This past weekend, I had the opportunity to walk among giants…well…at least figuratively speaking. I got to participate in panel discussion with Dr. Steve Austin, Dr. John Baumgardner, and Dr. John Sanford. Anyone who has spent much time researching the origins issue will recognize at least one of these individuals, as they are all excellent scientists who write and do research from a creationist perspective. I didn’t think I belonged on the panel, since I consider them all to be much more accomplished and talented scientists than me, but the people at the Creation Science Fellowship in Costa Mesa, California seemed to think I could contribute to the discussion, so I was included.
While the panel discussion was well attended and very productive (I will discuss it a bit in a moment), the most exciting aspect of the trip for me was meeting Dr. Sanford. He is an incredibly gifted geneticist. For example, he co-invented the “gene gun,” a device that can introduce DNA from one organism into a completely different species of organism. He has also done some excellent creationist research (see here and here, for example) and has written what I consider to be the best book about genetics and evolution, Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of The Genome. I have discussed parts of it in previous posts (see here and here).
I was also thrilled to hear about an organization he is leading, which is called Logos Research Associates. It is a group of scientists who are committed to doing original, cutting-edge scientific research from a creationist perspective. Their current projects investigate issues in oceanography, genetics, geophysics, and geology. The more I discussed his organization and its projects, the more excited I became. The projects are incredibly interesting, and the way they are addressing the scientific issues involved is spot-on. He told me about a couple of papers that are in the process of being finalized right now, and once they are published, you can bet that I will write about them.
Scientists like Dr. Sanford and organizations like Logos Research Associates make me think that the future of creation science is very bright.
Of course, the main reason I traveled to Costa Mesa was to participate in a panel discussion that was entitled, “Everything You Wanted to Know about Creation Versus Evolution but Were Afraid to Ask.” Essentially, the four of us (Dr. Austin, Dr. Baumgardner, Dr. Sanford, and myself) sat at a table and answered questions from a packed house. Many of the audience members were laypeople, but there were roughly 20 scientists in the audience as well, and probably half of them had Ph.D.’s. Sometimes, one of them would chime in on areas related to his or her speciality.
When the panel discussion began, we each introduced ourselves and discussed our areas of expertise. I was last, which was good, because I had the least to say. In fact, I introduced myself as the “midget” on a panel of giants. I kept silent for most of the questions, since many of them had to do with biology, earth science, genetics, and geology. The other members of the panel were significantly more qualified to discuss those issues than I was. However, I did contribute where I thought I had something useful to add.
The most interesting question I decided to tackle was about quantum mechanics. The questioner said that quantum mechanics seems to contradict some basic laws of logic. For example, it is obvious that an object cannot be in two different places at the same time. Consider your car. It can’t simultaneously be in your garage and on the highway. However, quantum mechanics seems to contradicts that. It says that a particle can be in two different places at the same time. He wondered whether or not we agreed with that.
Since I was the only one who had used quantum mechanics in his research, I took a stab at that one. I said that quantum mechanics is a really difficult theory that is mostly mathematical. As a result, it is often misused and misunderstood. Quantum mechanics doesn’t really state that a particle can be in two different places at the same time. What it does say is that you cannot determine the precise location of a particle. Instead, its position in space (and possibly time) is based on probability. For example, Thomas Young did a classic experiment in which he shined light on two closely-placed slits. The pattern of light on the other side of the slits was just what you would expect if a large wave had hit the two slits. This demonstrated that light is a wave.
It turns out you can do the same experiment with electrons, and if you look at how the electrons come out the other side, you see exactly the same pattern. Even if you shoot the electrons at the slits one at a time, the pattern still emerges. This demonstrates that under the conditions of the experiment, the electrons behave like waves. Many people therefore conclude that the electron had to pass through both slits at the same time (like a wave would), and therefore, the electron must have been in two places at once.
But that’s just one interpretation of the experimental results, and it is not a particularly good one. In fact, it cannot be supported mathematically. Mathematically, the electron’s interactions with the world are governed by an equation called a “wave function,” and that wave function produces only probabilities for where the electron is. You can’t say exactly where any particular electron is. You can only say that there is a certain percentage chance that you can find it at one place, and there is a certain percentage chance that you find it at another place. From a mathematical standpoint, it isn’t in both places at the same time. It is in one place, but that place cannot be exactly determined.
The reason you see the same result with electrons and light in a double-slit experiment is because both of them are governed by wave functions. As a result, when you use a lot of them in your experiment, you will get the results you expect for a wave. It’s not that a single photon or a single electron passed through both slits at the same time. It’s that with many photons or many electrons, you can finally see the results of the probabilities that are produced by the wave function. This is very difficult to communicate, so instead, it is easier to say things like, “the electrons passed through both slits at the same time.”
Now please understand that quantum mechanics does seem to say some strange things, but that’s mostly because of two issues. First, we are trying to relate what happens at the atomic scale to what we generally experience. However, we don’t experience things at the atomic scale. As a result, we are trying to relate two entirely different worlds. That can lead to a misunderstanding of what is really happening at the atomic scale.
Second, we are trying to take mathematical truths and say them with words. That can lead to a corruption of what the mathematics is actually saying. Nearly 400 years ago, Galileo wrote:
[The universe] cannot be read until we have learnt the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word.
The more we study science, the more it becomes clear that Galileo was right. The universe is written in a mathematical language, and often when we “translate” that language into words, we corrupt its meaning. The can be particularly true when trying to communicate the details of quantum mechanics with people who do not know the mathematics involved.
Please note that the panel discussion will eventually be posted to YouTube, on this channel. I will post the actual link here when I notice that it has become available.
UPDATE (2/19/17): The panel discussion can now be found here.
30 thoughts on “The Future of Creation Science is Bright”
This post is bittersweet… Costa Mesa is literally 15 minutes away from me in Huntington Beach! I don’t know that I could have attended even had I known – I’m still recovering from a serious illness and tied to a hospital schedule of daily IV infusions for Staph Aureus.
Oh well, I will wait very anxiously for the video. I’m only familiar with Dr. Sanford – and that’s because of you. But, WOW, his logic in regards to genetic entropy seems bullet proof. I’ll have to read up on the other two panelists.
I think you are right in suggesting the future of Creation Science looks bright. Not just because the science looks so good, but I’m also noticing an interfaith aspect to it that seemed to be lacking before. I’ve been watching presentations by a fellow named Hugh Owen who runs the Kolbe Institute – a Catholic organization named after St. Maximillian Kolbe which defends the “literal sacred history” of Genesis and defends Special Creation with a veracity I’ve yet to see from any Catholic. He’s also been very blunt in pointing out that a literal Adam & Eve and Special Creation are still official Catholic dogma – in spite of what the Catholic Universities and Papal personal opinion would lead you to believe. He’s a great speaker and does gives credit to the Evangelical community for “carrying the water” on this issue.
Sorry about this long post, but you know I can’t resist Physics and an opportunity to try and get you to take a second look into the viability of a Luminiferous Aether. I think it was a great error of Physicists to disregard all empirical evidence of waves needing a medium just because they couldn’t find the medium for light. There are some great videos showing that the results generated by pilot wave mechanics look uncannily like Quantuum phenomena – cavity probability, tunneling, double slit pattern, etc. The simplest explanation might be the best – wave interference.
The bigger question is WHY can’t we see the medium. It’s possible it’s a transitional medium – a medium that spans two dimensions. Furthermore, maybe we can see it. Why can’t the Ligo gravitational waves be interpreted as Aether waves? It is my personal opinion that the answer can be found in Genesis. God spoke the Universe into existence. The act of speaking carries a few functions – expelling matter in the form of breath particles, generating heat, and imparting a resonance based on the pitch of word spoken. Our universe is comprised of resonant holding patterns of matter. The Aether is literally God’s breath, the base of all matter and energy, originating in his dimension yet creating ours.
Thanks for your comment, John. Please understand that scientists don’t reject the idea of Luminiferous Aether because it can’t be seen. Quarks can’t be seen, and we accept their existence. We reject the aether because there are experiments that indicate it doesn’t exist, because Maxwell derived the speed of light from other known constants assuming that it doesn’t exist, and because relativity theory (which specifically rejects the presence of aether) is so wildly successful in making predictions about experimental results. Until any aether-including theory can make the kinds of successful predictions that relativity makes, there is simply no reason for any scientist to believe in the presence of aether.
Dr . Wile, How would it affect our curent theories if it could be definitively shown that constants are actually somewhat pliable. There’s an interesting Tedx talk by PHD biochemist Rupert Sheldrake in which he suggests c and G have wavering values.
It comes off a little New Agey at first but the latter part of the talk is pretty interesting. I’ve looked into his claims and it does seem that our accepted value of G is based on averaging many values.
The effects that varying constants would have depends on the constants. Some constants are really important, such as the permittivity of free space. If that changes much, the radii of atoms would change, and that would change molecular geometries, which would affect biochemical reactions significantly. I don’t think it would be good for life if the permittivity of free space changed much. Other constants, such as the elementary charge, might be able to change more without affecting life, since charges tend to work to cancel one another out.
The value of G does vary, but it has always been thought that this is because of measurement difficulties, not that the actual value changes. There is at least some evidence for this, since the variation of G has a period of about 5.9 years, which is the same period as the measured variation in the length of the day. Thus, I suspect that earth’s varying rotation is what causes the measured variation of G. This makes sense, since it is very hard to cancel out inertial effects when measuring the strength of gravity.
I would have a hard time understanding how the speed of light could change, since the inverse of the speed of light squared is given by the product of the permittivity of free space and the permeability of free space. I don’t see either one of them changing significantly, because they both affect so many aspects of chemistry and physics.
Hmmm… I didn’t realize vacuum permittivity was tied to c.
I wonder how Zwicky’s tired light, (and the rare credentialed astrophysicist who wants to re-open that book) navigated around that problem.
I’ll have to look more into that problem. Thank you as always Dr. Wile.
It’s one of the many reasons scientists don’t believe in the existence of aether. When Maxwell decided to treat light as an electromagnetic wave, he derived the wave function. The speed that he got from the wave function was the square root of the inverse of the product of the permittivity of free space and the permeability of free space. Since the equations of physics tell us that the speed of an electromagnetic wave just happens to be the measured speed of light, the most reasonable conclusion is that light is an electromagnetic wave, and thus the aether is superfluous.
John, As Jay has said the value of c in free space is related to the permittivity and permeability of free space. One of these relates to electric fields and the other relates to magnetic fields.
What is assumed in many of the calculations is that these two constants are actually in effect in specific areas. This is incorrect. the moment any form of matter is in a location, the permittivity and permeability change. In fact, with the judicious use of macroscopic spheres we can alter the gross permittivity and permeability of a location.
For practical purposes, we assume that any changes will be minor (very small) and won’t contribute to the results. But as we are unable to actually test this hypothesis (since we can’t get to any such location), we try to infer this assumption from other measurements.
I have just been reading a number of papers written by Chinese researchers who discuss and refute General Relativity. One of these papers highlights the assumptions made by Einstein in his calculations of the precession of Mercury. He goes back to the original papers and makes the full calculations from Einstein’s work. His conclusions from the calculations is that Einstein predicts at least double what is actually found. Now, I have not done the relevant integrations or calculations myself yet, but I don’t yet see anything obviously wrong at first pass.
We always need to remember that though theories may give us workable answers, they are still making assumptions that are not valid. As I have said elsewhere, our actual understanding of the universe around us is very, very minor and all of our theories are subject to changes (including throwing away) because of new things we find out.
The fun part is learning about the universe around us that has been created just for us by our Sovereign Lord God. He is so amazing and what He does will always be beyond our fullest understanding. He has given us the capability (if we want to use it) to learn about Him and all that He has made.
I don’t think the Chinese researcher you are reading is a good source, Bruce. General relativity’s prediction for the motion of Mercury’s perihelion is confirmed by the most accurate measurements available. In addition, because we can measure things more accurately now, we know that earth and Venus have a similar motion, just to a smaller degree. Once again, general relativity’s predictions agree with the observed values.
Good morning Jay,
The interesting feature of the paper is that original derivation of the equation used/presented by Einstein is shown to make specific assumptions and simplifications. When these assumptions and simplifications are removed and the full derivation is done, a different set of results is obtained.
What this Chinese researcher is saying is that process by which the result obtained by Einstein is incorrect and that Einstein’s justification for his use of the simplification is not valid. In other words, though Einstein’s result is a close match to the results obtained experimentally, the actual process he used to obtain that result is flawed.
If I recall it correctly, without the simplifications used, the result of the GR calculations is a little over double what is experimentally measured. The process presented may indeed have its own flaws, but on the face of it, it seems to be done correctly. I have, as yet, not verified the actual process, I have too many other things that I am involved with.
There are times when simplifications are justified and there are times when those same simplifications are not. I recently helped a young fellow in one such test that relates to what happens with floating point calculations and computers. It is an edge case and where many example calculations are not adversely affected by the simplifications provided by the floating point calculations provided by modern computers, there are situations where two completely different answers will be obtained when one uses the simplifications and one doesn’t use the simplifications.
This may well be one of those cases and since it has been clearly presented, it should be a simple process of showing whether or not the calculation process (as presented by the Chinese researcher) is correct or not and not just assumed to be wrong because the majority opinion says otherwise. I know for me, that means brushing up on the various calculus processes and then doing the calculations myself to see of I get the same results. I may even use Maxima to help me do those calculations.
I was trained as an engineer and one of the specific techniques that you are taught to use is the idea of simplifications (discarding parts of the calculations) that don’t have an effect on the overall calculations. But there was always a warning with that and that warning was – simplifications are valid only within a small range, if used outside of that range, then you will get the wrong answers. Always check your assumptions – all of your assumptions when doing or moving into something new.
I suggest you read the papers I linked, as they discuss how their calculations are made, and they are in line with the assumptions of general relativity. Once again, their general relativity calculations are in agreement with the measurements.
“Since the equations of physics tell us that the speed of an electromagnetic wave just happens to be the measured speed of light, the most reasonable conclusion is that light is an electromagnetic wave, and thus the aether is superfluous.”
I think this is fairly good logic but couldn’t this also signify a frictional constant ? Something akin to the speed of sound’s upper bound?
Bruce those are some interesting points and I wonder if permeability patches could be further used to illustrates Earths special position in regards to supporting life.
Dr. Wile, I do understand the power of predictability but I’m also slightly reluctant in letting that power override a nagging gut feeling (right or wrong those darned instincts are hard to ignore). Firstly you get strange phenomenons in science where everyone’s system works until someones system wins. Planetary motion comes to mind immediately…
“It has been determined, in fact, that the Copernican, Ptolemaic and even the Tychonic models provided identical results to identical inputs. They are computationally equivalent.”
Secondly, and this is my cynicism at play, I know that scientists (and rulers) understand the relationship of power and prediction. Astronomy was sacred knowledge in the past because the power to predict something like an eclipse surely imbued the academies of those times with great reverence. In the same way today it seems that an ad hoc prediction based on discovery would be more valuable to a scientist than just revealing that discovery alone (so long as real sequence of events is never illuminated)
Now I’ve read that “Einstein combined (postulated) the equivalence principle with special relativity to predict that clocks run at different rates in a gravitational potential, and light rays bend in a gravitational field, even before he developed the concept of curved spacetime.”
I understand that this is only somewhat of a prediction, but I’m under the impression that, at the popular level, many people think those predictions are a result of Einstein’s curved space and not it’s antecedents. Gravitational lensing was observed well before relativity and time dilation was suggested by Larmor–Lorentz.
My hope is that the ideas of Poincare, Abraham, Tesla, and Allais are refined in a way that leads to a great unification of the forces and maybe even a better understanding of God.
It seems there is some hope in George Smoot (New Aether Drift Experiments) in which he argues that the CMBR can be used as a preferred reference frame, and that in light of this, the Michelson Morley experiment can be interpreted differently.
At any rate, I respect your opinion a great deal, and concede my understanding of these concepts is especially superficial. I hope I haven’t been too much a thorn and appreciate a person of your education level taking time to address the musings of a layperson.
I don’t see how it could be an upper bound. Maxwell’s equations simply indicate how an electromagnetic wave travels, and the speed is exactly what is measured for light. How would you propose that this is an upper bound? It is simply the result of the equations.
Your quote (It has been determined, in fact, that the Copernican, Ptolemaic and even the Tychonic models provided identical results to identical inputs. They are computationally equivalent) is most certainly incorrect. Indeed, Copernicus himself listed three major differences in observations between his model and the Ptolemaic model. First, in the Ptolemaic model, Venus and Mercury should sometimes appear in the eastern sky just after sunset, but they never do. In his model Venus and Mercury should always appear in the western sky just after sunset, and that’s exactly what happens. Second, according to the Ptolemaic model, Mars should appear brightest when it is in the western sky just after sunset. According to the Copernican model, it should appear brightest when it is in the eastern sky after sunset. Of course, the Copernican model corresponds exactly to what we see. Finally, the Ptolemaic model needed epicycles to explain the retrograde motion of Mars. The Copernican model did not. Obviously, then, the three models do not provide identical results.
Certainly some of the things that general relativity can explain were not predictions, but others most certainly were. For example, no one had observed gravitational effects on time until general relativity predicted it. Subsequent experiments not only show those effects, but they show the effects follow the equations of general relativity exactly. Frame dragging and gravity waves are also predictions of general relativity that have been confirmed only after the fact. It is very difficult to argue against a theory that is so wildly successful at making testable predictions!
“I don’t see how it could be an upper bound. Maxwell’s equations simply indicate how an electromagnetic wave travels, and the speed is exactly what is measured for light. How would you propose that this is an upper bound? It is simply the result of the equations.”
The frictional constant or upperbound would be based on the assumption that electromagnetic waves, gravitational force, electrostatic repulsion, etc. are governed by the medium in which they exist. Any wave traveling through the Aether would generally follow c as the upper bound. That these forces also all obey the inverse square law is also particularly interesting.
But as you have stated – no such Aether has been found and Scientists are content to describe the phenomenon using Special Relativity (despite the fact that it won’t play nicely with Q.M.)
Maybe the Universe is a strange enough place where both parties can find some satisfaction. It seems like the quantization of space via theories like loop quantum gravity is suggesting the properties of our universe (space geometry, Q.M, and Electromagnetism) are emergent properties of it’s proposed granularity. If these are all indeed governed by a sea of grainy particles – doesn’t this kind of sound a bit like the Aether?
But the speed of light that comes from Maxwell’s equations is for free space. The speed of light is slower in other materials, and once again, it is equal to the square root of the inverse of the product of that material’s permittivity and its permeability. Thus, unless it’s an incredible coincidence, light is, indeed, an electromagnetic wave.
There is a lot about the universe that we don’t understand, and ideas that fall out of favor sometimes do fall back into favor, such as the cosmological constant in astrophysics and a Lamarckian view of inheritance as currently suggested by epigenetics. Thus, it is certainly possible that some aether-like idea might re-emerge in physics. I seriously doubt it, but I can’t rule it out.
“But the speed of light that comes from Maxwell’s equations is for free space. The speed of light is slower in other materials, and once again, it is equal to the square root of the inverse of the product of that material’s permittivity and its permeability. Thus, unless it’s an incredible coincidence, light is, indeed, an electromagnetic wave.”
Thank you, this has cleared something up for me. I do not disagree that light, electricity, and magnetism are indeed all part of the same phenomenon. It’s pretty well demonstrated. I simply wonder if the permittivity of space is a result of something like an Aether. I feel like we are on the precipice of a new paradigm. It’s pretty exciting. Regardless of the data that comes out, I have to remember be humble and keep what Bruce said in mind – “He is so amazing and what He does will always be beyond our fullest understanding.”
Just watching Jason Lisle’s presentation on distant starlight and his theory for a variable bi-directional speed of light. Does this idea violate permeability constraints? Has he just ignored that for now?
Well, it violates general relativity (but I know you aren’t a fan of that), because it proposes an absolute frame of reference. I am not sure what you mean by “permeability constraints.”
I also saw Dr. Donald Clarks theory of “stretched space” acting like a taught guitar string – higher tension allows waves to travel more quickly. Can we test what permeability is in the parts of the universe that are beyond our reach?
This theory seems to coincide with another alternate cosmogony idea I recently found –
“The idea that the universe is expanding was always silly. Now we know why: the assumption that c was constant. Aether deniers, like Einstein, have no medium for light. That is why they have to objectify light motion as enigmatic massless particles or wave-particles. In UCT (www.universalcycletheory.com), we speculate that aether is densest where baryonic matter is rarest. The miss-named “gravitational redshift” supports this. When light is emitted from celestial bodies, it enters regions in which the aether/baryonic matter ratio increases. Light velocity, like all wave velocities, is a function of the density of the medium. The regions between galactic clusters would have the densest aether and the highest light velocity. Thus, 10 cycles at 1.1c would have wavelengths 10% longer than 10 cycles at c. As Hubble always suspected, most of the galactic redshift is a function of distance travelled through intergalactic regions. The Doppler Effect still occurs, of course, but it would simply be a function of the motion of the source, not its distance from the observer. Our paper, “Neomechanical Gravitational Theory,” to be presented at NPA19 in July has more details (Borchardt, Glenn, and Puetz, Stephen J., 2012, Neomechanical gravitation theory, in Volk, G., ed., Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 19th Conference of the NPA, 25-28 July: Albuquerque, NM, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, p. 53-58. [10.13140/RG.2.1.3991.0483]).”
I know these are fringe ideas, but in weighing them against scripture they seem ok. Many creationist astronomers and physicists have repeated that God unrolled the heavens like a scroll and stretched them like a tent. An expanding universe doesn’t seem to fit. Neither does increasing acceleration.
I did find another idea entertained by Nature..
I don’t understand what you mean by permeability. Are you talking about the permeability of free space? You can indirectly test it by trying to judge the speed of light, but that is very difficult over long distances, because other effects (like gravity’s effect on time) are also important. However, connecting the speed of light to the permeability of free space means accepting that light is an electromagnetic wave, which your source doesn’t accept. If it is not, then the fact that the speed of light seems related to the permeability of free space is just a wild coincidence.
Regarding your quote, I would say that “aether deniers” are reality acceptors. There is simply no evidence for aether, and there is evidence that it doesn’t exist. Thus, any hypothesis that wants to say light is not an electromagnetic wave has to demonstrate the problems associated with the evidence against aether as well as the evidence from Maxwell’s equations, Hertz’s experiments, the magnetic effect on light polarization, Thomson scattering of light from free electrons, etc.
The article about Wetterich’s work is interesting, but it isn’t very well developed yet. I will pay more attention to it when it can make testable predictions. Right now, it is thought to be untestable, but that’s probably just because it isn’t well developed.
Sorry, I should have been more clear – Yes the permeability of free space. I was wondering if we know for sure that it’s value remains constant in all parts of the universe – i.e. are all vacuums equal? Is it right to suggest all vacuum values we’ve discovered have been done so within our “gravitational well” and then extrapolated out into the universe?
Anyway, yes you are correct – I don’t like relativity. It’s just too weird (and trust me I’m a weird guy!) I also hate reference frames in a world where “there is no true rest frame”. Maybe I’m taking this all much too personally : )
I’ll admit here too that I’m quite attracted to the Cranks of physics. They intrigue me. Despite all their cranky conclusions there usually is a kernel of truth hidden somewhere in whats driving them. At least I think so. I’m a big Eric Laithewaite fan and love his statement “the secret to the universe is in things that spin” I do really dislike how New Agers flock to this stuff.. but they sort of ruin everything – even Q.M. (Have you ever seen what the bleep to we know!?)
I also occasionally read a blog by an Indian thinker who bases his view of Aether on the ancient Akasha & Prana from the Vedas. His thinking is very practical and he’s obviously not a Physics major but he’s passionate. He maintains light is a wave moving through a sea of photons. These photons constitute the Aether. This has causes the confusion of wave particle duality.
I don’t know of any measurements of the permeability of free space except on the surface of the earth. As I have said before, whether or not a person finds a theory to be “weird” has no bearing on its validity. The fact is that relativity has been wildly successful at making predictions that have been confirmed by the data. As a scientist, then, I must accept it as a reasonable theory, regardless of how weird it may or may not be. Since no other theory of gravity has come close to the wild success of relativity, there is no scientific reason to think there is a better theory out there.
Obviously, the author of that link has made some pretty basic mistakes, not to mention the problem that his aether must be in the rest frame of earth. That means, of course, that it is traveling at orders of magnitude higher than the speed of light out in the distant universe. If the aether is traveling that quickly, light could not travel in it. Of course, since he hasn’t done enough research to know that E=mc2 doesn’t depend in any way on relativity, it’s not surprising that he hasn’t done enough research to realize the speed problem.
“It is in one place, but that place cannot be exactly determined.”
I think this is wrong. It’s true that we know electrons can be localized, but we don’t know that their “real” nature is as little balls of mass whose position we just can’t determine precisely. I thought that violations of Bell’s inequality indicated that we can’t think of particles as having precise values of quantities whose measurement would possess uncertainty. “Where the electron is located” is not a meaningful piece of information, and I tend to think that the best construction is that this particular piece of information doesn’t exist. I think it’s entirely reasonable to say that electrons are objects that just don’t possess precise positions.
I never suggested that electrons are little balls of mass, Jake. Indeed, if their interactions with matter are governed by wave equations, they most certainly are not little balls of mass. The fact that electrons can be located isn’t up for debate. They most certainly can be. When electricity flows through a wire, we can be quite certain that the electrons in motion are all in the wire. In addition, if they couldn’t be located, they couldn’t be fired towards two slits to do a double-slit experiment. Thus, they can be located. Now…the precision to which they can be located depends on many factors, just as the precision with which my car can be located by the GPS depends on many factors.
Sorry, I wasn’t clear: I meant to say that I think it’s wrong to say that the electron *is* in *one place*. That makes it sound like it always has a definite position, but that that definite position is just inaccessible to us.
Thanks for clarifying, Jake. The point wasn’t to say that it is in a specific place – just that it’s not in two places at once.
Best summary of quantum mechanics ever–I think I can finally wrap my head around it. Looking forward to hearing more about the presentation.
Is that an EIB shirt I see you wearing there, Dr. Wile? Boy, I thought I loved you before, but finding out you were a Rush Limbaugh fan would be icing on the cake!
Actually, CJ, that’s the logo of my new publisher, Berean Builders. I have had one other person note its similarity to the EIB logo.
I do listen to Rush Limbaugh, but I also listen to NPR. I guess I just like to hear from both sides.
I just realized that’s one of the few things you don’t write about – politics.
Separate blog ??
Personally, I find myself tuning out of NPR more and more these days. I have been blowing through Hoover institution sponsored “Uncommon Knowledge” videos on YouTube. Some good. Some very far right. The one with David Beelinski is great.
I don’t think I would have a lot to add to the discussion when it comes to politics. There are a lot of people writing about politics who are better writers and more knowledgeable about the subject than me.
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