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Having shown that General Relativity is fundamentally flawed, and that descriptions by Modern Western Science about the fundamental unit of physical reality – the atom – are meaningless, we turn now to the remaining theory that claims to reveal the nature of Physical Reality: Quantum Mechanics.
Perhaps the first observation should be that 'the quantum', too, is often reified. One comes across mention or discussions about 'the quantum' as if it were a mysterious particle of some sort, a complete misunderstanding of the term. The word simply means a quantity, and is used in reference to a very ancient dilemma: the question as to whether a particular phenomenon is continuous or discrete. An easy example is water. We can buy drinking water in bottles of 250ml, 500ml etc, so in shops water is a 'quantized' substance: it is only available in discrete units of fixed size. But if we turn on a tap, we can obtain as much or as little as we want, so water from a tap is a 'continuous' substance. Of course, if we move down to the atomic scale, water is ultimately quantized: the smallest available amount is a single molecule of dihydrogen oxide or H2O.
The ancient Greeks had schools of thought claiming both in regard to various aspects of Physical Reality. The atom is the 'quantum' of physical matter; some Greeks were atomists, others were not, and the same is true in the Vedic and other traditions. John Dalton was the first Western scientist in modern times to propose a viable atomic theory of matter based on empirical evidence, although debate persisted through the nineteenth century. Today we can detect and manipulate individual atoms, as in the famous IBM logo at left, so there is little cause for doubt.
Debate about QM and the nature of light arose from close study of radiation interacting with atoms. Newton held firmly to a particulate theory, that light consisted of a 'stream of corpuscles', whereas his contemporary, Huygens, argued for wave motion. Young's double slit experiment of 1803 demonstrated the interference of light waves most convincingly; and, along with the calculations of Fresnel, moved wave theory to the fore. This was further confirmed by Maxwell's brilliant work, and by the end of the nineteenth century the confident consensus was that light was definitely a wave phenomenon.
To his own alarm and bemusement, Max Planck published a paper in 1900 providing an answer to the long-standing problem of black-body radiation; but in doing so he was forced to assume that the frequency of radiation only took on discrete values; in short, that is was quantized. This is a characteristic of particles, not waves, and created an uncomfortable stir.
Further proof arrived with another of Einstein's annus mirabilis papers on the photoelectric effect, and confirmed the existence of what are now called photons. It gained him a Nobel Prize and was eventually accepted; as was, albeit reluctantly, the fact that light was both a particle and a wave, its manifestation depending on the phenomenon under observation. Thus were born the 'dual nature of light' and the 'quantum of energy' or radiation.
Among the difficulties that this produced was one that had never been encountered before: the need for a mathematical description of discontinuous motion. The most common example is that of electron transitions within atoms. When an electron 'jumps' from one orbit to another, the transition itself cannot be described: at one moment it is in the first orbit, the next moment it is in the second. Details of the change are invisible and indescribable unlike all other forms of motion, in which graphs can show the smooth (sc. continuous) changes in location, velocity and so on. Thus QM is not a description of the motion of quanta per se, but of a sequence of discontinuous events rather than of traditional mechanical motion or kinematics.
What QM does not explain is why these phenomena are quantized; it merely describes the outcome of a given set of conditions. Nor does it provide deterministic answers; in other words, that these conditions produce this result, whist those conditions produce that result. Instead it provides probabilities for a range of outcomes for any given set of conditions. This is the uncertainty for which QM is famous, though more correctly called indeterminism, and was a major factor in prompting acceptance of the Copenhagen Interpretation. The lack of explanation as to why quantization occurs is a result of that acceptance: in the view of Copenhagen, no such explanation is possible, and questions of the sort are meaningless.
The previous chapter explained why a better understanding of atomic structure can only be obtained from a better understanding of space itself. A correct understanding of quantization requires both this and a better understanding of time. If we define Physical Reality as that which is revealed to us by our physical senses, then Physical Reality is an entirely electromagnetic construct. Atoms are 'electromagnetic bubbles' in space; light is an electromagnetic wave travelling through space in 'packets' or quanta. Other phenomena that are not electromagnetic are therefore not part of Physical Reality, but of one or more coexisting, coterminous realities, a requirement we have now met for the third time. Interactions between these separate realities can only be recognized and explained by admitting their existence and distinction. The reason why MWS is unable to explain so much of fundamental importance is because it denies their existence; and, in trying to explain Nature as a single, all-embracing reality, it naturally finds insurmountable mysteries.
What QM fails to recognize is that the fundamental quantum of Physical Reality is the unit electric charge. Unlike space, time and mass, it remains completely invariant under translation: that is, when electrically charged particles are accelerated to near-light speed, their mass increases, their lifetimes increase due to time dilation, but their charge remains unchanged. This immediately raises questions as to the nature of electric charge, but this, too, requires a correct understanding of space and time, as also does the nature of magnetism. Once these and the role of the unit charge in atomic interactions are understood, the reason why all such interactions are quantized is self-evident.
What, then, of the 'particle zoo' of the Standard Model that is a centrepiece of QM? The best explanation is an example. Remember the Higgs boson? It was predicted in the 1960s by Peter Higgs as the particle responsible for giving mass to other particles, and so was nicknamed the 'God particle'. Once discovered, Physicists avowed, they would then know the answer to life, the Universe, and everything! The rest of us have long known that the answer is forty-two, but Physicists remained unconvinced.
At the time, the highest energies available from particle colliders were in the low GeV range, far too small to produce it. What was needed was a Super Duper Particle Collider; and, in 1998 construction started on "the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, the most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world", the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It started operation in 2010 in the low TeV range – a thousand times higher than the previous generation of colliders – and, sure enough, in 2012 an announcement was made that the Higgs boson had been discovered. The din of self-congratulation was deafening, publicity spread worldwide, speeches were made, awards handed out, Peter Higgs was canonized, and a marvellous time was had by all.
Some months later, when journalists started calling back to check on progress, they were bemused at the response. Yes, the Scientists were fairly certain that the Higgs had been identified. "Fairly certain? but I thought …" Oh, there's always a degree of uncertainty in these things. What's more, some are now claiming that there's not just one Higgs, but maybe two or more. A few are suggesting that there may be a whole family of them, and that they may be composite. "Ah, I see! And … umm … just what does that mean?" Well, we'll definitely need a new round of experiments to test the ideas. Unfortunately the present machine is just not powerful enough to do the job. What's needed is a Super Humungous Particle Collider – the Ultimate Beavertron – one capable of detecting the newly-predicted Biggs scroton, ginormous particles thought to have been ejected from God's bodkin during the first few yuktoseconds of the Big Bang (known to insiders as the Giant Fornication).
Particle Physicists, you see, are onto a Very Good Thing. It began in the late 1920s with the construction of the first linear accelerators and cyclotrons, accelerated rapidly during the Hitler War for the production of enriched uranium, and continued thereafter due to the strategic importance of atomic weapons. A Bigger Machine is guaranteed to produce exciting new particles, and these inevitably prove to consist of still smaller particles. Eventually the Bigger Machine runs out of steam and cannot split them, so a Still Bigger Machine is needed, along with another round of funding and, of course, a new round of salary increases to make sure of retaining the best minds. Sure enough, the Still Bigger Machine creates a host of even more exciting particles; and, would you believe it, these are also composite, hiding whole families of still smaller particles which the Still Bigger Machine cannot quite resolve. The only solution is … yep, you guessed it. This work is. of course, absolutely crucial to the well-being of Mankind, and must press on no matter how great the difficulties or the costs involved. Particle Physicists are the sole experts in their own field; no-one else is competent to hold opinions in it, and the papers they publish can only be understood by experts like themselves; but there's no question of their accuracy and infallibility. A lot like investment banking, really.
The key to understanding the Standard Model is that quarks also possess that most convenient property of being quite undetectable in isolation. Physicists 'know' they exist because their Mathematical Bibles prove it. Everything subsequent to quarks must therefore depend, not on empirical evidence but on mathematical theory. Imagine a shop with a large glass display window on a busy city street. A passing truck tosses up a stone that shatters the window, leaving glass shards strewn across the footpath. A naif might suggest that the window can be restored by gluing the shards back together, but this is not so. A pane of glass does not consist of many glass shards stuck together: it is a unique whole. Similarly, whilst the shower of smaller particles produced by colliding protons and other large particles is assumed to consist of their components, there is no evidence whatever that they exist in Nature other than as short-lived fragments of the collision, whether in cosmic ray showers or in particle accelerators.
In other words, most of the particles of the Standard Model are almost certainly artefacts of the machines that create and detect them, and play no part in the economy of Nature. One recalls some of the wisest words spoken by Gandalf in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, "… he who breaks a thing to learn what it is has left the path of wisdom." That path was abandoned in 1927.
This is why, in spite of the billions of dollars and man-hours spent on particle physics research, it has yielded nothing whatever of practical value, only years of increasing delusion. David Gross proved himself one of the few honest scientists when he stated, "We don't know what we are talking about" at the 2005 Solvay Conference, although he was forced into a retraction by colleagues. He said that the field is in "a period of utter confusion" comparable to that of 1911: "They were missing something absolutely fundamental. We are missing perhaps something as profound as they were back then."
The refusal of MWS to acknowledge the existence of multiple realities is made all the more puzzling by the postulates of QM concerning the existence of multiple 'dimensions', typically ten, but perhaps up to twenty-six. However, these additional dimensions are presumed to be 'rolled up' into tiny 'loops' so that they are – most conveniently – quite invisible; and – even more conveniently – can never be detected, except by the superior intelligence of modern Scientists.
The word 'dimension' is one of several that are commonly misused in a pseudo-scientific context. In the vernacular we speak of the dimensions of a block of wood, meaning its measurements: length, breadth and depth. In Dimensional Analysis we speak of mass, length and time as being dimensions, referring to aspects of reality; in mathematics we refer to a line as a projection in one dimension, a plane as a surface of two, and a solid as a volume of three. Time is popularly held to be a fourth dimension in this sense.
This concept, as proposed and developed by Physicists, was first popularized by Edwin Abbott in Flatland: a romance of many dimensions published in 1884. It presents a two-dimensional world inhabited by beings who are two-dimensional geometrical creatures, describes their daily interactions and experiences, then goes on to describe their mystification at encountering three-dimensional objects penetrating and passing through the surface of their world. This is used as an analogy to explain the possibility of a fourth spatial dimension, and perhaps more, and soon gave rise to claims of the ability to visualize four-dimensional objects by uniquely gifted individuals. Unfortunately, none were able to offer proof of this faculty, nor of any superior insights gained by its exercise. The fad persisted for a few decades, but eventually died out, except amongst Physicists.
The extra dimensions of QM provide yet another example of reification. The mathematical speculations of Physicists are held to be accurate models of Physical Reality; therefore, any mathematical device essential to the model must have a physical counterpart. String theory requires ten dimensions: ergo, ten dimensions must exist. The fact of their being invisible and quite undetectable may be thought something of a problem in what is supposed to be an evidenced-based discipline of 'observation, analysis and deduction', but Physicists have for so long been accustomed to inventing clever 'explanations' of their absurdities that such difficulties are now easily taken in stride whilst missing nary a step. To anyone with commonsense, their extra dimensions are as meaningless as the title of this chapter.
Here we take a simpler and more rational view. Physical Reality presents itself as a space-time continuum: a construct having three dimensions of space and one of time that obeys what can be called Physical Laws. It is, truly, an amazing creation; but need there be only one of them?
The assumption of places or 'spaces' other than the physical is not only historically ubiquitous; it is accepted as real by many people today, but for varied reasons. As previously noted, Physicists insist that there are ten or more 'dimensions' including the three of space and one of time we all experience. New Age advocates believe in an 'astral plane' or something similar, and perhaps other 'planes' as well. Spiritualists teach that we are surrounded by a 'spirit world' inhabited by the souls of the departed. The concept is so common that something of the sort must surely exist. Our purpose here is to develop a more rigorous understanding of these other Realms, as we will name them, using capitalization to differentiate from the general case. An important preliminary activity of the New Physical Theory will be to investigate their relation to the everyday world revealed by our senses.
Nature is everywhere fecund; if she creates something such as a fish, she does so most generously. Not just one fish, nor even many of the same type, but many different species and sub-species evolve over countless millennia, each slowly changing and evolving, gradually mutating into entirely new species. So too with plants, animals, humans, planets and stars. Nature is not monogenetic but polygenetic. The Earth was once thought to be the only planet in the whole universe, and Earth humanity the only race of men. The discovery of other stars – other Suns – suggested that there may be other Earths, but this was resisted right up to the 1990s when the first exoplanets, those outside the Solar System, were proved to exist. It is now amply evident that planets are extremely common throughout the galaxy, and that millions of potentially habitable planets have always existed within it. Panspermia is just one reason why Earth-like life must also be ubiquitous.
MWS still insists that there is only a single space-time continuum; but why should this be so? Polygenesis should surely apply to space-time continua just as to all else in creation. We can make use of this concept to propose that the one we inhabit is not singular and unique, but just one, albeit vast and impressive, of many. If one exists, then others most certainly do. We therefore postulate that our ordinary physical surroundings constitute one space-time continuum that is permeated by at least one other. That is, they are coterminous: they occupy the same 'space', yet maintain their autonomy. These coexisting continua cannot be detected by direct physical means because our physical senses only respond to stimuli within the Physical Realm, and even our electronic instruments are similarly limited. Yet not only are we aware of them: many gifted individuals can both sense them, and make practical use of them by means of what are commonly called 'psychic faculties'. The bridge between Realms must therefore be consciousness utilizing biological organs within living creatures adapted to specific modes of interaction.
In the simplest case we now have two distinct, interacting Realms as we have designated them. These Realms are coterminous, a word designating a concept that most people have entertained without thinking critically about it. This other Realm is imagined as being 'all around us' but invisible, intangible, apparently 'not there' but occasionally able to influence events in the Physical Realm. It occupies the same 'space' at the same time, but not the same 'reality'. Each Realm must also be causally closed. This simply means that every purely physical event has purely physical causes and purely physical effects. There is no 'leakage' beyond physical boundaries, and the same is true of other Realms.
In order for the Realms to interact, there must exist some sort of interface which allows events in one Realm to produce effects in another. This appears to violate the requirement of being 'causally closed'. The apparent contradiction is resolved by the existence of stochastic (or random) phenomena. If certain repetitive events appear to have no cause – that is, to occur by chance or to be non-deterministic – then their outcomes can only be estimated as probabilities. Influences from a coterminous Realm can act so as to 'bias' a series of events in favour of a preferred outcome. If this 'bias' operates over multiple minuscule events, the result at macroscopic scale is for a preferred outcome to result without there being an evident cause.
The reason and purpose of 'quantum indeterminacy' is to transmit influences between Realms indirectly, without allowing one to assert direct control over another. MWS can never arrive at this conclusion.
Thus the brain must have one or more psychophysical interfaces within it that permit communication between the realm of consciousness proper, and the patterns of electrical activity within it by which control over the physical organism is exercized. Where and what these interfaces are, and how they operate, cannot yet be stated with clarity or precision, and are challenges for a newly-emerging psychophysical science.
What we need to understand is how these Realms can exist coterminously and semi-autonomously. This requires that each has well-defined boundaries, and that certain phenomena are able to act or exert influence across those boundaries. We therefore ask: what are the limits of Physical Reality. Here begins the study of Physical Theory.