Part 1 of 2 Quantum Mechanics and Dissidents By Eric Dennis (April 26, 2001)[Publishers Note: April 30, 2001] [ObjectiveScience.com] Conventional interpretations of quantum mechanics seem to deny the existence of entities with definite properties determining how they act, independently of human consciousness. Lewis Little offers an alternative to this in his "theory of elementary waves" (TEW). The advocates of TEW believe that its lack of recognition among physicists stems from their faulty philosophic premises. In fact, it stems from TEW's failure to account for a range of key experimental results and of a clear, well known, unanswered argument that shows why a large class of theories (including TEW) could never account for certain of these results. But realism need not despair, for a genuine alternative to the standard version of quantum mechanics does exist, one becoming increasingly visible and attractive to physicists. An essential element of quantum theory is " entanglement,''
a certain kind of causal connection that can exist between separate
parts of a system, as if, metaphorically, they were all tied together
by a network of high-tension strings. Disturbing one part could then
pull on all the strings attached to it and, almost instantaneously,
affect all the other parts of the system.
The most direct experimental evidence for entanglement involves the
In 1964 the physicist John Bell conceived an experiment that, if
its results matched the quantum mechanical predictions, would
necessarily demonstrate influences propagating faster than light [2].
Bell contemplated an experiment involving a pair of entangled
particles shot in opposite directions from a common source, one toward
a measuring device at It would be no surprise to find correlations between the
measurement results at (*) Whenever the device setting atUnless one accepts (*) as an incredible coincidence, the conclusion is obvious: the setting at A is affecting the result at B,
and any theory which precludes such an effect in principle would be
inconsistent with the observed measurement results.
Of course there are other ways than (*) in which a set of
measurement results could imply such an The inequality is obtained by assuming that no super-luminal P(M, _{A}M
| _{B}D, _{A}D, _{B}S) of obtaining the B side measurement result M, given
the device settings _{B}D and _{A}D and
any properties _{B}S associated with the particle source or
anything else that could sub-luminally influence both M
and _{A}M. By a standard law of probability, we
have
_{B}P(M, _{A}M
| _{B}D, _{A}D, _{B}S) = P(M
| _{A}D, _{A}D, _{B}S, M)
_{B}P(M | _{B}D, _{A}D,
_{B}S).Now, under the conditions of the experiment, the assumption of no
super-luminal D, and _{B}M is
independent of _{B}D. It also implies that _{A}M
and _{A}M can depend on each other only through a sub-luminal
common cause, which can be included in _{B}S. Thus the above
equation may be rewritten
P(M,
_{A}M | _{B}D, _{A}D,
_{B}S) = P(M | _{A}D,
_{A}S) P(M | _{B}D,
_{B}S),i.e. the joint probability factors into two terms: a single
probability for D,
and a single probability for _{B}M independent of _{B}D.
And Bell's inequality follows directly from this. Violating the
inequality implies violating ($), which implies that _{A}M
is _{A}not independent of D (or that _{B}M
is not independent of _{B}D), which implies super-luminal
influences, just as would (*) above.
_{A}When finally carried out in the 80s and subsequently [1][4], these kinds of experiments did in fact show violations of Bell's inequality. The specific experimental parameters (how quickly the device
settings could be made) allowed physicists to set a lower limit on how
fast influences must propagate from the To save TEW, Lewis Little originally pointed to supposed
shortcomings in the experiments, agreeing that Bell's argument itself
is unassailable [5]. When subsequent experiments were performed with
the same results but absent these shortcomings, Little responded by
changing his treatment of Bell-type experiments in TEW and eventually
seemed to deny any discrepancy between its predictions and those of
quantum mechanics [6]. But the point of Bell's inequality is precisely
that there Their position was that, in spite of this deficiency, TEW ought not
be rejected, on account of its ability to explain other experiments
[8]. But it is not just that TEW fails to account for the results in
question. Bell's inequality shows that these results Recently Little has offered yet another revised version of TEW,
which he now claims is capable of explaining all Bell-type experiments
[9]. While attempting to maintain the basic premise of TEW--the
impossibility of super-luminal S
associated with the two particles respectively. He obtains the total
joint probability (with internal parameters left unspecified) by
summing the joint probabilities over all the cases.
_{B}Indeed this total joint probability matches the well verified
quantum prediction; however, one finds that the case-specific joint
probabilities assigned by Little each become S, _{B}D,
and _{A}D. In other words, the only way Little is able
to reproduce the correct, total joint probability result for these
values is by having certain of the case-specific joint probabilities
go negative and cancel out certain of the other case-specific joint
probabilities in the sum [10]. As negative probability is a
contradiction in terms, Little's newest version of TEW can be said to
succeed in explaining Bell-type experiments only by contradicting
itself. And this is exactly what Bell's inequality tells us must be
the case.
_{B}Besides Bell-type experiments, no account in TEW has ever been given for a wide range of phenomena essential to modern experimental physics, from superconductivity to the fractional quantum Hall effect, all understood with superb quantitative success on the unified basis provided by the concept of entanglement in quantum mechanics. Without that basis the situation appears hopeless. TEW cannot be integrated with the rest of our knowledge. The failure of TEW, however, must not be taken to support the sophistry connected with the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, from the idea that entities lose their attributes until we observe them to the supposed victory of indeterminism in physics. In fact, a politically disinclined group of dissidents--including Einstein, Schrodinger, David Bohm, and John Bell--maintained their commitment to realism against the idealist and positivist tendencies of the physics establishment [11]. There is a misconception, of some currency, that Bell's results
close the door on all realist versions of quantum mechanics. This is
ironic because these very results were motivated by Bell's surprise
and profound appreciation upon discovering such a version already in
the literature. This was David Bohm's completion of an idea that
started with Louis de Broglie. It has emerged as a powerful and
precise alternative to the fuzziness of standard theory, and is the
subject of part 2 of this essay.
[1] A. Aspect et al, [2] J. S. Bell, [3] J. S. Bell, "The theory of local beables" in [4] G. Weihs et al, [5] L. Little, [6] L. Little, as quoted by S. Speicher in message to TEWLIP list, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TEWLIP/message/201. "I believe that the two theories [TEW and quantum mechanics] agree exactly for all experiments that have been done, including the Innsbruck experiments [i.e. Bell-type experiments], given their particular choices of parameters, and probably agrees [sic] closely enough for all choices of parameters that it would be very difficult to distinguish them." [7] S. Speicher, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TEWLIP/message/477. "TEW currently explains most of the polarizer cases for the Aspect-like [i.e. Bell-type] experiments, but one case remains to be explained." [8] S. Speicher, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TEWLIP/message/435. "...a theory capable of integrating so much of physics, as the TEW has done, should not be `rejected' because it has yet to explicate one aspect of one class of experiments." [9] L. Little, http://www.yankee.us.com/TEW/DDC_Final_4-01.pdf
Note: my S, _{B}D,
and _{A}D correspond to Little's _{B}A_{1}, A_{2},
A_{1}', and A_{2}' respectively. [Publisher's Note: On Monday, April 30, 2001 we received the following message via HBL titled "Double-delayed- choice explanation" from Stephen Speicher: "Dr. Little has discovered a discrepancy in his recent formulation regarding double-delayed-choice experiments. Pending resolution of the matter, the current explanation is withdrawn." The PDF the above URL links to is no longer online at this time.] [10] Another problem with the latest version of TEW, as pointed out by Travis Norsen, is the erroneous omission of case probability weighting factors in the joint probability sum. See Travis Norsen's comments. [11] For example: "Any serious consideration of a physical theory must take into
account the distinction between the objective reality, which is
independent of any theory, and the physical concepts with which the
theory operates. These concepts are intended to correspond with the
objective reality, and by means of these concepts we picture this
reality to ourselves." from Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen, "For example, would it be possible for us to choose the
natural laws... in accordance with our tastes...? The fact that we
cannot actually do this shows that these laws have an objective
content, in the sense that they represent some kind of necessity that
is independent of our wills and of the way in which we think about
things." D. Bohm, John Bell advocates a "programme for restoring
objectivity" to physical theory, which "will not be |
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