Quantum Mechanics


The Double Slit experiment

A letter from a friend in The Netherlands -- some comments regarding the book ‘Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality’, by Manjit Kumar


The Double Slit experiment

Question: I have been wondering about the perspective of Quantum Mechanics and the Interpretation of the Double-Slit Experiment, from a young creationist perspective. (As we only have these made in the context of the Big Bang/billions of years theory).

Please may you try your best to answer my below queries:

1.  There are many well-known interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, based on the Double-Slit Experiment. 

Please may you tell me, which particular interpretation do you favour. (I.e. Many Worlds, Transactional, Hidden Variables or the standard Copenhagen Interpretation?).

2.  Does the context of the universe only existing for 6-10,000 years, influence the particular opinion you hold with regards to the above?

3.  Is your opinion in-line with most creationist physicists? (As far as you know).

Setterfield: As far as the double-slit experiment is concerned, I do NOT favor the Copenhagen interpretation. I favor a causal mechanism for all quantum behavior. For this reason, on the whole matter of quantum physics, I find myself very much favoring the SED (Stochastic Electrodynamics) approach rather than the quantum electrodynamic (QED) approach. SED physics explains all quantum phenomena in terms of the action of the Zero Point Energy which pervades the whole universe. It is the impacting waves of the ZPE on charged point particles which gives rise to quantum uncertainty, and imparts kinetic energy which appears as mass. It also explains gravity as outlined in some of my papers. In other words, there is a physical cause for quantum phenomena, not some strange property of matter.

For the double slit experiment, let me first state that de Broglie waves need to be defined in terms of SED concepts. When an electron is at rest, this charged point particle is being "jiggled" by the impacting electromagnetic waves of the ZPE. This means that the electron has an intrinsic frequency of oscillation caused by the ZPE waves. This oscillation frequency is the Compton frequency which is about 10^21 oscillations per second. This means that the electron is being hit by 10^21 ZPE waves per second. Haisch and Rueda note that this is the frequency when viewed in the electron's own rest frame of reference. They then point out that "When you view the electron from a moving frame, there is a beat frequency superimposed on this oscillation due to the Doppler shift. It turns out that this beat frequency proves to be exactly the de Broglie wavelength of a moving electron. The ZPF drives the electron to undergo the oscillation at the Compton frequency and this is where and how the de Broglie wavelength originates due to Doppler shifts." [B. Haisch & A. Rueda, Pgysics Letters A 268 (2000), p.224.]

Given that picture of the origin of the de Broglie wave of an electron, we now move on to the double slit experiment. Since the particle has waves associated with it, it might be considered rather like a motorboat on a lake. Picture the electron as the motorboat, and the waves it makes as the waves associated with the electron. Now the electron only goes through one slit, but the wave goes through both slits and then forms an interference pattern. These interference patterns caused by the waves also influence the paths of the particles. Some details about this can be found in "The Quantum Theory of Motion: An account of the de Broglie-Bohm Causal Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics" by Peter R. Holland, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1993. On page 184 there is a plot of the trajectories that a particle would follow depending on exactly where it passes through the slit. This is in Figure 5.7, and the same diagram appears in a paper by C. Phillippidis et all, Nuovo Cimento 71B, pp. 75-87, 1982.

I trust that this gives you a feel for what is actually happening with the root cause being the ZPE and the electron itself, and its beat frequency wave.

As far as your second question is concerned, the context of the age of the universe has no bearing on this discussion. My only objective is to hold to an approach to quantum physics that has an actual physical cause for the phenomena we see. QED physics does not do this, but SED physics does.

As far as the third question is concerned, I do not know if Creationists have a "standard approach" to quantum physics. I have had discussions with a couple of creationist physicists, and I have met with diverse reactions as they seemed to hold to differing views. 

A letter from a Friend in The Netherlands:

After reading through the many pages of the very instructive book ‘Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality’, by Manjit Kumar, I am trying to formulate an assessment of what really has taken place in all those discussions. Firstly I had to sort out things a bit and reread some passages again, in the light of the last chapters. My observations are:

1.       Philosophically there is a tendency to lessen the emphasis on reality, which is in my opinion one of the sad consequences of the ideas of the Enlightenment, as expressed by Kant, when he said that ‘das Ding an sich’, the things around us, cannot be known directly and with certainty. For Kant himself this was still not a problem as he certainly accepted a cup of coffee out of the hand of his housekeeper as being an objective reality, but something shines through his statement, and this is, that objective reality disappears if you loose the fixed ground of Biblical teaching. In Genesis 1 it is clearly shown that creation and man are both created by God and therefore man can understand creation. Not exhaustively, but truly, as Francis Schaeffer used to say. Some time later, a student of the influential philosopher Hegel, told his master: "Sir, your system does not conform to reality", on which Hegel replied: "Too bad for reality, pal". Now the switch was pulled. This mentality has influenced intellectuals much more than I realized. We also encountered it in Germany, where Horst Beck pointed through the window and said: “There is an objective reality out there”, and Christian Knobel asked me: “What does he mean with: out there?” It seems almost impossible to call these people back to objective reality.

2.       Inevitably, out of it grew a tendency to switch the focus away from the object to the subject. This is clearly seen in history and theology, where the reader finally decides what the text means, while detailed text criticism is rather rare. Historical ‘facts’ are unimportant. So also here objective reality slides out of sight more and more, and is being replaced by the subjective insights of the observer. I did not realize myself that this mentality had also caught natural science in its claws, but Kumar’s book gives a clear testimony about this mentality.

3.       It is because of these aberrations that the brilliant scientists who built quantum theory, had not enough ‘drive’ to search further and refuse to accept that reality would fade out. They more and more relied on pure mathematics, Bohr saying that objective reality was unknowable and even that it probably did not exist. Complex mathematics was all that they – although very cleverly – could produce. Einstein has never accepted this, but he was also influenced by the philosophical ideas of Enlightenment and above that his creative powers had faded and came only in concentrated ‘bursts’, as he said.

4.       It is generally unknown but clearly described by Kumar that many of the people who built quantum theory continued being not happy with it. Not only De Broglie and Dirac, but also Schrödinger was very disappointed, as was Heisenberg. And Bohr died while he was working on a new reply on Einstein’s light box experiment! But they still believed that QED was the maximum they could achieve. The role of Planck is rather vague. He certainly did not realize the importance of his discoveries, as he still hated the idea of quanta. So his contribution to the discussions in the Solvay conferences was effectively zero.

5.       The last point: which of all the work on QED can be salvaged when we turn to SED? The very basis of QED is already different, the zero point field non-existing as a physical reality, many things supposed to be fixed turned out to be variable. A real revolution is going on! When I look at your discussions with Jarko, I see the same pattern as in the discussions between the main players in 1911-1927: a theory which is in the make and needs still a lot of iterative improvements. But of course, this is the way science works.