Most physicists don’t have much of a philosophical streak and they don’t tend to ask what they study all means. Philosophizing doesn’t pay their mortgage. Physics works, so they just go with the flow; they just shut up and calculate. Most philosophers on the other hand don’t usually have the technical education and background to wax lyrical and come to terms with modern physics. Whether physicists or philosophers, they don’t tend to advertise themselves too far out of their establishment’s standard model box. It’s not usually considered a wise career move, especially if you’re on the academic road upwards and tenure. As for myself, I have no academic career to damage or destroy, so I’m going to combine physics and philosophy and think way, way, way outside of the standard model box. It’s going to be quantum (particle) physics ‘explained’ by appeal to the Simulated (Virtual reality) Universe scenario. If I’m right, the Nobel Prize committee knows where to find me!
There are many anomalies from the macro-world that can be ‘explained’ by resorting to a Simulated [Virtual Reality] Universe scenario, from statues that walk (Easter Island) to the concepts of an afterlife to those feelings of déjà vu to recollections of previous lives to crop ‘circles’ to ghosts, and so on and so forth. However, most of these anomalies can be classified as belonging to the paranormal or as a pseudoscience and dismissed. Not so easily dismissed are anomalies from hardcore particle (quantum) physics, the most experimentally verified science every known and responsible in gismos and gadgets for over one-third of the world’s economy. Despite all the runs on the board, points of view on the subject of Quantum Mechanics tend to be along the lines of…
Albert Einstein: God does not throw dice.
Niels Bohr: Anyone who is not shocked by the [quantum] theory hasn’t understood it.
Richard Feynman: Nobody understands quantum physics.
And that’s comments by noted quantum physicists.
However, the key to reality* in general, including yours in particular, lies in the basics (i.e. – the Standard Model of Particle [Quantum] Physics) and how it builds from the ground up. That reality includes those anomalies and how they can be explained. It’s time to think the unthinkable!
You tend to associate lack of causality, on the macro scale, with free will. What you decide to have for dinner tonight has no prior cause, just your spur-of-the-moment whim. It’s all free will and free will alone, pure and simple.
However, on the micro scale of fields and forces and particles, you often find they also do whatever they damn well please – no causality need apply. A perfect example is radioactivity. There’s no apparent cause why one unstable nucleus goes poof and an identical clone living next door doesn’t. In fact if something like radioactivity happens for no apparent reason at all, yet that happening follows one precise mathematical relationship (one out of numerous theoretical possibilities) then that surely implies some sort of intelligent manipulation behind the scenes. The Virtual Reality writing is on the wall for all to see.
Either you have to accept that the fields, forces and particles that collectively make up the Standard Model of Particle (nee Quantum) Physics have free will and thus are somehow ‘alive’ and ‘animated’ in some sense (although their free will comes with some restrictions just like your free will comes with restrictions – you can’t flap your arms and fly or hold your breath underwater for three straight hours), OR else it is all programming software which implies an intelligence (a Supreme Programmer**) somewhere on up the line.
# MISSING IN ACTION
An electron can have this amount of energy corresponding to this ‘orbit’ (around an atomic nucleus) or that energy level corresponding to a different ‘orbit’ or this other energy level corresponding to a third possible ‘orbit’, etc. but not any energy level (and thus ‘orbit’) in-between (since energy comes in single indivisible quantum packets). Energy thus is a discontinuous phenomenon; just like you can have coins in multiples of five cents (I’m talking Australia here) like five cents, ten cents, fifteen cents, etc. You cannot have a coinage value of seven cents or of nine-point-three cents.
Here’s the rub. When an electron gains or loses energy, it rises or drops it’s ‘orbit’. But where the hell is it when it is rising, or falling between allowable ‘orbits’? Is it in The Twilight Zone or in another dimension or in Wonderland keeping Alice company? Being in-between allowable ‘orbits’ equates to having a forbidden energy level that would correspond to that in-between state. It would be like having a six, then seven, then eight, and then a nine cent coin as you increased the value of your pocket change from five cents to ten cents.
A similar situation could be had for the anomaly known as quantum tunneling. A particle is here on one side of a barrier, then it is there on the other side of the barrier – instantaneously – never to be found in-between.
Of course virtual reality software could easily have our electron disappear and reappear as it quantum jumped from one allowable ‘orbit’ to another allowable ‘orbit’ or as it tunneled over, around or through the barrier.
# ALL THINGS [NOT] TRANSPARENT
The standard macro analogy to an atom (nucleus and electron cloud surrounding it) is trying to picture a gnat (the nucleus) in the middle of Westminster Abbey with a cloud of bacteria (the electrons) around the walls, ceiling and floor and thus surrounding the gnat. In other words, there’s a hell of a lot of empty space inside your everyday atom. That might suggest that electromagnetic radiation, photons, would have no trouble in passing right on through an atom without intersecting anything and thus being hindered on its uninterrupted journey.
So why isn’t everything transparent? Why doesn’t light go right through you? Why are some things transparent (air, glass) and some things (of equal density and thickness) opaque for a specific wavelength/frequency of ‘light’ (light here being not just visible light but infrared light and radio light and microwave light, etc. not that the energy value of the photons of ‘light’ should matter since it is traveling through what’s for all practical purposes ’empty’ space). Further, photons have no electric charge properties that would hinder their passing straight through your average atom.
A quick anomalous point – light passes through air. You can look clear through roughly 100 miles of atmosphere and see the sun and moon and stars, etc. Add a bit of smog or fog and things get a bit on the opaque side, yet the overall thickness and density of the clear air, or air-smog mix, isn’t drastically different. It’s still 99.99% empty space. Something’s screwy somewhere unless of course there’s additional programming that counters the scenario.
# THE PARTICLE THAT WAVES
Traditional wave-particle duality is according to one interpretation a complementary but either/or phenomenon. Sometimes light/particle experiments show results that prove a pure 100% wave phenomena is responsible; sometimes however other light/particle experiments show results that prove a pure 100% particles phenomena is the only possible interpretation. That doesn’t make a great deal of sense unless there is a higher power (a Supreme Programmer) pulling the strings – or programming the program.
# DOUBLE SLIT EXPERIMENTS
The late Nobel Prize winning quantum physicist, Richard Feynman, thought the Double Slit Experiment (and variations on the theme) was the heart and soul behind the anomaly that is Quantum Physics. It was the ultimate anomaly in a sea of anomalies that could not, in any shape, manner or form, be explained by any sort of, or resort to, classical physics available in the observable Universe.
1 – If photons, electrons, Buckminsterfullerene molecules (Bucky-balls), etc. are fired in rapid succession at a single slit, with a detector (like say photographic film or a TV screen) behind the slit, then a quasi-blob of impacts are detected. Particles rule, okay!
2 – If photons, electrons, Bucky-balls, etc. are fired in rapid succession at a double slit, with a detector behind the dual slits, then a classic wave interference (constructive and destructive interference) pattern emerges. Waves rule, okay!
3 – If photons, electrons, Bucky-balls, etc. are fired one at a time, at a single slit, such that one photon, etc. completes the journey before the next one is fired off, again with a detector behind the slit, then a quasi-blob of impacts are ultimately detected. Particles rule, okay!
4 – If photons, electrons, Bucky-balls, etc. are fired one at a time at a double slit, such that one photon, etc. completes the journey before the next one is fired off, again with a detector behind the slits, then ultimately after enough firings, a classic wave interference (constructive and destructive) pattern emerges. Waves! However, that implies one photon, electron, Bucky-ball, etc. somehow manages to go through both slits at the same time and thus interferes with itself. That’s absurd. But you ain’t seen anything yet!
4A – The above assumes nobody (human observer or independent measuring device) is peeking and taking the slightest notice of what’s going on – the non-observing nobodies are just looking at the pattern on the detector screen after the fact; after the experiment has concluded.
4B – However, if someone, human observer or independent measuring device, is peeking and taking absolute and total notice of what’s going on, and determining at the precise time of passage which of the two slits the lone photon, etc. is actually going through (on the grounds that one entity cannot pass through two doors at the same time) then the wave interference pattern doesn’t eventuate and you get a quasi-blob of particle hits on the detector behind each of the two slits. Somehow the photon, etc. is somehow ‘aware’ that it is being observed and changes it’s self-interfering behavior accordingly – keeping in mind that the very act of observing before-the-fact unobserved properties of a photon, etc. alters those properties after-the-fact, since you can’t observe something without mucking around with it.
4C – What if someone, human observer or independent measuring device, peeks, but only after the photon, etc. has already passed through presumably, but absurdly, both slits and self-interfered with itself? That shouldn’t affect the ultimate wave outcome since it’s now too little to late for the photon, etc. to change its mind. Or so you would think. But again, irregardless, the wave interference pattern disappears even after the peeking is done after the photon, etc. has passed through both slits and self-interfered. The one very nasty and anomalous implication is that the photon, etc. has traveled back in time to just before, or when it was, initially emitted so as to now make the ‘correct’ choice and thus will pass through one and only one slit to correlate what it actually does with what is actually detected.
5 – Summary: If you turn your back and don’t peek, and there’s a double slit available, the detector screen, and therefore you, will detect a wave pattern because the photon, etc. will pass through both slits and self-interfere.
If you don’t turn your back away from the action, but do a peeping-Tom act, double slit notwithstanding, the detector screen and therefore you will detect a particle (quasi-blob) pattern behind each slit.
The two very disturbing facets are that a photon, etc. displays awareness, and free will, as well as exhibiting the ability to travel backwards in time. Photons, etc. not only know before-the-fact whether or not both slits are open (two open slits equals wave behavior); or that one or the other slit is open (either/or equals particle behavior), but also whether or not someone is peeking. If both holes (slits) are open and nobody is peeking we end up having wave interference behavior; if someone is peeking even if both holes (slits) are open, we get particle quasi-blob behavior. That means the photons, etc. know (how is that possible?) and adjust and exercise their free will (how is that possible?) accordingly.
6 – Conclusion: Now either you’ve got to believe we exist in The Twilight Zone #One where denizens of the micro world have an awareness of their surroundings and possess some degree of free will to react to and within those surroundings, OR you believe we live in The Twilight Zone #Two where said denizens of the micro world are programmed by higher authority** to behave in the way we see and measure them behave.
# SYMMETRY & PARITY
One of the fundamental bedrocks beloved by physicists is their love of symmetry, especially with respect to time, charge and parity.
Physics should work as we know it whether time is considered positive or negative***. It doesn’t matter if you go 50 miles per negative hour for 10 negative hours, you still travel 500 miles. Or, imagine two electrons (call them A and B) traveling towards in time, each approaching the other. When they get close enough, they will repel each other (both being of the same negative charge) by exchanging a virtual photon. But which electron emitted the virtual photon? It might have been A to B forward in time, but it is just as probable that it might have been B to A backwards in time. It’s symmetrical either way you care to look at it. And of course any negative time that’s squared in any equation reverts to positive time.
Physics and chemistry should work as we know it even if positrons (antimatter electrons) ‘orbited’ around nuclei comprised of antiprotons and antineutrons (collectively anti-nucleons). So charge is symmetric.
Parity is your left-right mirror image. Physics should remain the same when viewed in a mirror. Mirror light still comes out of a mirror image flashlight; gravity still makes mirror image apples fall to the mirror image ground. The distinction between left and right should hold no sway in physics. Unfortunately, while charge and time are totally symmetrical with respect to the operations in physics, there’s an ‘oops’ in parity. The ‘oops’ is not in electromagnetism, nor in gravity, nor in the strong nuclear force (which hold the nucleons (protons and neutrons) in a tight embrace in the nucleus. Parity however is not conserved in weak nuclear force interactions. Physicists might say that Mother Nature has a slight bias towards the left; some theologians might suggest that God is a weak lefthander; I might put it that our Supreme Programmer introduced into some software subroutines a code favoring a slight left-handed slant.
So symmetry holds in 11 out of 12 cases – four forces (electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and the weak nuclear forces) times three symmetry operations (time, charge and parity) with only the parity of the weak force being the odd one out. There’s something screwy somewhere!
In the macro world no two ‘identical’ products, inanimate or animate, are actually identical down to the Nth detail – not even identical twins. But in the micro world that’s not the case. All photons are identical, even when they have differing energy levels. All heavy hydrogen atoms are identical, ditto so are all those up-quarks or tau neutrinos. Why this should be so is not readily apparent from first principles on up the line. However, it’s easy to code any particle, and whenever that code appears, you have an identical particle appear.
It’s not at all clear (to me at least), how the rather limited properties we associate with electrons, neutrons and protons, can, just by changing their relative numbers in association with each other, morph into all of the wide variety of properties associated with the chemical elements.
Further, it’s not at all clear (to me at least), how the properties of the chemical elements can ‘combine’ to form molecules with vastly differing properties from those of its parents. For example, a yellowish and to us poisonous gas (chlorine), plus an explosive (in water) silver metal (sodium) can morph into properties we associate with a whitish quasi-translucent solid crystal – table salt (sodium chloride).
Further again, it’s not at all clear (to me at least), how memory and creativity (and not just in humans) can be stored and manipulated in terms of chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry or neurochemistry. Of course it’s easy to encode ‘memory’ into software and with the rise and rise of artificial intelligence, can creativity be far behind?
# FRACTAL COSMOLOGY
Though bordering on the fringe, some bona-fide astronomers strongly suggest from both the observational and the theoretical point of view that the extreme large-scale structure of the cosmos exhibits a fractal pattern (and there is some extensive literature on the subject). To me however, fractals are primarily a mathematical construction; the product of a mathematical mind, and as such, if there is a fractal cosmos, that’s very strong evidence for a Supreme Programmer.
It’s just about time here to cite Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law, which notes that “any sufficiently advanced technology (i.e. – a Supreme Programmer, for example) is indistinguishable from [quantum physics] magic”.
To his dying day, Einstein insisted that there were hidden variables that would, when discovered account for those various quantum anomalies – quantum magic. Those hidden variables would ultimately unite quantum physics with classical physics. Unfortunately for Einstein, experiments have since ‘proved’ that there are no hidden variables of the type Einstein had in mind. That’s because IMHO the hidden variable, which Einstein couldn’t have envisioned in even his wildest imagination, is the Supreme Programmer who creates our Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe.
Not only can the Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe scenario account for the above hardcore but seemingly magical anomalies in physics (and chemistry), but perhaps the Supreme Programmer left us these clues, inadvertently or deliberately, such as, in the macro world, those enigmatic crop ‘circles’ for which no other theory makes any absolute sense, common or otherwise.
*It is impossible to know the absolute really real nature of reality since we cannot know the properties of the micro world without measuring/observing them and the act of measuring/observing affects, even distorts, those properties. But, the measuring device is unbiased and independent measurements yield identical results so the disturbances, if any, are at least consistent. Further, theoretical predictions about the properties and reality of potential fundamental particles have all been realized. The predictions that there had to be neutrinos, antimatter, quarks, the particles that convey the weak nuclear force, even the Higgs Boson have all come to pass, so really real reality can’t differ all that much from what we observe and measure.
**Not by any means of necessity a deity! A real deity wouldn’t stuff things up and give us a Universe that has all the hallmarks that enable me to say that something is screwy somewhere!
***Not to be confused with the concept of running a film backwards.