A historical narrative of the origin of quantum theory is offered. It is shown that quantum theory was motivated by a philosophic position which rejected the role of unobserved natural processes in physical theory. As such, quantum mechanics should not be interpreted (as is often done) in terms of underlying physics, but as a computational tool for predicting observable quantities. Further, in the eighty years since its inception, the original problem of nonradiation of the bound electron has been solved, classically, as given by Mills (Mills, 2001). The implications are discussed. (Read more...)
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The paper looked interesting until the name Randall Mills appeared. Slowly I turned, inch by inch, step by step....
Mills has proposed a theory of the hydrino which is a hydrogen atom which has an electron ground state less than that assumed in quantum theory. It makes several predictions which are not borne out experimentally.
which has several items and references casting doubt on Mill's theory.
The main point of the paper (to which this posting responds) is that most scientific theories are phenomenal rather than ontological. That is the theory predicts the observable outcome of experiments or observational operations. This is true. Most of reality is out of the range of our senses (our vision for instance is bandwidth limited) and our wits. Our best devices are still fifteen orders of magnitude removed from Planck Length which is as short as short gets. This means our grasp of the physical cosmos is -limited- partly by sense limitation, partly by the limitations of our best devices and partly by the fact we are short lived, and partly because there is an upper bound to the capability of a three pound brain. Some things take so long we cannot observed them in the time intervals we have at our disposal. We can (barely) watch paint dry, but it is very difficult to see the rising of Mt. Everest (for example) whose height changes over geological time spans (hundreds of thousands, and hundreds of millions of years). Some things we have a difficulty grasping intellectually.
So what we get (currently) is what we see, either by direct perception or by inference from observations integrated to empirically supported theories. The things we see directly or infer instrumentally correspond to real things in the physical cosmos, but we don't get those real things directly. This sounds Kantian but it isn't. What we see (in the direct and extended senses) is real, but it is incomplete (were are still about 15 orders of magnitude removed from Planck Length and Planck Time). No, the cosmos is NOT a product of our fevered imagination (sorry about that Mr. Kant).
Our science must live and flourish bounded by our physical and intellectual limitations. The Knowledge Fairy does not bring us gifts beyond our ability to grasp them. Such is life.
Have we reached the limit our our inherent limitations? Probably not. All things take time to develop. Our technology will almost certainly improve and we will "see" things that used to be invisible to us. An example: radio telescopes. For the longest time the astronomy was limited to the human visibile frequency range for light. Now we "see" at several bandwidths beyond our raw senses.
----------- The main point of the paper (to which this posting responds) is that most scientific theories are phenomenal rather than ontological. That is the theory predicts the observable outcome of experiments or observational operations. This is true. -----------
Actually, the main point of my paper was that quantum theory in particular was a 'phenomenal' theory, but that there are real 'ontological' mechanistic issues regarding the bound electron that were never dealt with.
I enjoy your optimism with regard to human knowledge. Although our description of nature is mediated by our observational abilities, we have much reason to believe that theories that describe unobserved processes (i.e. chemical bonding, etc) are possible and desirable. As I mention in a footnote, such theories allow us to use inductive inference and lead to new discoveries.
Mills' work is highly controversial, but Mills is attacked not because of hydrinos -- for which there is abundant peer-reviewed experimental evidence -- but rather because his theory is entirely classical and mechanistic. This overturns about 80 years of physics and is enough, in itself, to make most professionals reject the theory on its face. It was my hope that a historical understanding makes it easier to see why a classical theory utilizing Godeke's nonradiation condition-- whether Mills' or not-- is desirable and possible.
I am really happy to see Brett publish this fine article on RoR. Having run the hydrino discussion list for eight years, I see these arguments all the time. Mills will soon release a new revision of his book, The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Physics, on his Web site at no charge.
I feel compelled to add that the sorts of nastiness, hostility, rancor, and outright malevolence I have seen directed at Mills by established scientists and mathematicians have given me pause to wonder about their motives. While rigor and honesty demand careful scrutiny of all theories, old and new, I see something else happening here, namely the odd phenomenon of some people (busybodies) minding the business of others (busy minds). I discuss this observation here and conclude that they confirm the famous adage of my beautiful wife:
"People who mind other people's business do not have good enough business of their own to mind."
I really do think Mills, who has obtained large amounts of private, voluntary funding through the utilities market, has disturbed those scientists who rely on billions in government grants to continue their wankery.
As an interesting aside, when I proposed to the hydrino list a couple of years ago that perhaps it was time for the supporters and critics to go their separate ways on separate lists, both sides offered a thundering protest! So evidently they all see some value in this "dialectic" over classical physics. We have over 800 people on that list now, so interest continues to grow.
By the way, if anyone here knows PHP BB forum coding and would like to help me create one at http://www.hydrino.org to replace the current Yahoo! Groups list, let me know.
Mill's main theory CQT (classical quantum theory) is not Lorentz Invariant. Experimental evidence shows that the world IS Lorentz Invariant. What it comes down to is that CQT is inconsistent with the predictions made by Special Relativity (one of the pillars of Quantum Field Theory) has has been experimentally verified up the Ying Yang. If QCT clashes with an experimentally correct conclusion of special relativity, then QCT is wrong (as a general predictor). QCT collides with experiment, so this is not a theoretical debate, rather it is experimental falsification.
Keep in mind a false theory can make true predictions (for example the caloric theory predicts metals will expand when heated), but a true theory does not make false predictions, nor can it be based on an empirically false premise.
The above URL indicates several other troubling aspects of CQT, which is why it is not accepted as a scientific theory.
Then there are the troubling questions:
Where is all the ueber energy that Randall Mills has promised. Like that♠ t.v. ad asks; where all all the flying cars?
His "Philosophic Corruption of Physics" (a popular article) was interesting, and I remember it helped me become interested in this topic. A stronger influence is that of Stephen Hicks whose work in the history of philosophy (such as Explaining Postmodernism) inspired my presentation of how ideas flow through history.
If a difference exists between my work and Harriman, it is probably that my goal was to produce a rigorous academic argument based on about 40 original sources. In a popular article you can toss off anything you believe, but in a rigorous work you have to back up every claim. Thus my thesis (of which this article is a condensed version) is book-length.
In the final chapter of the thesis I venture into the area of theory formation-- a fascinating topic that is closely related to objectivist epistemology. I doubt Harriman would be interested in expanding OE by integrating it with cutting-edge work being done on model theory, seeing how OE is supposed to be a "closed" system and all.
I think Randall Mills' theory is wrong and so do others. When he can match the effectiveness of the Standard Model, I will happily reconsider the matter. A theory that is not Lorentz Invariant, is suspect. So to put a point on it, the pursuit of correctness is my motive.
BTW, I do not -love- the Standard Model. It has zits, but it has at least three virtues:
1. All of its predictions (thus far) have been verified (to 12 decimal places of precision) experimentally.
2. No experiment (thus far) has falsified it.
3. It is Lorentz Invariant.
I have no ideological commitment to any scientific theory other than that it is experimentally correct in all its predictions. I fully expect the currently accepted crop of theories including relativity and the Standard Model to encounter situations which falsify them at which point there will be thorough renovation and replacement. It will be 1900 all over again when classical mechanics and electrodynamics were experimentally falsified or shown to be inadequate to explain various phenomena encountered in laboratories (such as the spectral decomposition of light, the photo electric effect and the Compton effect).
To get back to Mills.
There is the troubling lack of delivery on promises that Mills made. I see another Pons and Fliescher event (remember the cold fusion bruhaha back in 1988? I do.)
This is my last word on Randall Mills until such time as he delivers on what he promised or until there is extensive experimental verification from the leading and established physics labs (for example, FermiLab). If Mills can deliver hydrogen fueled devices with greater energy to mass density than the current crop I will be overjoyed to see that I was mistaken. Other, now accepted theories, have undergone a thorough vetting and experimental verification. Mills' theory should be no exception.
Am I Bob? No I am not. Bob is my half-brother. We had the same mother but my father died and Mom remarried. I am four years older than Bob. If we sound a bit alike that is due to our common maternal heritage and some shared genes. We were brought up under the same roof as children.
In fact Brother Bob and I have been at odds over several and sundry issues for about twenty years now and we don't talk much. I think Bob is somewhat cracked, but that is just an opinion.
Now does my blood relation to Bob disqualify me from posting here? If It does, just tell me and I will happily stop posting here.
(1) Can someone please explain Lorentz invariablity, whether Mills' theory is not so, and why this matters?
(2) Is Brett's overall point, that there is a way to approach quantum mechanics as having an underlying mechanism, not independent from Mills' particular model?
(3) I was unable to follow the link to Mills' rebuttal (note 22?) on Ben Josef's original post. Is this rebuttal non-existent?
(4) Isn't the most reasonable explanation for Heisenberg Uncertainty that the underlying lower-level mechanism is simply smaller than could be detected using any current known tool, than that there is and could not be any such mechanism?
(5) My understanding of Chaldean astrology is that it could predict eclipses just as well as any other model. Does this mean that a non-supernatural, mechanico-physical model with the same predictive plower is inherently inferior because it has no greater predictive power?
There is a lot of discussion and disagreement over Mills' theory. This is a huge can of worms. There are those who love the theory and those who hate it, and both sides banter endlessly on internet forums. After observing this for many years I've realized an internet forum is no place to hold a serious scientific debate.
I am beginning to wonder whether anyone actually read my article. Mills' name doesn't show up until the bottom of the second-to-last page. And then only after a series of forerunners who worked with the nonradiation condition and groped for its implications.
The main point of my article is that quantum mechanics was never meant to be a solution to the structure of hydrogen, only a computational tool for predicting experimental quantities (whether effective or not-- see the third chapter of the full thesis). They essentially got hung up on the nonradiation problem. Yet, great strides have been taken since that time, and we ought to embrace new attempts to use these advanced to solve the atom classically.
I realize the article is somewhat academic, but I tried to make it readable by laymen. If anyone has any comments or suggestions to this regard, let me know. My hope is to appeal to a wide audience.
PS: You have a good point about Chaldean astrology, but I would argue that the "non-supernatural, mechanico-physical" model would offer more predictive value-- and it does. We can send satellites throughout the solar system using it, for instance. Predict collisions, etc. In the third chapter of my full thesis I discuss how quantum theory fails a variety of ways.
Brett, I guess the lesson learned here is that if you plan to publish this article elsewhere, you might benefit from omitting Mills altogether and the concomitant "can of worms" that seems to follow him.