21 September, 2015

Review: Al-Khalili’s Sleight-of-Hand Analogies

Yet another proof of Quantum Entanglement?

In the first instalment of Jim Al-Khalili’s series on BBC 4 entitled “Let There be Light! The Secrets of Quantum Physics", he tackles the long-standing argument between the position of the Copenhagenists and that supported by Albert Einstein, on what is termed Quantum Entanglement.

As is usual in this area of Physics, analogies are used to attempt to “solve” (though really only describe) crucial anomalies in Reality.

So, here Al-Khalili uses playing cards to represent what is supposed to happen with Quantum Entanglement at the sub atomic level. And, by a series of modifications, ends up with an experiment, using two simultaneously caused quanta of light, which are, “therefore, entangled”, and he looks at their polarizations, to see if the idea of entanglement is “correct”. But, he defines the test as being a dispute between the two contradictory explanations of a certain case of the phenomenon – one by the Copenhagenists, and the other by Einstein.

So, Al-Khalili asserts one must be right, and the other must be wrong! But, I have to insist, “Why should they be the only considered possibilities?”

The way Al-Khalili puts it, one answer proves the that the Copenhagenists are right, and that the phenomenon is totally inexplicable physically, while the other (Einstein’s) proves that the two photons’ properties were fixed when they were created, and no inexplicable link between the two would be necessary.

Al-Khalili uses his described Laser Set Up with photons, but insists that we see it in terms of his analogy with the playing cards, so how might he be misleading us? Can the playing cards change, or are they fixed? Clearly, we are persuaded that they cannot change, all by themselves – that would be magic – especially if the change was due to a measurement made elsewhere, at the other case. But this is also misleading us even more!

Our quantum entities are not playing cards that are fixed forever - they were created (in the more usually used example of Pair Production) modelled here by the split light into two photons (and considered to act in exactly the same sort of ways with regard to quantum properties), and the assumption of that creative process being the production of two massive particles from pure energy alone, is made without any chance of it being mistaken.

NOTE: We cannot continue such a discussion without questioning Al-Khalili’s many, quite definitely questionable assumptions. He refers to a photon, which we are to accept as a disembodied quantum of pure energy. Then, also, in the alternative argument, two particles can be created out of just such a high-energy photon. No possible substrate is assumed to be involved in these phenomena, and finally, in conclusion, that separated entities can be still instantaneously linked, no matter how far apart they get. These are not to be questioned. They are assumed to be totally unassailable. What do you think?

But, this theorist (Jim Schofield) sees the area very differently. The phenomenon of Pair Production is due to the dissociating of a known-to-be-physically-existing unit (not pure energy) in a universal substrate, made up of large numbers of these, each consisting of two mutually orbiting particles, of one electron and one positron, which can also hold and transfer internal quanta of energy by the promotion of that orbit. It has been observed in colliders as the Positronium - in it's stable state we call it a Neutritron. (By the way, this assumption also solves electromagnetic propagation through space, and all the anomalies of the full set of Double Slit Experiments – a supposed cornerstone of Al-Khalili’s set of assumptions embodied in the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory). Finally, this alternative also stands upon very different holistic grounds, which means, “Everything affects everything else!” and also “Nothing is eternal!” 

Theoretical particle - the Neutritron

So, if our Pair were linked (synchronised) at their joint point of creation, and, thereafter, were in-step-evolving from there on, then both Einstein’s and the Copenhagenists’ assumptions (both of which are entirely pluralist) and requiring both eternal laws and eternal entities – must be wrong.

Al-Khalili’s presented alternatives are not intrinsically opposite, so that one or the other must be the truth!

It is, on the contrary, an example of a classical Dichotomous Pair of concepts, due entirely to common, yet wrong, premises, by both sides of the argument. The contradictory pair was entirely due to their mistaken common premises (embodied basically Plurality for both sides).

And, as the philosopher Hegel clearly demonstrated, a sound critique, and then a necessary replacement of those erroneous premises, would remove the seeming contradiction, and allow the impasse to be transcended, and a consistent and better theory to be possible, while opening the door to further developments too.

Effectively, both sides of the argument were determined by the same errors, and hence no resolution would be possible without those common and false premises being removed and replaced with something closer to the truth.

Now, such alternative reasoning may sound to be something of a circuitous route, but it is far superior to the thing it replaces. Let’s face it; the premises of the Copenhagenists mean that certain things just cannot be explained physically, and we must not even try! And, as long as we have an overall, formal means of getting what we want, in a given situation, then we must be satisfied with that.

NOTE: The final part in the experiment to test Bell’s “thought to be final proof”, was that if there was NO built-in relation between them, then the overall results, in his analysis, would be “more than 2”, whereas if there was an in-built relation (as Einstein insisted) the overall results would be “less than 2”. But, this is really only testing between the two options proposed by the Copenhagenists and Einstein, and consistent with Formal Logic. Yet, with a non-pluralist, changing situation, that test would not be appropriate. The tenets of Formal Logic would NOT apply! The thinking is entirely pluralist, hence it must have the supposed, totally underlying laws – independent of context – the same happening in all circumstances – in fact they must be FIXED! Whereas, that will certainly not be the case at all – and the holist stance is bound to be be much closer to the truth than the pluralist.

As with all pluralist experiments, they are set up specifically to reveal a given pluralist law, and one, which, to the holist, is anything but that. It is, in fact, totally determined by the context of the experimental set up. It isn’t a fixed Natural Law at all.

Finally, the whole World of Formal Logic, of the Principle of Plurality, and Form as Cause is certainly mistaken. In the end, its laws are those of the World of Pure Form alone – Ideality, and NOT of the real subject of Physics – Reality.

And, to cap it all, the assumptions used were, at the time of their establishment, historically unavoidable.

Mankind didn’t come into the World already ideally equipped for such problems. They have has to develop them from scratch over millennia, and the posing of the problem in that way was the only thing they could do at the time.

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