Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders

Reporter Megan Fox found an interesting hook for discussing my recent physics publication.

“Atomic physics kind of backed off from the Newtonian assumption of an objective reality to describe how atomic physics works,” said Schantz. “Physicists were operating under the assumption that there was no such thing as cause and effect. There is a strong desire in philosophy to undercut reality. Much like Plato’s allegory of the cave, they want to say all we have is a distorted version of reality and we cannot know what is real. You can see it in physics, that it has fallen out of favor to question how we know what we know. Instead we get propagandizing.”

Check out “Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders.”

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18 thoughts on “Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders”

  1. If the gender number is unlimited will there be anyway to know how anyone should be addressed or referred to? Maybe we can just use other for all of them. Won’t it be impossible to group more than one into a single term, where they are all different,  except by using them, they, other or some new label to which all have agreed. I’m checking out.

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  2. Hans G. Schantz:
    Reporter Megan Fox found an interesting hook for discussing my recent physics publication.

    “Atomic physics kind of backed off from the Newtonian assumption of an objective reality to describe how atomic physics works,” said Schantz. “Physicists were operating under the assumption that there was no such thing as cause and effect. There is a strong desire in philosophy to undercut reality. Much like Plato’s allegory of the cave, they want to say all we have is a distorted version of reality and we cannot know what is real. You can see it in physics, that it has fallen out of favor to question how we know what we know. Instead we get propagandizing.”

    Check out “Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders.”

    For anything that looks like that, I will definitely need to be told what it is and what to call it. I don’t think I will need to address it.

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  3. Hans G. Schantz:
    “Atomic physics kind of backed off from the Newtonian assumption of an objective reality to describe how atomic physics works,” said Schantz. “Physicists were operating under the assumption that there was no such thing as cause and effect.

    Neither of the above statements is correct. Quantum mechanics has observables and these observables are claimed to correspond to objective reality. Causality is fully intact in the Standard Model of quantum field theory. Sometimes people get confused about this because certain properties that were taken to be observable properties turn out not to be. This does not mean there is no objective reality in quantum mechanics, nor does it mean that causality is violated or nonexistent.

    As an aside, genderqueer drag queens are not necessarily the most informed sources for interpretations of quantum mechanics. In this instance, it’s so silly as to not merit serious consideration. Of course, the folks at the BBC have no competence to assess Glamorou’s ideas since most of them probably majored in lesbian dance theory. However, the responses to the BBC’s tweet are most entertaining.

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  4. drlorentz:
    Hans G. Schantz: “Atomic physics kind of backed off from the Newtonian assumption of an objective reality to describe how atomic physics works,” said Schantz. “Physicists were operating under the assumption that there was no such thing as cause and effect.

    Neither of the above statements is correct. Quantum mechanics has observables and these observables are claimed to correspond to objective reality. Causality is fully intact in the Standard Model of quantum field theory. Sometimes people get confused about this because certain properties that were taken to be observable properties turn out not to be. This does not mean there is no objective reality in quantum mechanics, nor does it mean that causality is violated or nonexistent.

    I certainly agree with you that there is an objective reality and causality is not violated or non-existent. You and I are at odds, however, with the opinions of many of the pioneers of quantum mechanics.

    What quantum mechanics *is* or means on a metaphysical level may be open to debate, and in the absence of definitive evidence, reasonable folks might disagree. What the pioneers of quantum mechanics actually said on these issues may be read in their own words and settles the question quite decisively.

    “…the resolution of the paradoxes of atomic physics can be accomplished only by further renunciation of old and cherished ideas. Most important of these is the idea that natural phenomena obey exact laws – the principle of causality.” -Werner Heisenberg, The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, (New York: Dover, 1949), p. 62. Originally published, 1930.Werner Heisenberg, 

    My essay on the “Philosophic Premises of Quantum Mechanics” goes into this in much more detail (Part 1, Part 2) with many references to period sources.

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  5. Hans G. Schantz:
    What the pioneers of quantum mechanics actually said on these issues may be read in their own words and settles the question quite decisively.

    What the pioneers said on these issues is interesting but largely irrelevant to understanding quantum mechanics. Their opinions were formed in the immediate aftermath of a seismic change in our understanding of the physical world and these opinions evolved with time. For example, Heisenberg’s book, published in 1930, was before EPR, and well before Bell’s Theorem and subsequent experiments that followed from it. Consider that Max Born’s contributions on the interpretation of the wavefunction were not recognized until 1954. As a student, I read the Born-Einstein letters (their correspondence) in which Born expressed dismay at this.

    Much has happened since Bohr, Heisenberg, and others first opined on these subject. I suspect that Heisenberg changed his mind on these matters between 1930 and his death. Certainly, he was no longer expressing these opinions when I met him c. 1974. Even if he quietly continued to hold to his prior views, who cares? Two relevant quotations come to mind:

    Science advances one funeral at a time. (Planck)

    When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir? (Keynes)

    Heisenberg and Bohr are long dead and new information has come to light since their initial opinions formed.

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  6. drlorentz:
    Heisenberg and Bohr are long dead and new information has come to light since their initial opinions formed.

    In particular, on the experimental side, there have been the Bell test experiments which have confirmed Bell’s inequality, which says, in words, that no local theory of hidden variables can reproduce the predictions of quantum mechanics.  The experiments have increasingly closed loopholes which some argued made them less than definitive.  Many have interpreted this as ruling out hidden variables, but that’s not what Bell said: you can have hidden variables if you’re willing to jettison locality.  Some of the neo-Bohmian thinkers are proceeding in this direction.

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  7. John Walker:

    drlorentz:
    Heisenberg and Bohr are long dead and new information has come to light since their initial opinions formed.

    In particular, on the experimental side, there have been the Bell test experiments which have confirmed Bell’s inequality, which says, in words, that no local theory of hidden variables can reproduce the predictions of quantum mechanics.  The experiments have increasingly closed loopholes which some argued made them less than definitive.  Many have interpreted this as ruling out hidden variables, but that’s not what Bell said: you can have hidden variables if you’re willing to jettison locality.  Some of the neo-Bohmian thinkers are proceeding in this direction.

    Giving up locality necessarily means giving up causality within a relativistic framework. That’s a bridge too far for me. The alternative is to give up something about the properties of quantum mechanical entities. I find this more palatable. Either way, we are forced to give up some of our cherished intuitive notions about the real world because of the results obtained in the 20th century. This has been a revolution in ontology and epistemology whose importance exceeds that of anything philosophers came up with in the previous several centuries, perhaps ever.

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  8. drlorentz:
    Giving up locality necessarily means giving up causality within a relativistic framework. That’s a bridge too far for me. The alternative is to give up something about the properties of quantum mechanical entities. I find this more palatable. Either way, we are forced to give up some of our cherished intuitive notions about the real world because of the results obtained in the 20th century.

    As I noted, you’re reversing cause and effect – the “cherished intuitive notions” were given up in some cases decades before the results required.

    And I don’t understand why locality means giving up causality. A wave is inherently non-local; it is a distributed phenomenon. Why does that make waves non-causal? Can you help me understand what you mean in the context of a photon passing through two slits? Or would you have to appeal to something more esoteric?

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  9. Hans G. Schantz:
    And I don’t understand why locality means giving up causality. A wave is inherently non-local; it is a distributed phenomenon. Why does that make waves non-causal?

    The issue is that under Bell’s theorem, any hidden variable theory (of which the Broglie-Bohm theory is an example) cannot reproduce the results of measurements on entangled particles separated by a spacelike interval (a distance where you’d have to travel faster than light to send a signal from one measurement to another) while preserving locality (the principle that a particle can be influenced only by events in its past light cone).

    As @drlorentz noted in comment #12 supra, abandoning locality implies, under special relativity, violation of causation because any influence which is transmitted between two spacetime events faster than light can, by a co-ordinate transformation, be shown as proceeding both forward and backward in time depending on the reference frame.

    A number of attempts have been made to formulate quantum mechanics, both with and without pilot waves, in ways which admit retrocausality to make the theory invariant under time-reversal without violating macroscopic causality.  Examples are the Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory, John Cramer’s transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, and Roderick Sutherland’s Causally Symmetric Bohm Model, which is an explicit pilot wave model that employs retrocausality and is claimed to be Lorentz (different Lorentz) invariant (which means it is consistent with special relativity).

    If you’re intrigued by Sutherland’s ideas, there is a 2016 paper, “How Retrocausality Helps”, which provides an introduction to his work.

    None of this has anything to do with my own two-decade-old experimental investigation into retrocausality or my crackpot theory which might explain the enigmatic results of such experiments.

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  10. John Walker:
    The issue is that under Bell’s theorem, any hidden variable theory (of which the Broglie-Bohm theory is an example) cannot reproduce the results of measurements on entangled particles separated by a spacelike interval (a distance where you’d have to travel faster than light to send a signal from one measurement to another) while preserving locality (the principle that a particle can be influenced only by events in its past light cone).

    The issue I have is that even in classical electromagnetics there are plenty of ways to create the appearance of superluminal even retro-causal behavior if you’re not careful to distinguish energy from phase velocity. See p. 2 for a classic example first identified by Heinrich Hertz in the 1880s: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289835498_Theory_and_practice_of_near-field_electromagnetic_ranging

    I haven’t been able to satisfy myself that such misunderstandings aren’t at work here.

    I’m encouraged, however, that Feynman appears to have been wrong to state that “all the weirdness of quantum mechanics” is captured by the two slit experiment and the behavior “cannot be explained classically.” Single particle quantum mechanics is now generally recognized as eminently causal and explainable, and the quantum weirdness has now been banished to more complicated scenarios involving this entanglement. Agreed? Or not?

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  11. Hans G. Schantz:
    I’m encouraged, however, that Feynman appears to have been wrong to state that “all the weirdness of quantum mechanics” is captured by the two slit experiment and the behavior “cannot be explained classically.” Single particle quantum mechanics is now generally recognized as eminently causal and explainable, and the quantum weirdness has now been banished to more complicated scenarios involving this entanglement. Agreed? Or not?

    I think it’s important to note that in discussing the double slit experiment Feynman was careful to only discuss the case of electrons, not photons.  With a photon, you don’t have any Lorentz invariance or causality issues because, moving at the speed of light, they always follow null geodesics and their proper time is the same at emission and absorption.  This is not the case for electrons, so you have the question of why it matters if the electron is observed (interacts with a photon) after passing through the two slit apparatus, since you have a timelike interval between its passing through the grating and the detection (or not) by the “which hole” apparatus and the screen.  In this case, everything is timelike and in any inertial frame events occur in the same order.

    This poses a “weirdness” problem, but one of a different kind than entanglement.  The problem, which motivated Feynman to suggest the absorber theory with Wheeler, is that the interaction of the electron with the measurement photon after the electron has passed through the grating (“after” defined by a timelike interval which has the same sign for all inertial observers) affects the pattern measured on the screen.  Trying to explain this by local hidden variables runs directly into the Bell inequality and the experiments of Aspect and others which, although defined in terms of entanglement, are aspects (if I may dare say) of the same thing.

    Other examples of weirdness in the double slit experiment are Wheeler’s delayed-choice experiment and the quantum eraser, both of which have actually been performed in the laboratory.  The latter still makes me go brrrrr, even though the result can be calculated from bog-standard 1920s quantum mechanics.

    If you want to venture deeply into the weird, you can combine the two.  This tiptoes into the realm of retrocausality.

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  12. Hans G. Schantz:
    The issue I have is that even in classical electromagnetics there are plenty of ways to create the appearance of superluminal even retro-causal behavior if you’re not careful to distinguish energy from phase velocity.

    The key word is appearance. Real superluminal behavior is not consistent with classical electrodynamics or standard quantum mechanics. Maxwell’s equations and quantum field theories are Lorentz* invariant, the latter by design. That means you will not be able to get any superluminal anything from any of them, appearances notwithstanding.

    Heck, no need to invoke the exotic to get the appearance of superluminal behavior; consider the superluminal scissors. There are tons of apparent paradoxes in special relativity. They’re fun for a while but eventually become tiresome.

    *My username was chosen as an homage to Hendrick Lorentz; it bears little resemblance to my real name.

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