I Don't Get Quantum Anything

Pax Christi, everybody!

Are quantum fluctuations instances of something coming from nothing?

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No and yes. Not inside universes, and outside them respectively.

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They’re instances of something coming from a quantum vacuum, which is a particular and very active kind of nothing.


Nobody understands quantum anything - not even the folks filling blackboards with esoteric equations. Despite its propaganda of being ‘the most successful theory of all time’, it’s a hodge-podge of non-mechanical ‘explanations’ that are mostly not tied to anything physical and are driven largely by math as if math prescribes reality instead of describing it, and is rife with confirmation bias, and now has so many free parameters and ‘fundamental’ entities that any evidence that remotely supports the model is largely accepted without rigorous evaluation of other possible explanations, and any evidence contradicting the model is ignored, marginalized, and panned as ‘pseudo-science’.

Physics is supposed to be ‘physical’ - it seems silly to even have to write that out, but people used to understand this. But in the 1800’s, the concept of a ‘field’ with no medium took hold and was rapidly built upon in the 1900’s when Bohr and Heisenberg decided to go fully non-mechanical and ‘virtual’ entities were created by fiat, and the vacuum became anything but. Scientists may wear t-shirts that say ‘No action at a distance’, but QM theory is chock full of it.

QM is en vogue and sexy because they appeal to ‘sci-fi’ explanations that are popular in Hollywood and the public at large. More popularity means more $$ for institutions studying QM, so there’s an unfortunate influence that pushes novel explanations that would fit right into a Star Trek episode, and backed with about as much evidence as you’ll find in TV.

This is not to demean any scientist who has worked hard in school and in their career to contribute through the scientific study of the extremely small of reality - I’m not some sort of conspiracy theorist. I just think the theory itself is a house of cards, and has strayed so far from anything resembling what physics used to be that it needs a major overhaul from the ground up. It’s the theory of epicycles for the 20th and 21st centuries, IMO.

The only action at a distance is the instantaneous determination of the spin of the other of an entangled pair where the spin of one of the pair has just been determined. Which compromises nothing whatsoever. As the spin of the other cannot be communicated FTL. Your critique is meaningless.

My critique is ‘meaningless’ and yet, somehow, you managed to infer enough meaning from it that you felt the need to respond to it; and that with only (marginally) addressing only one point of what I wrote.

Quality self-contradicting rebuttal.

Entanglement itself is a prime example of how off the rails and non ‘mechanical’ QM theory is.

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In a sense yes…

To be more accurate you should say it is an instance of something being borrowed from nothing – a glitch in the law of conservation of energy. Energy can be borrowed from nothing for a time inversely proportional to the quantity of energy. Thus the conservation of energy only holds over longer periods of time.


Uh huh.

QM is ‘in vogue’ because it does a spectacularly good job of predicting experimental results and yielding fruitful lines of research. When someone comes up with another theory that does at least as well at explaining existing data, physicists will keep using QM, regardless of whether it fits your preconception of what a physical theory should look like.


Quantum mechanics (QM) is a tool that was invented to explain experimental results. It is nothing more and nothing less than that. The utility of QM is therefore based entirely upon its ability to predict and explain experimental results, and by this measure it is a phenomenal success. There has yet to be an experiment of any type that violates the basic principles of QM. Thus, to begin with, we should discuss some of the experimental results that illustrate key principles of QM. Since this is a chemistry course, we will slant our perspective towards chemically relevant experiments, but similar effects can be found in any situation where the systems are small enough and the temperature is low enough.


Absolute patent nonsense.

Quantum mechanics plays a fundamental role in solid state physics, which itself plays a fundamental role in building the transistors and integrated circuits used to build computers. If quantum mechanics really were the “hodge-podge of non-mechanical ‘explanations’” that you make it out to be, there would be no computers and no Internet.

On another thread last night I made the point that once a scientific theory reaches the point at which it starts to be used in real-world practical situations in industry or engineering, it has reached a level of maturity at which you can no longer fob it off as “propaganda” or flaky peer review. Quantum mechanics passed that threshold decades ago.

Well I’m sorry but if you don’t want to be called a conspiracy theorist then don’t post conspiracy theories. Especially not ridiculous ones such as the idea that the laws of physics on which your computer depends are nothing but confirmation bias.


This reaction to quantum physics is bizarre because the only people who would have a problem with quantum physics are physicists. This is because quantum physics places limits on what physics can do. Who but physicists would imagine that physics can do everything?

You confuse your own internal state with external reality. I have little doubt that you do not understand quantum physics, but to claim that others do not understand something is MORE preposterous than the claims of psychics. I do not believe in your claims of knowledge about the minds of others or any other fortune telling you want to advertise.

Yes, Feynman is famously claimed to have said, “if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t understand quantum mechanics.” And I totally understand why Feynman might have said such a thing – and it certainly was not anything like what you are claiming. I will never forget the time in class when the teacher explained something about quantum physics and the smart guy in the back of the room stood up and said, “but that is impossible!” There is a basic contradiction between quantum physics and the fundamental assumptions of physics. What could be better proof that this physics is not a product of our own thinking and what we want to believe. Physicists do not want to believe it. The experimental results force us to accept it.

Propaganda is when you lie… like you are doing right now. Propaganda is NOT when you accurately predict the results of new measurements to high precision over and over and over and over again.

Quantum physics is 100% physical.

Yes! The misuse of science and the use of technobabble in religion, sales, and scifi entertainment are legion – nothing new about that. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the science which has had endless real technological applications.

You lie endlessly just the same way they do. I fail to see any difference.

Entanglement is an easily reproduced experimental result. In this you sound exactly like creationists and flat earthers who just don’t like particular scientific findings and insist on imposing their imagination about what should be upon reality – thus living in a total fantasy world.

But perhaps as is typical of creationists you just don’t understand what you are whining about. Creationists rarely have a correct understanding of evolution and it seems likely that you do not have a correct understanding of entanglement… watching all those tv shows and such which you complain about.

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That’s it, just double-down. What is your idiolectic, inexpert definition of ‘mechanical’? How doesn’t QM fit it?

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