Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Calling All Physicists

Over the years I have been mulling a problem in metaphysics: the ontological mysteries of Quantum Mechanics. I have been developing a theory in this regard (see, for example, The Ontology of Time and my unresolved alternatives in Sense and Goodness without God, pp. 98-99, III.4.1), and now, informed by some recent discoveries and publications in the sciences (and finally a stronger understanding of EPR experiments), I am able to write up a proposal intelligibly enough for an actual physicist to evaluate it.


This has at long last resulted in a draft work, entirely preliminary, entitled "Philosophy, Relativity, and Quantum Entanglement: Proposing a Classical Explanation of the EPR Experiment" (a very first draft of which I pre-circulated among close colleagues in April). It's thesis: quantum entanglement phenomena, as exemplified in any form of the EPR experiment, can be wholly explained by general relativity, if certain premises are adopted which may not be popular but which contradict no scientific observations to date. Those premises are that spacetime is an entity akin to particles themselves (and that relativity theory describes an actual geometry of that entity), and that the specific properties of particles which are subject to entanglement are fully caused by normal massless boson interactions between a particle at the instant it forms and the instant it decoheres. Given those two premises (and the uncontroversial premise that relativity theory is true), it is theoretically possible to deductively predict all entanglement phenomena including the results of every EPR experiment, without recourse to any special theory of quantum mechanics.

Whether this is feasible or not requires the assessment of an expert in quantum mechanics and relativity theory. So I am asking (1) everyone who is an actual physicist to review and critique the paper, (2) everyone who has a good relationship with a physicist to ask them to review and critique the paper, and (3) anyone to supply the document to any online list or group of physicists who would be keen to review and critique the paper (don't harass lists or groups that won't be interested, query them first).


As this is out of my field, I fully expect it's possible my thesis is erroneous or untenable for reasons presently unknown to me. But even if that's the case, I'll regard it fully worthwhile to understand why. So I welcome any patient explanation to that effect from an actual expert (and it will be helpful if you identify your credentials). Whereas if it is tenable, but needs revision or correction, I'll certainly want to hear about that.

To all who review and critique it, you can annotate it in MS Word and email the annotated copy back to me (at rcarrier@infidels.org). To download the Word 97 file of the current draft document, click here. Thanks to all who can help with this. If anything significant comes of this, I will post updates in the following comments section.
 

78 comments:

Alex Dalton said...

Submit it to a physics journal.

camspiers said...

Hi Richard,

I am enjoying the paper, thanks for sharing it. I was wondering, do we have any experimental results on entanglement when an object lies in the path of a photon and causes "...the particle to be absorbed and reemitted with a time delay in between, or causing it to momentarily transform into a particle with a subluminal velocity, or subjecting it to any other interaction that consumes more than zero time"?

Also does CN1 imply that the spacetime object is massless? If it is massless, does this in any way link in with the hypothesis that the total energy of the universe is zero?

For personal use I have converted the document to .mobi format (kindle) and can provide a download link if you want or if you think others would find it useful.

Chris said...

@camspiers

To the first question, yes. Among other things, entanglement is how the new quantum computers work, and the re-emission of a photon or a change from one particle to another is how particle accelerators work. I think that answers that question, if not, I apologize.

To the second question, no. The result that the total energy of the universe is zero is acquired by taking into account gravitational energy, which is negative (thus canceling all of the positive energy in the universe). Without this, the energy of the universe would not be conserved, violating a principle of physics.
Massless particles, while something that I'm not extremely familiar with, comes from the results of the interaction with the higgs field. Think of the higgs field as water, and the absence of the field as air. If an object is going through the water, it has more resistance, and therefore slows down. When it is in the air, there isn't as much resistance, so it is able to move faster. In the higgs field, the way a particle interacts with the field determines it's mass and other properties. When there is no higgs field, a particle essentially has no properties (oversimplification).

Tatarize said...

If spacetime were viewed as a particles of perhaps gravitons and quantum entanglement were necessarily mediated by a massless boson interactions at a relativistic distance of zero, then the decoherence could cause an attraction between any massed particles that happened to be momentarily entangled and decohohered by gravitons, so *any* two particles in the universe could happen to get attracted to each other (though the likelihood of this would drop at the square of the distance).

But then so many cohered gravitons would end up no where near massed particles that spacetime itself would expand. And 'gravity' would be an end up being a much rarer event and thus comparatively an extraordinary weaker force because of so many gravitons would never interact and pointless build up of spacetime (gravitons that haven't/won't hit anything).

And because spacetime would be expanding it would become less and less likely that gravitons could decohere because the massed particles would become less and less frequent and the process would cause a runaway expansion of spacetime. And since the this expansion makes graviton decoherence even less likely it would expand on the expansion and accelerate the buildup of cohered gravitons.

But when we compare the universe your theory would predict with what we observe, we find a huge difference. The universe you'd predict is nothing like the universe we observe by reading the Bible. Many of these effects would take far longer than 6,000 years! Therefore you're clearly going to hell. *smirk*

Tatarize said...

Also, consequently since you'd need both a particle to send and a particle to receive (to decohere the massless boson), you'd notice that gravity would scale a bit and be stronger where there's a lot of matter (more things to hit) and weaker when you reach distant space where it would produce spacetime rather than gravitation effects. Causing gravity to be stronger when there's more mass around, and dropping off when you hit the no-mass-land of empty space (though not in a not so much in a galactic cluster like the Bullet Cluster).

Which could be parlayed into some kind of a proper explanation for modified gravity predictions such as scalar–tensor–vector gravity (STVG), without the actual theory itself.

Just that it would take two to tango. And if you move from "spooky action at a distance" to "spooky distance when you act-on", you could open up a lot fun speculation.

/I am not a physicist, hence the fun speculation rather than actual testing.

Tatarize said...

Heh, you'd also notice that the force would be *waaaaay* stronger in an atomic nuclei, where any boson is bound to hit something, and do so nearly instantly.

Richard Carrier said...

Alex Dalton said... Submit it to a physics journal.

As the cover sheet for the paper itself explains, it's presently too speculative for a physics journal (I would need an actual physicist to fill in the mathematical blanks, and the gaps in my literature review, although as I also explain there, I'd be delighted if a physicist did that, for a lead author credit).

It could be polished for a philosophy of science journal, however. But only if it does not have any glaring flaws, which is the stage I'm presently at (i.e. vetting it for conceptual flaws).

Richard Carrier said...

camspiers said... do we have any experimental results on entanglement when an object lies in the path of a photon and causes "...the particle to be absorbed and reemitted with a time delay in between, or causing it to momentarily transform into a particle with a subluminal velocity, or subjecting it to any other interaction that consumes more than zero time"?

Yes. Or at least we should. All decoherence events I've noted in the literature constitute one of the above. But a physicist may know of exceptions (hence my query). And there may be a better way to word it (which, if so, a physicist could help me with).

Does CN1 imply that the spacetime object is massless?

Yes. But there could be challenges here, depending on whether virtual particles confer a rest mass on spacetime, or whether spacetime should be described as having a negative mass (if one infers such from it having a negative "energy"). I would need a physicist to vet the issue.

If it is massless, does this in any way link in with the hypothesis that the total energy of the universe is zero?

Maybe, but not in any way I can ascertain that matters for my thesis. What you are referring to is the zero energy hypothesis, in which gravity is treated as having "negative" energy and mass as having "positive" energy, and in that valuation they cancel out. But this is a somewhat arbitrary assignment of value, which is why it is only a hypothesis. Gravity actually has a positive energy value the same as anything else (when gravity pushes you it is applying the same energy as when some guy next to you pushes you, e.g. we can use gravity to extract energy through falling water, hence a watermill, or a walking ox, hence an ox mill; one is not the negative of the other), and the fact that gravity and mass equal each other is a tautology (and thus should not ever have been imagined as being a surprise). So I am not sympathetic to the zero energy universe hypothesis. And in any case, it's not established science.

For personal use I have converted the document to .mobi format (kindle) and can provide a download link if you want or if you think others would find it useful.

You are welcome to. As long as the cover page remains attached, you have my permission to disseminate it in any way you can (to willing recipients, that is).

Richard Carrier said...

Chris said... Without this, the energy of the universe would not be conserved, violating a principle of physics.

As I understand it, that principle doesn't work here (energy is not conserved in general relativity, at least in the way you may be thinking). See, for example, Energy Is Not Conserved.

There is also the problem that gravity is not really "negative" energy, except in some human's description. Moreover, in common conceptualizations, the energy of a gravitational field, like that of an electromagnetic field, is entirely relativistic, and thus has no objective status: it's energy depends on the reference frame of whoever is observing it (e.g. if you are in free fall, you experience zero energy from the gravitational field, and thus relative to you, it has no energy--instead, you experience all the energy in that field only when you hit the mass producing it, in other words, when you come up hard against the electromagnetic forces in that mass).

I've seen physicists debate all of these things, however, so I'm not sure how hard and fast any of this is.

Richard Carrier said...

‪Tatarize‬: Are you joking altogether? Because your physics doesn't make sense.

Tatarize said...

Mostly.

Though if gravity and spacetime expansion were two sides of the same coin. For example, if gravitons that don't end up being gravity end up as spacetime, you would likely run into a universe both expanding and accelerating in that expansion. As well as scaling with local matter density like some modified gravities try to make plausible.

As the expansion would decrease the density of normal matter and feed the expansion (as more and more gravitons would end up as spacetime rather than gravity).

My jokes just don't typically fit that well.

Vratko Polák said...

There is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem that says completely classical explanation is impossible. Yours relativistic explanation seems to fail at locality. The problem is in the fact that spacetime is not a metric space, it is only a pseudometric space. The difference being that in the pseudometric spaces there are possible pairs of points that are distinct (and separated) in spite of having zero distance. Speed of light communication may seem instant to photon, but we still experience a time delay when talking to astronauts. But EPR looks like there is no such delay, so the paradox is still there.
P.S.: I am a physicist and my favourite is Everett's relative state interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said... There is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem that says completely classical explanation is impossible.

But that nowhere addresses my theory (which does not require FTL signaling). In fact, my theory is specifically built to fit Bell's Theorem.

Also, as a matter of methodology, you should not confuse a conclusion that current classical explanations don't work, with a conclusion that none can work even in principle. The latter is not established by anything in that article. The "final remarks" section there merely claims the latter without evidence [as even the Wiki editors acknowledge by attaching that very caveat to that section], so the error is not yours, but made by the author of that section of the article on Wikipedia. By contrast, note that my article cites actual scientific articles that show other QM phenomena can have classical explanations in principle, so that Wikipedia remark is ignorant of even already-published science.

I simply need to be shown any actual established scientific fact that falsifies my theory, or anything internally incoherent about it. Unfortunately, badly chosen phrasing on Wikipedia doesn't cut it.

The problem is in the fact that spacetime is not a metric space, it is only a pseudometric space. The difference being that in the pseudometric spaces there are possible pairs of points that are distinct (and separated) in spite of having zero distance. Speed of light communication may seem instant to photon, but we still experience a time delay when talking to astronauts. But EPR looks like there is no such delay, so the paradox is still there.

That's not relevant to my theory, which already acknowledges the relativistic difference between what a photon "experiences" and what we observe. The points in a line may all be distinct, indeed, yet the distance between them is still zero. And hopping a million units of zero distance still adds up to zero distance. And still takes zero time. So pseudometricity has no effect on the rule of adjacency, and the latter is all my theory requires.

Now, that said, if there is any evidence that the latter is false, then that's what I need to know. But merely repeating facts my theory already incorporates cannot falsify it. My theory in fact explains why EPR effects are instantaneous even when the signal does not appear so to us.

chancecosm said...

This is actually really exciting. I think you may be onto something, but I'm not a physicist. I've just read a couple of Brian Greene's books and watched some Lawrence Krauss lectures :)

If you are traveling through space very fast, time stops. I always wondered what would happen if you stopped moving through space - like if we could slow particles down to the point where they weren't moving. Not moving through space would mean you would be moving infinitely fast through time, would it not?

Well, what you've done (thus far into your paper) is notice that decoherence can be explained by this very phenomena. So cool :D

chancecosm said...

Well, I guess I may still be confused about what it is I'm trying to say there, but I do understand how relativity seems to be able to predict the entanglement phenomena.

I can't believe that no one else has noticed this :o

chancecosm said...

This is a new publication on the topic, you may find it interesting, but I doubt it will affect your hypotheses much:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7352/full/nature10119.html

Vratko Polák said...

My theory in fact explains why EPR effects are instantaneous even when the signal does not appear so to us.

I have read your paper once again, and I have narrowed the source of my confusion. In EP5 it looks to me like you think that when the two points in spacetime are "adjacent", signal may pass between them both ways. And in CN4 (it looks to me like) you tell how this explains EPR paradox without violating locality or causality.

But the two points in question are not causally equivalent. One of them "horismos" the other. I have not known this word, but it looks like established one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horismos

But what I have known is that causality is required to work also for light-like intervals. If a person uses a laser pointer to make a dot on a wall, we may ask what color was the light (before hitting the wall). The color may be caused by properties of the pointer, or properties of the wall, or some combination of them. But physics tells the color is determined solely by the pointer. Why? Because of causality and the fact that the pointer is the one in the past. In this sense, signal may pass only from the past to the future, which is not the case for EPR when the light needs to know the future configuration of detectors.

There may be some reasons why EPR photons are different from laser pointer photons. But I am quite sure that any signal passing from "apparent future" to "apparent past" will be considered to be a form of time travel.

Morrison said...

Richard, you have no advance credentials in the sciences.

Your claims to be developing the theory you describe are absurd.

Lets see you submit this to a Physics journal.

Chris said...

Morrison,
Carrier stated this was not his field of study, but that doesn't mean he can't do research. He asked for help for a reason.
He also stated on the paper itself and in the comments that he was not intending on sending it to a physics journal because it was too speculative and that it would need gaps filled in by physicists.

I don't know if it was just because your comment was over the internet and I misunderstood you or what, but your comment seems to give off the impression that you just feel like arguing for the sake of arguing.

chancecosm said...

Yeah, Morrison obviously isn't paying attention.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Don't feed the troll!

Richard Carrier said...

Indeed. It's quite silly of Morrison, considering how consistently I myself have been saying exactly what he just did, only with humble honesty rather than lameoid douchery.

Richard Carrier said...

chancecosm said… Not moving through space would mean you would be moving infinitely fast through time, would it not?

Only relative to particles moving at the speed of light. Particles in (or very near) zero motion exist: that's what by definition a temperature of absolute zero is. Time flows for them normally. But relativity theory entails time flow is relative. So, relative to particles traveling at the speed of light, yes, particles at rest do pass through infinite time in an instant (simply because the moving particles also pass through infinite time in an instant). But that's only relative to the moving particles. The particles at rest themselves see things entirely differently (they have to actually wait through the passage of all that infinite time, at a normal pace).

And technically, so should the particles moving, i.e. the moving particles should also see time flow normally, and the particles at rest as moving at the speed of light. Except that the particles moving, if space-time is real, experience all that time instantly, so there is no "time" left in which they can sit and watch time flow, unlike the resting particles. The difference would be explained in holographic theory, where everything is immediately adjacent to everything else and only appears separated in space according to perspective, with low energy states (resting objects) appearing slower and more separated from each other than high energy states (speed of light). But apart from that, you can imagine the one universe as two parallel universes, one in which all the bosons are passing through time normally and slowly and all rest-mass particles are instantly crossing all distances and adjacent to each other (role reversal), and one in which it's the other way around (the one we experience), only both are just different descriptions of the same one universe.

The question is whether this entails my theory doesn't work. And for that I need a physicist.

Richard Carrier said...

chancecosm said… I can't believe that no one else has noticed this.

It's possible someone has, and their publication was ignored (as has happened many times before). Or it's possible they thought of it and realized the theory doesn't work before publishing. If the latter, then a physicist should be able to set me straight, too. Which is what I'm hoping for (since I'll then understand both RT and QM better in the process), if not the opposite (confirmation the theory might work). I don't presume to know at this stage which it will be.

This is a new publication on the topic, you may find it interesting, but I doubt it will affect your hypotheses much

In fact that's precisely the kind of result my theory (if correct) would explain.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said… In EP5 it looks to me like you think that when the two points in spacetime are "adjacent", signal may pass between them both ways. And in CN4 (it looks to me like) you tell how this explains EPR paradox without violating locality or causality. But the two points in question are not causally equivalent.

I don't understand this objection. The cause is structural, i.e. the two separated filters are in the contracted state a single unified filter at the moment the photon pair is created. The photons are thus created inside that combined structure, and therefore that combined structure constrains what properties the photons acquire. That is how causation (in this case, defining the photon properties at creation) is effected by adjacency. Adjacency is perhaps a misleading word, since they aren't adjacent, but literally occupying the exact same point, which is in fact closer than adjacent.

Imagine two valves attached to each other in a pipeline, such that turning one changes the pressure on the other, and thus the total flow pressure is defined by where the two valves are set, as if one valve "knows" where the other valve is set. It's the total structure at that moment (the position of both valves together) that defines ("causes") the pressure of the water flowing out both ends. Now think of the streams of water going out both ends as en entangled pair of photons, and their flow pressure as representing their spin characteristic relative to each other (a low pressure entails one spin pairing, a high pressure another, etc.), such that turning one valve changes the pressure on both ends, just as turning the filter changes the spin characteristics of both photons--only instantly (because the distance between the "valves" in that case is zero, whereas in the plumbing analogy you have at least some small delay as the pressure wave passes from one side to the other whenever you change a valve setting).

Now, again, that's all assuming my theory works, and the vote is still out on that.

In this sense, signal may pass only from the past to the future, which is not the case for EPR when the light needs to know the future configuration of detectors.

It is now standard in particle physics to understand antimatter as normal matter traveling backwards in time (you can find this stated anywhere the nature of antimatter is formally discussed by physicists), therefore your claim that a signal cannot pass from future to past is not accepted by the physics community, since antimatter is a signal from the future traveling back into the past. Notably, photons are their own antiparticle (this again you can find stated anywhere physicists discuss the properties of photons), thus they represent a signal traveling simultaneously forward and backward in time. The reason it can be both is because zero time and distance is being passed, i.e. the signal transfer is instantaneous relative to what the "photon" would experience (it is only not instantaneous relative to an external observer at rest, i.e. us). That's my theory, and on this account it conforms exactly to the assumptions of contemporary particle physics.

That doesn't entail it's correct, however. But it is coincidences like that that have lead me to go this length to find out.

Chris said...

Richard Carrier said... Time flows for [particles with zero motion] normally. But relativity theory entails time flow is relative.
Be careful when saying that. I know that, from what I've read, the arrow of time is not fundamental to our universe. (You've alluded to this when speaking about antimatter.)

Have you thought about asking physicists like Vic Stenger, Lawrence Krauss, or Sean Carroll?

Jack M said...

Have you seen this?

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM5B34TBPG_index_0.html

Seems to go against the grain of holographic theory, so to speak.

chancecosm said...

Thanks for your responses Richard.

I agree with Chris, I'd like to see if someone like Lawrence Krauss or Brian Greene could comment on this. I still feel really good about this theory.

Jason said...

Based on the comments of Vratko Polák I would suggest that at the very least some minor language changes are in order.

Here are a couple examples from page 11, but this language appears in several places:

"they occupy exactly the same point in space"

and

"given the premise that both filters share the same point in space as the photons being emitted"


As Vratko pointed out in his comments about pseudo-metric spaces, points can be distinct points yet still have a distance of zero. The language indicating different things are at the same point is not accurate. In other places you speak of the distance being zero. I think you should keep that language and lose the "same point in space" language.

You may already be aware of why this is but I'll add a little explanation anyway.

Euclidean distance is defined as the result of the Pythagorean Theorem. In a plane two points (x1,y1) and (x2,y2) are separated by the distance d = SqRt ( (x2-x1)^2 + (y2-y1)^2 ) or d^2 = (x2-x1)^2 + (y2-y1)^2. No matter how the coordinate system is moved or rotated the answer will be the same. A person who sees the points at (0,0) and (3,3) will come up with the same distance as one who sees the the points at (2,1) and (5,4).

This can be extended to three dimensions where d^2 = (x2-x1)^2 + (y2-y1)^2 + (z2-z1)^2 or even four dimensions d^2 = (t2 - t1)^2 + (x2-x1)^2 + (y2-y1)^2 + (z2-z1)^2.

The problem is we know that doesn't hold in the real world since time and space are relative. Inertial reference frames moving with respect to one another can measure different distances, and these changes are not offset by changes in the measurements of the other dimensions to make the Euclidean distance hold. E.g. someone measuring a smaller change in x would need to measure a larger change in t for everyone to get the same answer. In fact the person measuring the smaller x, in the actual world, will appear to also get a smaller t.

So this model of distances doesn't work and we don't have an objective description of reality. The way to get the objective view back is to model the time dimension as hyperbolic. If we do that, the equation for distance becomes d^2 = (t2 - t1)^2 - (x2-x1)^2 - (y2-y1)^2 - (z2-z1)^2, replacing the plus signs with minus signs. Looking at just one dimension of space and one of time this becomes d^2 = (t2 - t1)^2 - (x2-x1)^2 . We can see this is what we want. As someone appears to measure the x distance as getting smaller, in order to get the same answer, we want the time distance to get smaller as well. When the x distance and the t distance are equal we get the answer zero, and are describing points joined by the path of light. E.g. we are traveling 1 light-second per second. No matter who is calculating d^2, from a sub light speed inertial reference frame, the answer will always be zero.

Hopefully this makes clear why saying the distance is zero and saying the points are identical are not saying the same thing.

Jason said...

In my first comment I said "at the very least" there should be some language changes. Unfortunately I think it is a bit worse than that. The problem is, photons are not in a reference frame where the assumptions of special relativity (SR) hold. There are a lot of ways to see this.

For the SR equations to be relevant the observer must be in a reference frame where it can consider itself at rest and also where the speed of light is measured as being the same as any other similar reference frame (i.e. c) . These two requirements are fundamentally at odds for a reference frame of a photon. How can it both be at rest and be going c?

Or, imagine instead another photon. Does the first photon see itself at rest and the other one going at c? If, as you say, there is no time for a photon how could it even measure such a thing?

Also remember that the effects of time dilation and length contraction are symmetrical. For a frame moving .9c wrt you they will see the same things happening to you that you see happening to them. These changes are always judged against measuring devices (rulers and clocks) of the observer. If it is true the photon has no such measuring devices (no length and no time) then how can this symmetry hold?

The photon is massless, but we aren't. Would it see us as having infinite mass since it is at rest in its frame and we are massive objects moving away at light speed?

Hopefully it is clear there is a problem. The equations of SR just don't apply from anything we could call a photon's reference frame. It is true that as the velocity (v) of a reference frame approaches c, relative to us, its Proper Time approaches zero, but once v = c all the assumptions break down and we just can't say anything. I get the impression that you want your theory to follow deductively from SR, but since the equations don't apply to a photon's reference frame, you can't get to "photon experiences zero time" from SR.

There is a physics forum called PhysicsForums.com. The question of a photon's reference frame has come up many times. Do a google search for things like "photon reference frame", "photon no time", "photon point of view", "photon perspective" and follow the links to that forum. The science advisers there are unanimous that there is no sensible way to talk about such a thing within SR.

I'll give some links. The first one is from someone asking a question that is essentially the same as the first part of your theory.

Another question about photon perspective, concerning entanglement
Rest frame of a photon
Trying to define a reference frame for a photon
I am driving my car at the speed of light and I turn on my headlights. What do I see?
http://www.google.com/search?q=photon+perspective+site%3Aphysicsforums.com
http://www.google.com/search?q=photon+reference+frame+site%3Aphysicsforums.com


I have some other issues and questions I may comment about later, but at the start it seems one of your central notions, about photon's and time, can't get off the ground, at least if you want your theory to follow deductively from SR.

Vratko Polák said...

The cause is structural, i.e. the two separated filters are in the contracted state a single unified filter at the moment the photon pair is created.

This looks similar to (part of) a sentence from your draft work:
since in every case the two interaction locations (where decoherence occurs) of each particle in an entangled pair will occupy literally the exact same point in spacetime as the entangled particles do at the moment of their entanglement

The both sentences are wrong in a strict sense. If the two points in spacetime were the same, they would have zero distance in every frame, not just in (limit) one. But the two events in question are lightlike separated.

So my question is whether in EPR there is a signal (information) passing from one event to other. If yes, we can discuss causality issues.

P.S.: Is there a tag to make quotations?

jules said...

Richard, you might be interested (if you're not aware of it already) in a book by catholic philosopher-physicist Dennis Polis -

http://xianphil.org/index.html

Richard Carrier said...

Chris said... Be careful when saying [time flow is relative]. I know that, from what I've read, the arrow of time is not fundamental to our universe. (You've alluded to this when speaking about antimatter.)

That makes no difference to relativity theory. Actual time travel (antimatter) is nothing like movie and television time travel. It entirely conforms to the theory of relativity and does not violate any law of causality. This is clearer when you understand the B Theory of time, which is the standard view among physicists. See my past blog on The Ontology of Time.

Have you thought about asking physicists like Vic Stenger, Lawrence Krauss, or Sean Carroll?

Generally the least likely person who can afford you their time is a famous physicist, so these are actually the last men you should be recommending.

I don't know Carroll, so it would be presumptuous to ask him. But I have sent my paper to both Stenger and Krauss. Krauss does not know me well and I doubt will make time to read it. Stenger said he'll circulate it among his colleagues. He didn't raise any particular objections to it but said he'd need to see the math done before commenting. Which I would need a physicist to help me with (Catch 22). Stenger has taken the time to correct and educate me before many a time on physics questions, so I guess I haven't made a completely obvious blunder. But a subtle one remains possible.

Richard Carrier said...

Jack M said… Have you seen this? Seems to go against the grain of holographic theory, so to speak.

Not necessarily. Their result (even if theoretically sound--there are questionable assumptions in their analysis) only entails that the fundamental particles (the "grains" the paper refers to) must number at least 10 trillion to one Plank length. There are as many electrons as that across your fingernail. There could be many orders of magnitude more grains in a Plank length. I'd wait and see how the holographic theorists respond to this finding before drawing any conclusions.

Richard Carrier said...

Jason said… Hopefully this makes clear why saying the distance is zero and saying the points are identical are not saying the same thing.

No, unfortunately it didn't. This is the sort of thing I need to see displayed graphically before I'm likely to understand it (assuming it's correct). Possibly we are using the word "same" differently. But I won't know until I grasp what you are saying.

For example, consider a photon just after it departs an emitter (time point A) and just before it arrives at a detector (time point B). At A and B the photon seems clearly to occupy the exact same point in time. That is, from its own POV, no time has passed, thus for the photon it remains the same moment from A to B, and thus A and B are, in the photon's reference frame, the same point of time. We, on the other hand, in a different reference frame, watch the photon and see many points in time pass, i.e. A and B are different points in time for us, but are not so for the photon--because for the photon all those moments happened simultaneously, i.e. at the same exact moment in time. As for time, so for space.

If it's otherwise, you need to diagram how, and post the images somewhere (or email them to me). Start by showing A and B are not the same point in time but are separated by zero passage of time. Then show how this holds for space. That might make it clearer to me.

Richard Carrier said...

Jason said…These two requirements are fundamentally at odds for a reference frame of a photon. How can it both be at rest and be going c?

Because zero time passes. There is no time in which a photon could "observe" another photon much less measure its velocity. So the problem never comes up. If we imagine an astronaut somehow jumping to light speed on her way to Mars, she would not see Mars traveling toward her at the speed of light--she would instantaneously appear on Mars, from her POV as if she literally teleported. Zero time will have passed for her. Thus there won't have been any time for her to see Mars approaching at all, much less at any particular velocity.

This is standard relativity theory. It is a straightforward Lorenz contraction (as an astronaut approaches c, the time experienced by the astronaut approaches zero, and reaches zero at c; see my following post with the equation). That it's weird is simply because relativity is weird.

You can't object to this by saying "it's impossible for the astronaut to experience zero time on her trip to Mars," because that amounts to denying that Relativity theory is true.

The links you then provided just show people being confused by this, which is not of much help. Some discuss how you can have causation without time, but that is easily answered. Einstein already described simultaneous causation--on standard B Theory (see The Ontology of Time), indeed, it should be obvious that causation is simply a geometry of the system (see my valve example above), and doesn't even depend on time in any way, we just happen to see it occur in time. I have to give props to Christian apologist William Lane Craig who gives his own example of a bowling ball depressing a pillow: even when zero time passes, we are observing causation (the depression would not exist or have the shape it does but for the ball, therefore the ball is causing the depression even if no time ever exists). All causation is actually like that. Our obsession with causation being temporal is simply a red herring; its an effect that washes out in practice, but is not fundamental to the underlying physics.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said… If the two points in spacetime were the same, they would have zero distance in every frame, not just in (limit) one.

That does not follow. That would violate relativity theory. That's like saying if an astronaut travels to Mars at near light speed and experiences only one second passing, then it must be one second passing in every frame. Obviously not. To us watching her from earth it's half an hour. Yet to her it's still one second. Faster, it's half a second. Faster, it's a quarter of a second. Etc. Yet to us it remains nearly the same half hour (the reduction in time is minuscule, yet for her is massive). Continue the progression all the way to c and the seconds become zero. Yet we still see her take half an hour to get there. She will experience zero time getting there. As for time, so for distance.

The Lorenz curve is DELTA = [1 - (v^2/c^2)]^1/2, so when v = c, DELTA = [1 - (1/1)]^1/2 = 0^1/2 = 0. The time that passes is therefore zero. And the distance crossed is therefore zero.

P.S.: Is there a tag to make quotations?

The BLOCKQUOTE tag is not accepted, nor the FONT tag or SPAN. So I guess all that works are italics, bold, and standard ASCII quotation marks. (And the A HREF tag for hyperlinks.) If anyone knows any other tags that work in blogger comments, please let us know!

Richard Carrier said...

Jules said… Richard, you might be interested (if you're not aware of it already) in a book by catholic philosopher-physicist Dennis Polis - http://xianphil.org/index.html

Server was dead when I tried it. At any rate, I haven't heard of him, and when I googled him I was not encouraged. He sounds like a lunatic to me.

Vratko Polák said...

Vratko Polák said... If the two points in spacetime were the same, they would have zero distance in every frame, not just in (limit) one.
Richard Carrier said... That's like saying if an astronaut travels to Mars at near light speed and experiences only one second passing, then it must be one second passing in every frame.

No. Astronaut starting from Earth and astronaut landing at Mars are not the same points in spacetime, so my implication says nothing about that situation.

Richard Carrier said... If it's otherwise, you need to diagram how, and post the images somewhere (or email them to me). Start by showing A and B are not the same point in time but are separated by zero passage of time. Then show how this holds for space. That might make it clearer to me.

First of all, Einstein taught us that time is relative, space is relative, but spacetime is absolute. So it is good idea to pay attention to relations in spacetime.

Second of all, the language for spacetime relations is not fixed. Usually only scientists bother with these relations and they usually use exact math formulas instead of loose words. So I am going to use my own words, or list synonyms.

Third of all, I am not skilled at making diagrams, or googling for really good ones. So I will talk about the first diagram here, but keep in mind that the yellow lines are in fact (surfaces of) cones as in here.

In a language of A-theorists, event P is our here and now, the upper green-ish region is the strict future, lower region is strict past. The blue-ish region is delay. Or we may say meantime, or something similar. The upper yellow cone is null future (or light-like-, isotropic-, boundary- future). And lower yellow cone is null past.

In a language of B-theorists, speaking relative to the event P: Other events also in the point P are in the same time and place (or in the same point of spacetime or maybe absolutely simultaneous). Points in upper green are strictly later, in lower green strictly earlier, in blue away from (or unrelated to), in upper yellow cone light-like later (or null later), in lower yellow light-like earlier.

Anyway, two points in Minkowski spacetime are always in exactly one of these five (mutually exclusive) causal relations. Which one it is does not depend on the frame you are looking from. In the "rest frame of photon" you have to be careful, as always when computing limits. And of course, you cannot change the relation in absolute spacetime just by thinking about some particular frame.

And finally, there is one mathematical kind of causality. In physics, there is usually a system of partial differential equations on spacetime, and only solutions of this system describe possible physical reality. And we may ask whether this system admits causal propagator. In other words, we may ask, if it is possible to compute the value of solution in the point P, if we know values only at its strict past and null past. Usual systems of equations have this property, unless there is time travel or faster than light messaging involved.

Let me stress that if the system is causal, we do not need information from null future. Even if the "photon time" passed is zero, as was in the null past case (or in the same point of spacetime case). So, zero time alone is not important for identity of points of spacetime, nor for mathematical causality.

But your interpretation of EPR paradox need to know configuration of detectors in the null future of photon creation to generate correct statistics.

Sorry for long post.

jules said...

Richard,

Polis is mentioned in the wiki entry for "Metaphysical Naturalism" - under the section "Argument from design".

Anyway, you can download his book at:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/dx8jez

Click the REGULAR DOWNLOAD button.

Lunatic or not, you might find it worth a look.

Blue Devil Knight said...

From my ignorant place, it sounds similar to Wolfram.

Jack M said...

Richard,

Something new on frame dragging.

"Dr Mark Hadley, of the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, believes he has found a testable explanation for apparent Charge Parity violation that preserves parity but also makes the Charge Parity violation an even more plausible explanation for the split between matter and antimatter.
Dr Hadley’s paper (just published in EPL (Europhysics Letters) and entitled “The asymmetric Kerr metric as a source of CP violation”) suggests that researchers have neglected the significant impact of the rotation of our Galaxy on the pattern of how sub atomic particles breakdown.
Dr Hadley says:
“Nature is fundamentally asymmetric according to the accepted views of particle physics. There is a clear left right asymmetry in weak interactions and a much smaller CP violation in Kaon systems. These have been measured but never explained. This research suggests that the experimental results in our laboratories are a consequence of galactic rotation twisting our local space time. If that is shown to be correct then nature would be fundamentally symmetric after all. This radical prediction is testable with the data that has already been collected at Cern and BaBar by looking for results that are skewed in the direction that the galaxy rotates.”

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-07-galaxy-sized-violating-particles-line.html

Jack M.

Richard Carrier said...

Jack M said... Something new on frame dragging. [re: Dr Mark Hadley]

Thank you for pointing me to that. That's just brilliant. It would be an elegant solution (especially since it can also explain the entire matter-antimatter disparity after the Big Bang, as per that article's last paragraph). I hope the tests bear it out. Many an elegant idea has not held up under test, but this one seems promising.

Richard Carrier said...

Jules:

Regarding Dennis Polis, God, Science and Mind: The Irrationality of Naturalism...

There's a lot of lame pseudoscientific silliness in there, which makes me unwilling to rely on him even when he seems to be saying something sane.

His attempt to explain the EPR paradox bears similarities to mine, but is much less well defined (cf.
pp. 291ff.). He wants to say that the detectors have been entangled with the emitters since the Big Bang and thus everything is connected to everything else in a long chain of causation back to the first point of spacetime, and therefore what appear to be nonlocal effects are actually just the end results of really long chains of causation from a common shared point (the nucleus of the Big Bang). In other words, the detector and the emitter, traced back in time, both were once one entity, and as they split up they have remained in contact and so there should be no surprise that they now "know" what configuration they each are in.

I find this massively implausible, and at any rate he gives no mathematical formalism or any reason to believe his account even works. Indeed, his explanation is in worse shape than mine, since physicists would have to work vastly harder even to make sense of his theory, much less vet it for consistency with present physics.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák:

All you are doing is describing the non-objective spacetime assumptions that I am arguing have not been demonstrated to be true (whether you are aware of this or not, it is what you are doing, as your chosen diagrams and discussion reveal). In other words, you are citing a series of assumptions as though they were proven facts. I am saying in my paper that those assumptions have not been proven, and that in fact if we reject those assumptions, i.e. if they are actually false, then the EPR Paradox ceases to be paradoxical, and is then not only explicable but fully predicted by RT alone.

In other words, if no one had ever adopted the assumptions you are now defending, no one would ever have considered the EPR result to be paradoxical, and in fact EPR results would have been predicted by Relativity Theory without need of any Quantum Theory.

To understand what I mean, see my explanation, and my diagrams, in The Ontology of Time. Especially the diagram I borrow from Davies: look at that and imagine the shifting sheets of space continuing to fold up into the time axis as velocity approaches c. Now imagine that that is actually happening, i.e. it doesn't just seem to happen, but is really occurring.

What I am saying is that what you are saying is only apparent, is not apparent but actual. Space really does fold up as you accelerate. You can't cite your contrary theory as evidence against my theory. Because my theory just is the theory that you are wrong. Thus only the evidence can adjudicate between us. And that evidence is what my paper is asking for.

All I am asking for is if there is already evidence against my theory. Listing a bunch of theoretical assumptions is exactly what I am not asking for. That's like explaining how Lemarckianism makes Darwinism false--when the issue is whether Lemarckianism is even true in the first place (as we now know it's not).

I am proposing that observation is reality: that an astronaut's departure from Earth and arrival on Mars, when traveling at c, occur at the same point in time (as her watch will show, as well as her own brain), not that they merely seem to do so. She didn't just fall asleep for half an hour--she literally was located at both points in time simultaneously (and all points in between), i.e. no time separated those moments. And as for time, so for space: she also occupied both points in space simultaneously (and all points in between). We observers were not. But she was.

That's because (I am proposing) spacetime is an object just like she is or a ruler or a watch she might be holding in her hand: just as her eyes compress in the direction of motion and a ruler she holds compresses in the direction of motion (so she doesn't see the ruler shrink, yet we do), so also space itself shrinks in the direction of motion as space itself travels at c. Space is a rocketship in this theory, and thus compresses just like a ship does. And just as a watch in the astronaut's hand shows no time passing as it slows to zero, space also passes no time, because it is a watch, and compresses in time just as a watch does.

Once we adopt those assumptions, I show, EPR Paradoxes disappear. Thus, I am arguing, we have reason to adopt those assumptions. Now, the issue is, are those assumptions (a) logically impossible or (b) disconfirmed by any actual evidence (again, not theoretical assumptions, but evidence). Hopefully this clarifies what I need from physicists in order to either move forward or reject my paper's thesis.

Jason said...

From the paper:

if CN5 still explains what is happening, then the two electron detectors must have an entangled pair of photons connecting (a) the two detectors in the future (at the specific points in time when the electrons will collide with those detectors) to (b) the two electrons themselves at the moment of their entanglement

This is not possible on logical grounds. You are saying to think of the photons being emitted from the future and travelling to the past but you can look at it the other way too. The photon is there when the electrons are entangled, it travels through space (at least according to an outside observer), and then hits the detector at the same time the electrons do. The photons and electrons are travelling at different speeds! How can they leave from the same place, travel at different speeds, and arrive at a new place at the same exact time?

To put it in terms of the mathmatics**, the photon connects two points in space-time that are on the light cone of the entanglement event, i.e. a null-like path. The electron is going slower and so is inside the light cone at all times. So they absolutely cannot connect the same space-time points.

Even if they could it still isn't clear to me how they are working their magic. The detectors are miles apart and can even be doing their detecting at different times and yet they both emit photons back in time toward the same point in space. Because why? They are also either entangled or somehow encoding the orientation of a magnetic field used to detect the electrons.

Looking in the normal forward direction of time where are these photons coming from exactly? Why are they heading to the same point in space (space not space-time) as the electrons. Frankly, I say give me back quantum mechanics. It is much less weird than all of that.

**I don't really understand your objection to Vratko's discussion of the math. Your statement that he is using assumptions that deny an objective space-time is simply wrong. I have much more to say about that but since the above problem is fatal for your theory as stated, I don't see any need to discuss all of that at this time.

Blue Devil Knight said...

My friend has a particle physics PhD, he's looking at it might comment. He thinks there are a couple of fatal problems with the proposal. I'll try to get him to post here.

Vratko Polák said...

Here are my recent ideas about "objective spacetime" from my point of view. Saying "spacetime really folds" looks like saying "you have to compute in this frame". My version of STR says the opposite. I will call it "One Frame Relativity" (OFR) which means everything can be computed in only one frame. Just describe your experimental setup, transform it to the frame, write down dynamic equations in this frame, solve them, and transform obtained experimental predictions wherever needed. Your version, which I will call "Many Frames Relativity" (MFR), works differently. Computing steps are the same as in OFR, except the equation solving step. Whenever equation solver encounters moving object, MFR algorithm requires the solver to transform relevant data into the new "objective" frame and continue there. If all equations were covariant, and every object was moving with Slower Than Light (STL) velocity, MFR will give the same results as OFR (because Poincare transformations are invertible).

But for you, photons are also objects, so your MFR works also with "photon rest frames". But they are degenerate, so when transforming, some information is lost. Distinction between null-future and null-past may be an information lost this way, which would imply slogan "photon already knows its future". Also, equations to solve (if any) will be different in photon frames.

Now, suppose that MFR algorithm worked and successfully yielded its predictions for experimental results. This results are measured by STL detectors, so they come from solutions from STL frames, so the solutions can be faithfully transformed into the one frame of OFR and compared to OFR solution. If comparisons reveals they are the same, then we can drop one of variants of relativity, and my Occam's razor would cut out MFR.

But if the respective solutions are different, we have something. From OFR point of view, STL objects would behave normally, photons (and other speed-of-light objects) would probably still look as "freezed while moving", so only strange things will happen at events when photons are created or absorbed. OFR theorist may say it looks like there are some unknown fields (or particles or other entities) which interact with photons. He may try to guess equations for the field, but he will not guess it easily if photons really knew their future already. Anyway, he may still interpret the strange behavior as some signals, and deduce that if photons knew their future then the signals send information to the past.

It is possible for the "photon signals" to be inaccessible for us to exploit. Every measurement on a photon can be viewed as destroying the photon, unless some tricks are possible. And some peculiarity of photon frame equations may imply that deviations from OFR are only present if the experiment gives the photon some "freedom" (as it has in EPR), so we could be unable to extract photon signal by determining photon state in the time and place of creation.

You wanted experimental evidence. But your MFR can be either equivalent to OFR (with your explanation of EPR still harder to compute in MFR, and non-local in OFR) or it is different, depending on photon frame equations. So I cannot give you evidence, because I have no idea about the right equations. I do not know which equations would not change STL solutions, which ones would imply "photon knows its future", which ones would give different experimental results, or which ones would enable time-travel.

Jason said...

All you are doing is describing the non-objective spacetime assumptions

I found that statement baffling so these first comments aren't really addressing your paper, just that statement and others like it in your latest comment.

The Math
I am proposing that observation is reality

Earlier, Vratko provided a discussion and a diagram (Minkowski spacetime diagram) based on the mathematics used in special relativity. In physics observation equals measurement. The mathematics is how physicists describe what is observed (measured) in various reference frames.

It isn't clear to me what you imagine to be the distinction between real and apparent. Does it make some difference in the mathematics? If so then what are the differences?

Real vs Apparent

From the wikipedia entry on length contraction: Another issue that is sometimes discussed concerns the question whether this contraction is "real" or "apparent". However, this problem only stems from terminology, as our common language attributes different meanings to both of them. On one side, the word "real" is used for things that we can measure without considerable observational errors, and "apparent" therefore denotes to the products of observational error, optical distortions, or displaced images like a Fata Morgana. If this definition is chosen, length contraction would be "real" since it principally can be detected by error free measurements of the simultaneous positions of the object's endpoints, and also by measuring its consequences (see the section "experimental verifications"). On the other side, "real" is also used in connection with "absolute", and "apparent" is thus "relative". This is related to the principle of relativity, according to which any inertially moving observer can consider himself as at rest, and attribute the motion to the other observers. If this definition is chosen, length contraction would be "apparent" since it depends on the inertial motion of bodies. Yet, whatever terminology is chosen, in physics the measurement and the consequences of length contraction with respect to any reference frame are clearly and unambiguously defined in the way stated above.

It isn't clear to me which meanings of real and apparent you have in mind. If the first then, no, the mathematics isn't based on any assumption of measurement error. It doesn't assume that the observer on Earth , for example, has it right and the guy in the space ship is measuring wrong. In the second sense the mathematics does describe a situation where space and time measurements (individually) are relative, so they are apparent in that sense, but neither of the two is The Right One, and the other one only deluded.

Space really does fold up as you accelerate

Which meaning of real do you mean here? The moving observer is not making a measurement error, so it is real in that sense. In the second sense though the measurements are "only" apparent, for both observers! They are relative. So what can you mean by the word really here? That the guy in the space ship has The Correct View and the guy on earth has it wrong?

The mathematics describes a situation where the axes one observer uses to measure are different from the axes the other observer uses. The time axis is measured by how many ticks there are on a clock co-moving with the observer. The space axis is defined by all the events the observer considers simultaneous. Differing axes will really happen and have been confirmed by the time dilation experiments. The travelling twin really will be younger when he returns and really will have more years of life ahead of him. The mathematics Vratko described in no way denies any of this and in fact predicts it.

Jason said...

Time-like, Space-like and Null

With relativity, it seems no one can agree on any distances or durations. It seems we have a completely subjective world; there is no such thing as objective reality. Enter the space-time interval. It turns out , there is a formula where we can get back to a number we can all agree on, and we call the result of the formula the space-time interval. That is one way to view it, as simply a formula. The formula is s^2 = t^2 - x^2 - y^2 - z^2. Or, in a 1 spacial dimension example, s^2 = t^2 - x^2. Now we can plug in the x and t measurements from either observer and get the same answer. In other words, if an observer knows this formula they can describe the world in a way everyone can agree on.

We are assuming our axes are laid out in the same units. A Light-second per hash mark for the space axis and a second per hash mark for the time axis, for example. So lets say observer 1 measures two events with measurements between them of 1 hash mark in space and 2 hash marks in time. s^2 = 2^2 - 1^2= 3. Lets say observer 2 measures the space distance as 2 hash marks in space. Using the formula we know he will come up with s^2 = 3 so we can write 3 = t^2 - 2^2, which simplifies to 7 = t ^2. So his time measurement is SqRt(7) hash marks. That's what the Lorentz transformations are all about, keeping s^2 the same for all observers. That it can be confirmed to work that way experimentally means we have an objective description of the world back, the space-time interval.

Lets see if there is any physical meaning of s^2. First look at the case where s^2 is zero. For that to be the case we can see that t and x must be equal. That will give us t^2 - x^2 = 0. We should notice that corresponds to something going the speed of c, e.g. it is travelling 1 light-second per second, or one space hash mark per time hash mark. That's good. We know any observer will agree that s^2 = 0, since everyone agrees on s^2, which means that x must equal t on their measurement axes as well (though the actual values of t and x will differ for the different observers). This is good, the speed of light is the same for all observers. Two events that obey this relationship (s^2 =0) are said to be null-like aka light-like as Vratko was saying, and in the diagram that corresponds to the lines at the edge/surface of the light cone.

We can also see that any time t is bigger than x, s^2 will be positive. If it is taking more than one hash mark in time to go one hash mark in distance then the object is going slower than c. We defined c = 1 for our measurement units, so if t>x then velocity, x/t, is less than 1. Something leaving event 1 at less than the speed of light can have an effect on event 2. Now all observers will agree on s^2 so this is true for all observers. All observers agree about the relationship between the events. These events are said to have time-like separation.

So what about events where s^2 is negative (which obviously also means s is a complex, or imaginary, number). This true for any events that are outside the light cone where x is greater than t. Or where v = x/t > 1. So only something going faster than light could get from one to the other. All observers will agree that this is the case. These events are said to have space-like separation. It should be noticed that events on the x-axis , or the x-y plane in the other diagram, always have a space-like separation. My mouse, right this instant, cannot have any effect on my printer, right this instant. It will take time for the signal to travel after I click on the print button for printing to start.

So, Vratko's diagram and discussion of time-like, space-like and null intervals is describing exactly what is objective about space-time. I think this is why I found what you wrote so baffling. You say you want an objective space-time but the math and diagrams describing what the objective parts of space-time it seems you are rejecting.

Jason said...

one property exhibiting entanglement in electrons is, like photons, their spin characteristic

Electrons are spin-1/2 particles and photons are spin-1. Though it was never clear to me how you saw photons encoding the information about what orientation the polarizers are at, I assumed you might say something like, "they are at the same point in space and time and don't need to encode anything." Here we have a different situation. The photons will have to somehow encode and translate the information about orientation since spin-1 and spin-1/2 particles have different relationships to the detector orientation. For spin-1 particles a filter at 0 degrees and another at 90 degrees means all photons will be blocked by the 2nd filter. A 45 degree 2nd filter will block only half. For spin-1/2 it is 180 degrees which "blocks" all and 90 degrees that blocks half. Worse still, the spin of an electron can be detected by using a magnetic field which will have no effect on a photon, so how is the photon getting this information it is encoding, translating and transferring to the electron?

You have spoken of the system creating a geometry but it isn't clear what that could possibly mean with respect to detector orientations. I would also point out that geometry is typically thought of as describing relationships between points in a space. You are insistent that everything is happening at one point. There is no such thing as a geometry of a point.

Electrons, for example, become entangled in various ways, most commonly when entangled photons interact with them

There are other ways that don't involve entangled photons such as just letting them sit next to each other and letting their magnetic poles orient them. They might emit photons while they reorient themselves but that is different from being struck by entangled photons. Any photons emmitted have no reason to travel to the same place the electrons eventually will be sent.

Jason said...

The blog ate 2 of my previous comments, but I have one more and then I'm done.

We all know how a coin flip goes. Half the time you get heads, half the time you get tails. Say you and a friend are flipping different coins miles apart. You are also on the phone with this person. Every time you flip the coin you tell your friend the result. What effect would this have on your friend's coin flip? None, right? Knowing there is a line of communication open would not lead you to deduce that every time you get heads your friend will get tails.

That is what happens with entagled photons though. Lets say we have one photon that we've oriented at 0 degrees. We have a filter at 45 degrees. The photon will either go through or get blocked with 50-50 probability.

Now imagine a pair of entagled photons. One is oriented at 0 degrees and the other is at 90 degrees. Nevermind how we got this information, this is a thought experiment, and if the world works classically we can think about this situation. The filter is still at 45 degrees at both measurements. 45 degrees is 45 degrees from 0 and 45 degrees from 90, so each photon will have a 50-50 chance of going through. There is no reason, classically, why we couldn't see both photons go through. It is analogous to the 2 independent coin flips. The opposite orientations requirement is already satisfied; we said they were at 0 and 90 degrees.

That of course isn't what happens. What actually happens is that the 50% of the times photon 1 goes through is the same 50% of the times the other one is blocked. Everytime you get heads your friend gets tails. Something else is going on. You need more than just a line of communication, you need cheating.

Therefore, how a photon interacts with a polarizer, plus each photon being at emmission and detection simultaneously, does not explain what is actually seen. You can't deduce the entagled behavior just from relativity plus behavior of a single photon.

Jack M said...

Richard,

Seems like your theory would predict this result as well, yes?

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-07-dont-quantum-world-doesnt.html

Jack

ab138501 said...

Richard Carrier said, "It could be polished for a philosophy of science journal, however. But only if it does not have any glaring flaws, which is the stage I'm presently at (i.e. vetting it for conceptual flaws)."

Would it be possible to contact professors who specialize in philosophy of physics, quantum mechanics, and the relationship between QM and relativity and get their take on your paper?

Two professors that come to mind are Tim Maudlin and Jeffery Barrett.

I think that Tim Maudlin is currently a professor at Rutgers. You can find an old copy of his CV at http://www.tau.ac.il/~cohn/seminar/2005-6/Maudlin-CV.pdf.

Tim Maudlin published a book on this topic in 2002. The book is:
Maudlin, Tim. Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity: Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics. Second Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.

Granted, the book was published nine years ago. It's possible that it's out-of-date in certain areas.

Maudlin has published a lot of material about the Bohmian interpretation of QM.

Jefferey Barrett is a professor at University of California at Irvine. You can find his CV at http://www.lps.uci.edu/barrett/Barrett_CV.pdf.

A lot of "Selected Preprints and Papers" by Jefferey Barrett are available at http://www.lps.uci.edu/barrett/papers.html.

Barrett has published a lot of papers about the Everett interpretation of QM and variations thereof.

Richard Carrier said...

Jason said… From the paper: if CN5 still explains what is happening, then the two electron detectors must have an entangled pair of photons connecting (a) the two detectors in the future (at the specific points in time when the electrons will collide with those detectors) to (b) the two electrons themselves at the moment of their entanglement This is not possible on logical grounds. You are saying to think of the photons being emitted from the future and traveling to the past but you can look at it the other way too.

No, for the photon, there is no future or past. It's all simultaneous. But you are confusing two different things...

The photon is there when the electrons are entangled, it travels through space (at least according to an outside observer), and then hits the detector at the same time the electrons do. The photons and electrons are traveling at different speeds! How can they leave from the same place, travel at different speeds, and arrive at a new place at the same exact time?

That's not what my theory requires. All it requires is zero distance between the photon at electron detection (i.e. the electron's moment of decoherence) and the photon at electron entanglement, which is accomplished by photons (as in more than one), not the electron. In other words, the electron has information about where it will end up because it is connected to its destination by a network of entangled photons, not because it travels at the same speed as a single photon. From the POV of the photons, everything has already happened--the electron has already arrived at the detector the instant it departs the emitter, because all time is simultaneous for the photon. Thus if there is a chain of entangled photons between time 1 (electron emission) and time 2 (electron detection), no matter how much time passes between 1 and 2, there is zero time and distance between those points along the path of those entangled photons (or whatever massless bosons happen to be involved in this).

I think your confusion arises from the fact that the sentence you are quoting is referring only to the entanglement of the electrons, which obviously can't happen until the photons have connected up the apparatus, i.e. they have already arrived "at" the electrons, thus causing the electrons to become entangled (your reference to light cones is thus irrelevant there: the photons have already been observed to arrive). Those photons carry information between the electrons, not the electrons and their detectors ("miles away").

The issue is then how the electrons remain entangled so as to be influenced at entanglement by a future detection event, and that is what my subsequent sentences discuss, in which I posit a network of photons (not the same ones mentioned in the sentence you quote) connecting the electron to its future detector, the absence of which (i.e. if no network of photons thus connects up those two events) destroys entanglement and thus you won't see EPR results at all (as in fact we don't).

Whether this is possible is a question I haven't the physics and mathematics skill to answer. That is, whether there can be a series of entangled photons between time-space point 1 (emitter) and time-space point 2 (detector). There is nothing logically impossible about that. But it has to be physically possible in every actual EPR scenario for my hypothesis to be correct (and conversely, if every time it is not physically possible, EPR phenomena disappear, my theory would then have strong empirical confirmation, exactly the point I make toward the end of my paper).

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said... My version of STR says the opposite.

So we are just talking about competing hypotheses. You can't refute one hypothesis by simply proposing another. We need evidence to adjudicate between them to know which hypothesis is correct. That's what I'm asking for.

All my hypothesis states is that, e.g., when a hypothetical astronaut travels to Mars at c and thus instantly appears on Mars, there really was no time between her departure and arrival--for her, time actually collapsed and all points between (which we observe as consuming a whole half hour or so) become the same one point in time (just for her, not for us). And as for time, so for space.

I don't see your hypothesis explaining what happens to that half an hour for the astronaut who zips through it in zero time. For her, departure and arrival occur at exactly the same point in time. If not, then where did the time in between go? Are you proposing she is magically thrown into a half-hour-long coma by STR?

I thus don't fathom what you are proposing.

The only relevant thing you seem to have said is that "I do not know which equations...would imply 'photon knows its future'." But do you know the answers to these questions: (1) is it logically impossible that a photon knows its future? (2) is there empirical evidence against the hypothesis that a photon knows its future? (3) if a photon knows its future, is the only way this could be, the fact that space-time collapses for the photon so that all its locations share the same point in space (just as they all share the same point in time), or is there some other way a photon could know its future on present physics? (And if "yes," are there tests that could tell the two explanations apart, assuming we have already established that photons know their future?)

Richard Carrier said...

Jason said... It isn't clear to me what you imagine to be the distinction between real and apparent. Does it make some difference in the mathematics? If so then what are the differences?

The very difference Vratko is proposing: I am saying the equations entailed by STR describe what is really happening (when no time passes between position 1 and 2, all points in time for that traveling object between 1 and 2 are for it the same one point in time), and he is saying it is some sort of illusion, that these points in time are still separated somehow even for the traveling object. I don't quite understand how that could be or how one derives it from, e.g., the Lorentz transformation. He seems to be assuming a theoretical framework that has not been verified empirically (and that is not entailed by STR), and then assuming that this framework describes the phenomena predicted by STR, and then he discusses the mathematics of that framework.

Thus the issue is not disagreeing over the same mathematics, but disagreeing over which mathematics actually applies. And my point is simply that his math is not entailed by STR. That's indeed the gist of my paper's core thesis.

The time axis is measured by how many ticks there are on a clock co-moving with the observer.

This is the debate you seem to be overlooking. You can get a gist of it by reading Greene's books and his opposition to string theory because it entails an objective spacetime, which he rejects. In his view, space doesn't exist independently of things in it, it's just the relative distance between things. Thus he would agree with you that time is "just" how many ticks of a clock there are. I am saying (as other physicists do, e.g. all string theorists, including Hawking) that that is incorrect. That time is a real thing independently of any ticks or clocks, it's an actual dimension that can be stretched and compressed and twisted, and thus have geometrical properties regardless of who is observing what. Our observations are then perspective-constrained views of the same geometric object.

Thus, when a traveler hits c, time as a dimension is compressed to a single point. We observe this as frozen time. We see the traveler then pass through (say) a half an hour of our time (because where we are, time is not squished). We are observing a single point in time that appears smeared over a half an hour of time, but that's just our perspective. Objectively, it's a single point in time over there, a half an hour of it over here.

Thus, contra Vratko, for the traveler the points in time (which we clock as half an hour's worth) are not still separated in any way. They are in actual objective fact all now the same one point in time.

And as for time, so for space.

That's what our dispute is about. And it's purely hypothetical, because there is so far (so far as I know) no evidence refuting one over the other (which is why quantum loopers and string theorists can still disagree over which is really the case).

Richard Carrier said...

Jason said… it was never clear to me how you saw photons encoding the information about what orientation the polarizers are at

Because I specifically said I didn't know. My hypothesis would, if correct, then call for exploring how this interaction might operate (as my paper explains).

It's akin to talking about gravity causing the motion of the planets (Newton) while not yet knowing how exactly it does that (i.e. what the interaction really is or what mechanism communicates the information), or likewise talking about mass curving space-time (Einstein) without proposing how or why (i.e. how exactly it is that mass has any effect on space-time or why it has that specific effect as we measure it to be). By analogy, if my theory can explain EPR phenomena (or indeed if it is verified directly in any of the ways I suggest or any other), then we would have reason to then ask exactly how this effect is achieved (just as we've been asking this of mass and gravity though we still haven't quite answered that question, either).

Worse still, the spin of an electron can be detected by using a magnetic field which will have no effect on a photon, so how is the photon getting this information it is encoding, translating and transferring to the electron?

The issue is not the photon's spin, but the filter's geometry. The photon is communicating properties of that geometry (indeed, by its actually existing: a different filter arrangement would create a different series of photons). In the photon EPR case, the photon is created literally in the same space as its future detector and thus is caused to have its polarity by the relative geometry of the filters involved, per my water pressure analogy earlier above. Since that works so well for photons, and the same exact thing happens to electrons, the principle of common explanation prevails: statistically, it would be improbable for the exact same bizarre phenomena to have a completely different explanation in each case. Therefore, we should infer (if we grant the photon EPR case) that something about the physical geometry of the electron detectors itself causes the electrons' spins. This geometry is only communicated by the photons. How, exactly, is not a problem my theory solves. It merely predicts there will be a solution and therefore we should look for one. (Per the mass/gravity analogy above.)

I would also point out that geometry is typically thought of as describing relationships between points in a space. You are insistent that everything is happening at one point. There is no such thing as a geometry of a point.

You are confusing direction of motion. Space is only collapsed on the axis of motion, not on any axis perpendicular to or otherwise out of alignment with that axis. The geometry of the filter that affects photon passage is perpendicular to the photon's direction of motion. It is therefore not reduced to a point. It is reduced to a two dimensional sheet. And two dimensional sheets can certainly have geometry.

There are other ways that don't involve entangled photons such as just letting them sit next to each other and letting their magnetic poles orient them.

Ahem. How do you think magnetic poles communicate? Photons.

Any photons emmitted have no reason to travel to the same place the electrons eventually will be sent.

And if electrons only ever emitted or absorbed a single photon in the whole of their existence, that would be a problem.

How do you think electrons even find each other in space so as to repel each other by like charges? Magic? ESP? Or a vast sea of photon interactions, which by random statistical inevitability will always hit each other? The question answers itself.

Richard Carrier said...

Jason said… What effect would this have on your friend's coin flip? None, right? Knowing there is a line of communication open would not lead you to deduce that every time you get heads your friend will get tails.

It's not about knowledge. It's about physical causation and geometry. If your coin was not being flipped but being dropped through a coin-flipping machine (the analog to a polarizing filter) and that machine occupied the same physical space as mine (through photons connecting them), then indeed we can have no prior idea what to expect, other than that it would not be strange if they were curiously always in alignment (e.g. if your coin always came out the exact opposite of mine), it would only remain to discover how the geometry of the system brings about that result.

Everytime you get heads your friend gets tails. Something else is going on.

I agree. My theory does not address why particle pairs obey the rules they do, it only takes that as an observed given (as it was long even before EPR experiments were imagined), and then proposes where the causal mechanism is that we should be looking for (i.e. it is somewhere in the geometry of the filter-photon-electron system).

Richard Carrier said...

Jack M said... Seems like your theory would predict this result as well, yes?

Sorry, I don't see the connection.

Richard Carrier said...

ab138501 said... Would it be possible to contact professors who specialize in philosophy of physics, quantum mechanics, and the relationship between QM and relativity and get their take on your paper?

Sure, if you know any so as to recommend me to them, please do so.

It's probably futile to just blindly send the paper around. No one has any reason to pay any attention. They have plenty else to do and no prior reason to think this is worth their time. All of us professionals need someone we trust to recommend something as worth our time to examine. That's how we avoid being drowned in email the rest of our lives: we simply have to ignore most of it.

Even so, given how close their work is to mine, I can try blind sends to Maudlin and Barrett. But I can't find Maudlin. He is no longer at Rutgers. I've emailed Barrett. But without a personal reference, I'm not very optimistic of any substantial reply. But thanks for recommending them.

ab138501 said...

Richard said, "I can't find Maudlin. He is no longer at Rutgers."

I found a rumor that he is moving from Rutgers to NYU. I found it at http://takingupspacetime.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/faculty-move-tim-maudlin-from-rutgers-to-nyu/

I highly recommend Maudlin's book "Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity". You can preview it at http://books.google.com/books?id=dBkRiBzq4r4C

Vratko Polák said...

Richard Carrier said... You can't refute one hypothesis by simply proposing another. We need evidence to adjudicate between them to know which hypothesis is correct.

Evidence can distinguish between incompatible full theories, but the two hypotheses in question are just theoretic frameworks. To turn them into full theories, they need to be completed, for example by stating the equation system to solve. I can only say, that my "one frame" framework is used by several established theories, but I am not familiar with any equations suitable for your "many frames" framework.

I don't see your hypothesis explaining what happens to that half an hour for the astronaut who zips through it in zero time.

It is established that any clock measures the same time. So we can use photon clock and compute the time dilatation. It turns out that in the case of velocity equal to c, photon clock makes zero ticks between Earth and Mars.

And because time is relative, there was no that half an hour to which something was needed to happen.

Are you proposing she is magically thrown into a half-hour-long coma by STR?

Well, you may call it coma, but I personally say "time apparently stops" instead of "clock is in coma". Anyway, there is no magic involved, just pure physics.

(1) is it logically impossible that a photon knows its future?

No, it is not impossible. It would create problems for (various degrees of) causality, but causality is not required by fundamental physics.

(2) is there empirical evidence against the hypothesis that a photon knows its future?

No. But no experiment has extracted such knowledge. And maybe more important is that photons seem to completely obey deterministic laws, as we can tell. (Also true for quantum mechanics from the point of view of many worlds intepretation.)

So it is possible that photons know their future, but they act as if they did not know.

or is there some other way a photon could know its future on present physics?

In mainstream physics, photons do not know their future. But there are some alternative theories, for example transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, whose proponents say it is in accordance with experiments.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said... And because time is relative, there was no that half an hour to which something was needed to happen.

Therefore, there was no "that 90 million miles" over which she crossed, either. My point exactly. Relativity eliminates distance just as it does time, as soon as you reach velocity c. And once you do that, my theory follows. QED.

Vratko Polák said...

Richard Carrier said... Relativity eliminates distance just as it does time, as soon as you reach velocity c. And once you do that, my theory follows. QED.

Yes, relativity eliminates "the distance", but there are still some absolute quantities left, for example "minimal time interval measured on Earth between astronaut's departure from Earth and her arrival back from Mars" (that depends on starting date). But it is just a physical detail, probably not important for your theory.

However, I still do not see how your theory follows. From the point of view of the astronaut, at one instant of time she is on Earth, and at "the next instant" of time she is on Mars. She cannot tell if it were two instants or just one, but she can tell she is suddenly somewhere else. Distance and time may be eliminated, but she does not feel it as one point in spacetime.

Also, we can look at the following magical analogy. The astronaout visits a powerful wizard on Earth. He turns her into stone, loads the statue of her into a giant trebuchet, throws her to Mars, where his colleague wizard turns her back from stone. Again, time was eliminated, whole journey happened at one subjective instant of time. But the astronaut never knew her future, and the first wizard thus cannot learn about how it looks like on Mars just by thoroughly examining the statue.

In my view, photons behave as such magical statues. They feel zero time between their creation and detection, but they know nothing about the orientation (or even existence) of detectors.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said... From the point of view of the astronaut, at one instant of time she is on Earth, and at "the next instant" of time she is on Mars. She cannot tell if it were two instants or just one, but she can tell she is suddenly somewhere else. Distance and time may be eliminated, but she does not feel it as one point in spacetime.

"Feeling" is perception, not fact. It does not matter what she "feels." The question is: if she cannot tell whether the two instants are the same, how can she claim to know they are not? That's my point. It is not known. Therefore, we cannot declare the two points to be separate (for her), because we have no such knowledge.

It's a matter of logic: either (a) those are two separate points in time (yet somehow zero time separates them, a logical contradiction) or (b) they are the same point in time. Even if we go with (a), the distance between those two points is still zero (zero time separates them, as she does indeed experience to be the case), thus my theory still follows, because as zero time separates them, zero space does as well. The two points are thus connected, for her, by zero distance and time. Everything else is semantics.

The only way to counter this is if you can come up with some "actual" distance between the two points that somehow she does not experience, and you then have to explain how it is that she does not experience it, and more importantly, what exactly that distance is, since it isn't the same distance observed by us on earth (at least not according to Relativity).

So what is that distance, if it is not zero?

The astronaout visits a powerful wizard on Earth. He turns her into stone, loads the statue of her into a giant trebuchet, throws her to Mars, where his colleague wizard turns her back from stone. Again, time was eliminated, whole journey happened at one subjective instant of time. But the astronaut never knew her future, and the first wizard thus cannot learn about how it looks like on Mars just by thoroughly examining the statue.

That analogy fails because it presumes the very thing we need to test: whether the statue (the actual thing that flew) knew its future. EPR experiments would suggest it does, e.g. if the statue could be entangled with another, and the Mars wizard flipped a filter just before the statue arrived, the statue somehow knew its future (the filter it would encounter) before it even left earth. That does not prove the hypothesis that it knew its future, because there are other (albeit equally bizarre) ways to explain that (e.g. there are infinitely many other worlds that just happen to exist and split off continually to account for this instead). But it is consistent with the future-knowing hypothesis. And there is no empirical evidence that is inconsistent with that hypothesis. Correct?

I must also add the second reason your analogy fails: the information about Mars that this statue would "know" would only be known when the statue was traveling at c. That's why the earth Wizard can't learn anything about Mars by examining the statue--the statue only has information about Mars precisely when the earth Wizard can no longer catch up to it (even if he traveled at c himself).

In my view, photons behave as such magical statues. They feel zero time between their creation and detection, but they know nothing about the orientation (or even existence) of detectors.

That's one hypothesis. I propose the other. The issue is: which hypothesis is true? Thus the question is: Are they both coherent? And is there any empirical evidence favoring one over the other?

Vratko Polák said...

So, my magical analogy failed to be correct for your hypothesis (many frames and photons know their future). But I presume the analogy is correct with respect to my hypothesis. So I want to know, whether I was successful when answering your question: I don't see your hypothesis explaining what happens to that half an hour for the astronaut who zips through it in zero time with magical analogy (with magical conservation substituted by time dilatation).

I agree that time is eliminated, in the sense that the object (statue, astronaut, or photon) does not change its internal state while travelling. So it is just one instant of time for the object, even if it is apparently an interval for other observers.

But this is not where the two hypotheses diverge. The question is whether the unchanging internal state "knows future". So I see how your theory follows from elimination of time AND assumption that there is some influence form the apparent future. I do not see how your theory follows from elimination of time alone, because my theory seems to agree on that.

ab138501 said...

Richard – I just sent you an email that has a four-page word document attached to it. The subject line of the email is “Technical response to Calling All Physicists blog entry”. I am skeptical of the premises and conclusions in your EPRPaperCarrier2011b.doc, but even if we grant that your premises and conclusions are somehow true, I think that your proposal still fails. The four-page word document contains a technical explanation (written by someone else) of the reasons why I think that the proposal in your EPRPaperCarrier2011b.doc almost certainly fails to reconcile STR/GTR and the violations of Bell’s inequalities that occur in EPR experiments. The attached document contains excerpts from two different editions of the same book. The attached document also contains MLA-style references and page numbers so that you will be able to look up the book and read more if you’re interested.

chancecosm said...

If time and space contract to exactly 0 from the point of origin of a photon to the point of arrival, then everything we see in the night sky is actually being tunneled to us instantly, from an actual point in space-time that exists right "now."

That means even if it took 4 million years for a message to reach us from a planet X, it would actually be reaching us instantly from the point of view of the senders, so long as the message they sent were entangled with a part they left behind. That means they would still exist now.

How profound is that? They actually exist still, not just in the past, given that we are entangled quantum mechanically, they would exist right now. Not only that, but the entire universe is technically right on top of us, instantly, right here.

Imagine we entangle a message from them with our photons, then send an entangled message back to their world. It would then arrive instantly, and communication would be established through a sort of contracted space-time entanglement chain.

The crazy thing is we'd be communicating with a planet that is actually further back in time. In fact, given beings who can manipulate quantum entanglement, we could set up these entanglement hubs all throughout space-time and communicate anywhere in all the universe past and present instantly.

I remember on my first read through of Richards EPR paper he mentions that quantum entanglement is a very finicky process. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to entangle more than one set of massless bosons in a row. For example, entangle two, then send them on, and then entangle them with another set, and so on and so on? All the while maintaining entanglement between all of them. If chaining entanglements together is possible, I don't see how any of what I said before it isn't as well.

Lol, nevermind me if I'm blabbing nonsense. I can't get enough of this stuff. I'll have to wait until I understand it more. Back to reading...

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said… I agree that time is eliminated, in the sense that the object (statue, astronaut, or photon) does not change its internal state while travelling. So it is just one instant of time for the object, even if it is apparently an interval for other observers.

But time is a location not an "internal state." So either an object at c crosses half an hour of time while magically frozen somehow (a phenomenon Relativity Theory would not even explain, since it nowhere talks about velocity freezing processes, but about time literally dilating, yes?) or an object doesn't change it's internal state simply because time has shrunk to zero (leaving no time in which its internal state can change). The latter is my hypothesis. The other would seem to be yours, which would make it unscientific. So I must assume I am still missing something.

The question is whether the unchanging internal state "knows future". So I see how your theory follows from elimination of time AND assumption that there is some influence form the apparent future. I do not see how your theory follows from elimination of time alone, because my theory seems to agree on that.

You must have lost track. I have been talking about time because what you said about space doesn't work for time but RT entails the same effect applies to both. So if time is shrunk to zero, so is space. If space is shrunk to zero, then the emitter and detector occupy the same point in space, and thus influence each other directly--not really "from the future" (nothing goes "back" in time--it travels across exactly zero time, thus doesn't move at all, neither forward nor backward in time). It only seems to be from the future to us, because in our reference frame the detector looks to be in the photon's future. But the photon actually exists simultaneously at all points in time, so the detector is not really in the photon's future (or at least, in the photon's reference frame, the detector is not in its future, but exists at exactly the same time as the photon's emitter). In other words, in its own reference frame the photon has no future (or past), rather it occupies in the whole of its life exactly zero time, being created and destroyed in that same space of time, in other words, at exactly the same time.

Or so I would propose. I haven't yet seen any evidence it's impossible or incompatible with RT. But then maybe it's been too hard to get across what I am arguing. Hopefully it's getting clearer?

Richard Carrier said...

chancecosm said… everything we see in the night sky is actually being tunneled to us instantly, from an actual point in space-time that exists right "now."

Not in our reference frame, only in the reference frame of the photons making the transit. But it does mean we are literally adjacent to the stars, via the photons connecting us, just still only in a light-speed reference frame (which we ourselves are not in).

It would actually be reaching us instantly from the point of view of the senders…

No, the senders aren't traveling at c. It would be "instantly" only from the point of view of the photons being sent.

That means they would still exist now.

In the photon's reference frame, yes. In our reference frame, no.

(e.g. in a photon's reference frame, all time during it's existence is the exact same time, i.e. every time is "now," and thus there is no "before" and "after" for a photon, but there is for us, because we are moving so slowly)

They actually exist still, not just in the past, given that we are entangled quantum mechanically, they would exist right now. Not only that, but the entire universe is technically right on top of us, instantly, right here.

I think this is in a sense what physicists advocating holographic theory are proposing: that there is no actual distance between many of the objects in the universe. In their view, the universe is akin to the inside of a black hole, such that all that actually exists is smeared out in two dimensions over the surface of that black hole, and what we "see" is just a projection of that surface into the interior. The actual things themselves are on its surface, but what we "see" is an interior filled with stuff. On this view, objects traveling at c just are objects adjacent to each other, which fact we observe as traveling at c. Other objects are distant from each other on that surface, but that distance is not the same as the distance we observe objects to be apart from each other: the distances we observe are illusions, just projections (in much the same way a shadow of a person can seem much taller than the actual person). There actually is some evidence for this view (it explains a lot of strange things), but nothing conclusive as yet.

Imagine we entangle a message from them with our photons, then send an entangled message back to their world. It would then arrive instantly, and communication would be established through a sort of contracted space-time entanglement chain.

Unfortunately that would be impossible. Since we can't move at the speed of light, we can't turn it around fast enough to maintain the entanglement.

For example, though they could entangle one of their photons with one of our electrons (say, in your car's antenna), the instant that photon is detected, its entanglement is ended, it decoheres. In fact, you have to cause decoherence to detect the photon at all, and thus to detect the information it contains. And once that happens, entanglement is over.

Likewise, though they would technically be connected to our antenna at the instant it arrives, they can't detect any information about that antenna because they have to know the configuration of the whole transmitter-antenna system to know how the information in the antenna changes any information in the transmitter. For instance, even if they measure the paired photon on their end and determine its polarity, thus allowing them to deduce the polarity of the photon on your end, they don't actually know that that photon landed on earth as opposed to anywhere else in the universe. Thus they can't even deduce that it reached an antenna, much less deduce anything about that antenna.

Richard Carrier said...

ab138501: Thank you for that. I'll look it over and report back here.

Vratko Polák said...

Richard Carrier said... But time is a location not an "internal state."

For me, time is just the quantity measured by clock. Time as a location is a more complicated concept. If I was the astronaut in my magical analogy, I would have problem answering what was my location at the "moment" of travelling. But I would not have such a big problem telling what my internal state was, or what was the time of the "moment" according to my wrist watch.

So either an object at c crosses half an hour of time while magically frozen somehow (a phenomenon Relativity Theory would not even explain, since it nowhere talks about velocity freezing processes, but about time literally dilating, yes?) or an object doesn't change it's internal state simply because time has shrunk to zero (leaving no time in which its internal state can change).

There are two kinds of "freezing". First kind works by lowering temperature, slowing down chemical processes in living objects, but otherwise not affecting time. Imagine coma, hibernation, or a stereopytical mammoth inside a block of ice. What is common for this processes is that clocks still work, an object can tell how long it has been frozen just by looking at wrist watch.

In the second kind of freezing, not only chemical processes, but all physical processes are affected in the same way. An external observer might say it looks like paused video, but the frozen object cannot tell whether it was frozen at all, without logically inferring from sudden change of its environment. This is the kind of freezing the time dilatation can look like. I was talking about this kind of freezing in my magical analogy, wrist watch of the statue being freezed as well.

I understand that if you consider time to be a location, frozen statue is something quite different from entire journey compacted to one point. I just say that nature of physical equations is much closer to "time is quantity measured by clock" view.

The latter is my hypothesis. The other would seem to be yours, which would make it unscientific. So I must assume I am still missing something.

In my view, time dilatation is physically equivalent to both frozen statue and elimination of time (by identifying journey endpoints). Of course, there is ontological difference, but in my hypothesis such difference is not observable.

If space is shrunk to zero, then the emitter and detector occupy the same point in space, and thus influence each other directly--not really "from the future"

I believe now is the time for another fantasy analogy. It looks like a door, a gate, a mirror; it is called a portal; and what it does is instant travel. This time we do not know the mechanics, and it really looks like traveler crosses zero distance but ends up somewhere else. Some portals can even work as time machines, when the "exit" part of the portal is in "different time" than "entrance" part of the portal. (Wormholes are similar, but travelling through them usually takes some time, so I will talk about portals only.)

The important thing is there are two types of portal. One-way and two-way. You can "step back" through two-way portal, but not through one-way portal.

In some level of abstraction, photons, light-speed astronauts or magical statue astronauts travel in a way equivalent to portal travel. But one question remains, is it a one-way portal or two-way portal. My hypothesis says: one-way, in all three cases. Just because equations admit causality, so only travels from apparent past to apparent future are permitted.

I would say that from your point of view, magical statue is equivalent to one-way portal, EPR photon is a two-way portal, and we are still discussing about light-speed astronaut.

What I want to say is this. One-way portal eliminates both time and distance, but still preserves causality. I do not see why do you need photons to sacrifice (apparent) causality just to make two-way portal.

chancecosm said...

Vratko: I don't really see how this is relevant, but your hypothetical "one way portal" would not need to sacrifice causation. It'd only sacrifice causation in one direction. Causation isn't necessarily temporal (by any working definition I've ever come across.)

As for the rest of what you said I have no comment's to make because it's over my head ;)

"Not in our reference frame, only in the reference frame of the photons making the transit. But it does mean we are literally adjacent to the stars, via the photons connecting us, just still only in a light-speed reference frame (which we ourselves are not in)."

Thanks, that clears up my confusion. It's not quite what I imagined it, but it's still rather profound.

As for holographic theory, I think I've read that very article before, which is probably why I thought of this. It was (again) profoundly amusing for me to imagine that "the spherical event horizon surrounding a black hole is just big enough to inscribe all of the information within on its surface," (from the article.) What would this encoding look like? Binary code floating in a ring in space? I wished they had clarified this more.

"And those grains may correspond to the pixels at the Universe's boundary." Lol. This is awesome. You could imagine the entirety of the universe to there for all eternity. Your whole life, everything you do and will do, everything. Lets go one step further: Perhaps we could gain access to this ring (because, after all, it could be adjacent to us,) and read the information, we could then create computers to simulate the past or the future. Neato :p

"In fact, you have to cause decoherence to detect the photon at all, and thus to detect the information it contains."

My hope is that one day we understand all of quantum physics classically, and can accurately trace every event causally such as we can with macro-physics. I still don't understand to this day how it _couldn't be possible_ that we simply don't know enough about the underlying forces of nature to figure out what's going on within a quantum system without collapsing it.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling but philosophy is just unendingly fun to me. That's why I like science so much -- it gives us unarbitrary rules to limit the extent to which we can imagine without feeling foolish or absurd. I still have so much I want to know. I need to make friends with some theoretical physicists (social learning just works for me ;)

chancecosm said...

Reading up, this you said just now sank in:

"where everything is immediately adjacent to everything else and only appears separated in space according to perspective, with low energy states (resting objects) appearing slower and more separated from each other than high energy states (speed of light)"

All of what we see and the space between it being simply the product of these adjacent particles moving slower than the speed of light. That's astonishing to think about.

You then mention how from the boson's POV (point of view) it'd look like we're travelling at light speed. Hmm. So we're all strapped to this holographic ring or point (outside of spacetime?) and the entire universe and all of time is simply projected outward like a flash of light. Meanwhile, every detail within the projection views every other detail as this mess of locality between space and time. Okay, I think I've got it.

=]

Larkus said...

Richard Carrier said:

I have to give props to Christian apologist William Lane Craig who gives his own example of a bowling ball depressing a pillow: even when zero time passes, we are observing causation (the depression would not exist or have the shape it does but for the ball, therefore the ball is causing the depression even if no time ever exists).

You should rather credit Immanuel Kant. He came up with this example of simultaneous causation in Critique of Pure Reason.

Nonetheless, I am sceptical of this example. Doesn't this example presuppose the existence of gravity? Does gravity propagate instantly or has it a speed limit?

Richard Carrier said...

Larkus said... You should rather credit Immanuel Kant.

Immanuel Kant knew about bowling balls? I thought he was only barely acquainted with pillows. :-)

Doesn't this example presuppose the existence of gravity?

No, only geometry. (The example could obtain even in orbit, and even if the ball and pillow are in the same reference frame.) But even gravity need not have any basis in time. It's not as if when time stops (as for a photon traveling at the speed of light) gravity suddenly doesn't operate. But geometry is all one needs. "Why is there no pillowiness in the middle of the pillow? Because a bowling ball is there." The ball is causing, by its mere presence, the pillow to have a certain shape.

Richard Carrier said...

Vratko Polák said... I just say that nature of physical equations is much closer to "time is quantity measured by clock" view.

The one entails the other. Thus you cannot logically maintain they are different or separable. Imagine if you said "I just say that the nature of physical space is much closer to 'space is a a quantity measured by a ruler' than to 'space is a network of connected locations through which objects move'."

How can an object move the length of a ruler, but not change its location in space? Illogical. As for space, so for time. Thus you can't have your definition of space-time without ending up also with mine. But in any case, it is unscientific to say "the theory that space-time is a network of connected locations is false" unless you can scientifically prove it is false. Talk of "I think the equations make it look more like there are no locations in space or time" is simply not scientific. We just have two theories of what space-time is, and only time will tell which is correct (and my proposed experiment is one way to do that).

The important thing is there are two types of portal. One-way and two-way. You can "step back" through two-way portal, but not through one-way portal.

But photons exist at all points in their history simultaneously. They never even step forward, much less ever step backward. That's the point. That's why you can't have the analogy you are imagining: the photon isn't moving at all. Thus there can be no "portal you step back through vs. portal you can only step forward through" because there is no stepping, period, forward or backward. Thus the distinction you draw is logically impossible for a photon in its own reference frame.

Thus when you remark I do not see why do you need photons to sacrifice (apparent) causality just to make two-way portal, this still misunderstands what my paper argues. I neither need to sacrifice causality, nor do I need a two-way portal. All I need is a static, timeless photon state, a single static, unmoving, never "stepping" anywhere, object connecting the emitter and detector, and for that static entity to have a length of zero. Relativity Theory directly entails both, so that's not even the controversial part of my theory.

Finally, we already have the backwards-stepping portals you think don't exist: antimatter. All physicists agree antimatter is positive matter traveling backwards in time. That's not my theory. That's standard, mainstream physics. And photons, all physicists agree, are simultaneously their own anti-particles. Thus they travel forward and backward in time simultaneously, and they do this the only logically possible way it can be done: by not moving at all, but existing simultaneously at all points on its direction of travel. Again, that's pretty much standard, mainstream physics.

It's what I do with all that is uncertain.