this aura of probability collapses and the electron inhabits a particular place.

For some people, such a probabilistic interpretation of the world is simply unnerving. For others, though, the probabilistic interpretation seems unnecessary from a scientific perspective. There might be another way to explain the weird behavior seen in the double-slit experiment that doesn't devolve into quantum mechanics' usual probabilistic weirdness, says Quanta Magazine.

Known as “pilot wave theory” this line of thinking goes that, rather than electrons and other things being both quasi-particles and quasi-waves, the electron is a discrete particle that is being carried along by a separate wave. What this wave is made of no one knows. But recent experimental research shows that, in the lab, particles being carried around by waves will exhibit many of the same weird behaviors that were thought to be exclusive to the domain of quantum mechanics (as seen in the video above).

Not being able to explain what the wave is is a problem, but so is the inherent randomness of modern quantum physics.
This old idea is a crazy idea. It is based on a strange ideological prejudice against probabilities.

The concept of probability pervades modern science. It is often used on quantum mechanics, but no more so that any other branch of science. There is no reason to get of it. Nor is it possible, as any experimental attempt to confirm Bohmian mechanics or pilot wave theory will use the same statistics as with quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics does have some mysterious aspects to it, but probability is least of it.

The pilot wave theory approach is to try to nail down the electron as a particle, which it is not. So it becomes a particle attached to a pilot wave, which is a very strange entity that is more mysterious than anything in orthodox quantum mechanics.

So how is that better? There are philosophers who have a mystical belief in nonlocality. They would like to believe that their consciousness is at one with the universe. The Bohm pilot wave theory is nonlocal. So they like it.

Quanta Mag article also says:
Later, the Northern Irish physicist John Stewart Bell went on to prove a seminal theorem that many physicists today misinterpret as rendering hidden variables impossible. But Bell supported pilot-wave theory. He was the one who pointed out the flaws in von Neumann’s original proof. And in 1986 he wrote that pilot-wave theory “seems to me so natural and simple, to resolve the wave-particle dilemma in such a clear and ordinary way, that it is a great mystery to me that it was so generally ignored.”

The neglect continues. A century down the line, the standard, probabilistic formulation of quantum mechanics has been combined with Einstein’s theory of special relativity and developed into the Standard Model, an elaborate and precise description of most of the particles and forces in the universe. Acclimating to the weirdness of quantum mechanics has become a physicists’ rite of passage. The old, deterministic alternative is not mentioned in most textbooks; most people in the field haven’t heard of it. Sheldon Goldstein, a professor of mathematics, physics and philosophy at Rutgers University and a supporter of pilot-wave theory, blames the “preposterous” neglect of the theory on “decades of indoctrination.” At this stage, Goldstein and several others noted, researchers risk their careers by questioning quantum orthodoxy.
Neglect? I would not say "combined with Einstein's theory" because Einstein stubbornly refused to accept quantum mechanics. The textbooks do explain why he lost the Bohr–Einstein debates. In short, Bohr, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, von Neumann, and quantum mechanics were correct, and Bohm, Einstein, Bell, and hidden variables were wrong.

Orthodox quantum mechanics has led to about a trillion dollar computer chip economy. Bohm, pilot waves, Bell, and hidden variables have led to nothing.

Update: Lumo piles on:
I've been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of idiocy about quantum mechanics that we may encounter in the would-be scientific mainstream media. A new wave of nonsense claiming that someone overthrew quantum mechanics is appearing on a daily basis. ...

I really can't understand what drives people to saying and even writing these breathtakingly childishly stupid things. If you have a slightly retarded 6-year-old baby, it may ask you why cars move. And you explain to her that there is an elephant inside the car. ...

Clearly, quantum mechanics was too hard and too new for some physicists from the beginning – including a revolutionary named Einstein – so these people clearly didn't belong among the "we" of the people who properly understood quantum mechanics. But even the people who effectively understood quantum mechanics would find some differences in their "interpretation" of quantum mechanics – and the most reasonable ones would point out that the very phrase "interpretation of quantum mechanics" is silly. Quantum mechanics is the new theory so once we describe its rules and axioms, we know them and there's nothing to interpret.


  1. "Now that I've freed myself from insane people...I would like to tell you what I do. I am participating in a brainwashing experiment entitled 'string theory'. Future physicists will not have the opportunity to ridicule us because the purpose of 'string theory' is to destroy the legitimacy of the scientific method so we can give ourselves ludicrous amounts of phoney fiat money in prizes thanks to our good old boys network. Sure physics will be destroyed but who cares...I certainly don't."

  2. Wow, Lumo apparently knows more about quantum mechanics than the people who invented it, who also admitted it was incomplete. Such genius! Like most conceited schmucks, He goes to college and learns to memorize and regurgitate a bunch of probabilistic bullshit, and because he memorized the calculations and terminology, he claims he understands it. Nice try. If there is anything I have learned in college, it is that few actually learn anything, but remember a great deal that is wrong and pass it off as their own genius. Class after class of 'we don't have time to go into this, just memorize it for the test and let's move on.' takes it toll on any real progress or understanding. It's no wonder that most great discoveries have been the product of individuals who were not bound to established dogma in whatever time they lived in.

    When Lumo actually can explain how reality works without resorting to reification magic and logic loops to pull particles out of the void, or disguised degrees of freedom dressed up as indivisible strings that then go and vibrate, oscillate, tangle, knot, and tapdance...all without any moving parts (none of which is mechanically possible without more than one indivisible part, does he even understand the very basic physical mechanics required for something to vibrate?) then I will be impressed. Math governs nothing except foolish mathematicians. As far as reality goes, it can only attempt to describe something, often vaguely like any other human language.

  3. "I really can't understand what drives people to saying and even writing these breathtakingly childishly stupid things"

    I guess that idiot Motl doesn't understand how capital works either.

  4. Update:

    Central Banks and Bondholders: "We don't want people who understand quantum mechanics. We want crack hoes. Sex and drugs were included in Britains calculation of GDP. But people who understand quantum mechanics are penniless. The physicists are now all carnival barkers, aka money whores. We don't require probabilistic weirdness, just plain old weirdness for compounding growth"

  5. "Quantum mechanics is the new theory so once we describe its rules and axioms, we know them and there's nothing to interpret. "

    This is sure a shitty generation of physicists no matter which direction you look. Most of them are nothing more than piss poor software codes programmers or hapless regurgitators and idol worship hacks.

    Writing furnace-worthy books and self-promotion....what a lost profession.

  6. Why doesn't the tyrant offer a pittance of a prize to prove QM is incomplete like his buddy quantum computer fantasy dweller?

    Here is another physicist hack "offering" $30000 (whoopdee do) for disproving man made global warming and a commenter telling him to stuff it.

    "This is bullshit. How could one submit anything using a scientific method if the determination of plausibility/proof, will be decided by one who has already concluded that its impossible to prove? This is what is wrong with mainstream science. That is, the oligarchy of scientific opinions (The people getting funding to further elite agendas) start with a bias. How can you objectively review submissions if you have already concluded one way or the other? You cant. Take your ego, and preconceived notions out of this and replace it with a real appetite for truth without fear of being wrong, and you MAY be enlightened" if these hapless shills uh physicists are actually going to ever cough that money up. Yeah these physicist beggars are all becoming a laughing stock now...poor guys...they have no real employment prospects in the real world so they have to do what the robber barons of CAPITAL tell them.

  7. "Orthodox quantum mechanics has led to about a trillion dollar computer chip economy. "

    Yeah right. Henri Poincare was typing away on his IBM PC in 1930.

    And history will show that the Hyperdementia Physicist Lubos saved the world with an aluminum air battery too.

  8. Did a search of the word 'quantum' in the 2007 book "History of Semiconductor Engineering" and it never came up even once. Hell, we all know Motl and Poincare invented everything so lets just move on to the next bullshit topic.

  9. You might also find a history of cars that does not explain how cars work. Our understanding of semiconductors rests entirely on quantum mechanics.

  10. How convenient of you to skip the word 'engineering' in your car analogy.

    Anyways, in the real world whats used is the Born-Oppenheimer approximation as a general theory of electronic matter. And that certainly does FAIL. In the resulting muck of "corrections", a gobbldegook ensues that is lovingly referred to as 'quantum effects'. Anybody who even questions the legitimacy of 'quantum effects' is immediately taken away in a straight jacket to the lunatic asylum.

    Dirac's embarrassing statements that quantum mechanics would subsume all of chemistry has sure turned out to be bullshit. Here we are almost 100 years later and chemists are still using trial and error as the primary routine to find useful industrial catalysts. Of course the dogma is that 'quantum effects' are at work here. Why haven't the super geniuses like Motl invaded chemistry and made billions on catalysts with their quantum priesthood? Instead he hides out in a mathematical playground with no connection to experiment whatsoever. And then this fascist joker has the gall to lecture the crowd as if he has something to offer.