The Quantum Poker


A Wittgensteinian perspective on institutionalized irrationality in modern-day science
A Wittgensteinian perspective on institutionalized irrationality in modern-day science
A Wittgensteinian perspective on institutionalized irrationality in modern-day science
On this Page:
Forward
1. The Dreaming Analogy
2. Language Games in Quantum Mechanics
3. Misconceptions of Scientific Theories
4. The New Era of Vigilante Truth
5. Has Quantum Physics Lost a Mexican Standoff?
(Tap the images for a lightbox slideshow)

"Even Wikipedia calls the Standard Model 'Particle Physics.'
Why is it not just called a 'Quantum Model'?'
Has quantum physics made a fundamental error in its very first premise?"

~"the Quantum Poker", §7.

With thanks for contributions from:

Dedicated to my father,Karl Meyer (PhD, international affairs)

Forward

Created: Jan 2023
Modified: 04/17/23
2nd Revision

No one has apparently written on how Wittgenstein would critique quantum physics. So I did. With the utmost respect for quantum physicists, I start by indicating there has so far been no independent third-party corroboration of the Higgs Boson. Nonetheless, we are told science had decided the Higgs Boson definitely exists, even though all Academies of Science regard such corroboration as necessary to accept an observation. That falls in the category of 'failing institutions,' which I get to later. First, I explain Wittgenstein's approach to what is knowable, and in section 2, its specific implications to quantum physics.

This article's title,The Quantum Poker, is drawn upon the New York Times bestsellerWittgenstein's Poker (Ucca, 2002), wherein some metaphysicists disagree whether Wittgenstein was angry when he waved a poker during an argument. Wittgenstein stated he was simply excited and using the poker to make a point. Others complained that he had lost his temper and was rude in pointing at them. On the topic of emotions, Wittgenstein acknowledged there are changes in mental state due to physiological factors, but he found further linguistic distinction between them unreliable, and therefore too meaningless for rational debate.

1. The Dreaming Analogy

From Dr. Luc Castelan
From Dr. Luc Castelan

Considering quantum entanglement as paradoxical is simply the result of flawed empirical analysis. Those not familiar with Wittgenstein's healthy yet intense brand of skepticism will immediately misinterpret that statement.

Most find it best to understand through examples. So before getting to details, this section considers an example of the boundaries on scientific knowledge 1nDreaming (Routledge 1959), an extraordinary book by one of Wittgenstein's closest friends, Dr. Norman's Malcom.

Perhaps Dr. Malcom's most profound observation is how dreams are memories after we wake up. Many find Malcom's definition totally ludicrous at first, because it contradicts our intuition that dreams occur during sleep. Some even jump to the wrong conclusion that Malcolm means dreams don't exist. On much the same basis, we all tend to make intuitive assumptions that are not empirically verifiable in science, as I will clarify.

From a purely empirical point of view, there is no observable evidence in the material world that a person is having a dream before the person remembers it. From Wittgenstein's perspective on epistemological enquiry, it is pointless speculating on a question if it's meaningless or impossible to answer. Thus according to Wittgenstein's healthy yet extreme skepticism, it is irrational to consider whether dreams occur while asleep at all.Therefore, for many speculations in science such as in quantum mechanics, there is no meaning in asking what a phenomenon's state might be before it is observable.

Killing Schrödinger's Cat

Schrodinger
Schrodinger

Considering the state of a quantum phenomenon before it is observed is meaningless for more than one reason. Energy imparted on the system by the act of its observation is of the same order as the energy state being observed. Even if suggestions indicating possible state are found, the actual state prior to observation is simply unknowable to science, and therefore meaningless even to consider in the course of investigation.

That again parallels Dr. Malcom's observations of dreaming. Some scientists have tried to prove dreams exist by looking at eyeball movement under eyelids. And indeed, scientists performed the experiments, then claimed they had 'found proof that dreams exist.' Despite superb arguments on the relationship between experience and memory (most notably by the eminent Dr. Dennett's"Are Dreams Experiences?", in 1976), scientists are still claiming proof that dreams occur while asleep as recently as 2015 (see "Dreams: an empirical way to settle the discussion between cognitive and non-cognitive theories of consciousness"). What a ludicrous objective and equally absurd claim! No matter how much one finds eyeball movements, they only indicate whether a dream may perhaps be remembered when the sleeper wakes up.

The Bell Test
The Bell Test

Yet regardless, three physicists won the 2023 Nobel Laureate for their work on the quantum equivalent of such eyeball-movement measurement. The resulting "Bell Test" apparatus (as illustrated) already sportsa daunting array of "loopholes" on Google Search with uncorroborated claims the loops have been closed, other tests showing they are still open, and so on. The only certainty is that the loopholes will change. It's impossible to say what a quantum energy state is before it is measured. One might think some indications could be found. Alternatively, the attempt to measure some indication might have changed its state. One has hit Schrodinger's car with enough energy to kill while testing whether the cat was alive. All one can learn from such a meaningless effort is that the cat is definitely dead afterward.

The meaningfulness of what a quantum state might be before observation directly parallels the meaningfulness of asking whether one had a dream that one does not remember. Certainly, trying to remember a dream may make one more likely to remember it. On the other hand, sometimes one can't remember, and sometimes one remembers when thinking about something else entirely. Maybe the effort of trying to remember a dream can stop it from being remembered. It's impossible to know. Before remembering a dream, it is meaningless to ask whether it exists That's not claiming that dreams don't exist, but any particular dream can only be known to exist after it is remembered. The nature of the dream before it is remembered remains unknowable.

Similarly, no experiment can ever prove a quantum energy state before it is measured. The act of trying to do so will always introduce new loopholes, because, at the quantum level, the distinction between a particle and energy can never be more than a language game. While as a philosopher of science had thought this observation obvious, I have been required to present considerable explanations to quantum physicists who repeatedly 'quote book' instead of realizing their claims are based on flawed assumptions. Again, that's not to say that inferences cannot be made from speculation, but rather, that an experimental result can never be more than corroboration of a theory's explanatory fruitfulness.

2. Language Games in Quantum Mechanics

In this Section:
2a) Misconstruing Theories as Facts
2b) The Standard Model
2c) Bohmian Mechanics
2d) Full and Empty Waves
2e) The Quantum Baker Model
2f) The Immoral Photon Theory
2g) Single-Photon Interference
2h) Zones of Spacetime

"Even the most paradigmatic of sciences, physics, rests on judgments that are not scientific....science, no matter how coherent internally, is an iceberg floating in a sea of uncertainty....Emprical observations only increase our information on visible structures rising into the air...To increase our knowledge, we must delve for assumptions in the far greater mass hidden underwater." ~ from notes on Oxford University lecture byDr. Hilary Putnam

2a) Misconstruing Theories as Facts

Quantum physicists have had problems understanding the difference between an 'observer' of quanta (which has an influence on quantum state), an observation, and a theory. In science, an observation is collecting information about 'states' and 'events' (States and events are defined in Witgensteinian thought byDonald Davidson).For example:

Is an observation. That compares with the statement:

Which initially seems to be saying the same thing, and people often interchange the two forms. But in the second statement, one has transformed the observation into a theory, specifically, that plants have a purpose in making fruits. Similarly, quantum physicists could make statements such as:

Which would be an observation. However, the following statement is not an observation, it is proposing a theory:

As detailed inSection 4, theories are speculative, not statements of fact. Asserting a theory as fact creates a language game with other theories that is meaningless in basis, because the debate is based on an unsound premise.

2b) The Standard Model

The Standard Model in particle physics states that particles 'collapse into wave functions' in certain situations. All proponents of particle physics who have written me have stated that to be fact rather than theory. When I try to say it's a highly artificial description, as there is no necessity for quanta to be regarded as particles in the first place, I am frequently insulted as 'too stupid to understand what I am being told,' transforming the current attitude to the particle model into a growing religious dogma that the particle model is a direct description of physical reality, rather than a theory.

The 2023 Nobel prize laureates claim they have 'disproven' alternative theories by stating that quantum particles do not have 'local hidden properties.' Their claim is supported as undeniable truth by the great masses who were never taught alternatives, such as Bohmian mechanics, in school. The particle physicists' claim assumes that quanta are particles that therefore have hidden properties. The statement doesn't actually refute alternative hypotheses, which neither claim particles have properties, nor that any phenomena attributed to 'particle properties' are 'hidden.' Particle physicists sometimes refer to that rebuttal as a 'loophole' caused by 'the measurement problem.'

Sterile Neutrinos, and other speculative fiction.>/b> A 'neutrino' is a 'particle of spin' for which some tiny mass is calculated, derived from its energy, because its mass is so small it is not directly measurable. However, astronomers found that the black hole at Sagittarius A actually has neutrinos coming out of it, from below its event horizon. To explain that, some are advocating 'quantum gravity.' Others suggest a new 'negative microgravity' phenomenon. Yet others are trying to suggest that neutrinos are the source of gravity. And so far, the most accepted explanation is that neutrinos oscillate in state between 'heavy neutrinos' andsterile neutrinos, part of the 'dark matter'/'dark energy' in the universe. This last theory, which is also popular because it explains why the universe's rate of expansion is more than expected, is difficult to counter. That's because 'dark matter'/'dark energy is by definition unobservable, so sterile neutrinos aren't even part of the Standard Model.

Does that not all seem rather contrived? How meaningful is it to insist neutrinos are particles at all, if their mass is uninfluenced by gravity? Being 'intert particles,' sterile neutrinos are completely untestable. There is no way to demonstrate any of the above explanations are any better than the others. Nonetheless, the postulation of sterile neutrinos is gaining huge popularity in physics, because its splats out two inconvenient crevices with one dollop of speculative fiction. The lengths people will go to defend the notion of particle physics in quantum mechanics is truly remarkable.

2c) Bohmian Mechanics

Non-particle Bohmian models can describe phenomena that particle physics cannot. So why are they not more accepted? Standford provides the following explanation:

"Bohmian mechanics has never been widely accepted in the mainstream of the physics community. Since it is not part of the standard physics curriculum, many physicists—probably the majority—are simply unfamiliar with the theory and how it works. Sometimes the theory is rejected without explicit discussion of reasons for rejection. One also finds objections that are based on simple misunderstandings; among these are claims that some no-go theorem, such as von Neumann’s theorem, the Kochen-Specker theorem, or Bell’s theorem, shows that {Bohmian} theory cannot work...the reply to them will be obvious to those who understand {Bohmian} theory."
~ "Bohmian Mechanics, §17: Objections and Responses," athttps://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-bohm/#ObjeResp.

Historically, the debate reduces again to which model is right and which model is wrong. But in science, models just explain observations. Some work for some observations, and some for others. Bohmian theory doesn't even introduce issues such as entanglement, superpositioning, or single-quantum interference at all, essentially because it is based on quanta behaving as waves. On the other hand, the Bohmian model is not currently thought capable of explaining quantum creation and destruction.

Physicists have therefore put an enormous amount of time and effort into arguing that either particles, fields, or waves should be the basis of a quantum model. As I find myself repeating, from Wittgenstein's skeptical position, there is no actual reason why any of the models need to extend into each other, because the actual nature of quanta is unknowable. Therefore, there is no necessity that any single direct description should extend to cover all observed cases. That is an artificial expectation created by the false premise that any particular model, such as the Standard Model's particle-based one, should be able to explain all observations any better than others, such as field or wave models. In exactly the same way, there is no reason to expect that field or wave models should be able to replace all explanations of a particle-based model.

The reason I raise the issue at this time is that the particle-based model has become thede facto accepted explanation, and others are no longer even being taught. That results in a form of 'scientism,' where theories are stated as 'fact,' and moreover, the propagation of even more 'post-truth narrative' and 'vigilante truth,' as described in later sections.

2d) Full and Empty Waves

One Bohmian model that provides an alternative to entanglement is the 'empty wave theory' from Dr. V. Skrebenev (Russian Academy of Sciences). He compares quanta to ocean waves, in that the waves appear full from below, and empty from above. Dr. Sofia Wesler provided peer corroboration in"What Was in the Apparatus before the Click of the Detector?" (in theJournal of Quantum Information Science, 2021). As stated in the above dream analogy, it's empirically unknowable what actually happens before an observation, so Dr. Wesler carefully states:

"...This paper describes an experiment whence "it seems necessary to admit the existence of full and empty waves...."

From Dr. Luc Castelan
From Dr. Luc Castelan

As quanta are not actually particles, the difference between 'empty waves' and entanglement' is only semantic. If quanta WERE particles, then entanglement would be provable. But quanta also have wave properties that particles don't.

Therefore it is only a language game to claim the waves have 'full' or 'empty' properties, instead of being entangled particles. It can only remain a matter of opinion whether a 'full' or 'empty' wave property is 'hidden,' just as it remains a matter of opinion if the baker is hidden, or even exists, in the below 'baker model.' Bell's theorem claims that any hidden variables must be non-local, that is, violate physical laws' such as the upper limit on the speed of light. It is a matter of interpretation, and no more than a matter of interpretation, whether quantum entanglement is non-local or not. Qualifications, loophole definitions, and theory extensions make it impossible to test whether such abstractions of explanation are different from each other. In the end, all explanations that describe observed events, in whatever manner they do, end up being empirically equivalent. All explanations rest on assumptions. Scientists are excessively testing hypotheses without stating the assumptions, then claiming test results 'prove a theory' rather than corroborate a model.

2e) The Quantum Baker Model

There are more valid alternatives. Dr. Gene Douglass described his 'Quantum Baker Model' as follows:

"Imagine a baker uses the same ingredients to make two cookies, then puts chocolate chips on only one of them. The baker randomly mails one cookie to California and another cookie to New York. The customer in California opens up the box and sees a cookie with chocolate chips. We then know the customer in New York has the cookie with no chocolate chips. No information was exchanged to determine that. We can think of the baker as a 'hidden' variable if we want, but maybe the Baker isn't hidden, or doesn't exist. Unlike the cookies that were always how the baker made them, the entangled particles literally aren’t one or the other until someone opens the box."

So that is an alternative perspective on quantum entanglement. Some would say therefore quantum entanglement is 'wrong.' But from a scientific perspective, one is meant to construct an experiment that can differentiate between alternative explanations. But it's impossible. Neither theory is testable against the other. Both the baker model and superpositioning theory are speculations. Due to the limits on observation at the quantum level introduced above, an experiment can differentiate between the speculations, and so neither speculation will ever be scientifically known as provably true.

The conflict in opinions is arising because of the conventional presumption that quantum phenomena can be described in terms of gross matter, then seeking inconsistencies with Newtonian physics. However, Heisenberg observed that a quantum phenomenon's location and energy state cannot be known simultaneously. Then Schrodinger observed that descriptions of quantum phenomena can only be probabilistic. Neither Heisenberg's nor Schrodinger's observations are true for Newtonian particles. Thus basing quantum mechanics on notions of 'minuscule particles' is nonsense. By stating that quantum phenomena are particles at all, physicists have added their own preconceptions of what a particle should do to the description. The flawed premise simply results in irresolvable questions. Whether quantum phenomena behave like baker's cookies is a meaningless question scientifically, because its speculation is untestable.

2f) The Immoral Photon Theory

In response to my prior posts in this series, many did not consider the bounds on knowable fact that the analogy with dreams drew. Similarly, many 'quoted book' at me without considering the underlying assumptions that I was trying to point out. So here is a simpler approach: a thought experiment on an "immoral photon theory."

Supppose we propose God gave all photons a book and said 'this is what you should do.' When photons reach a diffractor, they look in the book to figure out what to do. Some decide to be bad and not do what God says.

Here is the resulting experiment. One defines a sparse data test to show photons are occasionally bad. If people find something else that appears not to fit with the model, it's because the definition of 'bad' needs to be changed.

If one uses the same experimental method currently in favor in quantum mechanics, you could gleefully claim the 'hypothesis is proven.' That is exactly how explanations are currently being made in current quantum physics. I'm not saying that photons are conscious. I'm trying to explain the difference between observation and explanation. People assume observations 'prove' explanations. As explained in the next section, even according to the philosophy of science, they don't. But due to academic indoctrination on existing ideas, the public thinks of the proposed explanations as 'fact.'

I don't understand is how the word 'particle' made it into the standard model at all. I can't think of a better explanation than to create media attention when it doesn't.

2g) Single-Photon Interference

Single-Photon Interference
Single-Photon Interference

There are also widely divergent opinions on how a photon is diffracted when only one photon passes through dual slits, referred to as 'single photon interference.' All the explanations read like science fiction. All say they solved the problem without saying why they are better than alternatives. China says it's interaction with the media. The USA says the photon momentarily becomes a wave function when it hits the two slits, then 'turns back' into a particle. And there are more. All of them say the diffraction pattern builds up from single dots over time probabilistically, and that temporal quantum entanglement is not happening, but none of them say why not, besides the claim that their explanation is somehow obviously right. They all say a single photon passes through the slots in some way and hits the receptor as a dot consistent with the standard model, then writes some arbitrary nonsense saying it's in different places due to the Standard Model with some inane description why.

2h) Zones of Spacetime

There is no necessity for science to consider quantum phenomena as anything more than equations describing the probabilistic distributions of properties, such as mass and density, during their propagation through spacetime. Instead of stating spacetime zones contain particles, waves, or fields at all, it would be more rational simply to state diffrent models explain different observed phenomena. The Standard Model does not need to be part of particle physics. It is simply a classification of observed states and events. The act of asserting inductions based on false premises, such as quantum phenomena being 'particles,' simply creates new questions that are not only impossible to answer scientifically but also meaningless, because the debate arising from them arises from incorrect presumptions.

Vedic mataphysics states that we cannot know material reality any better than pssible by our limited comprehension of how the mind interprets perceptions and sensations. Its philosophers looked at motes of dust in sunlight, asking themselves what is the smallest thing that can exist. They reasoned that the tinyest dust mote would still have an inside and an outside. As such a mote is the smallest possible particle, we would not be able to see its edges. They concluded material reality must consist of compartments of space, within each of which which we cannot perceive whether any matter exists or not, and that it is only the aggregate of such 'motes of dust' that is perceivable as solid. It should not be a suprise to anyone familiar with Wittgensteinian analysis that quantum mechanics ended up reaching rather much the same conclusion.

The Bell Test
The Bell Test

Schrödinger's cat would certainly like superpositioning, so it could be inside a door and outside at the same time. For physicists, though, such speculations can never be more than speculations, like Maxwell's demon, an amusing fiction, with a utility at the order of Ptolemy's geocentrism.

3. Misconceptions of Scientific Theories

the USA's business community needs so many science technicians, public universities don't even teach the philosophy of science behind the scientific method at the bachelor's level. They say it would be bad for them to understand why scientific theories are theories rather than laws, or how to design experiments to create alternative explanations. I've tried arguing it results in naive acceptance of post-truth narrative and impacts all of society. It makes no difference. They all say it makes people question their training to do routine tasks they will be required to do for their jobs, and therefore they need no further knowledge of science besides the fact that their professors taught them what is fact. Even people with Masters in science frequently believe they must undeniably and indubitably know that their conception of material reality is fact.

The Meaning of Theory
The Meaning of Theory

Indoctrination on science, even at the graduate level, has reached the level of Ptolemy's geocentrism. With the amount of bland repetition of text passages I've seen, it's going to take another Galileo to make any significant scientific advance.

In the past, I've encountered many confusions about the nature of scientific theory, and most of them resolve to a lack of understanding of the difference between an induction and a deduction. A valid and sound deduction is provably true. However, an induction involves the act of introducing an additional layer of abstraction, wherein a collection of instances is defined as having the same characteristic as a tested instance. The definition of the collection is based on a set of common properties. It is not possible to logically prove that the common properties are correctly defined:

Hence, the defined abstraction by an induction may never be the actual 'cause' of an event. In the history of science, there have been many discoveries of new factors that better predict the event, resulting in existing theories being superseded, and all theories could be superseded again. Even if no factor is ever empirically discovered that influences an event, there always could be an undiscoverable or unknowable factor. For this reason, all explanations in science are called 'theories.' Only observations are knowable facts, and deductions based on observations are simply new observations.

Because perfectly reasonable explanations for species origination exist, but are untestable by science, they aren't taught. All teleological explanations are banned from the USA's public school system because they are religious. It's certainly true that attributing an animal with a sense of beauty can never be more than a belief, but the act of banning all such alternatives has led the public to think that science has a totalitarian grip on its theories as fact. As the philosophy of science is also not taught because it is considered unnecessary for people to know, the public is almost universally unaware of science's own statement that its explanations can only ever be theoretical. Alternatives are irrationally dismissed, and textbook explanations have taken a tyrannical hold on public mentality.

Fundament of Observations

Attempting to construct paradoxes out of what a quantum state 'was' before observation is pointless. That is the nature of empirical investigation, and it has been the foundation of science since the 'father of empiricism', Francis Bacon, wrote NOVUM ORGANUM (on theOnline Library of liberty), all the way back in 1620 AD:

An observation can only be made after an event, after which all inductions are purely theoretical, because only observations are knowable (any deductions from an observation are simply new observations).

Scientism

Simultaneously, scientists have decided in bulk that Higgs Bosons exist without third-party corroboration, and that one alternative in quantum mechanics, superpositioning, must be correct because the Nobel scientists claim there are no "hidden" properties. Maybe there are quantum properties we don't know how to measure yet, but that deflates the importance physicists have attributed to themselves as knowing what is irrefutably true, even when they don't. In one respect, it is the opposite of scientists disallowing untestable alternatives in evolution. In another respect, both actions grant the scientists with undeserved self-authority, even in defiance of the rules of science themselves.

Claiming alternative possibilities cannot be happening is referred to as 'scientism.' because it is asserting beliefs as irrefutable facts, and therefore, turning science into a religion. It is a comment on the downward path of civilization that Nobel prizes are being awarded for efforts that are no more than quantum scientism. Because so many are taught the theory, and incapable of questioning it themselves, they become substitutes for fact. In just the same way as for evolution, where the inconsistencies between 6-day creationism and observations of dinosaur bones have led people to believe science has 'disproved God,' physics itself is falling into a despotism of irrationality.

4. The New Era of Vigilante Truth

The Royal Academy of Science was established to enforce independent corroboration of experimental results in 1666, in the interests of preventing corruption of truth by assuring third parties can duplicate results.

The rule HAD been held inviolate since. But now it's been broken, and no one even cares. In 2012, quantum physicists declared independent corroboration of the Higgs Boson was too expensive. Given the amount of money involved and the resulting prestige for the scientists deciding to break the rule, one might reasonably expect some skepticism. So far, all the scientists I've asked have eagerly agreed that the physicists were entitled to break the rule. In the 11 years since, all textbooks have been rewritten to say the Higgs Boson exists. Scientists in other fields say they have their own exceptions too, and they have no right to question the violations physicists have made, because experts in each field of science don't have sufficient knowledge or authority to override the decisions of others. So science has become like the Wild West, when consensus supported posse vigilantism.

If public consensus supports group vigilantism, then society can only change its rules to allow it. Wild-West vigilantism was thought unfortunate and undesirable. But so far vigilantism in science hasn't just gone unchallenged. Whether in the interests of the progress of society or just the benefit of individuals within it, it's actively endorsed. It's reached the point where it can't be changed. We can only accept that science is now in a new era of vigilante truth. All we can now do is observe how far vigilante truth is extending. With the extent of power that vigilantism in science has already attained, no one can prevent it.

Vigilantism Again
Vigilantism Again

The New 'Magnum force' in Physics

As Clint Eastwood said at the end of his movie about a vigilante gang inside the police force, "a man's got to know his limitations." The movie was called 'Magnum Force.' Physics, biology, chemistry, and all the soft sciences now have their own magnum force, transforming theories for which there is any evidence corroboration into fact, regardless of any flaws in the premises on which the claim is based.

The Bull in the Field

Some have commented that I am talking about 'post-truth narrative.' That's not the same, which we can discuss if you need to. But I'm retired. I'm not going to pay the $5,000 for peer review and publication. So that's the end of my blog. Eventually, someone will become famous for saying this in whatever terms they choose, and the resulting revolution from the paradigm shift will rock the world. But not me. I'll just be helping my cat (whose name is Schrödinger, of course) not fret about being inside and outside at the same time> it took me a long time to learn now. There is an ancient Zen 'kōan,' a question for contemplation:

A bull grazes in a field.
Around the bull is a wooden fence.
The gate in the fence is open.
Is the bull inside, or outside?

The answer doesn't depend on the state of the gate.
The bull could knock down the fence.
The answer depends on the mind of the bull.

5. Has Quantum Physics Lost a Mexican Standoff?

A Wittgensteinian perspective on institutionalized irrationality in modern-day science

Even the Wikipedia calls the Standard Model 'Particle Physics.' Why is it not just called a 'Quantum Model'?' Has quantum physics made a fundamental error in its premise right at the top?

In the last millennium, physics considered the actual nature of quanta as being like either particles or waves, because they are not directly observable. Since then, at some indefinite point, quantum physicists decided that the classification of quanta in the Standard Model was of particles. But if one regards physics as a model of reality, rather than a direct description of it, then the nature of quanta could also be unknowable. By making the choice first, have quantum physicists lost a Mexican Standoff?


Mexican Standoff
Mexican Standoff

Definition of 'Mexican Standoff'

Clint Eastwood immortalized the concept of 'Mexican Standoff' in his movie "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." Three vigilantes are in a shootout. They stand in a triangle, each trying to watch both the others. If they are all excellent sharpshooters, then whoever aims first at one of the others is at a disadvantage to the third, who can shoot the first to draw. The second will already be dead. If the first to shoot misses, he is at a disadvantage to both the other two.

The odds of winning such a 'Mexican Standoff' are the worst for whoever draws first. Similarly, any of them who turn away can be shot by both the others, so a 'Mexican Standoff,' once started, is inescapable. New versions of the dilemma have more than three participants.

Have Quantum Physicists Lost?

Until last year, CERN provided the only evidence not just for the Higgs Boson, but also for W and Z bosons. In 2022, the first attempt to corroborate CERN's claims by an independent 3rd party failed. The Fermi National Accelerator Lab found its measurement of W boson energy was different. All physics textbooks currently state CERN data to be true beyond doubt. But CERN is a huge multinational bureaucracy. Its measurements for the W Boson led to the prediction of the Higgs Boson, without which the entire Standard Model collapses. (FERMI does indicate its own finding has not been corroborated either).

Why consider CERN's claims any better than those for cold fusion?

Most believe there are only two states in a logical system: true and false. Traditionally, conditions where a truth condition cannot be resolved were considered paradoxes that could be resolved by proper mathematics (most famously, Zeno's paradox of the tortoise and the hare).

Now, in digital simulation, there is also a third state: 'unknown.' If physics directly describes the observable world, then quantum phenomena must either be particles or waves. But if physics is no more than a model that describes observations, then quantum phenomena can remain unknowable, without paradox.

  • Tehncially, digital simulation's 'unknown' state is not only from random number generators and unknown user input. Digital circuits can also stop propagation of new TRUE/FALSE conditions by setting a logic gate to 'high-impedance' state. Thus, just as in a Mexican standoffs now having more than three participantns, digital simulators now can have more than three possibile states, adding 'not false,' not true,' and 'not high impedance' to the truth tables. Better digital simulators propagate these additional conditions to preserve more known data about their state, so that sometimes unknwon conditions can later be resolved to TRUE OR FALSE. The same method could resolve more issues in quantum mechanics.

Conflicting Positions in the Academies of Science

The schism between regarding science as a description or model is not new. In the 1960s, Dr. Karl Popper was the first philosopher of science to argue extensively how science can never be more than a model of the material world. Ther opposing position was 'physicalist monism' in metaphysics, which claims that 'mental states and events,' such as 'consciousness' do not actually exist, because they are completely explicable by physical states and events. At first Popper argued that 'soft sciences,'' such as psychology and sociology, should really be considered arts. Later in his life he relented from such a rigorous poistion, but that did not undermine his position on science as a model in any way whatsoever.

The Royal Academy of Science takes the 'continental' position of agreeing with Popper on this issue. Opposing it is the AAAS ('American Association for the Advancement of Science"), which holds that quanta are particles. The AAAS has more power in the USA.

This article has sided with Wittgenstein, Popper, and the Christians on this issue, against the more powerful American Association for the Advancement of Science ('AAAS') in the USA's science community. So I have written a Wittgensteinian perspective, which hasreally annoyed most quantum physicists in the USA. Of course, I am aware I have only so far advocated one position on an ongoing debate, and welcome a properly written rebuttal.