Disproving the Claim that the LHC Disproves the Existence of Ghosts

Recent articles in dozens of online magazines shout things like: “The LHC Disproves the Existence of Ghosts and the Paranormal.”

To which I respond: LOLOLOLOLOL

There are so many things wrong with this backwards scientific thinking, I almost don’t know where to start.  But here are a few…

1. The word “disproves” doesn’t belong here. It is unscientific at best. Maybe use “evidence against one possible explanation for ghosts” – I can even begin to appreciate that. But if I can demonstrate even one potential mechanism for the paranormal that the LHC couldn’t detect, you cannot use the word “disprove.” And here is one potential mechanism – an unknown force that the LHC can’t explore because its experiments are designed to only measure interactions in the 4 forces physicists are aware of.

The smoking gun is Brian Cox’s statement “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.” So, based on that statement, here are a few more problems…

2. “almost inconceivable” is logically inconsistent with the term “disproves.”

3. “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist…” is an invalid assumption. We do not need information about our cells to persist in a traditional physical medium for paranormal effects to have a way to propagate. They can propagate by a non-traditional (unknown) medium, such as an information storage mechanism operating outside of our classically observable means. Imagine telling a couple of scientists just 200 years ago about how people can communicate instantaneously via radio waves. Their response would be “no, that is impossible because our greatest measurement equipment has not revealed any mechanism that allows information to be transmitted in that manner.” Isn’t that the same thing Brian Cox is saying?

4. The underlying assumption is that we live in a materialist reality. Aside from the fact that Quantum Mechanics experiments have disproven this (and yes, I am comfortable using that word), a REAL scientist should allow for the possibility that consciousness is independent of grey matter and create experiments to support or invalidate such hypotheses. One clear possibility is the simulation argument. Out of band signaling is an obvious and easy mechanism for paranormal effects.  Unfortunately, the REAL scientists (such as Anton Zeilinger) are not the ones who get most of the press.

5. “That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies” is also bad logic. It assumes that we fully understand the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies. If scientific history has shown us anything, it is that there is more that we don’t understand than there is that we do.

lhcghosts

Flexi Matter

Earlier this year, a team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, led by Randolf Pohl, made a highly accurate calculation of the diameter of a proton and, at .841 fm, it turned out to be 4% less than previously determined (.877 fm).  Trouble is, the previous measurements were also highly accurate.  The significant difference between the two types of measurement was the choice of interaction particle: in the traditional case, electrons, and in Pohl’s case, muons.

Figures have been checked and rechecked and both types of measurements are solid.  All sorts of crazy explanations have been offered up for the discrepancy, but one thing seems certain: we they don’t really understand matter.

Ancient Greeks thought that atoms were indivisible (hence, the name), at least until Rutherford showed otherwise in the early 1900s.  Ancient 20th-century scientists thought that protons were indivisible, at least until Gell-Mann showed otherwise in the 1960s.

So why would it be such a surprise that the diameter of a proton varies with the type of lepton cloud that surrounds and passes through it?  Maybe the proton is flexible, like a sponge, and a muon, at 200 times the weight of an electron, exerts a much higher contractive force on it – gravity, strong nuclear, Jedi, or what have you.  Just make the measurements and modify your theory, guys.  You’ll be .000001% closer to the truth, enough to warrant an even bigger publicly funded particle accelerator.

If particle sizes and masses aren’t invariant, who is to say that they don’t change over time.  Cosmologist Christof Wetterich of the University of Heidelberg thinks this might be possible.  In fact, says Wetterich, if particles are slowly increasing in size, the universe may not be expanding after all.  His recent paper suggests that spectral red shift, Hubble’s famous discovery at Mount Wilson, that led the most widely accepted theory of the universe – the big bang, may actually be due to changing particle sizes over time.  So far, no one has been able to shoot a hole in his theory.

Oops.  “Remember what we said about the big bang being a FACT?  Never mind.”

Flexi-particles.  Now there is both evidence and major philosophical repercussions.

And still, The Universe – Solved! predicts there is no stuff.

The ultimate in flexibility is pure data.

data200

Bizarro Physics

All sorts of oddities emerge from equations that we have developed to describe reality.  What is surprising is that rather than being simply mathematical artifacts, they actually show up in our physical world.

Perhaps the first such bizarro (see DC Comics) entity was antimatter; matter with an opposite charge and spin.  A mathematical solution to Paul Dirac’s relativistic version of Schrödinger’s equation (it makes my head hurt just looking at it), antimatter was discovered 4 years after Dirac predicted it.

One of last year’s surprises was the negative frequencies that are solutions to Maxwell’s equations and have been shown to reveal themselves in components of light.

And, earlier this month, German physicists announced the ability to create a temperature below absolute zero.

So when we were told in physics class to throw out those “negative” solutions to equations because they were in the imaginary domain, and therefore had no basis in reality…uh, not so fast.

What I find interesting about these discoveries is the implications for the bigger picture.  If our reality were what most of us think it is – 3 dimensions of space, with matter and energy following the rules set forth by the “real” solutions to the equations of physics – one might say that reality trumps the math; that solutions to equations only make sense in the context of describing reality.

However, it appears to be the other way around – math trumps reality.  Solutions to equations previously thought to be in the “imaginary domain” are now being shown to manifest in our reality.

This is one more category of evidence that underlying our apparent reality are data and rules.  The data and rules don’t manifest from the reality; they create the reality.

Bizarro185 antimatter185

Just when you thought Physics couldn’t get any Stranger

Tachyons, entanglement, cold fusion, dark matter, galactic filaments.  Just when you thought physics couldn’t get any stranger…

– THE VERY COLD: Fractional Quantum Hall Effect: When electrons are magnetically confined and cooled to a third of a degree above absolute zero (See more here), they seem to break down into sub-particles that act in synchronization, but with fractional charges, like 1/3, or 3/7.

– THE VERY HIGH PRESSURE: Strange Matter: The standard model of physics includes 6 types of quarks, including the 2 (“up” and “down”) that make up ordinary matter.  Matter that consists of “strange” quarks, aka Strange Matter, would be 10 times as heavy as ordinary matter.  Does it exist?  Theoretically, at very high densities, such as the core of neutron stars, such matter may exist.  A 1998 space shuttle experiment seems to have detected some, but repeat experiments have not yielded the same results.

– THE VERY LARGE DIMENSIONAL: Multidimensional Space: String theories say that we live in a 10-dimensional space, mostly because it is the only way to make quantum mechanics and general relativity play nicely together.  That is, until physicist Garrett Lisi came along and showed how it could be done with eight dimensional space and objects called octonions.  String theorists were miffed, mostly because Lisi is not university affiliated and spends most of his time surfing in Hawaii.

– THE VERY HOT: Quark-Gloun Plasma: Heat up matter to 2 trillion degrees and neutrons and protons fall apart into a plasma of quarks called quark-gluon plasma.  In April of 2005, QGP appeared to have been created at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

My view on all this is that it is scientific business as usual.  100 years ago, we lived in a smaller world; a world described solely by Newtonian Mechanics, our ordinary everyday view of how the world works.  Then, along came relativity and quantum mechanics.  Technological advances in laboratory equipment and optics allowed us to push the limits of speed and validate Relativity, which ultimately showed that Newtonian Mechanics was just an approximation of the larger, more encompassing theory of Relativity at slow speeds.  Similarly we pushed the limits of probing the very small and validated Quantum Mechanics, which showed that Newtonian Mechanics was just an approximation of the larger, more encompassing theory of Quantum Mechanics at large scales.  In the 1960’s, we pushed the limits of heat and energy, discovered  and found that our Quantum Mechanical / Relativistic Theory of the world was really just an approximation at low temperatures of a larger theory that had to encompass Quantum Chromodynamics.  Now, we are pushing the limits of temperature, or the slowing down of particles, and discovering that there must be an even larger theory that describes the world, that explains the appearance of fractional charges at extremely low temperatures.  Why does this keep happening and where does it end?

Programmed Reality provides an explanation.  In fact, it actually provides two.

In one case, the programmers of our reality created a complex set of physical laws that we are slowly discovering.  Imagine a set of concentric spheres, with each successive level outward representing a higher level scientific theory of the world that encompasses faster speeds, higher temperatures, larger scales, colder temperatures, higher energies, etc.  How deep inside the sphere of knowledge are we now?  Don’t know, but this is a model that puts it in perspective.  It is a technological solution to the philosophy of Deism.

The second possibility is that as we humans push the limits of each successive sphere of physical laws that were created for us, the programmers put in place a patch that opens up the next shell of discovery, not unlike a game.  I prefer this model, for a number of reasons.  First of all, wouldn’t it be a lot more fun and interesting to interact with your creations, rather than start them on their evolutionary path and then pay no further attention?  Furthermore, this theory offers the perfect explanation for all of those scientific experiments that have generated anomalous results that have never been reproducible.  The programmers simply applied the patch before anyone else could reproduce the experiment.

Interestingly, throughout the years, scientists have fooled themselves into thinking that the discovery of everything was right around the corner.  In the mid-20th century, the ultimate goal was the Unified Field Theory.  Now, it is called a TOE, or Theory of Everything.

Let’s stop thinking we’re about to reach the end of scientific inquiry and call each successive theory a TOM, or Theory of More.

Because the only true TOE is Programmed Reality.  QED.

Gravity is Strange – Unless you understand Programmed Reality

Physicists tell us that gravity is one of the four fundamental forces of nature.  And yet it behaves quite differently than the other three.  A New Scientist article breaks down the oddities, a few of which are reproduced here:

– Gravity only pulls.  It doesn’t appear to have an opposing effect, like other forces do.  Notwithstanding the possibility that dark energy is an example of “opposite polarity” gravity, possibly due to unseen dimensions, there appears to be no solid evidence of it as there is with all other forces.

– The strength of other forces are comparable in magnitude, while gravity checks in at 40 orders of magnitude weaker.

– The fine-tuned universe, a favorite topic of this site, includes some amazing gravity-based characteristics.  The balance of early universe expansion and gravitational strength had to balance to within 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000,000 in order for life to form.

The Anthropic Principle explains all this via a combination of the existance of zillions (uncountably large number) of parallel universes with the idea that we can only exist in the one where all the variables line up perfectly for matter and life to form.  But that seems to me to be a pretty complex argument with a few embedded leaps of faith that make most religions look highly logical in comparison.

Then there is the Programmed Reality theory, which as usual, offers a perfect explanation without the need for the hand-waving Anthropic Principle and the “Many Worlds”
interpretation of quantum mechanics.  Gravity is not like other forces, so let’s not keeping trying to “force” it to be (pardon the pun.)  Instead, it is there to keep us grounded on the planet in which we play out our reality, offering the perfect balance of “pull” to keep every fly ball from flying out of the stadium (regardless of the illegal substance abuse of the hitter), to make kite flying a real possibility, and to enable a large number of other enriching activities.  While, at the same time, being weak enough to allow basketball players to dunk and planes to fly, and to enable a large number of other enriching activities.  Our scientists will continue the investigate the nature of gravity via increasingly complex projects like the LHC, unpeeling the layers of complexity that the programmers put in place to keep scientific endeavor, research, and employment moving forward.

Newton's apple  Warped spacetime

Non-locality Explained!

A great article in Scientific American, “A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity,” is well worth the read.

Locality in physics is the idea that things are only influenced by forces that are local or nearby.  The water boiling on the stovetop does so because of the energy imparted from the flame beneath.  Even the sounds coming out of your radio are decoded from the electromagnetic disturbance in the air next to the antenna, which has been propagating from the radio transmitter at the speed of light.  But, think we all, nothing can influence anything remotely without a “chain reaction” disturbance, which according to Einstein can not exceed the speed of light.

However, says Quantum Mechanics, there is something called entanglement.  No, not the kind you had with Becky under the bleachers in high school.  This kinds of entanglement says that particles that once “interacted” are forever entangled, whereby their properties are reflected in each other’s behavior.  For example, take 2 particles that came from the same reaction and separate them by galactic distances.  What one does, the other will follow.  This has been proven to a distance of at least 18 km and seems to violate Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity.

Einstein, of course, took issue with this whole concept in his famous EPR paper, preferring to believe that “hidden variables” were responsible for the effect.  But, in 1964, physicist John Bell developed a mathematical proof that no local theory can account for all of Quantum Mechanics experimental results.  In other words, the world is non-local.  Period.  It is as if, says the SciAm article, “a fist in Des Moines can break a nose in Dallas without affecting any other physical thing anywhere in the heartand. ”  Alain Aspect later performed convincing experiments that demonstrated this non-locality.  45 years after John Bell’s proof, scientists are coming to terms with the idea that the world is non-local and special relativity has limitations.  Both ideas are mind-blowing.

But, as usual, there are a couple of clever paradigms that get around it all, each of which are equally mind-blowing.  In one, our old friend the “Many Worlds” theory, zillions of parallel universes are spawned every second, which account for the seeming non-locality of reality.  In the other, “history plays itself out not in the three-dimensional spacetime of special relativity but rather this gigantic and unfamiliar configuration space, out of which the illusion of three-dimensionality somehow emerges.”

I have no problem explaining all of these ideas via programmed reality.

Special Relativity has to do with our senses, not with reality.  True simultaneity is possible because our reality is an illusion.  And there is no speed limit in the truer underlying construct.  So particles have no problem being entangled.

Many Worlds can be implemented by multiple instances of reality processes.  Anyone familiar with computing can appreciate how instances of programs can be “forked” (in Unix parlance) or “spawned” (Windows, VMS, etc.).  You’ve probably even seen it on your buggy Windows PC, when instances of browsers keep popping up like crazy and you can’t kill the tasks fast enough and end up either doing a hard shutdown or waiting until the little bastard blue-screens.  Well, if the universe is just run by a program, why can’t the program fork itself whenever it needs to, explaining all of the mysteries of QM that can’t be explained by wave functions.

And then there is “configuration space.”  Nothing more complex than multiple instances of the reality program running, with the conscious entity having the ability to move between them, experiencing reality and all the experimental mysteries of Quantum Mechanics.

Hey physicists – get your heads out of the physics books and start thinking about computer science!

(thanks to Poet1960 for allowing me to use his great artwork)

Non-locality explained