Quantum gravity physics based on facts, giving checkable predictions

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nature reviews Dr Woit’s book Not Even Wrong and Smolin’s book Trouble; Lubos Motl’s string snaps; Professor Bert Schroer puts string theory out of its misery


‘The problem is not that there are no other games in town, but rather that there are no bright young players who take the risk of jeopardizing their career by learning and expanding the sophisticated rules for playing other games.’

- Prof. Bert Schroer, http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0603112, p46

‘My final conclusion is that the young and intelligent Harvard professor Lubos Motl has decided to build his career on offering a cartering service for the string community. He obviously is a quick scanner of the daily hep-th server output, and by torching papers which are outside the credo of string theorists (i.e. LQG, AQFT) he saves them time. The downgrading of adversaries is something which has at least the tacit consent of the community. It is evident that he is following a different road from that of using one’s intellectual potential for the enrichment of knowledge about particle physics. If one can build a tenure track career at a renown university by occasionally publishing a paper but mainly keeping a globalized community informed by giving short extracts of string-compatible papers and playing the role of a Lord of misuse to outsiders who have not yet gotten the message, the transgression of the traditional scientific ethics [24] for reasons of career-building may become quite acceptable. It would be interesting to see into what part of this essay the string theorists pitbull will dig his teeth. [He’ll just quietly run away, Professor Schroer! All these stringers don’t have any answer to the facts so they run away when under pressure, following Kaku’s fine example.]’

- Prof. Bert Schroer, http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0603112, p22



Because of problems with this weblog, I set up an alternative at https://nige.wordpress.com/ which contains much new material and links in the comments to other things, like my potted refutation of string theory. See also the blogs of Christine Dantas, Cosmic Variance, Mahndisa Rigmaiden and Louise Riofrio who has an equation that discredit's Lubos Motl, an alleged sexist.

First, Kaku 'accidentally’ published on his website a typically inaccurate New Scientist magazine article draft which will appear in print in mid-November 2006. He falsely claimed:

‘The Standard Model of particles simply emerges as the lowest vibration of the superstring. And as the string moves, it forces space-time to curl up, precisely as Einstein predicted. Hence, both theories are neatly included in string theory. And unlike all other attempts at a unified field theory, it can remove all the infinities which plague other theories. But curiously, it does much more. Much, much more.’

Actually, it doesn’t, as Peter Woit patiently explains. String theory starts with a 1-dimensional line, when it oscillates time enters so it becomes a 2-dimensional worldsheet, which then needs at least 8 more dimensions added to give the resonances of particle physics satisfying conformal symmetry. So you end up with at least 10 dimensions, and because general relativity has 4 spacetime dimensions (3 spacelike, 1 timelike), you obviously somehow need to compactify or roll up 6 dimensions, which is done using a 6-d Calabi-Yau manifold, that has many size and shape parameters, giving the string something like 10^500 vibrational metastable resonance states and that many different solutions. The Standard Model might or might not be somewhere in there. Even if it is, you then have the problem of explaining all the other (unphysical) solutions.

10^500 is actually too much to ever work out rigorously in the age of the universe: it is 1 followed by 500 zeroes. For comparison, the total number of fermions in the universe is only about 10^80. The age of the universe measured in seconds is merely 4.7 x 10^17.

So, if stringers could evaluate one solution per second, it would take them ~(10^500)/(10^17) = 10^483 times the age of the universe. Now let’s assume they could somehow evaluate one solution every millionth of a second. Then they would get through the problem in (10^483)/(10^6) = 10^477 times the age of the universe.

Now suppose I came up with a theory which predicted even just 2 different solutions for the same thing. If one of them turned out to be consistent with the real world, and one didn’t, I could not claim to predict reality. Dirac's quantum field theory equation in 1929 gives an example of how to treat physical solutions. His spinor in the Hamiltonian predicts E = +/-mc^2 which is different from Einstein's E = mc^2.

Dirac realised that ALL SOLUTIONS MUST BE PHYSICAL, so he interpreted the E = -mc^2 solution as the prediction of antimatter, which Anderson discovered as the "positron’’ (anti-electron) in 1932. This is the way physics is done.

So the trouble is due to the fact that a large number of extra dimensions are needed to get string theory to 'work’ as an ad hoc model, and to make those extra dimensions appear invisible they are curled up into a Calabi-Yau manifold. Because there are loads of parameters to describe the exact sizes of the many dimensions of the manifold, it is capable of 10^500 states of resonance, and there is no proof that any of those gives the standard model of particle physics.

Even if it does, it is hardly a prediction because the theory is so vague it has loads of unphysical solutions. Susskind's stringy claim (see here for latest Susskind propaganda) that all the solutions are real and occur in other parallel universes is just a religious belief, since it can't very well be checked. The anthropic principle can make predictions but it is very subjective and is not falsifiable, so doesn’t fit in with Popper’s criterion of science.

As for its claim to predict gravity, it again only predicts the possibility of unobservable spin-2 gravitons, and says nothing checkable about gravity. See the comment by Eddington made back in 1920, quoted here:

‘It is said that more than 200 theories of gravitation have have been put forward; but the most plausible of these have all had the defect that that they lead nowhere and admit of no experimental test.’

- A. S. Eddington, Space Time and Gravitation, Cambridge University Press, 1920, p64. Contrast that caution to Witten's stringy hype:

‘String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity.'

- Edward Witten, stringy 10/11 dimensional M-theory originator, Physics Today, April 1996.


Nature's review is available here and it reads in part:

Nature 443, 491(5 October 2006). Published online 4 October 2006:

Theorists snap over string pieces

Geoff Brumfiel

‘Abstract

‘Books spark war of words in physics. Two recently published books are riling the small but influential community of string theorists, by arguing that the field is wandering dangerously far from the mainstream.

‘The books’ titles say it all: Not Even Wrong, a phrase that physicist Wolfgang Pauli used to describe incomplete ideas, and The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next. Both articulate a fear that the field is becoming too abstract and is focusing on aesthetics rather than reality. Some physicists even warn that the theory's dominance could pose a threat to the scientific method itself.

‘Those accusations are vehemently denied by string theorists, and the books - written by outsiders - have stirred deep resentment in the tight-knit community. Not Even Wrong was published in June and The Trouble with Physics came out in September; shortly after they appeared on the Amazon books website, string theorist Lubos Motl of Harvard University posted reviews furiously entitled "Bitter emotions and obsolete understanding of high-energy physics’’ and "Another postmodern diatribe against modern physics and scientific method’’. As Nature went to press, the reviews had been removed.

‘Few in the community are, at least publicly, as vitriolic as Motl. But many are angry and struggling to deal with the criticism. "Most of my friends are quietly upset,’’ says Leonard Susskind, a string theorist at Stanford University in California. ...

‘The books leave string theorists such as Susskind wondering how to approach such strong public criticism. "I don’t know if the right thing is to worry about the public image or keep quiet,’’ he says. He fears the argument may "fuel the discrediting of scientific expertise’’.

‘That’s something that Smolin and Woit insist they don’t want. Woit says his problem isn’t with the theory itself, just some of its more grandiose claims. ‘‘There are some real things you can do with string theory,’’ he says. [Presumably Woit means sifting through 10^500 metastable solutions trying to find one which looks like the Standard Model, or using string theory to make up real propaganda. ]’

- Geoff Brumfiel, in Nature.


Lubos Motl responds on Peter Woit’s blog with disgusting language, as befitting the pseudo-scientific extra dimensional string theorist who can't predict anything checkable:

Lubos Motl Says: October 3rd, 2006 at 8:14 pm

Dear crackpot Peter, you are a damn assh***. I will sue you for the lies those crackpot commenters telling on me on your crackpot blog. I hope you will die soon. The sooner the better.

So: be prepared to hear from my lawyer.

Best Lubos
_______________

Note: string theorist Aaron Bergman reviewed Not Even Wrong at the String Coffee Table, and now he writes in a comment on Not Even Wrong that if he reviewed Smolin's Trouble he would 'probably end up being a bit more snide’ in the review than Sean Carroll was on Cosmic Variance. That really does sum up the arrogant attitude problem with stringers...

Update 6 October 2006

The distinguished algebraic quantum field theorist, Professor Bert Schroer, has written a response to Lubos Motl in the form of an updated and greatly revised paper, the draft version of which was previously discussed on Dr Peter Woit weblog Not Even Wrong: http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0603112. (Schroer’s publication list is here.) He analyses the paranoia of string theorists on pages 21 et seq.

He starts by quoting Motl’s claim 'Superstring/M-theory is the language in which God wrote the world’, and remarks:

‘Each time I looked at his signing off, an old limerick which I read a long time ago came to my mind. It originates from pre-war multi-cultural Prague where, after a performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde by a maestro named Motl, an art critic (who obviously did not like the performance) wrote instead of a scorcher for the next day’s Vienna newspaper the following spooner (unfortunately untranslatable without a complete loss of its lovely polemic charm):

‘Gehn’s net zu Motl’s Tristan
schaun’s net des Trottels Mist an,
schaffn’s lieber ’nen drittel Most an
und trinkn’s mit dem Mittel Trost an’

(A very poor translation is:

Do not go to Motl’s Tristan.
Don’t appear at this nincompoop muck,
Get yourself a drink instead
And remain in comfort.)

‘After having participated in Peter Woit’s weblog and also occasionally followed links to other weblogs during March-June 2006 I have to admit that my above conclusions about Lubos Motl were wrong. He definitely represents something much more worrisome than an uninhibited name-calling (crackpot, rat, wiesel.....) character who operates on the fringes of ST and denigrates adversaries of string theory23 in such a way that this becomes an embarrassing liability to the string community. If that would be true, then at least the more prominent string theorists, who still try to uphold standards of scientific ethic in their community, would keep a certain distance and the whole affair would not even be worth mentioning in an essay like this. But as supporting contributions of Polchinski and others to Motl's weblog show, this is definitely not the case. My final conclusion is that the young and intelligent Harvard professor Lubos Motl has decided to build his career on offering a cartering service for the string community. He obviously is a quick scanner of the daily hep-th server output, and by torching papers which are outside the credo of string theorists (i.e. LQG, AQFT) he saves them time. The downgrading of adversaries is something which has at least the tacit consent of the community. It is evident that he is following a different road from that of using one’s intellectual potential for the enrichment of knowledge about particle physics. If one can build a tenure track career at
a renown university by occasionally publishing a paper but mainly keeping a globalized community informed by giving short extracts of string-compatible papers and playing the role of a Lord of misuse to outsiders who have not yet gotten the message, the transgression of the traditional scientific ethics24 for reasons of career-building may become quite acceptable. It would be interesting to see into what part of this essay the string theorists pitbull will dig his teeth.’

Peter Woit links to Risto Raitio’s weblog discussion of Schroer’s paper which points out aspects which are even more interesting:

‘For the present particle theorist to be successful it is not sufficient to propose an interesting idea via written publication and oral presentation, but he also should try to build or find a community around this idea. The best protection of a theoretical proposal against profound criticism and thus securing its longtime survival is to be able to create a community around it. If such a situation can be maintained over a sufficiently long time it develops a life of its own because no member of the community wants to find himself in a situation where he has spend the most productive years on a failed project. In such a situation intellectual honesty gives way to an ever increasing unwillingness and finally a loss of critical abilities as a result of self-delusion.

‘I would like to argue that these developments have been looming in string theory for a long time and the recent anthropic manifesto [1] (L. Susskind, The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design) (which apparently led to a schism within the string community) is only the extreme tip of an iceberg. Since there has been ample criticism of this anthropic viewpoint (even within the string theory community), my critical essay will be directed to the metaphoric aspect by which string theory has deepened the post standard model crisis of particle physics. Since in my view the continuation of the present path could jeopardize the future research of fundamental physics for many generations, the style of presentation will occasionally be somewhat polemic.

‘An age old problem of QFT which resisted all attempts to solve it is the problem of existence of models i.e. whether there really exist a QFT behind the Lagrangian name and perturbative expressions. Since there are convincing arguments that perturbative series do not converge (they are at best asymptotic expressions) this is a very serious and (for realistic models) unsolved problems. The problem that particle physics most successful theory of QED is also its mathematically most fragile has not gone away. In this sense QFT has a very precarious status very different from any other area of physics in particular from QM. This is very annoying and in order to not to undermine the confidence of newcomers in QFT the prescribed terminology is to simply use the word ‘‘defined” or ‘‘exists” in case some consistency arguments (usually related in some way to perturbation theory) have been checked.

‘These problems become even worse in theories as string theory (which in the eyes of string protagonists are supposed to supersede QFT). In this case one faces in addition to the existence problem the conceptual difficulty of not having been able to extract characterizing principles from ad hoc recipes

‘... Particle physics these days is generally not done by individuals but by members of big groups, and when these big caravans have passed by a problem, it will remain in the desert. A reinvestigation (naturally with improved mathematical tool and grater conceptual insight) could be detrimental to the career of somebody who does not enjoy the security of a community.

‘In its new string theoretical setting its old phenomenological flaw of containing a spin=2 particle was converted into the ‘‘virtue” of the presence of a graviton. The new message was the suggestion that string theory (as a result of the presence of spin two and the apparent absence of perturbative ultraviolet divergencies) should be given the status of a fundamental theory at an energy scale of the gravitational Planck mass, 10^19 GeV, i.e. as a true theory of everything (TOE), including gravity. Keeping in mind that the frontiers of fundamental theoretical physics (and in particular of particle physics) are by their very nature a quite speculative subject, one should not be surprised about the highly speculative radical aspects of this proposals; we know from history that some of our most successful theories originated as speculative conjectures. What is however worrisome about this episode is rather its uncritical reception. After all there is no precedent in the history of physics of a phenomenologically conceived idea for laboratory energies to became miraculously transmuted into a theory of everything by just sliding the energy scale upward through 15 orders of magnitudes and changing the terminology without a change in its mathematical-conceptual setting.

‘In this essay I emphasized that, as recent progress already forshadows, the issue of QG will not be decided in an Armageddon between ST and LQG, but QFT will enter as a forceful player once it has conceptually solidified the ground from where exploratory jumps into the blue yonder including a return ticket can be undertaken.

‘The problem is not that there are no other games in town, but rather that there are no bright young players who take the risk of jeopardizing their career by learning and expanding the sophisticated rules for playing other games.’

I've enjoyed Schroer's excellent paper and the first part has quite a bit of discussion about the ultraviolet (UV) divergence problem in quantum field field where you have to take an upper limit cutoff for the charge renormalization to prevent a divergence of loops of massive nature occurring at extremely high energy. The solution to this problem is straightforward (it is not a physically real problem): there physically just isn't room for massive loops to be polarized above the UV cutoff because at higher energy you get closer to the particle core, so the space is simply too small in size to have massive loops with charges being polarized along the electric field vector.

To explain further, if the massive particle loops are simply energized Dirac sea particles, i.e., if the underlying mechanism is that there is a Dirac sea in the vacuum which gains energy close to charges so that pairs of free electrons + positrons (and heavier loops where the field strength permits) are able to pop into observable existence close to electrons where the electric field strength is above 10^18 volts/metre, then the UV cutoff is explained: for extremely high energy, the corresponding distance is so small there is not likely to be any Dirac sea particles available in that small space. So the intense electric field strength is unable to produce any massive loops. We rely on Popper's explanation of the uncertainty principle in this case: the massive virtual particles are low energy Dirac field particles which have simply gained vast energy from the intense field:

‘... the Heisenberg formulae can be most naturally interpreted as statistical scatter relations [between virtual particles in the quantum foam vacuum and real electrons, etc.], as I proposed [in the 1934 book The Logic of Scientific Discovery]. ... There is, therefore, no reason whatever to accept either Heisenberg’s or Bohr’s subjectivist interpretation ...’

– Sir Karl R. Popper, Objective Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 303.

‘It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one tiny piece of space/time is going to do? So I have often made the hypothesis that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement, that in the end the machinery will be revealed, and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the chequer board with all its apparent complexities.’

- R. P. Feynman, Character of Physical Law, November 1964 Cornell Lectures, broadcast and published in 1965 by BBC, pp. 57-8.

Updated diagram of mass model: http://thumbsnap.com/vf/FBeqR0gc.gif. See the first comment on this post for more information on the dynamics of this model.

Note that string theory claims to solve the ultraviolet divergence problem at high energy by postulating 1:1 boson to fermion supersymmetry (one massive bosonic superpartner for every fermion in the universe) which is extravagant and predicts nothing except unification of forces near the Planck scale. It is artificial and even if you want string theory to be real, there are ways of getting around that by modifying 26 dimensional bosonic string theory as Tony Smith shows (he is suppressed from arXiv now, for not following the mainstream herd into M-theory). Previous posts are here (illustrated with force unification graphs showing effect of supersymmetry) and here (background information). So everything string says is wrong/not even wrong. The greatest claims of string theory to be successful are unphysical, uncheckable.

Another update:

More on the mechanism of the cosmic landscape string theory hype, ie, "selling more copies":

Jeremy Webb
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... Jeremy Webb, editor of New Scientist, graduated in electronics from Exeter University before working for the BBC as a sound engineer.

An article in The Hindu newspaper explains his editorial approach [1]. New Scientist has come under some criticism as a result of his editorial decisions (see for example [2] and [3]).

A Daily Telegraph article [4] reports:

Prof Heinz Wolff complained that cosmology is "religion, not science." Jeremy Webb of New Scientist responded that it is not religion but magic. ... "If I want to sell more copies of New Scientist, I put cosmology on the cover," said Jeremy.

Physics in the UK is allegedly in a "terminal decline" [5], and the efforts of Jeremy Webb and the rest of New Scientist (Britain's main science weekly) to "sell more copies" [6] have not boosted student interest in the subject, according to recent statistics:

Since 1982 A-level physics entries have halved. Only just over 3.8 per cent of 16-year-olds took A-level physics in 2004 compared with about 6 per cent in 1990.

More than a quarter (from 57 to 42) of universities with significant numbers of physics undergraduates have stopped teaching the subject since 1994, while the number of home students on first-degree physics courses has decreased by more than 28 per cent. Even in the 26 elite universities with the highest ratings for research the trend in student numbers has been downwards. [7].

One writer for Electronics & Wireless World magazine was emailed by Jeremy Webb on 30 August 2004:

Hawking and Penrose are well regarded among their peers. I am eager to question their ideas but I cannot afford to ignore them. Any physicist working today would be daft to do so. Nevertheless, neither makes regular appearances in the magazine. Paul Davies writes for us between zero and three times a year, writing as much about biology these days as he does about physics. He is invited to write. [8], [9]

Helene Guldberg in an article for Spiked Science on 26 April 2001 [10] reported that Jeremy Webb's behaviour had been sarcastic and rude towards her and others who disagreed with the New Scientist during "the horrendous event that was the New Scientist's UK Global Environment Roadshow":

Webb asked - after the presentations - whether there was anybody who still was not worried about the future. In a room full of several hundred people, only three of us put our hands up. We were all asked to justify ourselves (which is fair enough). But one woman, who believed that even if some of the scenarios are likely, we should be able to find solutions to cope with them, was asked by Webb whether she was related to George Bush!

When I pointed out that none of the speakers had presented any of the scientific evidence that challenged their doomsday scenarios, Webb just threw back at me, 'But why take the risk?' What did he mean: 'Why take the risk of living?' You could equally say 'Why take the risk of not experimenting? Why take the risk of not allowing optimum economic development?' But had I been able to ask these questions, I suppose I would have been accused of being in bed with Dubya. [11]

However, New Scientist had an online link with a podcast of Jeremy Webb very politely interviewing British Prime Minister Tony Blair [12], where Jeremy Webb explains New Scientist's standpoint:

In certain areas, we seem to be moving further away from rational thought, whether it’s the rise of fundamentalist religious beliefs or the use of unproven alternative therapies.

18 Comments:

At 8:45 AM, Blogger nige said...

Copy of my comment to http://faustscorner.blogspot.com/2006/10/introduction.html

The comment is "in moderation" currently (4.38 PM UK time, 6 Oct 2006) so I'm just copying it here in case it gets shortened or cut:

Hi Stefan,

Good luck with your blog. If I may, I want to comment on the idea in Penrose’s book which affected my spare time research the most for the last couple of years?

In Road to Reality, Penrose neatly illustrates with a diagram how the polarization of pair-production charges in the intense electric field surrounding a particle core, shield the core charge, with a diagram in Road to Reality. He speculates that the observed long range electric charge is smaller than the core electron charge by a factor of the square root of 137, ie 11.7. His book was published in 2004 I believe. But in the August 2002 and April 2003 issues of Electronics World magazine, I gave some mathematical evidence that the ratio is 137, and not the square root of 137. However, I didn’t have a clear physical picture of vacuum polarization when I wrote the articles and did not understand the difference for the, and Penrose’s book encouraged me enormously to investigate it!

The significance is the mechanistic explanation of quantum field theory and the prediction of the masses of all observable (lepton and hadron) particles in the universe: see my illustration here. (This is a fermion:boson correspondence as I’ll explain it later in this comment, but is not an exact 1:1 supersymmetry, so force unification occurs differently to string theory, as I’ll explain later.)

In that diagram the Pi shielding factor is due to the charge rotation effect while exchange gauge bosons are emitted and received by the rotating charge. Think about Star Wars: shooting down an ICBM with a laser. In the 1980s it was proved that by rapidly spinning the ICBM along its long axis, you reduce the exposure of the skin to laser energy by a factor of Pi, as compared to a non-spinning missile, or as compared to the particle as seen end-on. What is happening is that the effective “cross-section” as we call the interaction area in particle and nuclear physics, is increased by a factor of Pi if you see the particle spinning edge on, so if the spinning particle first receives and then (after the slightest decay) remits an exchange radiation particle, then the re-emitted particle could be fired off in any direction at all (if the spin is fast), whereas if it is not spinning the particle goes back the way it came (in a head-on or normal incidence collision).

The multiplying factors in front of Pi depend on the spin dynamics. For a spin ½ particle like an electron, there are two spin revolutions per rotation which means the electron is like a Mobius strip (a loop of paper with a half twist so that both top and bottom surfaces are joined – if you try to draw a single line right the way around the Mobius strip of paper, you find it will cover both sides of the paper and will have a length of exactly twice the length of the paper, so that a Mobius strip needs to be rotated twice in order to expose the full surface – like the spin ½ electron). This gives the factor of 2. The higher factors come from the fact that the distance of the electric charge from the mass giving boson is varied

The best sources for explaining what is physically going on in quantum field theory polarization are a 1961 book by Rose (chief physicist at Oak Ridge National Lab., USA) called "Relativistic Electron Theory" (I quote the vital bits on my home page), the 1997 PRL article by Levine et al which experimentally confirms it by smashing electrons together and determining the change in Coulomb (again quoted on my page), and the lectures here. Those lectures originally contained an error because the electron and positron annihilation and creation process forms one "vacuum loop" correction which occurs at the energy required for pair-production of those particles, i.e., an energy of 0.511 MeV per particle, and the authors had ignored higher loops between 0.5-92,000 MeV. For example, when the energy exceeds 105 MeV, you get loops of muon-antimuons being endlessly created and annihilated in the vacuum, which means you have to add an higher order loop correction to the polarization calculation. The authors had stated the equation for electron-positron loops as being valid all the way from 0.5 MeV to 92,000 MeV, and had forgotten to include loads of other loops, although they have now corrected and improved the paper. The vital results in the paper about polarization are around page 70 for the effect on measurable electron charge and on page 85 where the electric field strength threshold is calculated.

It is obvious that quantum field theory is very poor mathematically (see quotes at top of the page http://www.cgoakley.demon.co.uk/qft).

Most professors of quantum field theory shy away from talking realities like polarization because there are gross problems. The biggest problem is that although virtual charges are created in pairs of monopoles with opposite charges that can be polarized, quantum field theory also requires mass of
electron to be renormalized.

Since mass is the charge of gravitational force, it doesn't occur in negative types (antimatter falls the same way as normal matter), so it is hard to see how to polarize mass. Hence the heuristic explanation of how electric fields are renormalized by polarization of pair production electric charges, fails to explain mass renormalization.

The answer seems to be that mass is coupled to the electric polarization mechanism. The massive Z_o boson is probably an electric dipole like the photon (partly negatively electric field and partly positive), but because it is massive it goes slowly and can be polarized by aligning with an electric field. If the vacuum contains Z_o bosons in its ground state, this would explain how masses arise. See comments on recent posts at https://nige.wordpress.com and see the predictions of the masses of all particles as illustrated here:

here.shows the polarized zones around particles. Each polarized zone has inner and outer circles corresponding to the upper (UV) and lower (IR) cutoffs for particle scatter energy in QFT. The total shielding of each polarization zone is the well known alpha factor of 1/137. If the mass-producing boson is outside this polarization zone, the charge shielding reduces the mass by the alpha factor. By very little numerology, this model works extremely well.You would expect that semi-empirical relationships of the numerology sort would precede a rigorous mass predicting mechanism, just as Balmer's formula preceded Bohr's theory for it. Alejandro Rivero and another guy published the vital first link numerically between the Z_o boson mass and the muon/electron masses which made me pay attention and check further.

Obviously any as yet unorthodox idea may be attacked by the 'crackpotism' charge, but I think this one is particularly annoying to orthodoxy as it is hard to dismiss objectively.

More on Cosmic Variance here, here, here, on Not Even Wrong here, here, here, here, and on Christine Dantas’ Background Independence here.

POLARIZATION MECHANISM BY ELECTRIC DIPOLE (PAIR PRODUCTION):

Dr M. E. Rose (Chief Physicist, Oak Ridge National Lab.), Relativistic Electron Theory, John Wiley & Sons, New York and London, 1961, pp 75-6:

'The solution to the difficulty of negative energy states [in relativistic quantum mechanics] is due to Dirac [P. A. M. Dirac, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), A126, p360, 1930]. One defines the vacuum to consist of no occupied positive energy states and all negative energy states completely filled. This means that each negative energy state contains two electrons. An electron therefore is a particle in a positive energy state with all negative energy states occupied. No transitions to these states can occur because of the Pauli principle. The interpretation of a single unoccupied negative energy state is then a particle with positive energy ... The theory therefore predicts the existence of a particle, the positron, with the same mass and opposite charge as compared to an electron. It is well known that this particle was discovered in 1932 by Anderson [C. D. Anderson, Phys. Rev., 43, p491, 1933].

'Although the prediction of the positron is certainly a brilliant success of the Dirac theory, some rather formidable questions still arise. With a completely filled 'negative energy sea' the complete theory (hole theory) can no longer be a single-particle theory.

'The treatment of the problems of electrodynamics is seriously complicated by the requisite elaborate structure of the vacuum. The filled negative energy states need produce no observable electric field. However, if an external field is present the shift in the negative energy states produces a polarisation of the vacuum and, according to the theory, this polarisation is infinite.

'In a similar way, it can be shown that an electron acquires infinite inertia (self-energy) by the coupling with the electromagnetic field which permits emission and absorption of virtual quanta. More recent developments show that these infinities, while undesirable, are removable in the sense that they do not contribute to observed results [J. Schwinger, Phys. Rev., 74, p1439, 1948, and 75, p651, 1949; S. Tomonaga, Prog. Theoret. Phys. (Kyoto), 1, p27, 1949].

'For example, it can be shown that starting with the parameters e and m for a bare Dirac particle, the effect of the 'crowded' vacuum is to change these to new constants e' and m', which must be identified with the observed charge and mass. ... If these contributions were cut off in any reasonable manner, m' - m and e' - e would be of order alpha ~ 1/137. No rigorous justification for such a cut-off has yet been proposed.

'All this means that the present theory of electrons and fields is not complete. ... The particles ... are treated as 'bare' particles. For problems involving electromagnetic field coupling this approximation will result in an error of order alpha. As an example ... the Dirac theory predicts a magnetic moment of mu = mu[zero] for the electron, whereas a more complete treatment [including Schwinger's coupling correction, i.e., the first Feynman diagram] of radiative effects gives mu = mu[zero].(1 + alpha/{twice Pi}), which agrees very well with the very accurate measured value of mu/mu[zero] = 1.001...'

NOTICE ABOVE THAT THE MAGNETIC MOMENT OF ELECTRON CALCULATED BY QED WITH FIRST LOOP COUPLING CORRECTION IS 1 + alpha/(twice Pi) = 1.00116 Bohr magnetons. The alpha/(twice Pi) links into the mechanism for mass here.

Most of the charge is screened out by polarised charges in the vacuum around the electron core:

'... we find that the electromagnetic coupling grows with energy. This can be explained heuristically by remembering that the effect of the polarization of the vacuum ... amounts to the creation of a plethora of electron-positron pairs around the location of the charge. These virtual pairs behave as dipoles that, as in a dielectric medium, tend to screen this charge, decreasing its value at long distances (i.e. lower energies).' - arxiv hep-th/0510040, p 71.

‘All charges are surrounded by clouds of virtual photons, which spend part of their existence dissociated into fermion-antifermion pairs. The virtual fermions with charges opposite to the bare charge will be, on average, closer to the bare charge than those virtual particles of like sign. Thus, at large distances, we observe a reduced bare charge due to this screening effect.’ – I. Levine, D. Koltick, et al., Physical Review Letters, v.78, 1997, no.3, p.424.

Koltick found a 7% increase in the strength of Coulomb's/Gauss' force field law when hitting colliding electrons at an energy of 92 GeV. The coupling constant for electromagnetism is 1/137 at low energies but was found to be 1/128.5 at 92 GeV or so. This rise is due to the polarised vacuum being broken through. We have to understand Maxwell's equations in terms of the gauge boson exchange process for causing forces and the polarised vacuum shielding process for unifying forces into a unified force at very high energy. The minimal SUSY Standard Model shows electromagnetic force coupling increasing from alpha of 1/137 to alpha of 1/25 at 10^16 GeV, and the strong force falling from 1 to 1/25 at the same energy, hence unification. The reason why the unification superforce strength is not 137 times electromagnetism but only 137/25 or about 5.5 times electromagnetism, is heuristically explicable in terms of potential energy for the various force gauge bosons. If you have one force (electromagnetism) increase, more energy is carried by virtual photons at the expense of something else, say gluons. So the strong nuclear force will lose strength as the electromagnetic force gains strength. Thus simple conservation of energy will explain and allow predictions to be made on the correct variation of force strengths mediated by different gauge bosons. Hence, no need for M-theory.

Best wishes,
Nigel

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The updated mass model diagram here. It makes it a lot clearer.

 
At 3:34 AM, Blogger nige said...

There is a sad attack on Peter Woit made by Rae Ann, who is a Lubos Motl fan, at her appropriately-named weblog http://viciousmomma.blogspot.com. Here's a copy of a comment:


Dear Rae Ann,

I wrote about the fall in A-level physics uptake in Britain in the leader/opinion piece for Electronics World, October 2003 (I've occasionally written for that magazine from November 1994). It coincides with the rise of superstring speculation at the top; see here and here.

After correlating the fall in A-level physics in Britain with the rise of Hawking and other string sellers, I received a lot of hate mail. The editor couldn't print most of it since it was libel.

Basically, it was similar to what you are writing here.

When string theory needs this sort of defense by attacking the critics, it is sad.

I hope Lubos Motl and you both realise that string theory may be vacuous. It has had a good stint at the top of physics and has failed to achieve anything really solid. The results it gives are compatible with other possibilities.

Most of the trouble seems to be due to the fact that a large number of extra dimensions are needed to get string theory to "work" as an ad hoc model, and to make those extra dimensions appear invisible they must be curled up into a Calabi-Yau manifold. Because there are loads of parameters to describe the exact sizes of the many dimensions of the manifold, it is capable of 10^500 states of resonance, and there is no proof that any of those gives the standard model of particle physics. Even if it does, it is hardly a prediction because the theory is so vague it has loads of unphysical solutions. Susskind's claim that all the solutions are real and occur in other parallel universes is just a religious belief, since it can't very well be checked. The anthropic principle can make predictions but it is very subjective and is not falsifiable, so doesn't fit in with Popper's criterion of science.

As for its claim to predict gravity, it again only predicts the possibility of unobservable spin-2 gravitons, and says nothing checkable about gravity. See the comment by Eddington made back in 1920 here:

"It is said that more than 200 theories of gravitation have have been put forward; but the most plausible of these have all had the defect that that they lead nowhere and admit of no experimental test." - A. S. EDDINGTON, SPACE TIME AND GRAVITATION, Cambridge University Press, 1920, p64

Compare to:

"String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity." - Edward Witten, stringy 10/11 dimensional M-theory originator, Physics Today, April 1996.

Best,
Nigel

 
At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Guy Grantham said...

[Via email]

Woit (p491) and Smolin (p507) receive an airing of their criticisms of string theory(ists) in this week's Nature (vol 443 Issue No 7111 /5 Oct 06). "Furiously entitled" reviews of these authors by Motl are reported to have been "removed as Nature went to
press."

These two articles are rather more than counter-balanced by a
string-friendly editorial on page 482 entitled "Power and particles: String theories dominate for good reason", which concludes "Critical-mindedness is
integral to all scientific endeavour, but the pursuit of string power deserves undaunted encouragement."

Perhaps flatland has not yet been rediscovered.

Guy

From: "Guy Grantham" epola@tiscali.co.uk
To: "Nigel Cook"
Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 9:31 PM
Subject: Nature issue 7111 and strings

 
At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rae Ann has responded so we go further into the landscape ...

Dear Rae Ann,

Thanks, but I don't see you making any claims to know the man personally so I don't see how you claim "my issues with Woit are personal in nature". I mean, have you had a bad personal relationship or something? Or are you just upset that he points out unpleasant but well established facts about stringers like Lubos.

10^500 is actually too much to ever work out rigorously in the age of the universe. If you think about it, it is 1 followed by 500 zeroes.

For comparison, the total number of fermions in the universe is only about 10^80. The age of the universe measured in seconds is merely 4.7 x 10^17.

So, if stringers could evaluate one solution per second, it would take them ~(10^500)/(10^17) = 10^483 times the age of the universe.

Now let's assume they could somehow evaluate one solution every millionth of a second.

Then they would get through the problem in (10^483)/(10^6) = 10^477 times the age of the universe.

It is plain impossible to properly evaluate that many vacua, not laziness.

Now suppose I came up with a theory which predicted even 2 different things. If one of them turned out to be consistent with the real world, and one didn't, I could not claim to predict reality.

Dirac's quantum field theory equation in 1929 did this. His spinor in the Hamiltonian predicts E = +/-mc^2 which is different from Einstein's E = mc^2.

Dirac realised that ALL SOLUTIONS MUST BE PHYSICAL, so he interpreted the E = -mc^2 solution as the prediction of antimatter, which Anderson discovered as the "positron" (anti-electron) in 1932.

This is the way physics is done.

I wish you could see what a total sham string theory is, but maybe I'll just go off and write stuff about it on my own blog which nobody will ever read.

Cheers,
nc

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger nige said...

A further argument with Rae Ann on her weblog:


Dear Rae Ann,

Rest assured that Peter Woit thinks far more of Lubos Motl as well as Edward Witten and Leonard Susskind than he does many of his fans.

For you to think that Woit is on a campaign to harm Lubos Motl's career is just unreasonable.

Woit started out working on Edward Witten's ideas in particle physics. His issue with string began when his work on representation theory and particle physics fell on deaf ears due to string, back in the 1980s when Lubos was a kid in the communist ruled state of Czechoslovakia.

Without any proper funding of alternatives, there is a limit to what you can do. Einstein could not have developed general relativity, which took ten years, without the support he got from his earlier papers in 1905.

String theory soaks up the funds and the public support. If nobody cares, and believe me nobody in the world who can really help does care, you can't exchange ideas or properly develop a theory.

Woit did come up with a successful way to model the standard model with chiral symmetry characteristics (the handedness of particles subject to weak force interactions): see page 51 of Woit's paper here where he comes up with the standard model using representation theory, but then - instead of hyping as stringers do (with no reason) - he cautiously says:

'The above comments are exceedingly speculative and very far from what one needs to construct a consistent theory. They are just meant to indicate how the most basic geometry of spinors and Clifford algebras in low dimensions is rich enough to encompass the standard model and seems to be naturally reflected
in the electro-weak symmetry properties of Standard Model particles.'

On the next page, Woit explains his early problems with string (long before his Weblog 'Not Even Wrong' began in 2004):

'It is a striking fact that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for this complex and unattractive conjectural theory. There is not even a serious proposal for what the dynamics of the fundamental “M-theory” is supposed to be or any reason at all to believe that its dynamics would produce a vacuum state with the desired properties. The sole argument generally given to justify this picture of the world is that perturbative string theories have a massless spin two
mode and thus could provide an explanation of gravity, if one ever managed to find an underlying theory for which perturbative string theory is the perturbation expansion. This whole situation is reminiscent of what happened in particle theory during the 1960’s, when quantum field theory was largely abandoned in favor of what was a precursor of string theory. The discovery of asymptotic freedom in 1973 brought an end to that version of the string enterprise and it seems likely that history will repeat itself when sooner or later some way will be found to understand the gravitational degrees of freedom within quantum field theory.'

So he is defending real physics, he is not out to attack Lubos. If you think Woit is out to sink Lubos then you are really way off.

The right to free speech doesn't extend to brainwashing innocent kids into believing without any evidence (but with loads of obfuscating drivel including the irrelevant AdS/CFT duality, etc) that the universe has 10 dimensions, a landscape of 10^500 parallel universes all with different laws. Lubos represents all the sin in the world, and must be either reformed or re-educated so that he stops his pseudo-physical propaganda.

I know he is unable to control himself, and it is sad that he may end up becoming a casualty when the stringy enterprise ends.

Peter Woit does emphasise that he agrees with Lubos' initial dismissive reaction to Susskind's anthropic interpretation of the 'cosmic landscape' of 10^500 solutions. I'm sure that if Lubos renounced string, he'd find a very warm reception from Woit and also from Smolin and others. It is not personal ill-feeling towards Lubos that they express, merely disgust at his 'physics'.

By the way, I not biased against Lubos myself; I warmly support Lubos Motls' analysis of both radiation effects and nuclear deterrence, see my positive mentions of Lubos here and here. His views on global warming are less solid, while most of his string theory stuff is just s***.

Kind regards,
nige

 
At 7:59 AM, Blogger nige said...

Rae Ann has deleted her post attacking Woit, it is so boring that stringers always run away and can't answer back their case because they are not even wrong.

New comment to http://viciousmomma.blogspot.com/2006/10/magical-vines-and-adjacent-universes_05.html



Hi Rae Ann,

Quantum entanglement as an interpretation of the Bell inequality, as tested by Aspect et al., relies upon a belief in the "wavefunction collapse".

The exact state of any particle is supposed to be indeterminate before being measured. When measured, the wave function "collapses" into a definite value.

Einstein objected to this, and often joked to believers of wave function collapse:

Do you believe that the moon exists when you aren't looking?

EPR (Einstein, Polansky and Rosen) wrote a paper in Physical Review on the wavefunction collapse problem in 1935. (This led eventually to Aspect's tangled experiment.) Schroedinger was inspired by it to write the "cat paradox" paper a few months later.

PROBLEM WITH ENTANGLEMENT

Dr Thomas Love of the Departments of Physics and Mathematics, California State University, points out that the "wavefunction collapse" interpretation (and all entanglement interpretations) are a load of s---.

He points out that the wavefunction doesn't physically collapse. There are two mathematical models, the time-dependent Schroedinger equation and the time-independent Schroedinger equation.

Taking a measurement means that, in effect, you switch between which equations you are using to model the electron. It is the switch over in mathematical models which creates the discontinuity in your knowledge, not any real metaphysical effect

When you take a measurement on the electron's spin state, for example, the electron is not in a superimposition of two spin states before the measurement. (You merely have to assume that each possibility is a valid probabilistic interpretation, before you take a measurement to check.)

Suppose someone flips a coin and sees which side is up when it lands, but doesn't tell you. You have to assume that the coin is 50% likely heads up, and 50% likely to be tails up. So, to you, it is like the electron's spin before you measure it. When the person shows you the coin, you see what state the coin is really in. This changes your knowledge from a superposition of two equally likely possibilities, to reality.

Dr Love states on page 9 of his paper Towards an Einsteinian Quantum Theory: "The problem is that quantum mechanics is mathematically inconsistent...", which compares the two versions of the Schroedinger equation on page 10. The time independent and time-dependent versions disagree and this disagreement nullifies the principle of superposition and consequently the concept of wavefunction collapse being precipitated by the act of making a measurement. The failure of superposition discredits the usual interpretation of the EPR experiment as proving quantum entanglement. To be sure, making a measurement always interferes with the system being measured (by recoil from firing light photons or other probes at the object), but that is not justification for the metaphysical belief in wavefunction collapse.

P. 51: Love quotes a letter from Einstein to Schrodinger written in May 1928; 'The Heisenberg-Bohr tranquilizing philosophy - or religion? - is so delicately contrived that, for the time being, it provides a gentle pillow for the true believer from which he cannot easily be aroused. So let him lie there.'

P. 52: 'Bohr and his followers tried to cut off free enquiry and say that they had discovered ultimate truth - at that point their efforts stopped being science and became a revealed religion with Bohr as its prophet.'

P. 98: Quotation of Einstein's summary of the problems with standard quantum theory: 'I am, in fact, firmly convinced that the essential statistical character of contemporary quantum theory is solely to be ascribed to the fact that this theory operates with an incomplete description of physical systems.' (Albert Einstein, 'Reply to Criticisms', in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, edited by P. A. Schipp, Tutor Publishing, 1951.)

'Einstein ... rejected the theory not because he ... was too conservative to adapt himself to new and unconventional modes of thought, but on the contrary, because the new theory was in his view too conservative to cope with the newly discovered empirical data.' - Max Jammer, 'Einstein and Quantum Physics' in Albert Einstein: Historical and Cultural Perspectives, edited by Gerald Holton and Yedhuda Elkana, 1979.

P. 99: "It is interesting to note that when a philosopher of science attacked quantum field theory, the response was immediate and vicious. But when major figures from within physics, like Dirac and Schwinger spoke, the critics were silent." Yes, and they were also polite to Einstein when he spoke, but called him an old fool behind his back. (The main problem is that even authority in science is pretty a impotent thing unless it is usefully constructive criticism.)

P. 100: 'The minority who reject the theory, although led by the great names of Albert Einstein and Paul Dirac, do not yet have any workable alternative to put in its place.' - Freeman Dyson, 'Field Theory', Scientific American, 199 (3), September 1958, pp78-82.

P. 106: 'Once an empirical law is well established the tendency is to ignore or try to accommodate recalcitrant experiences, rather than give up the law. The history of science is replete with examples where apparently falsifying evidence was ignored, swept under the rug, or led to something other than the law being changed.' - Nancy J. Nersessian, Faraday to Einstein: Constructing Meaning in Scientific Theories, Martinus Nijhoff Pub., 1984.

O'Hara quotation "Bandwagons have bad steering, poor brakes, and often no certificate of roadworthiness." (M. J. O'Hara, Eos, Jan 22, 1985, p34.)

Schwartz quotation: 'The result is a contrived intellectual structure, more an assembly of successful explanatory tricks and gadgets that its most ardent supporters call miraculous than a coherently expressed understanding of experience. ... Achievement at the highest levels of science is not possible without a deep relationship to nature that can permit human unconscious processes - the intuition of the artist - to begin to operate ... The lack of originality in particle physics ... is a reflection of the structural organization of the discipline where an exceptionally sharp division of labor has produced a self-involved elite too isolated from experience and criticism to succeed in producing anything new.' [L. Schwartz, The Creative Moment, HarperCollins, 1992.]

P. 107: 'The primary difference between scientific thinking and religious thinking is immediacy. The religious mind wants an answer now. The scientific mind has the ability to wait. To the scientific mins the answer "We don't know yet" is perfectly acceptable. The physicists of the 1920s and later accepted many ideas without sufficient data or thought but with all the faith and fervor characteristic of a religion.'


Love is author of papers like 'The Geometry of Grand Unification', Int. J. Th. Phys., 1984, p801, 'Complex Geometry, Gravity, and Unification, I., The Geometry of Elementary Particles', Int. J. Th. Phys., 32, 1993, pp.63-88 and 'II., The Generations Problem', Int. J. Th. Phys., 32, 1993, pp. 89-107. He presented his first paper before an audience which included Dirac (although unfortunately Dirac was then old and slept right through).

Love has a vast literature survey and collection of vitally informative quotations from authorities, as well as new insights from his own work in quantum mechanics and field theory.

It is a pity that string theorists block him and others like Tony Smith (also here), Danny Ross Lunsford (see here for his brilliant but sadly Motl-censored paper which was deleted from arXiv and is not only on the widely ignored CERN Document Server now, and see here for his suppression by stringers), and others who also have more serious ideas than string, like many of the others commenters on Not Even Wrong.

Cheers,
nc

Sunday, October 08, 2006 10:52:46 AM

 
At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New comment to Lubos Motl's blog in case he accidentally deletes it:

http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/10/steven-weinberg-on-religion.html

Dear Lumo,

What I can't understand is the position of string theory with regards to religions beliefs. Are stringers believing in string as a new God or are they non-believers?

You used to sign off your comments 'string theory is the language in which God wrote the world.'

Susskind seems to be against Intelligent Design, but it is pretty obvious his anthropic solution to the cosmic landscape of 10^500 universes is religion.

Even if correct, the universe is only 4 x 10^17 seconds old. Hence, if you can evaluate one stringy solution every second, it would take on the order of (10^500)/(10^17) = 10^483 times the current age of the universe.

By that time, all the stars will have gone out and maybe even the protons will have decayed. Susskind's career will be over by then, so it won't matter if string theory turns out right or wrong.

So I can't see how you can properly evaluate string theory even if the solutions are all physically real in different parallel universes.

Also, in the time taken to properly check string theory, the amount of money spent on it will become astronomical.

Best,
anon
anon | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 12:25 pm | #

 
At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lubos has replied but doesn't explain how to get over the 10^500 solutions. He falsely claims that string theory doesn't change normal physics. In fact, a theory which discards Popper's falsifiability criterion and which has 10^500 solutions which can never be properly checked, is a massive change:


Dear Anon, I think that string theory (at least at this moment) has nothing to change about the statements about God and the facts available e.g. to Prof. Weinberg, and all references to God in string theory are as figurative as they were in the case of Galileo, who said that mathematics is the language in which God wrote the world (although he was surely more of a believer than the present physicists), or Einstein, who wrote a lot about God and incorrectly believed that God didn't play dice.

People only think that one needs astronomical money for checking XY because they don't know how it is actually done. As explained thousands of times, string theory changes nothing whatsoever about the basic principles and methods of science, and it is surprising why it is so incredibly hard for so many people to understand this simple fact.

Lubos Motl | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 1:04 pm | #

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reply to Lubos Motl

Dear Lumo,

Maybe they just think that a theory which discards Popper's falsifiability criterion and which has 10^500 solutions which can never be properly checked, is a massive change in the basic principles and methods of science?

Best,
anon

anon | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 1:22 pm | #

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still no reply from Lubos to above question, although Rae Ann has come up with a reply on his behalf:


Hi Rae Ann,

Thanks for your faith in overcoming the impossible. Let's follow your computing idea and see what it implies. The 10^500 solutions to ground state of the superstring theory are to be found by computer(s) within a time of T seconds, say a few hours, days, weeks, years.

In that case, all the calculations for 10^500 solutions must be compressed into the selected time. By parallel computing this hypothetically may not seem to be a problem for you, until you look at the physical impossibility it implies.

Everytime a computer calculates anything, bits of information is stored as energy. Hence, energy has to be shifted in each computation, and by the 3rd law of thermodynamics it produces waste heat. For 10^500 sets of computation, this requires not merely a lot of energy, but more energy than exists in the universe. The power comsumption in watts is going to be impossibly high, greater than all the stars in all the galaxies in the entire universe. The universe has only 10^80 electrons, so actually building the parallel computers is going to be a problem.

I think that the "nothing is impossible" idea doesn't apply here. It may be possible if the numbers not so big. In this case they're not.

Best,
anon
anon | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 3:55 pm | #

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still no reply from Lubos or Rae Ann, but two other Lubos fans ('Intelligent Design' aka William Demski - a Intelligent Design advocate - and someone called Charles) have replied to the last comment. So I replyed to both of them them:

Dear 'Intelligent Design',

Evolution is experimentally established (microbes evolve fast enough to see over a few years, and selective breeding of animals evolves their characteristics over centuries giving new varieties of dogs etc.) and evolution explains how the particular combination of base pairs in DNA were established, which are observable in the laboratory. Unlike experimentally based and validated evolution, the only way to justify one solution chosen from the 10^500 solutions landscape (even if you could find such a solution would be by using the anthropic principle, which is subjective.

Dear Charles,

You suggest there could be a short cut to evaluating the 10^500 solutions to string theory's ground state. If you knew algebra properly, you'd know that you can't do that even in simple cases. You have to work through all solutions methodically, or you aren't being rigorous.

Best,
anon
anon | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 6:11 pm | #

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lubos has just deleted my (anon's) last response (above). He however allows a new reply from Rae Ann (below) to remain... ;-)

Thanks to those whose comments supported my random examples of how science has overcome the "impossible". My examples weren't meant as blueprints for how to examine the current problems, as it appears anon took it, but as simple examples of things that in my own lifetime have been done that were said couldn't be done. It sounds like anon is thinking that we're as advanced as we'll ever be, or maybe anon has been brainwashed by the skeptics and critics into thinking that science is stuck at some plateau, which it isn't. Even though it looks flat, the earth is round. And look how long it took for that to be proven.

Rae Ann | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 6:06 pm | #

 
At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lubos has now replied on the landscape problem and does make his position clearer (I've added bold below to make clear the bits of Lubos' reply which stringly disagree with Susskind's argument:

Dear Gene,

... The gene landscape ... is the reason, I think, why Susskind used the word landscape for the set of vacua: it's a large number of possibilities and some of them are a good origin for life.

He used this analogy deliberately - because in the case of life, we know for sure that Nature doesn't have to browse through all possibilities to find a human if Intelligent Design kindly notices. It was enough to create some DNA sequences that lead to some decent life. The human is not the only solution. [This implicit claims of this last sentence of Lubos are ambigious, equivocal trash and show the sort of rubbish that comes from IGNORING MECHANISMS when thinking about numbers. There is a MECHANISM FOR EVOLUTION which explains HOW the DNA base sequences were assembled the way they are now (even if it doesn't explain the how life began in detail), which makes it totally different from the anthropic principle of string theory where every single mathematical combination is deemed to exist. Remember that most of the DNA sequences in all forms of life are identical, for example humans share 95% of their DNA with Chimps. Evolution as a dynamic selection mechanism is therefore totally contrary to the random subjective anthropic selection principle assumed by string theorists like Susskind.]

Susskind's anthropic picture of the vacua is analogous: you have this nearly endless set of possibilities, albeit smaller than the set of possible DNA codes of the human genome size, and some of them admit vacuum. One of them is our world, much like one of the DNA codes is you.

I think that this anthropic analogy in general is fully legitimate - what is an open question is how many of the vacua/theories are actually relevant or a priori conceivable to describe Nature, and whether we will be able to find the exact right one. The ultimate anthropic believers think that all of them are relevant and there won't be any way to make progress. It looks like unjustified defeatism whose arguments are always based on a lack of imagination about the ways how people can organize ideas.

All the best
Lubos
Lubos Motl | Homepage | 10.08.06 - 9:35 pm | #

 
At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My (anon's) response to Lubos:

There is a mechanism for evolution which explains how the DNA base sequences were assembled the way they are now (even if it doesn't explain the how life began in detail), which makes it totally different from the anthropic principle of string theory where every single mathematical combination is deemed to exist. Remember that most of the DNA sequences in all forms of life are identical, for example humans share 95% of their DNA with Chimps. Evolution as a dynamic selection mechanism is therefore totally contrary to the random subjective anthropic selection principle assumed by string theorists like Susskind.

Hence the analogy of string theory with 10^500 solutions to DNA base pair combinations is false, unless you come up with a mechanism like evolution for describing in detail why certain combinations of DNA base pairs (like those in my cells, but unlike those in string theorists) are successful. Evolution doesn't claim that all combinations of DNA exist somewhere in parallel universes.

Best

anon | Homepage | 10.09.06 - 5:49 am | #

 
At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No reply from Lubos to the above comment yet, although Rae Ann has two comments (copies of the below - I think that the total number of humans who have ever lived is easy to estimate from the estimated population growth curves, I remember that it used to be said that some large percentage of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive today and the same goes for the % of people in the world: while the world's population is rising rapidly and almost exponentially it is a mathematical fact that the total number of people who have ever lived is no more than a few times the current population of the planet). Lubos is now writing more sensible things about
today's news that North Korea has tested a nuclear explosive (see also my post on that topic here).

anon,

How many different humans have ever lived so far? I'm just curious. Do you know? How many different chimps have ever lived? So on and so forth. Maybe you're dissecting the analogy in the wrong way?

"Evolution doesn't claim that all combinations of DNA exist somewhere in parallel universes."

Unless you allow that each *potential* new human (or whatever being) is metaphorically a "parallel universe." Though I'm not a fan of most anthropic reasoning, I guess I'll have to concede that it has some uses.
Rae Ann | Homepage | 10.09.06 - 8:52 am | #

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning Lubos,

Here's a potentially dumb question, but when we talk of 10^500 solutions, don't all of those solutions fall within a certain range (constraints? parameters? boundaries?) of possibilities? I mean, to extend the DNA analogy, we don't expect humans to give birth to chimps even though we share much of our DNA. Maybe I'm not thinking straight yet this morning.

Have a good day!
Rae Ann | Homepage | 10.09.06 - 9:01 am | #

 
At 6:31 AM, Blogger nige said...

Thank you for your efforts, anon!

I've tried to answer Rae Ann over on Lubos' page:

Rae Ann,

While the world's population is rising rapidly and almost exponentially it is a mathematical fact that the total number of people who have ever lived is no more than a few times the current population of the planet.

That is a unique mathematical fact that comes from an exponentially rising population. ;-)

nc | Homepage | 10.09.06 - 9:28 am | #

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

October 19th, 2006 at 12:11 pm
Peter,

String theory is part of a great tradition in mathematics you moronic crackpot! PROOF: Hawking, “A Briefer History of Time” London, 2005, page 19:

“The Aristotelian tradition … held that one could work out all the laws that govern the universe by pure thought: it was not necessary to check by observation.”

Please apologise NOW!

 

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