1 January 2011

The ups and downs of entropic gravity

Electromagnetism is due to exchange of photons. Gravity is due to an exchange of gravitons.

Large numbers of photons have entropy. So do large numbers of gravitons.

Thus the electromagnetic field has entropy. Therefore, so does gravity and space-time.

Thus electromagnetism is entropic. Therefore, so is gravity and space-time.

There is nothing really new in all this. Nor is there anything to be questioned about it.

Why do people like Lubos Motl and Peter Woit get so upset about entropic gravity? This is a good case for studying prejudices.

Motl is upset because the argument makes it clear that an explanation of gravity with gravitons does not need superstrings. And he is upset because the argument makes clear that gravity is a purely three-dimensional effect. This does not fit his prejudice that the world is 11-dimensional.

Woit is upset because the argument is so simple. Woit, despite his fight against many prejudices, also promotes some of his own prejudices. And one that he promotes is: nature is complicated and needs complicated mathematics for its description.

We see that the most disparate scientists can criticize obviously true statements because of their prejudices. For both of them, prejudices count more than facts.

31 December 2010

The curse of experiments - and the hope for 2011

Many experiments, at the LHC and elsewhere, have been performed in 2010. Result: the standard model rules. Nothing new. Nothing! A really bad situation. Nobody expected this. Let us hope that something new is found in 2011!

However, there is reason to doubt that anything new will be found. So my prediction for 2011 is simple: the standard model will remain untouched. But I still hope for something new.

30 December 2010

On the multiverse

If the universe is defined as all there is, what can a "multiverse" be? Just bullshit. Nobody is his right mind can say that there is "more" than all there is.

How can people get away with such bullshit? Because they have no real friends who tell them. And because such people have no bosses who tell them. And because they are surrounded by people who depend from them. And, most of all, because they do not follow reason. One scientist that does not follow reason - that might be a tragedy. But dozens of such scientists - that is fraud covered by corruption.

The scientists who talk about the "multiverse" are paid by universities, by student fees. In the past centuries, scientists worked hard to get rid of the influence of the church, and to get rid of the influence of the state and politicians. Scientists always said that they were entitled to do so, because they were only following reason. But now we have scientists who are taking advantage of the system, and who are not even following reason itself. They are fraudsters.

The universities are paying these fraudsters. The students are paying them. The deans, colleagues and students allow the fraud to go on. That is corruption.

No it is not a conspiracy. It is fraud covered by corruption. Check your own university.

29 December 2010

Why GUTs do not work

In the standard model, the origin of the values of the coupling strengths is mysterious. It takes only a few seconds to understand that GUTs do not solve the problem; they just shift the solution away. The same is true for supersymmetric GUTs.

Also the number of particle generations is not explained. Of course, one can claim that the number comes from the GUT Lie group [insert you favorite one here]. But what determines the Lie group? GUTs do not provide an answer. Again, the solution of a problem is just shifted away, into a region of higher abstraction.

GUTs also have another tiny issue: all GUTS that have been tested contradict experiment.

Thus, GUTs do not solve any problem of the standard model. So why are they popular? Because there is a lack of better ideas. But if an idea does not work, we should drop it, not continue to pay attention to it.

28 December 2010

Conjectures vs prejudices

Let me be clear: Conjectures are untested ideas. Prejudices, in the sense of this blog, are wrong ideas that people continue to hold.

The list of prejudices on the right gives wrong ideas. The are known to be wrong.

Take the idea that space is made of points. If we combine general relativity and quantum gravity, we know that at small distances, space is decribed by quantum foam. We do not know how to describe quantum foam (do you have any conjecture?); but one thing is sure: space is not made of points, and  nicely arranged in three dimensions.

Take the idea of supersymmetry. Every single prediction it made (sparticles, light Higgs, high electric dipole moments, new decays, new reactions) contradicts experiment. Supersymmetry is wrong.

Take the idea of GUTs. Every single prediction they made contradicts experiment. GUTs are wrong.

Bill K writes that theoreticians should word on conjectures. I agree. But they should not work on wrong ideas. Bill K's comment could be read to suggest (though he is not so clear on this point) that it is ok to work on wrong ideas if one has no correct ones. Well, the point of this blog is that a way to find the correct ideas is to get rid of the wrong ones. Riding dead horses does not help.

I take the approach of Peter Woit to its logical completion. Let's get rid of all wrong ideas. Not only string theory, but also the other ones. Woit did not present an alternative to string theory, but we cannot blame him for that. His aim is to point out what is wrong.

My hope goes further. If we point out all wrong ideas, there is so little left that we will get into a crisis. And then only will we find the right idea. I like crises. They are chances for progress. Of course, people have all the right not to like crises, and have all the right to cling to false ideas. Mike Duff is a good example. So is Lubos Motl. But that is not where progress will come from. (And anyway, I think they will change their mind as soon as they see that their ideas do not work.)

If you like solving problems, you will remember that before finding a solution, you are in a sense of confusion. During the confusion state you are tense. After the solution appeared, you are relaxed. The tense confusion state is the crisis situation. If we want to find the solution, we need a crisis first. If we keep on saying that we have the solution while we have not, we are taking the wrong path.

27 December 2010

What remains?

On the right, I have added a list of prejudices in fundamental physics that contradict experiments. The list is deeply depressing. The arxiv, especially the section hep-th, shows that practically all preprints adhere to at least one of the prejudices. I might have missed a few exceptions. So let me say, to be on the safe side, that 99% of all hep-th preprints are based on incorrect prejudices.

This is a disaster. What will historians of science say in 50 years? They will write that 99% of all researchers in fundamental physics in 2010 work on ideas that contradict experiment. And they will conclude that 99% of researchers in fundamental physics in 2010 are in a state of collective delusion.

A simple test confirms this collective delusion. Read Peter Woit's blog Not Even Wrong. Peter Woit is a hero, because he helped destroying the delusion of string theory. Go to his blog and add a relevant comment that questions either supersymmetry or higher dimensions, in the same way that he himelf questions string theory. What happens? He will delete your comment. Even though these two ideas are the basis for string theory and the reason for its failure, Peter Woit will not criticize them. So we are in a situation that even the harshest critic of string theory agrees with some of its prejudices. This does not take anything away from Peter Woit's heroism, but it shows how deeply ingrained some of the prejudices have become.

What remains? There is almost no research in fundamental physics that proposes a way out of all these ideologies and delusions.

Yes, there is the idea of entropic gravity. But what did it bring? No new results. No new predictions. No answer to any problem.

No, Steven Weinberg's idea of asymptotic safety does not count: it assumes that space is made of points. Anyway, it did not bring any new results, any new prediction, and any answer to the problems of the standard model.

So we have to answer: In theoretical fundamental physics, in the years from 1975 to 2010, nothing of lasting value has been produced.

Thirty-five years of failure by thousands of researchers, arguably among the smartest people on the planet. What a depressing disaster.

26 December 2010

The failure of loop quantum gravity

Loop quantum gravity has been  failure. Let us be honest: it has not increased the understanding of gravity, nor that of the standard model. Hundreds of man-years wasted. That is a small amount when compared to string theory, but a failure remains a failure.

Here is the proof: http://arxiv.org/abs/1012.4707, by Carlo Rovelli: "Loop quantum gravity: the first twenty five years". It describes twenty-five years of failure. The author does not describe it that way. But that is the essence of his paper.

For many years, string theory was the only candidate theory of everything. Then, for many years, loop quantum gravity was the only alternative. The truth is simple: neither of them is the right way. Fundamental physics is back at the beginning. The toe is elsewhere.