First of all, don't assume I'm talking about general relativity. What I refer to, especially in terms of the influence of relativistic speeds, is special relativity, which has been tied with quantum mechanics (by Dirac), and it is that model that gives the best results and is generally accepted. Einstein himself was a proponent of quantum, he accepted the uncertainty principle and that it resulted in implications of indeterminacy, but he thought the theory was incomplete, and somewhere in completing it he would find something that would allow for determinacy. He never did.
Second, sure there are some extreme cases in which things like "position" or "speed" do not seem to apply, but for the waveforms of real objects, whether it be an electron or a wave on the beach, these things do apply, or "fit". Also, I used position/speed pair since that's the most famous one, and easiest to see why it implies physical uncertainty, but the other pair, energy/time, which does make sense for the waves in question. The mathematical conclusions of Heisenberg hold for all waveforms, even if they are not physically meaningful for extreme, non-physical cases.
Agree that physics is incomplete, and an unifying theory is needed. However, the wave-particle duality is not "peacemaking", or trying to explain results after the fact, but an essential and key concept in QM. Many of the theories (which resulted in such excellent experimental results) were derived specifically based on this duality.
Yes, there are other theories, i.e string theory, and maybe one of them is the correct one. But the thing is, none of the theories I know of overturn quantum's validity on what it is applied to or the uncertainty principle. If we think about it, Newtonian physics were 'good' for centuries, until they discovered microscopic particles and realized the models they had failed on that scale. Quantum and relativity don't overturn the validity of Newtonian physics on macroscopic phenomena, but incorporates a new 'layer', so to speak, one which explains the new phenomena while preserving Newton's equations for macroscopic objects at non-relativistic speeds (since the equations reduce to Newtonian equations on that scale). Of course, I can't be certain , but I would hazard to guess that any new theory would similarly reduce to the quantum model in the observed cases.
There are plenty of experiments that prove that particles do exist, albeit they are not necessarily exactly what we think they are at the moment. They might be strings or some other thing we can't envision *shrugs*. Our understanding of microscopic phenomena is constantly changing, but very rarely is what is known overturned, but instead, it is refined. Whatever the truth is, quantum physicists aren't going to be like "OMG we were completely wrong", but instead, like..."aha, that explains it! And that reduces to our model in these cases..."
On determinism, a quote from Heisenberg:In the sharp formulation of the law of causality-- "if we know the present exactly, we can calculate the future"-it is not the conclusion that is wrong but the premise.
--Heisenberg, in uncertainty principle paper, 1927
The key thing about the uncertainty principle is that it is NOT a limitation of technological ability or anything like that, but a fundamental rule of existence, like "matter can be neither created nor destroyed, only changes forms". Sure you can conjecture all you want about "well, if matter could be created or destroyed, then..." and it would be interesting, but the conclusions cannot be applied to the world we live in, since the premise is untrue.
Saying "if we could know the position and velocity (or energy and time) of all particles/waves..." is basically something like a paradox, since you can't know both. And I seem to recall someone saying paradoxes aren't useful...;P
On randomness: where does the reverse causality end? If we trace the causality back to the big bang, then what? Okay, so if the big bang send particles/waves out with certain velocities and energies and you would say that caused everything else, but what caused them to have those exact parameters? (And please don't say God XP)
I think everything you said above is reasonable, and you aren't really attacking the points I made which I find important.
The last paragraph... when does causality end is a very good point.
To me it's pretty much the same as asking: why does the universe exist?
What caused the universe to exist?
Maybe that was the one thing without a cause... although that would be pretty weird....
Maybe we are wrong about the big bang - maybe it wasn't the beginning, maybe the universe has circularly expanded and compressed back to a singularity and big-banged ad-infinitum in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
I have no answer for this, and I'm pretty sure no one else does either.
I'm pretty sure I will end before the universe does.... so by the time this ever happens, I suppose it won't matter to me haha.
No scientific theory I know explains why the big bang happened..... so I don't feel that bad for not being able to answer the question .
That was a fun conversation, although the three gods might be irritated with us for dropping them out of the spotlight.
Have a good night.
Edited by mmiguel, 21 September 2012 - 07:25 AM.