If our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are conditioned by the physical and chemical
processes of our brain, how explain our experience of freedom to choose. Are we
free to make our choices? If so, to what extent? This part is an attempt to
explain the issue of free will from the perspective of quantum
physics or quantum mechanics.
The world of the microcosmos is the atomic world, the world of the electrons,
protons, neutrons, quarks, leptons, and strings engaged in a dynamic
and continuing transformation of energy and particles.
Quantum Physics and Its Weirdness
December 11, 2018
1. Quantum physics is quite complicated to comprehend in just one reading; it has a knack for using strange-soundings terms like quarks, leptons, neutrinos, bosons, spin, orbitals, as well as complex concepts like duality, symmetry, complementarity, tunneling, entanglement, quantum jump, and the like.
At the macro level, it speaks about string theory, M theory, parallel universes, multiverse, dark matter, dark energy, dark hole, wormhole, white hole, time, space, gravity, time travel. Understanding these terms and concepts can be quite intimidating and mind-boggling to the uninitiated.
2. But does one have to be a Ph.D. in physics in order to understand the theory, mathematics, and empirical impacts of these concepts, even advance an alternative paradigm based on these theories, as well as disseminate one’s interpretation of these concepts and theories and the consequent new paradigm to the public?
Similarly, does one have to be a Ph.D. in philosophy, theology, or religion in order to understand the Holy Scriptures and disseminate one’s interpretation of these concepts and theories to the public, even put up a religion of its own? Or, does one have to have a Ph.D. degree in economics, music, political science, and other endeavors in order to understand the theories advanced by these disciplines?
3. One’s understanding, of course, can be very limited. For example, if one says that he or she does not understand Applied Cosmic Anthropology (ACA) at all, then, that acceptance is an admission to the fact that he or she does not know ACA.
4. And, indeed, there are so many things each and every one of us don’t know about yet. Quantum physics is telling us that we only know 5% of the Cosmos we are living in. The remaining 95% is still unknown, unexplored, and invisible to us. Even in the 5% percent that we know of, we only know very little of it, some say, only a tip of the iceberg, which others would say only 1%. Pretending to know everything could be presumptuous and derogatory to others.
5. Our interpretation of reality and truth can be faulty and distorted. But this is a process that everyone undergoes in one’s search for the ultimate reality and truth. In fact, science is telling us that our perceptions and cognitive faculties can be deceived by our ordinary physical senses such that we can be deluded into thinking that what we consider and accept as truth is in fact false.
The truth that one arrives at can by and large only be subjective and relative to one’s own perception and interpretation. It can only be true to the one observing and investigating the outside reality. If others can relate to it, then, the subscribers to the truth grows and expands.
6. The danger comes when the individual is so convinced that what he or she discovers is the only truth to the extent that he or she considers others in error or in possession of false theories, teachings, and doctrines. If this attitude prevails, then, one becomes a dogmatist, absolutist, closed-minded, unwilling to accept other’s views and opinions.
The tendency to be isolationist, divisive, separatist, violent, a bigot, a nationalist, and arguing “ad hominem” becomes great. Logic and reason are abandoned in favor of emotions or outbursts of anger, even fear or threatened of one’s position.
7. The challenge is to know what others are saying first, before rendering one’s judgments. After all, who are we to judge others? Who appointed and anointed us judges and authorities? Who are we to say that others are good or bad, moral and immoral, or that others should be ashamed or not of what they are doing?
Quantum physics does not give value judgments. It accepts things, events, and reality as they are. Positive is positive and negative is negative. QP does not say that positive is good. Neither is it saying that negative is bad and immoral. It instead makes use of the two charges to produce electricity that now turns the wheels of progress in science, technology, industrialization, and globalization.
8. It was Mark Twain (1835-1910), a contemporary of Albert Einstein, who already foresaw this: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” We are absolutely sure and certain that what we know about ourselves and reality is true that we tend to immediately ignore and close ourselves to the views of others.
9. It’s not what we don’t know about our respective disciplines— economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, theology, religion, physics, biology, etc.—that gets us into trouble. It’s what we know for sure about our discipline and our resolve to firmly cling to them.
Today, we still find so many individuals clinging on to truths espoused by their respective disciplines, especially if they are paid for not incorporating those truths outside their disciplines. As usual, business is business. It’s these fanatically treasured truths in us that close our minds and get us into trouble, as Mark Twain would infer.
10. I believe that what matters most is to communicate and dialogue with each other in order to live harmoniously as children of the same Cosmos. What matters is knowing what the others say and understanding them so we can dialogue and commune with them in peace and harmony.
Free dialogue is what quantum physicists David Bohm and David Pea proposed:
". ..it is proposed that a form of free dialogue may well be one of the most effective ways of investigating the crisis which faces society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness today. Moreover, it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated."
The Challenge Confronting Science Today
February 20, 2019
In digging deeper and deeper into the world of atoms, particle physicists have surprisingly entered into the realm of the metaphysical that many acknowledge is an essential part of the cosmic picture. The challenge to formulate a model that can explain both the physical and the metaphysical in a coherent and cohesive fashion presents itself as the biggest challenge of science today.
This challenge takes several forms. I will mention only three. Albeit related to each other, each form has its peculiarities. These three forms are: (1) discovering the much elusive Theory of Everything (TOE); (2) unifying Einstein’s general relativity theory and quantum physics; (3) understanding the Big Bang singularity.
TOE, also related to the Ultimate Particle or God Particle, remains to be discovered. The Higgs boson failed and physicists relentlessly continue to crack open the mysterious world of atoms, both theoretically and empirically. What mathematicians are doing with the Ferent equation is one step towards this direction.
To this day, unifying Einstein’s general relativity theory and quantum mechanics remains to be a great hurdle. Is gravity already operating in the quantum world, just as the three other forces are? This question demands a theoretical, mathematical, and empirical response.
Finally, the question of our beginnings is still to be resolved. The most compelling evidence so far is the Big Bang singularity interpretation of Stephen Hawking.
Others are entertaining several other theories like the String theory, M theory, Multiverse theory, Parallel Universes theory, and the Many-Worlds Interpretation. But, given our technical and financial constraints, there's still no way to verify these theories. Their mathematics, however, are too elegant and exquisite to be ignored and dismissed.
Quantum physics is quite complicated to comprehend at once in just one reading; it has a knack for using terms that are strange-soundings like quarks, leptons, neutrino, bosons, spin, orbitals, quanta, dark matter, wormhole, event horizon, and many others. It also contains several complex concepts like duality, symmetry, complementarity, tunneling, entanglement, quantum jump, and the like. Understanding these terms and concepts can be quite intimidating and mind-boggling to the uninitiated.
Imagine the great challenge faced by scientists to communicate these intricate ideas to the mindset of the ordinary reader. Yet, they have done it successfully in an imaginative way. Physicist Max Born remarked that writing a technical topic is an art: “To present a scientific subject in an attractive and stimulating manner is an artistic task, similar to that of a novelist or even a dramatic writer. The same holds for writing textbooks.”
Best-known American novelist in the mid-20th century John Steinbeck offered a writer’s tip: “The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.” Today, scientists and science writers are able to present what is otherwise a complex and mathematical subject in a simple, conversational way. Quantum physics has now become not only pure science, but also an art.
I tried my best to maintain this tradition of simplifying technical scientific reports by presenting them in an interesting, stimulating, and conversational manner. Illustrations, tables, and photos are applied liberally and a glossary of terms is given in the Appendix.
The greater challenge I face, however, is how to interest the reader to appreciate the importance and relevance of studying a subject that is seldom discussed in public gatherings. The title of this book is the immediate attempt to catch the attention of the public. It invites the reader to enter into the world of quantum physics.
At this moment, as I write this chapter, I’m trying my luck to entice the reader to read through the remaining chapters. The gist of this book is to imprint upon one’s consciousness the power of quantum physics to respond to the problems confronting our society and our future.
Yes, this is important. For, of what use are the theories and principles if they are not able to effectively solve the multifarious problems confronting us today. Why I chose quantum physics over other disciplines, the readers of my first book and those who have gone this far already know this.
The Birth of Quantum Physics
May 28, 2020
With these new developments in physics (Einstein’s special relativity theory and Max Planck’s radiation theory), a new science, now known as quantum physics (in contrast the to the classical view of Newton and derived from the quanta concept), begins to develop in the 20th century. Matter is no longer seen as static and solid objects, as is the case of the Newtonian view, but as a continuing dynamic interaction of both particles and energy that can potentially give rise to new realities. In their theories, particles at the quantum level can behave like waves and, conversely, waves can behave as solid particles. This phenomenon becomes to be known today as the wave-particle duality theory, in which matter is viewed as possessing certain properties of both particles and waves.
More discoveries in the quantum world reveal that matter and energy are not limited to one single point but spread out over and filling a large portion of a given space. This spread of particle and energy is best known in physics as the quantum field theory. Introduced in 1928 by Paul Dirac, this theory advances the view that it is the field, not matter that composes reality because matter is simply a visible and concrete manifestation of the continuous motion and transformation of energy. The quantum field theory is considered significant by scientists since, according to them, it is able to combine Einstein’s view of relativity and quantum mechanics as one integral theory. As the 20th century opened, new giants of physics appear pursuing the works of Rutherford. Besides Max Plank and Albert Einstein, they include French physicist Louis de Broglie (1892-1987), Denmark physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962), Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) and Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), and English physicist Paul Dirac (1902-1984).
In 1928, physicist Paul Dirac advances the possibility for the electron to exist in two different energy states—positive in one state, the negative in the other state—but identical in both size and mass. He indicates that the existence of a particular positively charged particle, the only known of which is proton during that time, accounts for the existence of a “new particle” that is like an electron but whose charge and some of its other major properties are exactly opposite to those of the electron. Two years later, or in 1932, American physicist Carl Anderson (1905-1991) discovers this “new particle” and calls it positron, which is a contracted form for positive electron. Since then, physicists began to discover that every particle (matter) has an equivalent anti-particle, or anti-matter, which has the same mass, but opposite charge (Iain Nicolson, 2007).
After the Second World War, antiprotons and other antimatter particles are discovered, and today antiparticles of all varieties are routinely made out of energy in particle physics laboratories around the world (Davies and Gribbin, 1992:153). To differentiate the two opposite particles, Steven Weinberg (1933-2010) defines “matter” to refer to material that is made from the basic building blocks of protons, neutrons, and electrons, while “antimatter” to material constructed from antiprotons, antineutrons, and positrons (the antiparticles of electrons). Leonard Susskind (b. 1940) further elaborates that: “Each type of electrically charged particle, such as the electron and photon, has a twin, namely, its antiparticle. The antiparticle is identical to its twin, with one exception; it has the opposite electric charge (2005).”
In 1934, Fermi broached the idea of a neutrino, Italian for “little neutron” (a neutron today is known to decay within 20 minutes and transforms into a proton, an electron and another kind of particle, called a neutrino) that has no electric charge, no mass, neutral, no tendency to interact with matter, and capable of knocking out protons out of nuclei. It is probably because of this that it became to be known as a “nothing particle,” or “ghost particle,” but its purpose, says Fermi, was simply to balance the law of conservation of energy—energy, momentum, angular moment, and lepton number. While the neutrino has not yet been detected, physicists already welcomed the idea that neutrino and antineutrino—whether detected or not, must exist. They were proven right, of course, since in 1956, a team of American physicists led by Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan, using a fission reactor, detected antineutrinos in their laboratory. By 1936, the electron, positron, neutrino, and antineutrino were known as the first generation of leptons. On the same year, however, Anderson discovered two other particles belonging to the second generation of lepton family: muon (later classified as meson) and antimuon. Muon is the same particle that Japanese physicist Hideki Yukawa also discovered. And it was not to be the end.
In 1947, British physicist Cecil Frank Powell discovered another particle the pi meson. Yukawa and Powell received a Nobel Price in 1949 for this discovery. In 1975, the American physicist Martin Perl discovered an electron-like particle he called tau lepton, or tauon, now belonging to the third generation. Today, physicists speak of three “flavors” of leptons: the electron and the electron neutrino; the muon and the muon neutrino; and the tauon and the tauon neutrino. There are also three flavors of antileptons: the antielectron (positron) and the electron antineutrino; theimuon and the muon antineutrino; and the tauon and the tauon antineutrino. All together, there are 12 leptons and antileptons. They are considered as fundamental particles since they are indivisible (so far, at least). The tauon and the muon break down into positrons. The electron, the positron, the three neutrinos, and the three antineutrinos don’t seem to break down at all.
But the discovery of new sub-atomic particles did not end there. Before the early 1960s, the subatomic particles were thought to consist of only protons, neutrons and electrons. In 1961, however, Murray Gell-Mann and Kazuhiko Nishijima came up with the idea that the protons and neutrons are still composed of still smaller particles when they were developing a classification of hadrons. In 1963, Gell-Mann called these particles “quarks.” But it was only in 1968 that the protons and neutrons were experimentally confirmed to compose of point-like particles called quarks. As known today, quarks are building blocks of a large class of objects called hadrons (Greek word for “heavy”). They have no dimension, no shape, structure-less, solid, and indivisible. And there are six quarks known, also known as flavors, but physicists view them in terms of pairs: up/down; charm/strange; and top/bottom.
Quarks are observed to occur only in combinations of two quarks (mesons), three quarks (baryons), and the recently discovered particles with five quarks (the pentaquark). Because of this, they are known to be sociable in contrast to leptons which are known to be solitary particles. The most familiar baryons are the proton, which is composed of two up quarks and one down quark, and the neutron is composed of one up quark and two down quarks. The proton, neutron, antiproton, and antineutron all belong to the baryon family. These four baryons were known in 1936 already. The antiparticles of quarks are known as antiquarks, which are equal in magnitude and opposite in sign to those of the quarks.
The search for the ultimate building block of creation, or the beginning of all things, continues and there are strong indications that this search will continue in the next decades to come. Apparently, new particles keep on appearing as our atom-smashing instruments get all the more sophisticated in doing their job. But what is the meaning of all this? Capra hints that this search may just as well be futile and unproductive since, according to him, atomic physics has only shown that (2000:68-69):
. . . we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building blocks’, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole.
Quantum Physics Dislodges Newtonian Physics
September 12, 2016
On the whole, the discovery of the above phenomena results in the crumbling of the Newtonian world of certainty and determinism. Turned upside down, the world in the quantum view becomes a world of illusion, probabilities, opposites, continuing process of creation and annihilation, uncertainty, complementarity, interconnectivity, and of beings in a continuing process of becoming. We have come to learn of a new world that: (1) no longer distinguishes the subjective from the objective realm; (2) demonstrates the interrelatedness and interconnectivity of everything and everyone in the entire cosmic system; (3) gives importance and significance to the role of the conscious observer in creating present and future realities; (4) abandons the age of certainty and determinism; (5) is continually in a cyclical process of creation and annihilation; (6) lays down, as a result, only infinite possibilities and opportunities the realization of which is dependent on the exercise of the human mind and free will; (7) views the quantum world as also metaphysical in view of the intervention of the observer’s mind and free will and the transformative effect it bears on reality; and, finally, (8) opens a new dimension of life and existence that goes beyond the Newtonian’s solely physical realm.