Quantum Theory and Common Sense: It's Complicated

There's more of it in quantum physics than we think

Physical theories can open new vistas of human thought, suggesting that the world is not what it seems to be. This situation presents itself as a conflict between the scientific account of the world and “common sense”, a conflict that scientists sometimes gleefully portray as the defeat of common sense. There are clear historical episodes of this character.

Copernicus, for example, proposed that instead of the Earth being fixed in place with the Sun, planets and stars whirling around it, it is the Earth itself that is spinning on its axis and orbiting the Sun. A quick calculation shows that locations at the equator would then be moving at about a thousand miles an hour due to the rotation of the Earth, and the whole Earth moving over million miles a day in its orbit around the Sun. In a world in which a speed of 10 miles an hour would be considered fast, these sorts of apparently unnoticed motions defied common sense. If the Earth is spinning so fast, one wonders, how coul

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Xinhang Shen 30 December 2019

It is just the same to argue whether the speed of light is constant relative to all inertial reference frames in special relativity as to argue whether Schrodinger's cat is alive or dead in quantum mechanics because these theories themselves have assumed the claims. If you want to refute these claims, you should examine whether their very postulates are correct or not.

In special relativity, Einstein used the change of definition of time and space to claim a physical fact, just like a claim that everybody has the same height if the measuring ruler is an elastic band, which does not make any discovery at all. When we talk about the speed of light, it's the speed of light measured by rulers and clocks, not by randomly defined mathematical variables.

The fatal error of special relativity is that it redefines time and space with Lorentz Transformation and equates the newly defined relativistic time with physical time defined by a physical clock, which are two totally different things as shown in the following:

It is known that a physical clock is a physical process such as the rotation of the earth around the sun in which the physical time is recorded by the status change of the process. The status change of a physical process is always represented by the product of the lapse of the theoretical time and its progressing rate divided by a calibrate constant in either Newtonian mechanics or special relativity. That is, the relationship between the theoretical time t and the physical time T measured by a physical clock is: T = tf/k where t is the theoretical time, f is the frequency of the clock and k is a calibration constant. We have to verify that T = t before using a clock to measure the theoretical time.

In Newtonian mechanics, since the theoretical time is the absolute Galilean time and thus the frequency is a frame independent constant. We can set k = f in all reference frames to make T = tf/k = tf/f = t in all reference frames, which means a physical clock does measure the absolute Galilean time, and confirms that our physical time is absolute too.

Now let’s look at physical clocks in special relativity. The situation becomes more complicated because time is relative to the inertial reference frame. We don't have the simple relationship as T = t for all reference frames any longer. Thus, we take another approach to study the properties of clock time T and relativistic time t between different inertial reference frames as shown in the following:

If you have a clock (clock1) with you and watch my clock (clock2) in motion and both clocks are set to be synchronized to show the same physical time T relative to your inertial reference frame, you will see your clock time: T1 = tf1/k1 = T and my clock time: T2 = tf2/k2 = T where t is relativistic time, f1 and f2 are the frequencies of clock1 and clock2 respectively observed in your inertial reference frame, k1 and k2 are calibration constants of the clocks. The two events (Clock1, T1=T, x1=0, y=0, z=0, t) and (Clock2, T2=T, x2=vt, y=0, z=0, t) are simultaneous measured with both relativistic time t and clock time T. Now we want to see how these simultaneous events will behave after Lorentz Transformation. When these two clocks are observed by me in the moving inertial reference frame, according to special relativity, we can use Lorentz Transformation to get the same events in the frame of (x', y', z', t'): (clock1, T1′, x1′=-vt1', y’=0, z’=0, t1′) and (clock2, T2′, x2′=0, y’=0, z’=0, t2′), i.e., I will see T1′ = t1’f1’/k1 = (γt)(f1/γ)/k1 = tf1/k1 = T1 = T and T2′ = t2’f2’/k2 = (t/γ)(γf2)/k2 = tf2/k2 = T2 = T, where γ = 1/sqrt(1-v^2/c^2). That is, no matter observed from which inertial reference frame, the events are still simultaneous measured with clock time T i.e. the two clocks are always synchronized measured with clock time T, but no longer synchronized measured with relativistic time t’. Therefore, clock time and relativistic time behave differently in Lorentz Transformation. The change of the reference frame only makes changes of the relativistic time from t to t’ and the frequency from f to f’, which cancel the change of each other in the formula: T= tf/k and thus makes the physical time unchanged. In a real experiment, we actually only have clock time T1 = T1' = T2 = T2' = T and can never see relativistic time t or t'. Thus, relativistic time t and t' are just irrelevant to real experiments. Current mainstream physicists in the world do not realize that there are two changes in special relativity (time expansion and frequency decrease) happened in any moving physical clock and wrongly interpret the slowdown of its frequency as the slowdown of clock time shown on the moving clock, missing the effect of the expansion of the relativistic time of the moving frame. Actually, all what special relativity does is the introduction of a new definition of time and space as shown in the following.

In Newtonian mechanics, time is absolute and space is rigid, following Galilean Transformation between inertial reference frames (X, Y, Z, T) and (X', Y', Z', T') with a relative velocity v:

T' = T

X' = X - vT

Y' = Y

Z' = Z

where (X, Y, Z, T) is set to be the frame with isotropic speed of light and (X', Y', Z', T') is the frame moving at speed v relative to (X, Y, Z, T).

But Einstein forces space and time to follow Lorentz Transformation which is equivalent to:

In the frame of (X, Y, Z, T):

t = T

x = X

y = Y

z = Z

and in the frame of (X', Y', Z', T'):

t' = T'/γ - γvX'/c^2

x' = γX'

y' = Y'

z' = Z'

You can easily verify that (x, y, z, t) and (x', y', z', t') follow Lorentz Transformation:

t' = T'/γ - γvX'/c^2 = T/γ - γv(X - vT)/c^2 = t/γ - γv(x - vt)/c^2 = (1/γ + γv^2/c^2)t - γvx/c^2

= γt - γvx/c^2 = γ(t - vx/c^2)

x' = γX' = γ(X - vT) = γ(x - vt)

y' = Y' = Y = y

z' = Z' = Z = z

i.e. Lorentz Transformation:

t' = γ(t - vx/c^2)

x' = γ(x - vt)

y' = y

z' = z

We can also see in the new coordinate system i.e. the relativistic coordinate system, the speed of light is

c = x/t =X/T = (X' + vT')/T' = [x'/γ + vγ(t' + vx'/c^2)/[γ(t' + vx'/c^2)] = [γ(x' + vt')]/[γ(t' + vx'/c^2)]

= (x'/t' + v)/(1 + vx'/t'/c^2)


c(1 + vx'/t'/c^2) = x'/t' + v


x'/t'(v/c - 1) = v - c


x'/t' = (v - c)/(v/c - 1) = c

i.e. the speeds of light defined by x/t and x'/t' are the same constant c in all inertial reference frames. Similarly, if you use the speed of sound to replace c in the above, you will get that the speed of sound defined by the new coordinate system is constant relative to all inertial reference frames too. But that does not change the fact that the real speed of sound measured with physical rulers and clocks is not constant relative to all inertial reference frames because clock time won't change with the change of the definition of the theoretical time and still absolute as shown above.

Now it is clear that all special relativity does is to redefine time and space. Just like the geometric property of a circle which is always a circle no matter whether you use a cartesian coordinate system or a polar coordinate system, the property of a physical clock should always be the same (i.e. clock time is always absolute) too no matter whether you use Galilean space and time or relativistic space and time. Therefore, the relativistic time is not clock time but a fake time and so is the relativistic space. Thus, all what special relativity describes is irrelevant to the physical reality.

As special relativity has been disproved and our physical time is absolute, there can be only one inertial reference frame relative to which the speed of light is isotropic. Since the speed of light after going through a lens can recover, unlike the speed of a bullet which will never recover after going through a wall, the speed of light only depends on the medium and thus light should be waves of a medium we call aether. Michelson-Morley experiment has denied the existence of a rigid aether, and thus aether must be a fluid. The very inertial reference frame with isotropic speed of light should be the frame moving with local aether similar to the frame moving with local air relative to which the speed of sound is isotropic. As light can exist everywhere in the visible part of the universe, aether should exist everywhere too. All electromagnetic phenomena are just the phenomena of aether dynamics. There is no electric field and no magnetic field in nature, but only different flows of aether. So-called electric force and magnetic force are forces exerted by the flows of aether, just like the resistance and lift exerting on an airplane, where there is no resistance field and no lift field, but only air flows. As aether exists everywhere, delivers all electromagnetic forces and plays critically important roles in all physical processes, quantum mechanics, without taking the effects of aether into account, should be wrong too. As every particle is bathed in aether, any motion of the particle will disturb aether and generate waves of aether to make the particle show the particle-wave duality. Thus, there is no probability wave in nature, not to mention the existence of wave function, superposition, entanglement and Schrodinger’s cat. Similarly, there is no such thing called spacetime in nature, not to mention the existence of expansion, curvature, ripples or singularities of spacetime. Thus, general relativity and big bang theory are wrong too.

Though common sense is not always reliable, physics theories are unreliable too. Now we know that all electromagnetic theories, quantum mechanics, relativity and their based physical theories are wrong. Many physical phenomena should be explained by aether dynamics which is starting a new era for modern physics.

Sydney Grimm 5 September 2019

If everyone is convinced that the earth is the centre of the universe, the heliocentric point of view is “violating” common sense. That’s why I suppose that one of these days quantum mechanics – actually quantum field theory – will become common sense too. We only need the right concept to understand the underlying mathematical structure of the basic quantum fields.

Ken Albert 4 September 2019

Typo/missing word in the article? 'The direct answer, in most cases, is that “quantum theory” as it is taught in physics texts simply does make definite claims one way or the other about many aspects of the physical world.' should be 'The direct answer, in most cases, is that “quantum theory” as it is taught in physics texts simply does **not** make definite claims one way or the other about many aspects of the physical world.', I think.