Tag Archive: Quantum Danger

Smoke and Mirrors

I have been interested in quantum stuff ever since I started talking maths with the Arts people after I hit bottom . They took it as a mission to stop me from being black-and-white but then they were also fascinated as to how far science went. At that time scientific destruction was begun with wonderful books like “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” by Gary Zukav, and “The Tao of Physics” by Fritjov Capra. Both of these writers have gone on and done stuff, but they are not central or mega-significant in terms of the establishment, yet their ideas should be. HHDL’s Mind and Life might have that mantle now but again it is not mainstream.

On my journey I picked up a book called “The Quantum and the Lotus” by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan. It appears to be conversations between a biologist who became a monk and a Buddhist scientist, certainly a useful arena for the Path of Scientific Enquiry. And on page 9 I stopped reading because something Thuan said “Is … a science in the same sense as a natural science – that is to say, based on observation, with maths as its language?” I was at the beach, and I knew it was important so I let it sink in.

This morning I woke up and I’m not doing stuff for 3 days, and my mind won’t stop – I forced myself to meditate because I wanted my mind clear. But I couldn’t so gave up. Thuan is talking of a wonderful compartmentalisation in science/academia that hides a multiplicity of “stuff”, and disguises the delusions that are accepted. And when we are looking at quantum stuff with their absurdities these delusions are much more significant. Sheldrake talks about the 10 core assumptions in science but those assumptions I have described as “hidden science” because as Sheldrake points out these assumptions are not discussed.

But maths is based on assumptions. What Thuan said is a fair assessment of science’s approach physical observation based on the language of maths. So science is based on the assumptions of maths – apart from “hidden science”.

Schrodinger’s equation is an important equation of quantum stuff and I have no idea what it means.

This looks a fascinating and powerful equation to me – I mean it. But it has two things in it that rings the bells of assumptions to me “i” and partial differentiation – limiting behaviour.

I am going to use the “i” and wander into complex numbers.

Complex numbers. But first let’s get a grip on number because number is quite arbitrary even though as a building brick of maths it is considered solid. A number doesn’t exist – OK less dramatic they are not real. A number only makes sense as a descriptor – 3 apples, but what has happened through the centuries and agreements made in school in maths classes we all have an agreed sense of what 3 is. Because we all use it the same way we don’t question involved in its usage. It makes sense to use it the way we do but it is full of agreed assumptions and we don’t question it.

But this screen is a 14 inch long. No it isn’t. It is about 14 inches long. To be correct, from corner to corner the screen is about 14 inches, maybe between 13.8 inches and 14.2 inches. But then 13.8 and 14.2 have their own accuracy measures – maybe 13.75 to 13.85 and 14.15 to 14.25. So the screen is more accurately described as 13.75 to 14.25, then 13.745 to 14.255, then 13.7445 to 14.2555, and so on. All of this as people we call 14, as mathematicians we call it assumptions. Reasonable assumptions but still assumptions. In most situations the number 14 suffices because we all agree what it means but on occasions these assumptions really matter.

Take a spark plug. Let’s suppose the gap in the spark plug is supposed to be 1.4 mm, and 1.42555 is too big and it won’t fire. Then these type of apparently pointless assumptions do matter. In what I am considering overall, what really matters is that assumptions are made – even with the simple use of numbers, and we have to evaluate these assumptions.

So I come back to Thuan’s comment. Science does not in general evaluate mathematical assumptions it compartmentalizes those assumptions and relies on the mathematicians – the language of science.

Let’s look at another aspect of number – Dedekind cuts. How many numbers are there between 0 and 1? 10? 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, … 0.9, 1.0. 4? ¼, 1/2, ¾ , 1. OK. Let’s take 10. How many numbers are there between 0.1 and 0.2, and the answer could be 10 again. 0.11, 0.12, ……0.19, 0.2. And how many between 0.11 and 0.12? 10? 0.111, 0.112 … 0.119, 0.12. Each of these cuts produces “ten” more numbers. So if you are “anal” enough to ask the question how many numbers are there between 0 and 1, then you are anal enough to accept the answer infinity. For most people and situations the question is totally meaningless. Are all these numbers fractions or decimals?

There are numbers – we call them irrational numbers, that cannot be written as fractions or decimals. The easiest one to get our heads around is √2, this is the number that solves the equation x2 = 2 (x = √2). But what is √2? 1.42 = 1.96. 1.4142 = 1.999396, and 1.4152 = 2.002225. Now we can get as close to 2 as we want but it will never exactly equal 2 because “2 does not exist or 2 is not real”. So we invent a number called √2 whose square is exactly 2. But √2 cannot be written as a fraction or a decimal. What is the area of a circle? Πr2. Simple? Take the radius, let’s say 4cm, square it 16 cm2. Multiply by π, whatever that is – press the button on the calculator or use whatever is given in the question 3.14, 3.142, 3.14159265359. In school to avoid a multiple of answers the question usually says 2 decimal places – helps the marker!!! But in truth the area of a circle also has an infinite number of answers – Dedekind cuts. But we have a convention – an agreement – that there is one answer.

So between 0 and 1 we have an infinite number of numbers and some of those numbers are irrational 1/√2, 1/π, and so on. So when we have a number system we have many many assumptions that people don’t usually consider.

In some ways maths gets harder in school as it gets further and further away from what makes common sense. Early on in secondary school we get introduced to negative numbers. At this stage we have been taught numbers without all the assumptions (of Dedekind cuts, irrational numbers, infinite possibilities for lengths or areas). The number 3 is an accepted “reality” so then mathematicians ask what is x if x+3 = 0? From a mathematician’s point of view this is a very sensible question, pushing back the boundaries of mathematical questioning in the hope of coming up with a sensible answer that might prove useful.

The answer of course is -3, equation solved. Maths as language can be used in science as -3. So what are we doing? Measuring a length of -3 cm? Counting -3 apples? No -3 is just something we use in maths, and most people accept -3 is a number. But it exists even less than any other numbers. 3 apples can be counted but 3 is a descriptor and it has no existential meaning. If I went to ask for -3 apples, they’d lock me up. But most people are happy to accept that -3 exists.

In the spirit of mathematical enquiry we give negative numbers rules, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Cos that’s what mathematicians do. How can you add two things that don’t exist? Everywhere in the world if you asked people to add -2 and -3 you will get the answer -5 – except for kids in my classes Why? Then we get a teacher’s trick. Draw a number line –5, -4, -3 … 3,4,5. Go to -2 and go to the left a further 3 and you get -5. So let’s call this -2 + -3, and get the answer -5.

So there is some kind of physical interpretation we can use here – the number line. So what happens if we try to multiply -2 x -3? Kids will usually say -6 to begin with. That would make intuitive sense, and the teacher says they are wrong -2 x -3 is +6 because –=+. Why? A physicist might then say two negative things attract and become positive, but isn’t it more sensible to go with what the kids say -6? After telling the kids many times and making them fail tests if they go with intuition we get the agreement that -x- = +, and -/- = +.

We have made agreements based on assumptions that mathematicians have made. And we have begun to get into interesting quantum territory with some of these assumptions. How many numbers between 0 and 1? Infinite. That’s absurd. We can have some kind of notional concept of fractions – ½ a cake, 0.1 is a tenth of an inch, but what the hell is an irrational number? And if there is such a thing as an irrational number what is the point? I can see some point in 3 apples, ½ a cake, a 1/10 of an inch, but what is an irrational number? Yet we can use π to find areas of circles – it has a practical use.

But then what’s the use of negative numbers? They’re unreal. But then because we accept the definition of multiplication we can make them real by squaring them -3*-3 = 9 and we can have 9 apples.

So by examining numbers we can see that there all kinds of assumptions. And importantly we take a rule for negative numbers that is not perhaps intuitive, and we can make negative numbers “real” by squaring them. It works. And this is an important assumption for quantum theory, and it is an assumption that most kids do not at first find intuitive.

We then get further intuitive errors:- x2 = 9, so x=3. As a maths teacher I have to mark this wrong – absurd, maybe I give half marks. Now that we have negative numbers the answer is that x = -3 or +3, without taking -3 as a possible answer there are situations of practical relevance that would not be included – sorry can’t think of one but they are there.

By accepting negative numbers we can introduce a practical situation that we all accept. We have already seen a number line with negative numbers but what about graphs what do they mean?

And then we get

for some reason -x and -y have not been marked.

But we know all this, it is real. Now I hope you will start to say, it is not real it is just part of what we assume. Number is riddled with assumption but it works especially if we go to school get rid of intuition and accept the rules and conventions and make an agreement.

So maths enquiry said great, we have come with the answer to the question x2 = 9 as ±3, so now how about answering this equation x2 = -4? So we are looking for a number which when we square it gives a number that doesn’t exist. Here is what maths did. They said that -4 can be written as -1×4 so if we take the square root we get √-1 and √4. We now accept that √4 is ±2, but what do we do with √-1? What’s the square root of something (-1) that doesn’t exist? Everybody calls it “i”. So the answer to the question x2 = -4 every mathematician and scientists accepts as ±2i.

Here’s the rub. This “i” is an assumption about an assumption, and it is arrived at by a rule that -x- = +. And it is arrived at by an assumption that it is reasonable to say that we can have a thing called i where i2 = -1.

And where do we find i? In Schrodinger’s equation.

Here is what I feel about this. I can accept numbers as existing such as 1,2,3, … These are natural (they are actually called natural numbers). Between 1 and 2 there are an infinite number of numbers some of which are irrational. Absurd. Then we extend to negative numbers there is some kind of intuitive acceptance when we see negative as meaning go back or go down on axes:-

But this is just a way of explaining, it isn’t “real” – although maths people call these axes of real numbers.

But then we get to “i” imaginary numbers. We even draw axes for these, and give it a “funny” name – Argand diagram – to make them look as if they exist.

But imaginary numbers are invented to make calculations about something that is made up (i=√-1) about something (-1) that is made up. And yet Thuan has happily compartmentalised his observation so long as there is mathematical language, and has compartmentalised the assumptions. I am not having a pop at Thuan, I could have said the “natural sciences”.

What is wonderful about imaginary and negative numbers is that if you are using equations all you have to do is square them and they become real. i2 = -1 and (-1)2 = 1. To make imaginary stuff real all you have to do is square them. When you look at the development of maths it all seems perfectly reasonable, I want to solve x+3 = 0, I want to solve x2 + 4 = 0 so I invent numbers and rules. But what you have done is use maths to make imaginary stuff real.

Now making imaginary stuff real normally seems a waste of time. When little kids come up with imaginary friends we find the nicest way we can of telling our kids that they don’t exist, they’re not real, and we basically find a nice way of getting rid of them. However making imaginary stuff real in maths is useful. Somehow Schrodinger’s equation helps quantum scientists predict quantum events, and as with quantum computing these quantum events happen – they are real.

But what we are talking about is a whole bunch of imaginary assumptions. I have no problem with accepting quantum events such as superposition and entanglement as happening. I am quite happy to accept that mathematicians far far far far more capable than I – great respect – are able to manipulate things such as Schrodinger’s Equation so that there is some element of prediction that is practically useful. But it is all assumption, assumption that has a mathematical integrity but nevertheless assumption.

So am I doing a “fake news” on science? In a way only, because a scientist should always be sceptical. Where are scientists going with quantum theory? They are trying to talk about stuff they cannot see. What they can observe is effects and in the sub-atomic arena there is some pretty weird stuff such as superposition and entanglement. What they are looking at however has practical applications, and this is important. So science turns to maths as if it is the sacrosanct language. But maths is stack full of assumptions. Are these assumptions invalid? Certainly not as far as I know, but in the sub-atomic arena we must contend the possibility that the maths of normal space might fall down. What is normally seen as the “laws of physics” is definitely out of the window.

But I am not trying to dispute the maths. 02 = 0, and if we take that new zero and square it again we have zero. If we start with nothing and keep squaring it we get nothing. Somehow we start with i, square it and we get -1, and square that we get +1. We start with the imaginary and we get the real. If that happened anywhere else other than maths we would laugh it out of the window.

Maths is a logical language, its sphere of influence is logic yet it is being used in the arena of the absurd to substantiate the absurd. You do not substantiate the absurd by logic or we could not have superposition. Here is what I am saying. It is the observation that is substantive, scientific verification through mathematical derivation is not appropriate, this is not a world of reason and logic. Accept the observation, use the maths to help validate the observation, don’t use a discipline that is based on assumptions that might well not apply in the quantum arena.

I am not asking you to refute the observation, the observation can be repeated. But when you look at aspects of knowledge which have been observation-based and reject them because they don’t have the scientific verification of mathematical rigour, then consistently you should reject quantum physics.

“Science beyond Reason” <– Previous Post Next Post –>

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Science Beyond Reason

Science and reason, being synonymous recently, has an interesting history. I have argued that Bacon schismed knowledge into reason and revelation – discussed in Hidden Axioms of Science, on the grounds of evidential knowledge and subjective knowledge. However since Bacon, scientific establishment has gradually eschewed revelation as a source of knowledge until recent times. For most scientists who work within the Newtonian paradigm (a term used by Fritjov Capra in the Turning Point – Capra discussed here and next blog), science is still basically particle-oriented and for these scientists the lynchpin of science is reason. For scientists who work within this paradigm experience that is not based in reason is often rejected. Typical of this is acupuncture. Since the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor, acupuncture has been part of Chinese medicine. Over the years the effects of the chi flowing along channels or meridians has been seen as a measurement of health, and the use of needles to unblock chi has led to healing. When western science started to dominate medicine through slash and pill, acupuncture has been rejected as an effective medical treatment because it is not subject to reason. Discussed here.

Yet since Niels Bohr science has investigated quantum space and accepted such illogical absurdities it makes acupuncture seem completely rational. There is however no rational explanation for acupuncture unless you accept the existence of chi.

What about quantum computers? As discussed in this blog quantum computers which have huge potential and are beginning to have practical application. Yet this application has at its basis absurdity – quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. Now although these observations are couched in scientific language, they are basically absurd:-

Superposition – one atom existing in two places
Entanglement – two photons existing apart with a connection that enables instantaneous transfer of data.

These absurd observations are at the basis of Zeilinger’s work that he discusses here. Aaron O’Connell has described metal that vibrates and does not vibrate at the same time in this TED talk. I am only just beginning to investigate these quantum phenomena but a characteristic appears to be that they are absurd but observable. There is no rational explanation for these phenomena (“as yet” some scientists might argue), however science is working with them.

Science has accepted phenomena that appear absurd, that have no rational explanation, and has accepted sub-atomic behavior as being observable and of practical use eg quantum computers. Yet limited rational science is rejecting acupuncture with a record of millenia. These paradoxes ought to disturb every scientist, and ought to create disillusion and disenchantment with reason as the sole basis of science.

I described the path as:-

And I want to focus on insight here.

Insight can arise through meditation; Vipassana meditation is simply insight meditation. Buddhadasa talks of anapanasati – mindfulness of breathing, one result of his approach is insight. Buddhadasa also describes the following:-

Removing the I and mine from the 5 khandhas (as represented in the meme by the body and psyche as well as consciousness) allows for connection to sunnata, and one result can be insight. Reason is one of the khandhas, sankhara, included in the psyche in this meme. In other words insight can occur when we have removed I and mine from the psyche that includes reason in sankhara. I have discussed insight with many non-meditators and academics. Their inability to accept that there can be that which is beyond reason has prevented them from experiencing insight (amongst others). Insight (Archimedes Eureka for example) can arise beyond reason in the same way that quantum paradoxes can arise beyond reason – whatever rational work led up to the Eureka moment.

Whilst some of science still hides behind the words “quantum theory”, phenomena such as the absurdities of superposition and entanglement can be used with beneficial result. Personally insights that I have experienced when beyond reason have application in daily life. Meditation the stilling of the mind by following the breath or otherwise can have huge personal benefits without apparent rational justification. Going beyond reason is now a legitimate scientific activity, ignoring meditation because we hold to reason is a limitation in much the same way as dismissing quantum realities. The dual state of science, quantum and reason, parallel the Buddhist understanding of khandhas and beyond. What an indictment of those who cling to reason and intellect!

Surely scientists have to have disillusion and disenchantment with a background that is purely based in reason if there is sufficient enquiry?? Surely??

“Entangled for war” <– Previous Post Next Post –> “Smoke and Mirrors”

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Entangled for War

Yesterday a friend told me about quantum computers and their instantaneous abilities. He understood little but was intellectually fascinated – as he is a slave to his intellect so my arrogance immediately dismissed him. Shame. I did however have sufficient integrity to investigate and will apologise.

I have a very limited understanding of what happens but here goes. It is an observable phenomenon of photons that they can exhibit the same properties instantaneously in two places. Somehow if these photons have opposite polarity there is a property of instantaneous transfer. Sorry to be so vague, I don’t understand.

However vague my understanding science has been able to turn this property into some practical use. Apparently a scientist, Zeilinger, has demonstrated the use of quantum theory practically. Here is a talk he gave, I don’t understand it. Basically it relies on 3 observations – superposition, randomness and entanglement. Something like 2 photons that had been connected have the same properties even though they have been separated. This does not make sense to me but what I can accept is that it has been observed and these observations can be repeated. This is what I argue about for meditation, it can be observed and repeated and therefore it is science. And then there is gravity. Gravity has been accepted for centuries – Isaac Newton. Its properties have been used by science and there are equations involving gravity that are used practically. Yet how does gravity work? I’m glad it does, walking on earth can be pleasant – certainly useful.

Zeilinger describes here (17.40 to 18.30) a new way of thinking of information. “Information is a fundamental constituent of the universe … Information might be more basic than matter … Information that characterises two systems transcends all limitations of space and time.”

Here is a description of transfer of data using quantum computers. I don’t understand how it has been done but data has been transferred – an observable reality. Serious quantum computers are here, if the FT are discussing it then we know this.

But here is the mandtao rub, and it somewhat ominously comes from the Los Alamos lab (Oppenheimer). Here is a quote from the FT article “John Sarrao, associate director for theory, simulation, and computation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is among the scientists looking at how to invest in the technology. The organisation, best known for its work on nuclear weapons, is taking a long-term view of quantum computing from a national security point of view.” That frightens the hell out of me. Note the use of the euphemism “national security” – how the West (primarily) disguises its efforts at global hegemony and profit-making through violent oppression.

Here is what I do understand. Computers we now use are based on the electrical transfer of data using bits (binary digits). Fundamentally “classic” computers transfer data through electricity by the use of on-off switches, and through this transfer of data computers are able to be used to do so many fantastic things – at the same time “classic” computers are able to create the threat of AI and use smart bombs and drones. Developments in computers (new generations of computers) are measured in terms of the speed of processing, the faster the processing of data the more they can do.

Quantum computing freaks me out because it takes this understanding to a new level. The processing is faster because it is instantaneous – superposition. Secondly is the notion of Qubits. Basically quantum computers can store data in these Qubits – whatever they are, and they are transferred instantaneously. Frightening computer power.

Where is the investment in quantum computing coming from? At present most investment appears to be within the computer industry itself, as can be gleaned from the FT article. But defence is moving in – note here defence is a euphemism for western hegemony. This article from Sputnik News describes global focuses on quantum computing investment, and China leads the way. The article suggests that China will have the capability of hacking western military usages. In other words China will soon become an enemy of NATO, and enemies could mean war. Here is a military view of the quantum arms race that is freaky as well. This article has no moral content, he is just playing fear tactics to ramp up the quantum race for greater US government investment. With people like Major Ryan Kenny ramping up a global arms race in the FT, what future does it hold for humanity?

With this new leap in quantum computing – new to me as being realistic, the need for a HFP-protocol is even more urgent.

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