Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Conspiracy Theory Physics

George Musser interviews Gerard `t Hooft on Superdeterminism - a relatively new idea for exorcism of "quantum weirdness." My instinct doesn't much care for it, partly because it looks to me a bit like one more untestable theory, but mostly just because. The basic notion is that the Bell's Theorem restrictions don't apply because of correlations baked into the universe from the start. One Bell's Theorem/Einstein Podolsky Rosen test, you might recall, is that you send out a couple of quantum mechanically entangled particles but the observers don't choose what measurements to make until the particles are already on the way. Thus our particles seemingly need to communicate how their correlations are expressed via faster than the speed of light "spooky action at a distance." Never mind, say the Superderterminists, the universe has already decided what choices the experimenters are going to make because of correlations going back to the big bang, so no superluminal commo is required.

Bee (one of the three people who believe in this, according to George, and herself), has written more extensively here. Lumo, clearly not one of the three, takes exception in some length, including technical discussion of the issues.

I like this quote, apparently from Zeillinger:

[W]e always implicitly assume the freedom of the experimentalist... This fundamental assumption is essential to doing science. If this were not true, then, I suggest, it would make no sense at all to ask nature questions in an experiment, since then nature could determine what our questions are, and that could guide our questions such that we arrive at a false picture of nature.

So, stick that in your Boltzmann Brain, if you must.