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Why Not Truth?|
Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 @ 11:19:55 EST by vlad
In the hydrino yahoo group John B. writes: The Sept 04 issue of Scientific American is a special issue titled "Beyond Einstein". One of the articles is "Was Einstein Right?" by George Musser which deals with that question in relation to quantum mechanics. The following is from that article: "Estranged from the quantum mainstream, Einstein spent his final decades in quixotic pursuit of a unified theory of physics. String theorists and others who later took up that pursuit vowed not to walk down the same road. Their assumption has been that when the general theory of relativity (which describes gravity) meets quantum mechanics (which handles everything else), it is relativity that must give way. Einstein's masterpiece, though not strictly "wrong," will ultimately be exposed as mere approximation.
In recent years, though, as physicists have redoubled their efforts to grok quantum theory, a growing number have come to admire Einstein's position. "This guy saw more deeply and more quickly into the central issues of quantum mechanics than many give him credit for," says Christopher Fuchs of Bell Labs. Some even agree with Einstein that the quantum must eventually yield to a more fundamental theory. "We shouldn't just assume quantum mechanics is going to make it through unaltered, says Raphael Bousso of the University of California at Berkeley."
Christopher Fuchs goes on to explain why he thinks that Einstein "saw more deeply and more quickly into the central issues of quantum mechanics than many give him credit for": "Instead of presuming to reconstruct the theory from scratch, why not take it apart and find out what makes it tick. That is the approach of Fuchs and others in the mainstream of studying the foundations of quantum mechanics.
They have discovered that much of the theory is subjective: it does not describe the objective properties of a physical system but rather the state of knowledge of the observer who probes it. Einstein reached much the same conclusion when he critiqued the concept of quantum entanglement--the "spooky" connection between two far-flung particles. What looks like a physical connection is actually an intertwining of the observer's knowledge about the particles. After all, if there really were a connection, engineers should be able to use it to send faster than light signals, and they can't. Similarly, physicists had long assumed that measuring a quantum system causes it to "collapse" from a range of possibilities into a single actuality. Fuchs argues that it is just our uncertainty about the system that collapses."
Christopher Fuchs webpage is found at: http://netlib.bell-labs.com/who/cafuchs/
Ed Jaynes (July 5, 1922 - April 30, 1998) started the thread that is now being followed by Christopher Fuchs. Ed Jaynes webpage is found at: http://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/etj.html
I have studied the entire 75 years of obfuscation and double talk that constitute QM. Chris Fuchs (standing on Jaynes foundation) is finally straightening out some of the "misunderstandings". The greatest misunderstanding is the thousands of physicists who believe that QM is a physical description of reality. That is the biggest screwup in the history of science. That screwup was the cause of Carver Mead's famous statements that "It is my firm belief that the last seven decades of the twentieth century will be characterized in history as the dark ages of theoretical physics." and "They ended up derailing conceptual physics for the next 70 years." Mead is often called "The Father of the Information Age" and who, along with Feynman, started the area of study called quantum computing.
Is there any hope that Chris Fuchs can straighten out all those physicists? The only hope that I have is that the great body of physicists starts dealing with the truth. I am reminded of one of Jack Nicholson's most intense and famous on-screen quotes "You can't handle the truth!" For me, there is one overarching philosophical principle--TRUTH. Without it, we are lost.
The history of QM consists of one fiasco after another. Starting with von Neumann's "silly" proof of a stochastic universe and the massive overkill of Hilbert Space, proceeding to Bohr's incoherent EPR argument, Bohr's pronouncement that the magnetic moment of the electron could never be measured (now maybe the most precise measurement ever made), the rumors that Einstein was senile, Bohr and von Neumann's claim that the laser was impossible, years of brainwashing and culling out "non-believers" plus futile attempts at patching up Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (HUP) and 1984 "newspeak" PR (if you repeat the lie often enough, it becomes truth), and now the final absurdity - hundreds of millions of dollars going into quantum computers. The major vehicle for the continuance of QM in it's current form is massive obfuscation and double talk concerning Einstein's arguments about EPR. Today, Einstein is portrayed as an airhead - "spooked by entanglement."
Was Einstein spooked by entanglement?
For more than 70 years, QM proponents have misrepresented Einstein's EPR work. Once it becomes clear what Einstein was really saying, it should be very difficult to stick with Bohr's bizarre interpretation of entanglement. Among the FEATURE ARTICLES (Cover Story) of the Scientific American, January 2005 issue is: "Best-Kept Secrets - Quantum cryptography has marched from theory to laboratory to real products" This article is found at: http://www.sciam.com/issue.cfm?issueDate=Jan-05
The following is a quote from that article:
"Ultimately cryptographers want some form of quantum repeater--in essence, an elementary form of quantum computer that would overcome distance limitations. A repeater would work through what Albert Einstein famously called "spukhafte Fernwirkungen," spooky action at a distance. Anton Zeilinger and his colleagues at the Institute of Experimental Physics in Vienna, Austria, took an early step toward a repeater when they reported in the August 19, 2004, issue of Nature that their group had strung an optical-fiber cable in a sewer tunnel under the Danube River and stationed an "entangled" photon at each end. The measurement of the state of polarization in one photon
(horizontal, vertical, and so on) establishes immediately an identical polarization that can be measured in the other.
Entanglement spooked Einstein, but Zeilinger and his team took advantage of a link between two entangled photons to "teleport" the information carried by a third photon a distance of 600 meters across the Danube. Such a system might be extended in multiple relays, so that the qubits in a key could be transmitted across continents or oceans. To make this a reality will require development of esoteric components, such as a quantum memory capable of actually storing qubits without corrupting them before they are sent along to a subsequent link. "This is still very much in its infancy. It's still in the hands of physics laboratories," notes Nicolas Gisin, a professor at the University of Geneva, who helped to found id Quantique and who has also done experiments on long-distance entanglement."
The SciAm article claims that "Entanglement spooked Einstein." This is definitely not true. Entanglement is just normal classical physics. There is absolutely nothing mystical about entanglement. Why would Einstein be "spooked" by normal classical physics? What spooked Einstein was Bohr's bizarre interpretation of entanglement that claimed that the particles were in a state of superposition until observed. This is what "spooked" Einstein since superposition requires faster than light "spooky action at a distance" in order for the polarization correlation to be preserved. It was Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity that established that no physical entity
(or signal) could travel faster than light. According to Christopher Fuchs (Sept 04 SciAm), if "spooky action at a distance" was possible, then engineers should be able to send signals using "spooky action at a distance." But they can't. It should be crystal clear that Bohr's superposition argument cannot explain the EPR correlations in general or the EPR crypto-system correlations (Charles Bennet, Gilles Brassard and Artur Ekert, Oct 1992 issue of Scientific American) in particular. Bennet, Brassard and Ekert say this about their famous crypto-system: "The EPR effect occurs when a spherically symmetric atom emits two photons in opposite directions toward two observers, Alice and Bob. The two photons are produced in an initial state of undefined polarization. But because of the symmetry of the initial state, the polarizations of the photons, when measured, must have opposite values, provided that the measurements are of the same type. For example, if Alice and Bob both measure rectilinear polarizations, they are each equally likely to record either a 0 (horizontal polarization) or a 1 (vertical), but if Alice obtains a 0, Bob will certainly obtain a 1, and vice versa."
Bennet, Brassard, and Ekert's explanation of the EPR effect is in total agreement with einstein's viewpoint and points the way toward a fully deterministic and causal explanation of the universe with the re-establishment of the scientific method. Here is what does explain the EPR crypto-system correlations. The Einstein point of view is that when the two photons are created, they both have a definite polarization that is negatively correlated with the other due to conservation of spin (this is the cause of the entanglement), but we do not know what they are. When one is measured, we then know the polarization of the other (it is the opposite polarization). Since both photons have a definite polarization from birth, there is no question of whether the measurement of one photon affects the polarization of the other. This is the core of Einstein's "element of reality" argument: "If, without in any way disturbing the system, we can predict with certainty (i.e. with probability equal to unity) the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of physical reality corresponding to this physical quantity."
Today, it is generally accepted that the universe is a stochastic process. For 30 years, von Neumann's "silly"(according to Bell) proof of a stochastic universe was taken as the evidence. I have a great deal of respect for von Neumann's abilities - I find it incredible to think that von Neumann did not know that his "proof" was silly. Well, what about HUP. Today, HUP cannot be supported at all. On a daily basis, physicists are conducting experiments that are not consistent with HUP.
The first crack in HUP's facade occured in the 1950s. Bohr and von Neumann claimed that the laser was impossible due to HUP. Here is Carver Mead's account of this fiasco as reported in Carver Mead's American Spectator Interview: "Central to Mead's rescue project are a series of discoveries inconsistent with the prevailing conceptions of quantum mechanics. One was the laser. As late as 1956, Bohr and Von Neumann, the paragons of quantum theory, arrived at the Columbia laboratories of Charles Townes, who was in the process of describing his invention. With the transistor, the laser is one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century. Designed into every CD player and long distance telephone connection, lasers today are manufactured by the billions. At the heart of laser action is perfect alignment of the crests and troughs of myriad waves of light. Their location and momentum must be theoretically knowable. But this violates the holiest canon of Copenhagen theory: Heisenberg Uncertainty. Bohr and Von Neumann proved to be true believers in Heisenberg's rule. Both denied that the laser was possible. When Townes showed them one in operation, they retreated artfully."
It should be quite clear that both HUP and the laser cannot be true since they falsify each other. Since all the photons are identical, independent measurements can be made on different photons that together can give a complete description of a single photon for which the position has been measured. This complete description of the observables of a single photon is not allowed by HUP. Neither Bohr nor Von Neumann found it necessary to deal with the truth. HUP marched on. The entire American Spectator Interview of Mead can be found at: http://www.laputanlogic.com/articles/2003/09/21-106446538310636532.html
The experiments that should have been the final blow for HUP occured in the 1970s. Hans Dehmelt (Nobel Prize 1989) performed breathtaking experiments wherein Astrid, the ion, an electron, and a positron were brought to rest and observed for more than a year. Astrid was actually observable with the naked eye. Here is Dehmelt's viewpoint on HUP: "As the man who first found a way to catch an electron, bring it to rest in free space for a year and measure its magnetism in order to study its structure, I naturally would like to tell you a little bit about it. At the University of Gottingen, my teacher Richard Becker, in one of his lectures, drew a dot on the blackboard declaring 'Here is an electron ...' or rather 'Hier ist ein Elektron ...'. This appeared to be drastically at odds with the famous Physicist Heisenberg's claim that an electron truly at rest could not be localized and could be found anywhere in space."
But the biggest problem with HUP goes all the way back to the EPR debate. The EPR debate is probably the greatest juncture ever to occur in science and the WRONG way was chosen. Either HUP is true or Einstein's "elements of reality" is true. They cannot both be true. Bohr's response to EPR is a classic example of obfuscation. Bohr's argument follows with the bracketed section being Bohr's key issue: "The criterion of physical reality proposed by EPR contains an ambiguity as regards the meaning of the expression "without in any way disturbing the system." Of course, there is in a case like that just considered no question of a mechanical disturbance of the system under investigation during the last critical stage of the measuring procedure. But even at this stage there is essentially the question of [an influence on the very conditions which define the possible types of predictions regarding the future behavior of the system.] Since these conditions constitute an inherent element of the description of any phenomena to which the term "physical reality" can be properly attached, we see that the argumentation of the mentioned authors does not justify their conclusions."
The following is from David Wick's "The Infamous Boundary" pp 71-74: "That same year  Bohr wrote a letter to the British journal Nature, including this mysterious sentence as the sole counterargument to EPR -- proving that he thought it alone did the job.
The meaning of Bohr's words in this passage eludes me. (Bell also expressed his bafflement over it) Curiously, a decade later, Bohr admitted he could not understand it either! In his long review of his debate with Einstein, published in the Einstein Festschrift volume of
1949, below a reproduction of the selection quoted above, Bohr wrote 'Rereading these passages, I am deeply aware of the inefficiency of expression which must have made it very difficult to appreciate the trend of the argumentation ...' I cannot accept Bohr's excuse. Both Bohr and, later, Bell singled out this one paragraph for examination not because it is an example of sloppy exposition, but because it is the clincher in Bohr's argument. If it is impossible to make sense of it, Bohr has no case."
So, given the choice of 'Either HUP is true or Einstein's "elements of reality" is true', what compelling argument is there for HUP? There are countless arguments for Einstein's "elements of reality", one of which is Charles Bennet, Gilles Brassard and Artur Ekert's famous cryptosystem (Oct 1992 issue of Scientific American) which has become a classic example of a fully deterministic, causal quantum system.
I have yet to encounter a proponent of quantum theory who has even a basic understanding of the EPR gedanken experiment - but I guess Bohr did give absolution to quantum people from having to understand anything. Most think that it has something to do with the Bohm/Bell proposed experiments involving spin or polarization. None appear to realize that the EPR gedanken experiment and the Bohm/Bell proposed experiments are fundamentally different. Actually, the EPR gedanken experiment involves the breakup of a molecule of two identical atoms. The two resulting particles move in opposite directions at the same speed (classical conservation), so their positions and momenta are obviously correlated in continuous Einstein 4-space. Bell proved absolutely nothing as far as the original EPR gedanken experiment. For those who want to believe that Bell proved something, please call it the Bell gedanken experiment for photons or for Bohm's electron spin gedanken experiment, call it EPRB.
The main thing to remember is that Bohr's denial of the EPR "elements of reality" was essentially a denial of the scientific method and the principles of engineering. If the functional relationship between the two particles in the EPR gedanken experiment is not real, then almost nothing in science or the principles of engineering can be considered real. We are left with mysticism and voodoo. It is incredible that rational people even consider the denial the EPR "elements of reality". I think that Einstein was in a state of shock until the day he died.
Let's Take a Hard Look at EPR
For two coupled particles, quantum mechanics allows the difference of the positions and the sum of the momenta to both be known with no reciprocal uncertainty (Heisenberg's law does not apply). If one particle is in lab A and the other particle is very far away in lab B and the position of the particle in lab B is measured while the momentum of the particle in lab A is measured, then EPR says that the position of particle A can be calculated (and is real) and the momentum of particle B can be calculated (and is real) since we know the difference of the positions and the sum of the momenta. QM does not allow the position of particle A and the momentum of particle B to be known since it would violate Heisenberg's law - therefore EPR claims that QM is not a complete description of reality.
EPR - The Final Debate
The final debate occurred in the journal "The Physical Review" in 1935. EPR's argument consisted mainly of the definition of an "element of physical reality." : If, without in any way disturbing the system, we can predict with certainty (i.e. with probability equal to unity) the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of physical reality corresponding to this physical quantity.
Of Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen, Bohm and Bell
In "Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen versus Bohm and Bell", Andrei Khrennikov and Igor Volovich explain how the EPR gedanken experiment and the Bohm/Bell proposed experiments are fundamentally different: "In 1935 Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR) advanced an argument about incompleteness of quantum mechanics . They proposed a gedanken experiment involving a system of two particles spatially separated but correlated in position and momentum and argued that two non- commuting variables (position and momentum of a particle) can have simultaneous physical reality. They concluded that the description of physical reality given by quantum mechanics, which does not permit such a simultaneous reality, is incomplete.
Though the EPR work dealt with continuous variables most of the further activity have concentrated almost exclusively on systems of discrete spin variables following to the Bohm  and Bell  works.
Bell's theorem  states that there are quantum spin correlation functions that can not be represented as classical correlation functions of separated random variables. It has been interpreted as incompatibility of the requirement of locality with the statistical predictions of quantum mechanics . For a recent discussion of Bell's theorem see, for example -  and references therein. It is now widely accepted, as a result of Bell's theorem and related experiments, that "Einstein`s local realism" must be rejected. For a discussion of the role of locality in the three dimensional space see, however, [16, 17].
The original EPR system involving continuous variables has been considered by Bell in . He has mentioned that if one admits "measurement" of arbitrary "observables" on arbitrary states then it is easy to mimic his work on spin variables (just take a two-dimensional subspace and define an analogue of spin operators). The problem which he was discussing in  is narrower problem, restricted to measurement of positions only, on two non- interacting spinless particles in free space. Bell used the Wigner distribution approach to quantum mechanics. The original EPR state has a nonnegative Wigner distribution. Bell argues that it gives a local, classical model of hidden variables and therefore the EPR state should not violate local realism. He then considers a state with nonpositive Wigner distribution and demonstrates that this state violates local realism.
Bell's proof of violation of local realism in phase space has been criticized in  because of the use of an unnormalizable Wigner distribution. Then in  it was demonstrated that the Wigner function of the EPR state, though positive definite, provides an evidence of the nonlocal character of this state if one measures a displaced parity operator.
In this note we apply to the original EPR problem the method which was used by Bell in his well known paper . He has shown that the correlation function of two spins cannot be represented by classical correlations of separated bounded random variables. This Bell's theorem has been interpreted as incompatibility of local realism with quantum mechanics. We shall show that, in contrast to Bell's theorem for spin correlation functions, the correlation function of positions
(or momenta) of two particles always admits a representation in the form of classical correlation of separated random variables. This result looks rather surprising since one thinks that the Bohm-Bell reformulation of the EPR paradox is equivalent to the original one." The entire paper may be found at: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/quant-ph/pdf/0211/0211078.pdf
So we have seen that the Bell inequality does not address the EPR gedanken experiment at all. Another quantum bubble popped. Even some of the most ardent proponents of quantum computing do not claim that "spooky action at a distance" belongs to the objective real world. In "Information Flow in Entangled Quantum Systems" David Deutsch & Pat Hayden state: "All information in quantum systems is, notwithstanding Bell's theorem, localised. Measuring or otherwise interacting with a quantum system S has no effect on distant systems from which S is dynamically isolated, even if they are entangled with S. Using the Heisenberg picture to analyse quantum information processing makes this locality explicit, and reveals that under some circumstances (in particular, in Einstein-Podolski-Rosen experiments and in quantum teleportation) quantum information is transmitted through classical (i.e. decoherent) information channels." Deutsch & Hayden's paper is found at http://arxiv.org/ftp/quant-ph/papers/9906/9906007.pdf A tour of QM discussion groups will illustrate that many of our young people now believe that "spooky action at a distance" belongs to objective reality. I never thought that I would see the day when mysticism is promoted by mainline science. Just how much damage has been done to our youth?
Hidden Variable Theories
Proponents of QM will usually tell you that Einstein proposed hidden variable theories. Einstein never proposed any hidden variable theories. In fact, he never used the term "hidden variable" in any published work. For Einstein, the unmeasured variable was not hidden. Einstein's "element of reality" argument: "If, without in any way disturbing the system, we can predict with certainty (i.e. with probability equal to unity) the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of physical reality corresponding to this physical quantity." makes it perfectly clear that he considered the unmeasured variable to be as real as the measured variable. No hidden variables are needed. Why should Einstein play by his opponents rules? Einstein was smarter than that. Not many proponents of QM think that arguing over the term "hidden variable" is important. My whole point here is: Why not tell the TRUTH?
Many proponents of QM will tell you that the EPR gedanken experiment has nothing to do with Heisenberg uncertainty, but EPR's "elements of reality" and QM's Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP) are the crux of the EPR debate. For the so called quantum world of atoms, electrons and photons, either "elements of reality" is true or HUP is true. They cannot both be true. The whole EPR debate can be boiled down to the question - which is true?
In Einstein's world of "elements of reality", both EPR particle's position and momentum can be known. In QM, because of HUP, you cannot know both EPR particle's position and momentum. So, you either know all four observables (Einstein) or you can only know two observables (Bohr). The following, due to Bohm, will illustrate how vital HUP is in the EPR debate. Note that when Bohm wrote this, he practiced totally orthodox QM.
David Bohm wrote about EPR in his book "Quantum Theory" (Chapter
22). He refers to it as ERP. First, Bohm gives the ERP criteria for an element of physical reality: "If, without in any way disturbing the system, we can predict with certainty (i.e. with probability equal to unity) the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of physical reality corresponding to this physical quantity."
Bohm then gives his interpretation of the ERP criteria for a complete physical theory:
"(1) Every element of physical reality must have a counterpart in a *complete* physical theory.
As to what actually constituted the correct elements in terms of which physical theory should be expressed, they felt that this question can be decided finally only by recourse to experiments and observations. They nevertheless suggested the following criteria for recognizing element of reality, which seemed to them a *sufficient* criterion:
(2) If, without in any way disturbing the system, we can predict with certainty (i.e. with probability equal to unity) the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of physical reality corresponding to this physical quantity.
The authors agreed that elements of physical reality might well be recognized in other ways also, but they intended to show that even if one restricted oneself to elements that could be recognized by means of *this* criterion alone, quantum theory as now interpreted led to contradictory results.
The use of the above explicit criteria rests, however, on certain implicit assumptions, which are an integral part of the treatment given by the authors, but are never explicitly stated. These assumptions are:
(3) The world can be correctly analyzed in terms of distinct and separately existing "elements of reality"
(4) Every one of these elements must be a counterpart of a
*precisely* defined mathematical quantity appearing in a *complete* theory.
18. Physical Description of Origin of Correlations.
We have deduced mathematically that in a system of two atoms having a total spin of zero, the spin components of each atom in an arbitrary direction will be correlated, despite the fact that according to our present interpretation of quantum theory these spin components cannot all exist simultaneously in precisely defined forms. We wish to show now that the paradoxical results obtained by ERP in the interpretation of this fact will not be obtained if one avoids making their implicit assumptions (3) and (4); viz., that the world can be correctly analyzed into elements of reality, each of which is a counterpart of a precisely defined mathematical quantity appearing in a complete theory. These assumptions, which are at the root of all classical theory, might perhaps be called the hypothesis that reality is built upon a mathematical plan, for it is required that every element appearing in the real world shall correspond *precisely* to some term appearing in a complete set of mathematical equations.
Although such a hypothesis seems quite natural to us at this time, it is by no means inescapable. In fact, in quantum theory, one makes a quite different, but equally plausible, hypothesis concerning the fundamental nature of matter. Here, we assume that the one-to-one correspondence between mathematical theory and well defined "elements of reality" exists only at the classical level of accuracy. For at the quantum level, the mathematical description provided by the wave function is certainly not in a one-to-one correspondence with the actual behavior of the system under description, but only in a statistical correspondence. Yet, we assert that the wave function
(in principle) can provide the most complete possible description of the system that is consistent with the actual structure of matter.
How can we reconcile these two aspects of the wave function? We do so in terms of the assumption that the properties of a given system exist, in general, only in an imprecisely defined form, and that on a more accurate level, they are not really well defined properties at all, but instead only potentialities, which are more definitely realized in interaction with an appropriate classical system, such as a measuring apparatus. For example, consider two non-commuting observables, such as momentum and position of an electron. We say that, in general, neither exists in a given system in a precisely defined form, but that both exist together in a roughly defined form, such that the uncertainty principle is not violated. Either variable is potentially capable of becoming better defined at the expense of the degree of definition of the other, in interaction with a suitable measuring apparatus. We see then that properties of momentum and position are not only incompletely defined and opposing potentialities, but also that in a very accurate description, they cannot be regarded as belonging to the electron alone; for the realization of these potentialities depends just as much on the systems with which it interacts as on the electron itself. This means that there are actually no precisely defined "elements of reality" belonging to the electron. Thus we contradict the assumptions (3) and (4) of Einstein, Rosen, and Podolsky."
Thus we see that the EPR "elements of reality" and Heisenberg uncertainty cannot both be true.
Does Truth Depend on Logic?
This next truth factor concerns the extremely poor logic exemplified by quantum theory. It appears that the only criteria used in quantum theory for judging the applicability of a type of logic is whether that logic supports quantum theory. Quantum theory is literally riddled with logic that is more commonly encountered in a junior high school than in a main-line science. What Dehmelt achieved with the electron had been proven "impossible" by Bohr. The form of Bohr's proof, one he commonly used, is: I cannot think of a way to do it, therefore it must be impossible to do it. It is truly incredible that this type of proof was accepted in main-line science for about
David Wick in his book "The Infamous Boundry" provides a picture of Bohr's quantum culture at work: "Dehmelt's measurements refuted claims made originally in the 1930s on grounds of principle. Niels Bohr, his disciple Wolfgang Pauli, and other proponents of the Copenhagen interpretation thought they had conclusively demonstrated that the magnetic moment of a free electron - one not bound in an atom - could never be observed. Bohr's argument was widely accepted in the 1970s; some theorists were supporting it as late as 1985. As today this quantity may be the best measured number in all of science, Bohr's "proof" must take its place in the entrance hall of the Impossibility Hall of Fame, ahead of such celebrated demonstrations as the impossibility of heavier-than- air flight, space travel, or (for that matter) seeing an atom with your unaided eyes.
Now I return to Bohr's claim that the spin of a free electron would never be observed. Bohr first formulated this notion around 1928, the year Dirac's theory appeared. The spinning electron hypothesis had been put forward in 1925 by R. Kronig to explain the splitting of certain spectral lines, but he let himself be talked out of it by Pauli partly because, if the spinning electron had the radius some people calculated for it, a point on its surface would move considerably faster than light - an ironical argument given the present picture. Consequently, the Dutch physicists Samuel Goudsmit and George Uhlenbeck, who received better advice from Ehrenfest, were able to publish the idea. Bohr's work was prompted by a paper of Leon Brillouin, who examined various possibilities for measuring the magnetism of a free electron, including shooting electrons straight at the north pole of a magnet. (The ones with spin pointing toward the magnet would be repelled.) He concluded that success was unlikely, but not impossible. Bohr, however, had a different view. "It does not appear to be generally recognized," wrote Bohr in 1929, "that the possibility of a direct observation of the magnetic moment of the electron would be inconsistent with the fundamental principles of quantum theory."
With the exception of Pauli, few physicists understood what Bohr was talking about. Part of the trouble was Bohr's lecture style: his assistant Rosenfeld described Bohr's talks as "masterpieces of allusive evocation of a subtle dialectic," which audiences found hard to follow. Here is Rosenfeld's description of a lecture given by Bohr in 1931 about spin:
"He had begun with a few general considerations calculated, no doubt, to convey to the audience that peculiar sensation of having the ground suddenly removed from under their feet, which was so effective for promoting receptiveness for complementary thinking. This preliminary result being readily achieved, he eagerly hastened to his main subject and stunned us all (except Pauli) with the unobservability of the electron spin. I spent the afternoon with Heitler pondering on the scanty fragments of the hidden wisdom which we had been able to jot down in our notebooks."
The general drift of Bohr's reasoning was not difficult to follow - it was the details that baffled Rosenfeld and friend. Recall that Bohr based the complementarity principle on the assertion that all experiments must ultimately be described in classical terms. Electron spin, however had no classical analogue. (Pauli originally opposed the use of the suggestive term "spin" for what he called "peculiar not classically describable two-valuedness" and thought of as something almost mystical.) True, for an electron bound in a magnetic atom, the electron's spin did make a contribution to the atom's overall magnetism, as Stern and Gerlach had shown. But the principles of quantum mechanics prevented this decidedly unclassical phenomenon from being detected in a free electron. "This," recalled Rosenfeld, was "the point [Bohr] ineffectually tried to make in his talk."
Luckily, one of the physicists in the audience, Nevill Mott, could make sense of the details and published the argument a year later, with Bohr's blessing. Mott and H. Massey incorporated the argument in their well-known text, *The Theory of Atomic Collisions*, whose third edition appeared in 1965. It is typical of arguments based on uncertainty, although a trifle more complicated than most: an electron is made to pass through an inhomogenious magnetic field as in the EPRB experiment. Since the electron is charged, it experiences a force whenever it moves perpendicular to any component of the magnetic field. (The force on a charged particle in a magnetic field, first described by the Dutch physicist H. Lorentz in the last century, acts perpendicularly to both the particle's velocity and the direction of the magnetic field lines.) One tries to minimize this effect by shooting the particle straight down a field line, but the tilting of the lines - they cannot be perfectly aligned since the field is spacially varying - combined with uncertainty in the particle's position yields a force that perturbs the particle's trajectory. This perturbation is just sufficient to produce a blurring of the pattern on a photographic plate one hopes to observe. In other words, quantum uncertainty is mated to classical pictures as usual to yield a "no go" theorem for a free electron in the conventional geometry of the Stern-Gerlach experiment. No doubt one really cannot carry out a spin measurement *in this unimaginative way* with free electrons.
Unfortunately, Mott and Massey jumped to an unwarrented conclusion: "From these arguments we must conclude that it is meaningless to assign to the free electron a magnetic moment." Mott and Massey, like von Neumann, Bohr, Pauli, and others in this century, fell into a trap set for those people who desire to prove their ideology."
More Quantum Logic
In "Survey of the Present Status of Neoclassical Radiation Theory", Ed Jaynes examines another absurd use of logic in quantum theory:
(Note - ^^ means subscript)
"So, having calculated a number of expectation values, if you ask, "What is the ensemble of possible time variations for M^^x(t), M^^y(t) which would yield my calculated expectation values?", the answer is: "There is *no* such ensemble; your 'expectation values' are expectations over nothing at all. It is not only meaningless to ask what an individual moment is doing, it is even meaningless to ask for an ensemble of *possible* behaviors!"
Now in every other statistical theory ever dreamt of, if such a situation were to arise, one would recognize instantly that a logical contradiction has been found. The obvious, common-sense conclusion would be drawn that our interpretation is in error; a quantity that cannot be written as an expectation, should not be interpreted as an expectation. The mathematical quantities , whose usefulness is undeniable (they form the source of the radiation field in Semiclassical B theory) ought not to be interpreted physically as mere expectation values; they have a more substantial meaning. As many physicists, including Einstein, Schroedinger, and von Laue have been pointing out for 45 years now, the Copenhagen theory slips here into mysticism; by refusing to recognize this contradiction and clinging to an unjustifiable interpretation, it ends up having to deny the existence of an underlying ensemble, and therefore of any "objective reality" on the microscopic level.
That this denial is required by the Copenhagen interpretation, has been well recognized by Heisenberg, who states it many times. I give three examples: "They (i.e. opponents of the Copenhagen interpretation) would prefer to come back to the idea of an objective real world, whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them". "The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct 'actuality' of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range". "An objective description for events in space and time is possible only when we have to deal with objects or processes on a comparatively large scale, ...".
I think most physicists, even though they may profess faithful belief in the Copenhagen interpretation, still share with me a disreputable, materialistic prejudice that stones and trees cannot be either more - or less - real than the atoms of which they are composed. And, if it is meaningless to ask what an individual moment is doing, can it be any more meaningful to ask what their sum is doing?
It seems to me that the proper business of theoretical physics is to recognize these contradictions for what they are, and to try to resolve them. Instead, the Copenhagen school of thought tries to hide them from view, by proclaiming a new philosophy of human knowledge, according to which it is naive even to raise questions about "objective reality", or for that matter, anything that the Copenhagen theory cannot answer. Bohm and Bub, recognizing this, have rightly emphasized the dangers for the progress of physics in a theory which effectively contains within itself a proclamation of its own infallibility, by the device of declaring to be meaningless any question that the theory is unable to answer. For if anyone accepted this, then even if the theory were grossly in error, the way to a better theory would be blocked; we would be prohibited from ever raising any question which might permit us to discover the errors."
Ed Jaynes provides the example of the Quantum Syllogism. I cannot count the number of times that I have heard this from proponents of QT. This is the logic of the Quantum Syllogism:
The present mathematical formalism can be made to reproduce many experimental facts very accurately.
The *physical interpretation* which Niels Bohr tried to associate with it must be true; and it is naive to try to circumvent it.
Compare this with the Pre-Copernican Syllogism:
The mathematical system of epicycles can be made to reproduce the motions of the planets very accurately.
The theological arguments for the necessity of epicycles as the perfect motions must be true, and it is heresy to try to circumvent them.
In what way are they different? The difference is only that today everybody knows what is wrong with the Pre-Copernican syllogism; but (from the frequency with which it is still repeated) only a relatively few have yet perceived the error in the Quantum Syllogism.
Jaynes Quantum Syllogism illustrates the most absurd use of logic that has ever occured in science. Absolutely none of the experiments in QT support the Copenhagen interpretation. Superposition and "spooky action at a distance" have never been observed.
More Mystical Logic
The following is an excerpt from Ed Jaynes "Clearing Up Mysteries - The Original Goal":
"The Mind Projection Fallacy
It is very difficult to get this point across to those who think that in doing probability calculations their equations are describing the real world. But that is claiming something that one could never know to be true; we call it the The Mind Projection Fallacy. The analogy is to a movie projector, whereby things that exist only as marks on a tiny strip of film appear to be real objects moving across a large screen. Similarly, we are all under an ego-driven temptation to project our private thoughts out onto the real world, by supposing that the creations of one's own imagination are real properties of Nature, or that one's own ignorance signifies some kind of indecision on the part of Nature.
The current literature of quantum theory is saturated with the the Mind Projection Fallacy. Many of us were first told, as undergraduates, about Bose and Fermi statistics by an argument like this: "You and I cannot distinguish between the particles; *therefore* the particles behave differently than if we could." Or the mysteries of the uncertainty principle were explained to us thus: "The momentum of the particle is unknown; *therefore* it has a high kenetic energy." A standard of logic that would be considered a psychiatric disorder in other fields, is the accepted norm in quantum theory. But this is really a form of arrogance, as if one were claiming to control Nature by psychokenesis.
In our more humble view of things, the probability distributions that we use for inference do not describe any property of the world, only a certain state of information about the world. This is not just a philosophical position; it gives us important technical advantages because of the more flexible way we can then use probability theory. In addition to giving us the means to use prior information, it makes an analytical apparatus available for such things as eliminating nuisance parameters, at which orthodox methods are helpless. This is a major reason for the greater computational efficiency of the Jefferys method in data analysis.
In our system, a *probability* is a theoretical construct, on the epistemological level, which we assign in order to represent a state of knowledge, or that we calculate from other probabilities according to the rules of probability theory. A *frequency* is a property of the real world, on the ontological level, that we measure or estimate. So for us, probability theory is not an Oracle telling how the world must be; it is a mathematical tool for organizing, and ensuring the consistency of, our own reasoning. But it is from this organized reasoning that we learn whether our state of knowledge is adequate to describe the real world.
This point comes across much more strongly in our next example, where belief that probabilities are real physical properties produces a major quandry for quantum theory, in the EPR paradox. It is so bad that some have concluded, with the usual consistency of quantum theory, that (1) there is no real world, after all, and (2) physical influences travel faster than light.
Quantum Mechanics (QM) is a system of mathematics that was not developed to express any particular physical ideas, in the sense that the mathematics of relativity theory expresses the ideas of Einstein, or that of genetics expresses the ideas of Mendel. Rather, it grew empirically, over about four decades, through a long series of trial- and-error steps. But QM has two difficulties; firstly, like all emperical equations, the process by which it was found gives no clue as to its meaning. QM has the additional difficulty that its predictions are incomplete, since in general it gives only probabilities instead of definite predictions, and it does not indicate what extra information would be required to make definite predictions.
Einstein and Schroedinger saw this incompleteness as a defect calling for correction in some future more complete theory. Neils Bohr tried instead to turn it into a merit by fitting it into his philosophy of complimentarity, according to which one can have two different sets of concepts, mutually incompatible, one set meaningful in one situation, the complimentary set in another. As several of his early aquaintances have testified (Rozental, 1964), the idea of complimentarity had taken control of his mind years before he started to study quantum physics.
Bohr's "Copenhagen Theory" held that, even when the QM state vector gives only probabilities, it is a complete description of reality in the sense that nothing more can ever be known; not because of technological limitations, but as a matter of fundamental principle. It seemed to Einstein that this completeness claim was a gratuitous addition, in no way called for by the facts; and he tried to refute it by inventing thought experiments which would enable one to get more information than Bohr wished us to have. Somehow, the belief has been promulgated that Bohr successfully answered all of Einstein's objections.
But when we examine Bohr's arguments, we find a common logical structure; always they start by postulating that the available measurement apparatus is subject to his "uncertainty" limitations; and then by using only classical physics (essentially, only Liouvilles theorem) they come to the conclusion that such an apparatus could not be used for Einstein's purpose. Bohr's foregone conclusion is always assured by his initial postulate, which simply appears out of nowhere. In our view, then, the issue remains open and we must raise our standards of logic before there can be any hope of resolving it.
Leslie Ballentine (1970) analyzed the Bohr and Einstein positions and showed that much of the chanting to the effect that "Bohr won, Einstein lost" is sustained by quoting Einstein's view's and attributing them to Bohr. Virtually all physicists who do real quantum-mechanical calculations interpret their results in the sense of Einstein, according to which a pure state represents an ensemble of similarly prepared systems, and is thus an incomplete description of an individual system. Bohr's completeness claim has never played any functional role in applications, and in that sense it is indeed gratuitous."
S. Rozental, Editor (1964); "Niels Bohr, His Life and Work as seen by his Friends and Colleagues", J. Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.
L. E. Ballentine (1970), "Tests of Bell's Inequalities with Pairs of Low Energy Correlated Photons", in Moore & Scully (1986).
Einstein and Infeld, in "The Evolution of Physics", present their case for the Maxwellian atom: "We cannot build physics on the basis of the matter-concept alone. But the division into matter and field is, after the recognition of the equivalence of mass and energy, something artificial and not clearly defined. Could we not reject the concept of matter and build a pure field physics? What impresses our senses as matter is really a great concentration of energy into a comparitively small space. We could regard matter as the regions in space where the field is extremely strong. In this way a new philosophical background could be created. Its final aim would be the explanation of all events in nature by structure laws valid always and everywhere. A thrown stone is, from this point of view, a changing field, where the states of greatest field intensity travel through space with the velocity of the stone. There would be no place, in our new physics, for both field and matter, field being the only reality. This new view is suggested by the great achievements of field physics, by our success in expressing the laws of electricity, magnetism, gravitation in the form of structure laws, and finally by the equivalence of mass and energy. Our ultimate problem would be to modify our field laws in such a way that they would not break down for regions in which the energy is enormously concentrated.
But we have not so far succeeded in fulfilling this program convincingly and consistantly. The decision, as to whether it is possible to carry it out, belongs to the future. At present we must still assume in all our actual theoretical constructions two realities: field and matter."
A Fresh Start
Carver Mead, in 'Collective Electrodynamics', gives us a fitting finale: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing: We can start at a different place, go at the subject in a completely different way, and build a much clearer and simpler conceptual base. The difficult step with hindsight is to go back far enough to get a really fresh start. I have found it necessary to start not just before the quantum theory, but before electromagnetic theory as it has come to be taught. Collective electrodynamics is the result of asking the question: If we could have looked forward from the mid 1800s with these experimental facts in our hands, would we have built the theory we have today? I have concluded that we would not."
Later, in the Epilogue of 'Collective Electrodynamics' explains the collapse of QM: "Bohr was adamant that the only role of theory in science is to calculate certain 'observables'. Einstein foresaw a quantum theory that could be 'understood' as well as provide an algorithm for obtaining certain numerical results. Dirac, originally accepting Bohr's line of reasoning, later thought better of it:
'Some physicists may be happy to have a set of working rules leading to results in agreement with observation. They may think that this is goal of physics. But it is not enough. One wants to understand how Nature works.'
Statistical quantum mechanics has never helped us understand how nature works; in fact, it actively impedes our understanding by hiding the coherent wave aspects of physical processes. It has forced us to wander seventy years in the bewilderness of principles" -- complementarity, correspondence and uncertainty. We have seen that complementarity and uncertainty are natural attributes of any wave theory. Correspondence to classical mechanics was the root cause of the worst conceptual nightmares. The idea of a point particle brought with it infinite energies that must be "renormalized" away. Degrees of freedom in the vacuum brought even more infinities, and made a sensible theory of gravitation impossible. The path has been, as Einstein predicted, lengthy and difficult; the challenge now is to put all of that behind us, and to start anew.
Following the tradition of Einstein and Schroedinger, the pioneers in this new endeavor, Jaynes, Cramer, Barut, Zeh, and others have given us a great new foundation: They have shown that traditional criticisms of this new approach are groundless. They have put us in a position to finally settle the Einstein-Bohr debate - with a resounding victory for Einstein"
All the best
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|Re: Why Not Truth? (Score: 1)|
by mojo on Sunday, February 13, 2005 @ 12:27:43 EST
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To understand QM you have to decide how the formalism of the QM model of superposition maps on to the real world.
What is happening to the properties (mass/energy. charge. spin. etc) of the system in question (from photons to buckeyballs) when these systems are set into supposed superposition.
|Re: Why Not Truth? (Score: 1)|
by holoman on Sunday, February 13, 2005 @ 13:28:54 EST
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|Entangled Particle Holographics suggests that all things in the universe are interconnected informationally. It also maintains that underlying this unity or oneness is the mystifying and mysterious dance between all matter and energy and information. Simply put, the basic promise of Entangled Particle Holographics is that the most profound insights about our universe will be discovered among the most subtle, implicit, and invisible phenomena of the sub-quantum level.|