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It's A Matter Of Interpretation

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on August 16, 2002 13:43:04 UTC

In physics it seems that phenomena can be explained in such diverse ways that the basic reality underlying the explanation is quite different. The wave/particle duality of quantum mechanics is the very best example of this.

In QED Feymann employs only particles- no waves. In order to find a complete theory able to explain everything, as it does for photons and electrons, he had to employ anti-particles coming back from the future to interact with the more ordinary particles going into the future. These are the electrons and positrons. The photons are always at the same time- they do not experience time. So only positrons are needed to complete QED.

An alternative interpretation, which is just as wild, is that essentially only waves exist. When waves of different types, say EM waves and electron waves 'want to interact' (are frequency resonant) we must assume that the waves somehow collapse into Planck size wave bunches. At this scale all waves are alike- the unified field if you wish- and so they can exchange energy and momentum, being the same kind of waves.

Both interpretations are equally ridiculus, more or less. Being trained in EM waves, I prefer to think that only waves exist (which are invisible to us) and that time goes in one direction. But there is no collapse theory. So that interpretation is incomplete; whereas the particle-only approach is complete. Bohm's interpretation is that waves and particles exist at the same time. And there are many other suggested interpretations, like the multiply many universe interpretation.

I actually use religion to make my selection. Eastern religion teaches that what we see is maya- illusion. This is consistent with the wave-only interpretation as the Planck size particles (of unified fields) exist for just instants of time. Yet that is all we see. So we only see a tiny fraction of what exists. The illusion is that we think that that is all that exists.

The same problem exists in gravotational theory. General relativity based on geometry that distorts in the presence of mass has no gravitational field. All other theories assume a flat geometry in which gravitational fields or gravitons exist.
The two or more approaches are all duals. The calculations give more or less the same results, but the implied reality is vastly different.

So I guess the conclusion is that the best physicists can do is make verifiable calculations. But they cannot say what really exists. Gurus and mystics claim to be able to say what reality is, but their claims are not verifiable by experiment, and their claims are often contradictory.

Regards,

Richard

Disagreement give us choice

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