Thursday, October 15, 2009

Malevolent backwards causation as source of problems at LHC and other non-conventional ideas

The recent paper by Holger Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya - discussing the quite unconventional idea that signals from future making detection of Higgs impossible are responsible for the diffifulties of LHC and for why the construction of SSC (Superconducting Super Collider) was stopped by Congress - has received a lot of attention. After Dennies Overbye wrote about it in New York Times, bloggers have expressed their views one after another. Sean Carroll wrote quite a balanced and humorous comments trying to convince that everything in theoretical physisc is not lost althogh this paper has appeared in archive. Lubos - the militant of theoretical physics- wrote about the subject with the characteristic highly emotional tone (negative as usual). Also Kea has written about the topic -even twice- and I got an opportunity to tell my remembrances about discussions with Holger, one of the most friendly persons in the known Universe and also one of the very few intelligent life-forms who have shown keen and genuine interest in TGD.

Very few have taken the paper as a joke allowing to concretize in a humorous manner delicate and difficult and yet unresolved questions related to the notion of time. People with strong beliefs firmly based on text book wisdom about physics as it was in their youth are aggressively attacking ideas that the joke meant to concretize. Typical blog behavior of course.

There are three unconventional ideas involved which tend to be seen as sources of all the evil.

  1. The action defining quantum field theory could have imaginary part suppressing some histories (in this case those allowing a successful production of Higgs in laboratory).

  2. Action could possess space-time locality unlike actions of quantum field theories usually have.

  3. The idea of backward causation meaning that signals can propagate backward in time: here one should however specify what one exactly means with time and causation.

Since these unconventional ideas relate very closely to the basic distinctions between quantum TGD and standard approach, I will try to demonstrate that they are not a threat for the civilization.

Should we tolerate imaginary part and space-time non-locality of action?

The idea about imaginary part of action supressing some histories need not be crackpottish if properly formulated. There is also a good motivation for something like this: the basic difficulty of both quantum field theories and string model is that path integral is not well-defined mathematically.

  1. One could try to overcome the problem by adding an imaginary part to the action so that phase factor is replaced with a complex exponent and some histories are indeed supressed and one obtains a well-defined integral around minimum of the real part of the imaginary exponent of action (usually the extremal with a stationary phase defines the perturbationt theory). The loss of unitarity is the obvious objection.
  2. Unfortunately this is not enough. Space-time locality of quantum field theory implies infinities in n-point functions of the theory. So that there is order also for non-locality. The problem with non-locality is how to realize it in a non-ad-hoc manner.

It seems that a solution of problem generates new problems. These new problems are avoided in quantum TGD.

  1. Light-like 3-surfaces (or equivalently space-like 3-surfaces are taken as fundamental objects and the fundamental variational principle assigns to them unique 4-D space-time surface. This is nothing but quantum holography. Don't be afraid. This is a good thing;-).

  2. Path integral is replaced with a functional integral over 3-surfaces with the exponent of Kähler action for a preferred extremal (space-time surface) defining the analog of Gaussian. The infinite-dimensional integral over 3-surfaces is well defined since exponential suppression occurs and local divergences are absent since the counterpart of action depends in a non-local manner on 3-surface. This represent 20 years old layer of TGD.

  3. The loss of unitarity is not a catastrophe in zero energy ontology where S-matrix is replaced with M-matrix defined as a "complex square root" of the density matrix having S-matrix as a "multiplicative phase factor" so that quantum theory becomes "complex square root" of thermodynamics. Quantum field theory at non-zero temperature is a respected branch of theoretical physics and its TGD counterpart emerges at the level of fundamental formulation. This layer of TGD is about half decade old.

Should we tolerate backward causation?

I see nothing crackpottish even in the notion of backward causation. What is crackpottish or probably just a joke is to propose that this would explain why Higgs has not been discovered yet. As far as plausibility is considered this proposal brings to my mind the brane constructions meant to reproduce standard model symmetries (certainly not intended to be jokes)!

  1. In zero energy ontology physical states are replaced with zero energy states formed by entangled pairs of positive and negative energy states at opposite light-like boundaries of causal diamonds (CDs) defined as intersections of future and past directed light-cones. Zero energy ontology allows positive energy signals propagating to geometry future as well as negative energy signals propagating to geometric past. Negative energy signals justify the notion of backwards causation and it forms the corner stone of TGD inspired quantum biology and consciousness theory. It also resolves fundamental philosophical problems of theoretical physics posed by some innocent looking questions (What are the total conserved quantum numbers of the Universe and why are there values what they are?).

  2. When the time scale of observations is larger than the size of CD involved with the phenomenon studied, standard thermodynamics applies. If not, the signals propagating in both time directions are significant somewhat like in standard Feynman diagrammatics. The recent formulation of quantum TGD indeed supports the view that antimatter is in negative energy states near the opposite light-like boundary of CDs. This would conform completely with Feynman's view and explain the generation of matter antimatter asymmetry.

  3. The hierarchy of Planck constants - motivated by the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy plus intriguing observations suggesting quantum effects in both biology and astrophysics- leads to a generalization of 8-D imbedding space to a book like structure with pages partially characterized by the values of Planck constant. This hierarchy makes possible quantum coherence in arbitrary long scales so that there exist always sheets of the many-sheeted space-time at which second law cannot be applied at all or applies in both directions of geometric time. Biology would represent a basic example of this kind of situation.

  4. Quantum biology is one of the basic applications of quantum TGD and the basic mechanisms of intentional action, metabolism, and memory rely on backwards causation. One must of course make a clear distinction between geometric time and subjective time (identified as a sequence of quantum jumps) in order to avoid paradoxes. The precise articulation of this distinction in TGD framework has turned out to be extremely useful exercise and could be also seen as one of the motivations for TGD inspired theory of consciousness besides the challenge of making observer a genuine part of the physical system by introducing the notion of self.

  5. Most importantly, backwards causation has experimental support. Libet's paradoxical finding that neural activity precedes conscious decision finds in this framework a nice explanation without giving up free will. Phase conjugate laser beams provide the direct experimental evidence at the level of physics: for instance, they obey second law in reversed direction of geometric time: this has even technological application.

Since the generally accepted conceptual framework is lacking, theoretical physicists follow Wittgenstein's advice and prefer to be silent about the fascinating phenomena related to backwards causation. And about many other things too: it seems that the recent day theoretical physics is filled with taboos;-)).


Ulla said...

Extracts from "Law Behind Second Law of Thermodynamics --Unification with Cosmology--" by Holger B. Nielsen, Masao Ninomiya.

...present outlook especially
by taking the lack of perfect derivation of the second law of thermodynamics as an
extremely interesting suggestion for seeming effects of a foresight.
Such effects could be strange miracle - like events seeking to prevent Higgs particle
production, e.g. at LHC.

To really get a formal argument that the entropy has to increase all the time we shall make use of a little lemma restricting strongly the possibility for a too big maximum in entropy as a function of time. Such a theorem is only of interest when we have a discussion without the second law of thermodynamics, because the latter not only restricts maxima but also totally forbids them in as far as S(t) becomes
monotonically increasing and thus cannot have maxima at all. see effective big bang although we do not have a genuine singularity but rather a smooth de Sitter scenario; first contracting - but with inverted second law
of thermodynamics - and then bouncing and expanding, inflating.

A most interesting result that can suggestively come out once the coupling constants etc. are taken to be “dynamical” (meaning that take different values) is the solution of the famous cosmological constant problem: Why is the dressed or effective cosmological constant so extremely small in Planck units? Assuming that there is some term in P making it favorable to keep a(t), the universe radius not too big we may argue for a slow expansion of the universe radius. Indeed it is very important for preventing from crunching or collapse via black holes that the matter and radiation density be sufficiently low so that big local crunches do not take place.

...the best attempts to solve
the cosmological constant problem in literatures already went this way of making it effectively dynamical one way or the other...
...we can claim that this sort of behind the second law of thermodynamics law is needed whenever a solution to the cosmological constant problem is sought by making the cosmological constant a “dynamical” variable,

On the other hand one can hardly hope to solve the cosmological
constant problem without making the cosmological constant in some way or the other depend on the happenings in universe. So it almost has to be “dynamical”...

This is no joke. So many articles already.

Wonder where the "other side" of the space-time is?

Santeri Satama said...

The "other side" of the space-time is where the greener pastures lie. And greener pastures are being constantly created by intentional questioning and questionable intentions... :)

This cosmic joke of Higgs bosom (<- arrow of time pointing back to a Freudian slip (-> m-theory)) is indeed. A joke. In holistics as we know, if cosmos feels like a joke, it IS a joke - seriously!

In all seriousness, some bloggers seem not able to take the joke, the whole joke and nothing but the joke, which is the same joke as Gödel's incompletness theorem, in GEB terms
"a phonograph which destroys itself by playing a record entitled "I Cannot Be Played on Record Player X"" and infinite variety of similar very serious jokes.

Naturally in a Universe As Holographic Joke I'm also a joke, and the real joke is in taking the joke seriously. If we didn't take this joke so seriously, it wouldn't be so fun.

So when the scientific community takes this serious joke with all the seriousness it deserves, it gives immense pleasure for jokes like me and the great audience of other jokes. Jokes like Higgs Bosom "malevolently" refusing measurement is slapstick comedy at best and it makes this cosmic joke all the more exciting and perhaps even bit frendlier place to be a joke. Let the joke be on us, forward and backward, upside and downside and inside and outside in space-time of green pasture... :)

Ulla said...

Someone is joking very much. Very funny. But I'm not joking at all.

We have no difficulty at all to understand that the past can influence us. Why should not the future?
In the time-space sheat the past, present and future is only distances from the Big Bang. But time is not equal through the cone. Time will go slower in the middle. With increasing distance there is also increasing complexity (called evolution).
Our future is made of quantum jumps. What then determines in what direction that jump will go? Our past? Or our future? Our will? Or our wishes? Our thoughts?

Compare to economy. What directs then? Very much what we wait of the future.

What happens when protons collide in high speed? A top quark is born according to E=mc2. But is that equation true in all circumstances? What really are protons? How will dark energy/matter invoke? It is "the other side" where is no time and nonlocality. Also that is very hard to imagine.

A search for Nielsen gets tens of hits, some as long ago as 1994. No joke at all. Look for nonlocality, future, second law.

Suppose mr Santeri Satama represent that Wittgensteinian attitude. Have a nice day.

Santeri Satama said...

Why is this joke really serious? If we take holographic and dynamic universe with causal/creative/informative arrows going both ways between macroscopic and microscopic, wholes and parts, it puts also individual sense of responsibility in to whole new - or rather, new whole - perspective. The joke is on us and it's so serious it's better to joke about it. My favourite UG Krishnamurti quote: "Messiah is the one who leaves a mess behind". That's a good joke, and it's also very serious.

>>>Compare to economy. What directs then? Very much what we wait of the future.<<<

Compare to most common every day decision making, consciouss or subconsciouss. Imagining potential futures (superpositions of), mental images in superpositions situated in geometric future (where else???), evaluation processes of preferabilities of potential futures according to which causal arrows effect present action on classical level. In classic slapstick comedy, one sees a banana peel, future superposition of images of slipping or not slipping sends causal arrow back in time that leads change in step, according to usually preferred choise of avoiding most instant pain. Happy with accomplishment one gets unattentive and hits a lamppost. :)

To make things (potentially?) more interesting, some anecdotal evidence. This image (or narrative or self-realization) of mental future images sending causal arrows back in time hit me some time ago, if memory serves even before reading the discussion about tummo, warm hands and what not on this blog. I discussed it with Matti couple days before this newest development, the "Higgs Bosom" as I now like to call it, grabbed the attention of blogosphere and other discussion forums. Precognition? Sure, if that's the preferred term, and nothing extraordinary with that. Mental images called ideas, inventions and theories come asubjectively to attention (and even to occational individual consciouss thought) in granular nearly simultaneous waves (if that's a suitable term in this context, dunno, don't speak physics and can't even pretend well :)).


Now, back to the question of energy metabolism in future<->past and microscopic<->macroscopic transactions. A decent TOE contains not only theory of cognition but also theory of enlightment/awakening and Matti's theory is up to the challenge and certainly the only really serious scientific joke on the subject currently. To clarify, most affectionate and friendly and compassionate joke, good jokes are supposed to make people laugh in joy, not to cause any unnecessary suffering and frustration.

Now, really back to the question of energy metabolism. As far as I understand, what buddhists call Karma is in (my pseudo)scientific jargon aggregates of causes, cumulated positive energy or entropic causal arrows from past to future. Minor awakenings happen all the time, final when the whole aggregate of causes has been consumed. Consumed by what "wind" exactly and how to explain it and make it experimental for a commonner who don't understand physics jargon?

I have no problem with final enlightment happening at the "Restaurant at the End of Universe", but how about occational respite from consiouss thought, this constant blather of inner dialogue? Can TGD, backward causation, negative energy and all this jazz help and if, how?

Ulla said...

You leave me with my mouth open:) I have to admit I'm no physist either. I only try to learn, now I looked at this and found so many articles, all back to -94. But I also have looked at the second law for some time, and that's a real mess:-)
It certainly sometimes look like the law of Karma:-)

I have some problems with the enlightment:) But why are you interested in these questions if nothing matters?

So many words...

Santeri Satama said...

What little I understanding of the second law comes mostly from David Bohm. To avoid too many words, he called it "subjective". ;)

Why would nothing matter? Don't we all, one way or another, try to avoid the banana peels on our paths? And when we don't, wish that gods are at least amused with our slapstick?

A childhood story comes to mind. I was walking with my mother on Molanterinmäki in Mikkeli on a slippery day and old Savonian fellow on the other side of the road fell. Gettin up and brushing his clothes he commented: "Gladly I managed to throw myself down before I fell!".

Matti Pitkänen said...

To Ulla and Santeri;

Thanks for Ulla for the excerpts.

What authors certainly consider seriously is what I would call local arrow of geometric time different for positive and negative energy parts of the zero energy states localizable to the upper and lower boundaries of causal diamond (analogous to a big bang followed by a big crunch).

I find it really difficult to believe that be authors could really consider seriously this Higgs idea. Or perhaps they considered for a time longer than it took to publish it. Now they are forced to keep the face. If you are a respected scientist you can publish also something which you later regret. I am myself a lucky guy: being completely censored out from respected journals and archive I can carefully bury deep underground all those crazy ideas that I have taken seriously for a time longer than this critical time;-).

If authors are deadly serious, I can only imagine that the inner circles in LHC have had experiences resembling my own ones during the final stages of any project to which I have devoted myself totally and which I have very strong motivation to finish. When you have reached the final hypomanic stage everything begins to fail, text processing programs, MATLAB, everything. Files disappear, file names get mysteriously permuted, files are replaced with empty ones,... For less than half year ago I had to stop computations with MATLAB simply because it went really mad. Just an example: for testing purposes I asked the program to type '8' and it typed '7'.

In this kind of situation you begin to theorize. Am I a victim of an ingenious virus attack? But who would have the motivation for this? Then your skeptic inner voice says "Hey man, do you think that you are really so important a figure that anyone would see the trouble? And why not to destroy all files at the same time?"

Also quantum consciousness theorist inside me wants to speculate. Could it be some malevolent conscious entity at some collective level (you might guess my favorite candidate for this entity;-)) doing it best to torpedo my work? Or some self-destructive side personality of my own which interacting with my computer? Could this malevolent what-ever-it-is be basically responsible for the fact that after these 32 yeas a mysterious silence is still surrounding TGD. Consciousness scientist inside me does not forget to add that William Tiller has studied also human-computer and has experimental support for them and just for the record reminds that he has also proposed mechanisms explaining these interactions.

If I believe the consciousness scientist, this malevolent entity would be sending negative energy control signals from some big magnetic body in the geometric future to achieve this. But doesn't this sound very much like authors propose? Is the consciousness scientist inside me just joking?!

Then I realize that I tend to forget the mundane and boring explanation: Windows is simply a miserable operating system and MATLAB is not a complete programming language!

Matti Pitkänen said...

To Santeri:

I agree that with Bohm that second law is about subjective experience. The question is what subjective experience is.

This urge of the inner voice to rationalize is really strong, especially in the case of mathematicians. For some reason we want to construct logical stories in which things went as we had planned, we want to keep the face.

Maybe Holger and Masao slipped on second law as they published their Higgs proposal for the first time and cannot resist this inner urge to continue the rational story. Maybe also super-string theorists are victims of the same inner urge? And what about myself?;-).

Ulla said...

Happy to see you are back on good mood:-)

The question is of course not of Higgs, as I see it the top quark is only as an example, and a good one that certainly will get attention.

The question is of intention and observer-effect, PSI-effects, that hated thing. I have just read about it and amusingly it was not inention that was important. It had no effect, or it could have reversed effects. The effect was allostatic (creating chaos). You see, if you whish something very much, as I did last winter, then your brain starts to act, first in general ways. That is in the middle of that cone. If it will not help the brain goes opportunistic and start to do crazy things. I think it is those waves that have impact on the computer, so it starts to make revolts:-). The most probable result is that what you want is escaping from you. You have come in the outer edge of that cone (gone crazy). Perhaps it is in the outer edge TGD is by now:-) That is also the reason it is before its time. To come back to 'the right time' the whole cone must change its direction and it will take some time. It happens when enough many people wants to know more of TGD:-) Compare that Gaussian curve I asked about before. It has to become skewed first, change its mean value.
And by definition there is no point in the geometric future. So you can't send any arrow anywhere:-) Only energy perhaps, pray? Some holistic thing? Who knows?

Humor is always good in right place, As that fellow who fell:-) But not in every situation.

I would guess it is the observer-effect they chase. Then I always think of poor Benveniste. And every result maybe has impact from the researcher etc. That's why the results can vary so much, from one side to the other? As Tiller showed.

Santeri Satama said...

"Entropy is popularly described as the measure of disorder in a system, a notion that clearly carries subjective overtones". (Bohm & Peat, SOC p. 137)

So, what is at least subjective is evaluations of what is order and what is disorder. A cell transforms into cancer tumor, utilizes energy of the host organism to grow it's notion of order, more and more similar cancer cells. As the subjective order of cancer increases, the host organism feels that it's subjective disorder aka entropy is growing as more and more of it's cellular organs (cf. "sub-selves") stop behaving organically. AFAIK being an organism has something to do with ("neg-entropic") maximizing energy flows between organs or sub-selves of the organism.

As the story goes our cancer patient is part of civilization that behaves unorganically (by growing like cancer, destroying biodiversity and carrying capacity) in respect to it's host organism, Mother Earth. In turn the negentropic order of Gaia biosphere is dependent from entropy of Sun.

Does Sun mind its entropic subjectivity? Probably not, because what makes sun a sun is entropy, being hot in cold space. And sun can blame only gravity of becoming hot.

Another important subjective overtone of motion towards thermodynamic equilibrium is that it applies only in a *closed system*. What does closed system mean? Is gravity a closed system? Is universe temporally and thermodynamically closed system?

The notion of zero-energy ontology if I understand it correctly would seem to suggest so - but I constantly misunderstand. However, at the moment I can't escape thinking about another story, a thought that came to me when thinking about black hole at the center of galaxy and matter going round the black hole the faster the nearer the black hole. I remember thinking that astronomers with telescopes looking at galaxy are just looking into their own mind! The analogy cIntrospectively thoughts as sentences and words are the slowest thoughts (at the far edges of the galaxy, so to speak) emanating and stabilizing from faster and faster layers of thinking-sensing-experiencing, around a mysterious black hole of unreachable(?) subconsciousness.)

Where's the joke now (besides writing so intensively that I was unattentive and burned not only the coffee but also the coffee pan)? Attempting to describe subjectivity "objectively" in terms of second law and what not, when it should be clear that 'subject' and 'object' are strictly codependent categories: "if subject arises, object arises; if subject ceases, object ceases".

Ulla said...

That was almost as unlikely as the story about Higgs. It must be extremely difficult to burn both the coffee and the pan:-) Almost a miracle:-) Sorry if I was the reason for that.
Where was your attention then? In the future? Or was the future doing this to your coffee:-)

Excuse me. I have not so good humor as you have.

Matti becomes soon mad. It is not my intention to make a joke of his blog. Sorry Matti. But it was fun.

Ulla said...

The gods played cards
made a deal
bet he wont do it, sayed one
of course he will do it, said another
if he will ever be able
to change the world
to find the treasure
all the diamonds
and the biggest one of all
But he must first
dare to do the jump
the big jump
into the unknown
only that way
will he win
the joy, the happiness
all the glory.

And the gods watched
when the world went on
doing nothing.
But then they heard a voice
"so help me then"
a tiny little voice
of despair
and they laghed
"How stupid are they not
in their little world.
Why dare they not do
that jump?"

The tiny voice begged again
"help me then,
I will do it
I shall not hesitate
to fulfil your wish
so the world can change."

But he could not do it
the big jump
into the unknown.
And the gods laghed again.

But somehow then
a little god decided
to push a little here
and a little there
to see what would happen
- would he see
the diamond
the big one?

And he did
he was happy
all the joy and glory
was his
had always been his.