QR2.1.5 The Processing of Processing

Quantum theory describes quantum waves that expand at the speed of light until they are observed and collapse to a physical event. Quantum realism interprets these waves as processing waves, as follows.

Processing is the creation information by choosing one physical state over others, so our information is static, based on a fixed state while processing is dynamic, based on a choice event. Information derives from a known physical state while processing involves an unknown event by the definition of choice. And processing on our networks doesn’t spread, so it is in this sense static, as if your computer runs a program, it doesn’t spread to the Internet by itself. Now imagine a dynamic process that once it starts on any network node immediately spreads to its neighbors, and this repeats in the next cycle. It follows that quantum processing is the creation of processing, just as processing is the creation of information. Quantum processing is then processing creating processing.

Quantum processing on a network then creates a processing wave that behaves like a quantum wave. Starting in one node, it not only runs a process in that node but also immediately passes it to all its neighbors. The next network cycle, those nodes also begin the process and again pass it on to their neighbors, and so on. Just as a water wave spreads the activity of water, a quantum processing wave spreads a quantum process.

Processing waves are events not things and the only way to “save” an event is to run it again. As in process philosophy, the premise is that existence is dynamic and that dynamic nature is fundamental to reality. One can save and reload static states but not events, as the act of storing an event is another event. The next chapter explains in detail how quantum waves match the properties of light waves, but for now note that it accounts for two key properties of light. First, that light waves always spread, and second that light as a quantum wave can collapse. Unlike physical waves, a processing wave can restart from any one of its many locations by rebooting at that point. A processing wave offers a possible explanation for quantum collapse.

Quantum processing as the creation of processing is what makes quantum computing, based on qubits, more powerful than physical computing. A bit is a choice between two states but a qubit also allows their superposition, as a one-bit computer only has the values 0 or 1 but a one-qubit computer can also be 0/1 and 1/0, so it can be zero and one at the same time, as in Schrödinger’s alive/dead cat. A bit is one process making one choice in one place but a qubit is two choice processes and that allows superposed options. Superposition lets quantum processing choose all possible options at once rather than just try one at a time.

The result is that quantum processing isn’t just better than physical processing, it is exponentially better, so doubling my computer’s processing needs double the bits but adding just one qubit to a quantum computer doubles its power. If physical processing is like going to the moon, quantum processing is like going to the nearest star in the same time. As expected, what generates physical reality is far beyond anything we can physically achieve.

Quantum waves are all around us all the time and they never stop. We don’t “make” quantum computers as we do physical ones but just use what naturally occurs. We tap into quantum processing rather than make it work, just as we tap into the sun’s warmth but make a fire to warm us. We don’t create quantum processing, it creates us.

The revelation of quantum theory, that quantum waves cause physical events, was the greatest discovery of last century, on a par with evolution the century before and finding that the earth goes round the sun centuries earlier. But while orthodox religion denied the earlier advances, orthodox science denied Heisenberg’s conclusion that:

The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.(Rosenblum & Kuttner, 2006) p104

Bohr denied the world of possibilities that quantum theory describes by calling it unreal. That orthodoxy denies innovation is no surprise but who expected scientific orthodoxy to be the denier? Imagine if astronomers believed the sun went around the earth but still used heliocentric equations. That would be preposterous but physics today uses equations based on quantum waves that they deny exist! It’s time to explore the dangerous idea of quantum reality.


The PhD Song

May 16, 2003. Lyrics by Brian Whitworth, sung to the tune of “My Way”.

To all PhD students: Print this page to sing at your graduation party.

Verse 1.

And now, my defense is near,
And so I face, the final curtain,
My Prof, has told me clear,
That what I say, must be certain

I’ve had, no life at all,
Since I began, the thesis highway,
But one, one thing I say,
I did it my way

Verse 2.

Ideas, I’ve had a few,
But then again, a few were borrowed
I wrote, what pundits said,
But wisdom words, seemed so hollow

I had, hypotheses,
And verbalese, was my addiction
But how, how could I say,
I did it my way?


Yes there were times, I thought it true,
I’d bitten off, more than I could chew,
But then one night, I saw the light,
Don’t try to know, just try it out,
And I’ll stand tall, though theories fall,
And do it my way.

Verse 3.

I read, so many views,
Became confused, by dense abstraction,
But now, I realize,
The world and I, have interaction

To think, that my research,
And I may say, not in a shy way,
Is Life, talking to Me!
And this is my way.


For if we are free, what have we got?
If not ourselves, then not a lot,
To test ideas, we really feel,
Against results, that are so real,
My journal shows, I took the blows,
And did it my way.

Unseen World

Original lyrics and song written in 1996 by Brian Whitworth. Music arranged and written by Elaine Whitworth.

Click the video to start. The YouTube link is Unseen World.

Download playable music script.



Do you think you’ll live forever?
Do you think you’ll never die?
There’s a world alive around us.
Have you ever wondered why?

1. Poured into this body shape
Life is like a river flowing
It never stops its song of change
Do you know where you are going?


2. When you look what do you see?
Is it just the minds creation?
Do you see reality?
What exists beyond sensation?


Unseen world that lies beneath the visions we see,
Is there anything in this world, beyond machinery?
Oh unseen world, tell me what lies beyond illusion.
How can I know you as you really are?

3. When I die what will I be?
Will I be like wind just blowing?
Are there ashes to my soul?
Is there anything worth knowing?


4. All I know is that I am
A speck of life in a cosmic dream flow
Is there a hole in space or time
Where the known can meet the knower?

Slow chorus:

I know I won’t live forever, I know that one day I’ll die
There’s the world of boundless shining, its alive, but where am I?

How can I know you as you really are? (Repeat slowly)

Quantum Realism Links

Some links that might be interesting but don’t necessarily agree with quantum realism.

The World is an Illusion – Quantum Physics (Video). Contrasts what physics says about quantum waves and the matter substance we normally take as reality.

The Simulation Hypothesis Documentary (Video). A pretty good video outlining the basic argument behind virtualism.

For The New Atheists (Video) Johanan Raatz presents the Digital Physics Argument and then argues for a universal mind.

Have we reached the end of physics? (Video, TED talk) Harry Cliff, a CERN particle physicist glumly concludes that the Large Hadron Collider is not producing a new physics.

The Simulation Argument. Bostrom presents papers and links relating to his proposal that we are probably living in a simulation created by our future ancestors. See my comments on the simulation hypothesis.

Arguments for and against the simulation hypothesis. An excellent discussion of the pros and cons of the simulation hypothesis, e.g. that it doesn’t predict anything.

Why we are probably not living in a simulation (based on classical processing). Theoretical physicists crunch the numbers to show that building a classical computer to explain physics would need more atoms than there are in the universe.

Tom’s Top 10 interpretations of quantum mechanics. A brief overview of the main interpretations of quantum theory. Does not include quantum realism, that the quantum world described is real.

The Scale of the Universe. An excellent online display of the scale of the universe.

Sine Wave Animation. A visual representation of how a circle creates a sine wave.




Quantum Realism FAQ

Here are some questions about quantum realism (QR) and their answers. Please check this list before sending questions to bwhitworth@acm.org

1. A universe as big as ours must be real.

Answer. It is only “big” relative to our bodies just as we are big relative to bacteria. Our universe may be tiny compared to what contains it. We don’t know the scale of what is going one.

2. A universe that has been going for billions of years must be real.

Answer. Again, only relative to us. Our whole lifetime is just a flash compared to that of a planet, star or galaxy. In Hindu time, a day of Brahma is about 4 billion years. In Buddhism, a small kalpa is about 16 billion years. Again, it all depends on your scale.

3. It would take a computer bigger than the universe to simulate it.

Answer. A physical computer yes, but QR is based on a quantum processing power far beyond physical processing. If physics can accept a multiverse, why can’t a quantum bulk contain our universe?

4. So who is the programmer?

Answer. I don’t know. Does there have to be a central director? Maybe we are all programming it.

5. Computers need physical hardware so the argument is circular. Processing based on the physical world can’t simulate the physical world. That’s recursive.

Answer. A physical world can’t create itself as a virtual reality but a non-physical quantum world can. Processing as the changing of information isn’t defined in physical terms, so quantum processing doesn’t need a physical base. There is no circularity.

6. Can we hack into the system?

Answer. Quantum computers already tap into it, but the quantum no-cloning theorem doesn’t let us manipulate quantum states directly by physical means. Chapter 6 considers the observer “back-door”.

7. Is this like The Matrix, with Keanu Reeves as Neo?

Answer. No. Neo dropped out of The Matrix virtual reality into another physical world but the QR“Matrix” is a quantum world that, according to quantum theory, isn’t at all like our physical world.

8. This just defers the problem of fully explaining everything to another level, so it can’t be a theory of everything (TOE).

Answer. Quantum and relativity theory dispelled the myth that mechanics fully explain everything last century. TOE is a myth but science is not, so quantum realism is a query of everything (QOE) not a TOE.

9. If virtual reality calculations are performed by “something”, then it would be a system (like our Universe) that would need its own explanation, and we are back to square one, so to speak.

Answer. The “something” you refer to is described by the advance of quantum theory, which didnt leave us “back to square one” but one square further on. Likewise, QR is another step, as it unites quantum theory and relativity theory. Science is about progress not perfection.

10. A theory that some other world creates this world is not testable.

Answer. Of course it is. A theory about heaven isnt testable because we can’t agree what heaven is. In contrast, a theory that this physical world is a quantum output is testable because we agree what quantum theory describes. That the physical world is a processing output is testable because we know how the physical world behaves and we know how processing behaves.

11. It is all just meta-physics, like the number of angels on a pinhead.

Answer. Meta-physics is speculation on unknowable things but the quantum world is knowable by its physical results. Quantum realism is a statement about the world we see, so it is not just meta-physics.

12. This theory is unproven.

Answer. So is the physical realism alternative! To fail one theory by a criterion the alternative also fails is bias. If science compares impartially, quantum realism explains more and assumes less.

13. This theory is based on assumptions.

Answer. So is every scientific theory. The method of science is to assume a hypothesis then test it by physical world data. Reverse engineering the physical world as a design science takes that approach.

14. Denying the axiom that there is nothing outside the physical universe opens the floodgates to let anything convenient through, no matter how unlikely or even absurd.

Answer. No floodgates open if we keep to the scientific method. To ask a question about the physical world is science, even if that question happens to be “Is the physical world a processing output?”

15. This theory would end science, as you can’t study what you can’t by definition see.

Answer. Not true. Science studies quarks no-one has see and it is still fine. The end of science will be when people stop asking questions. Science works as well in a local reality as in an objective reality.

16. A theory that postulates the unseen is not scientific.

Answer. That science must only refer to what is observable is logical positivism, a simplistic nineteenth century fallacy now discredited in almost every discipline. Quantum waves aren’t observable but quantum theory is science. Observable constructs arent a demand of science, only observable predictions are.

17. This theory can never be decided.

Answer. Not true. Science compares theory alternatives based on observable evidence. If science can decide that our universe had a beginning, it can decide if it is a processing output.

18. The theory contradicts Occam’s razor.

Answer. Occam’s razor prefers the simplest theory that fit the facts. Last century the facts favored physical realism but today space bends, time dilates and quantum entities teleport. If you compare quantum realism’s one quantum network and one quantum process with the five fields, thirty-eight basic particles, sixteen charges, fourteen bosons and twenty-four result-fitted parameters of physical realism’s standard model, Occam’s razor now cuts the other way.

19. This is not mainstream physics.

Answer. Of course it is not mainstream. Nothing new is ever mainstream.

20. This is a crazy idea.

Answer. That doesn’t make it untrue. Even if this theory is found to be wrong, we might learn something. Science advances by testing crazy ideas.

21. This is just another God theory.

Answer. No it isn’t. God theories put no constraints upon God but reverse engineering physical reality requires consistency. Postulating that a quantum world creates the physical world is not a God theory because quantum theory describes that quantum world and makes successful predictions. In contrast, Everett’s postulate of the multiverse is a God theory!

22. Is the programmer God?

Answer. Don’t worry, whether quantum realism is true or false, we can still argue about God! It doesn’t change that argument one way or another. Maybe God is the programmer, maybe advanced aliens or maybe even ourselves from the future! In my view, the physical world is a record of all quantum choices.

23. This model implies a phantom spirit world reality, alongside the physical world.

Answer. No it doesn’t. Dualistic religions imply a spiritual world alongside the physical world we see. Quantum realism is a monism, so the quantum world is real and the physical world is the phantom. In the observer-observed interaction of physical reality, it takes the observer as real not the observed.

24. It isn’t possible that everything we see is information!

Answer. We already know that is possible because neurons are on-off devices like transistors. Yet quantum realism isn’t solipsism, that the universe is created by our minds. A dream doesn’t exist without the dreamer but this universe doesn’t need humanity to dream it. It “dreamed” itself for billions of years before we came along. If we die out something else will take our place – maybe rats will evolve sentience. But QR does not propose that everything is information. Information comes from physical processing, so that would imply some physical hardware somewhere running some master program, as in The Matrix. QR implies no physical hardware nor a master program. It proposes quantum processing. While the output of physical processing is information described by bits, the output of quantum processing is described by qubits that are fundamentally different. 

25. Where are the equations?

Answer. They are already there, e.g. Schrödinger’s equation describes a processing wave expanding in three-dimensions. Physics has the equations already but where is the meaning?

26. Equations that work are enough. Physics doesn’t need meaning.

Answer. Bohr’s Copenhagen position enshrined the carry-on-calculating approach. If you are happy with this, then fine, but why object to others wondering what it means?

27. I don’t think the world is a fake.

Answer. Neither do I. In QR, the physical world is a local reality not a fake. It doesn’t exist in or of itself, as an objective reality, but to those within it, it is as real as it gets. In QR, there is a real world “out there” generating our experiences, but it isn’t the world we see. We see an interface to the real world.

28. If the physical world is virtual, then we don’t really exist!

Answer. Sort of. If my physical body is virtual, like the pixels of an avatar in a game, then it is not real, but the game player is always outside the game and so not made of pixels. Reality 101 is that the observer must be apart from the observed and indeed we each feel personally that we exist – even if we know nothing else. In QR, we exist in the sense that the physical world as a virtual reality needs an observer outside it.

29. Whoever is playing my character is pretty boring.

Answer. Sorry about that. Have you tried all the options? Try pressing different buttons.

30. This contradicts common sense.

Answer. Common sense also told us that the sun went around the earth, but it doesn’t.

31. This is not a new idea.

Answer. True. It goes back at least to Plato’s story of prisoners in a cave, taking their shadows on the wall as reality. Modern virtualism precedents include Conrad Zuse, Edward Fredkin and Tom Campbell.

32. Why would anyone create a world like this?

Answer. We can only guess. Perhaps reality wanted to know itself and this was the only way?

33. This theory makes no difference in practice.

Answer. Yes it does.If light created matter, money spent colliding matter should be spent colliding light and the $30 billion Higgs project just found another dead-end in the evolution of matter. Why waste time and money on WIMPs that don’t exist, proton decay that doesn’t happen and strings that don’t predict?

34. Are paranormal powers like healing and precognition implied?

Answer. They are not ruled out but would you build a virtual world and let the players flout the rules? I don’t see any holes in this system. Quantum reality tries every option before it “writes” a physical result, so when they build up over time to create an effect there is no unfairness. There is no magic pill for reality.

35. Could the experiments at CERN start a new big bang?

Answer. In QR, the quantum world created the physical world from itself, when a once-only chain reaction made all the free photons of our universe, that since then have been constant. For billions of years, the system has experienced extremes beyond anything we know, and this hasn’t changed. To think that our accelerators can harm the quantum world is like online Sims thinking they can hurt our world.

36. Is this like Seth Lloyd’s theory that the Universe is in fact a giant quantum computer?

Answer. No. In QR, it is no more possible for the physical world to compute itself than it is possible for two hands to draw each other. To embed quantum processing in a fixed space and time contradicts relativity, which states that there is no fixed space or time. Conversely, if quantum processing creates a virtual physical world and its space and time, it can’t exist in that space-time. See here.

37. Does this imply the existence of a Creator?

Answer. If by Creator you mean a super-being who looked down from “above” and created us, then no. If you mean that something bigger than the physical world created it, then yes.

38. Has QR something to do with Leonard Susskind’s Holographic Principle?

Answer. Yes. The Holographic principle, that everything physically knowable about a spatial volume transmits across the surface surrounding it, is a necessary prediction of quantum realism.

39. Is this panpsychism?

Answer. Not really. Panpsychism is that all the physical elements of nature (pan) have a psyche, which is mind, spirit or soul however you interpret the Greek word. It relates to Plato’s anima mundi, that the physical world is animated by a vital essence or pneuma (breath), which religion calls soul or spirit and the east calls Tao or mind essence. Nagel defines panpsychism as accepting materialism, that matter exists in and of itself, which quantum realism denies. If you want to label quantum realism, it is a neutral monism that refers to what existed before brains came on the scene. In quantum theory, quantum reality is literally “the unknowable”.

40. Does quantum realism support evolution?

Answer. Yes. It implies that not only did life evolve but so did matter, and this physical evolution is ongoing today in the stars.

41. Is there a place for the soul in quantum realism?

Answer. Maybe. In Descartes’ body-soul dualism, a soul exists inside a body as a non-physical reality, so there are two realities, one interpenetrating the other. A theist might call the soul a non-physical something within the physical body“. Quantum realism is a monism, with only one reality, but unlike physical realism, it sees the non-physical quantum world, not the physical world, as real. In this view, quantum reality isn’t “within” physical reality at all but rather the reverse. If you play a computer virtual reality game, are you “within” the game? In one sense you are but in another sense you are not. Where does that leave the soul? I am no expert on the soul, but everywhere I guess.

42. Does QR support Einstein’s statement “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

Answer. In quantum realism, physical reality is an interface rather than an illusion. It interfaces to quantum reality, which is not an illusion but real.

43. So does consciousness causes quantum effects, as suggested by Von Neumann and Henry Stapp, or does quantum activity cause consciousness, as suggested by Penrose?

Answer. A physical event needs an observer but they aren’t the only cause, as the “dreaming” of solipsism implies. In QR, a physical event is a quantum interaction. Quantum reality is on both sides of the interaction, to create both the observer we call conscious and the observed we call physical. QR supports Penrose but not the biocentrism that only human consciousness causes quantum effects.

44. Magritte painted a picture of a pipe entitled “This is not a pipe”. Is this picture less real than the pipe he painted or are both real if I remember a pipe in my mind? Is the pipe painted by Magritte less real in my memory than the pipe that was a model for Magritte’s picture?

Answer. Layer upon layer doesn’t alter the basics. A painting of a pipe is a physical symbol of a physical object and so is not a pipe, as Magritte’s title said. A memory of a pipe is a neural reconstruction and so is not a pipe. In QR, the pipe Magritte painted was a virtual reality generated by quantum waves that are nothing like what we imagine a pipe to be. Seeing a painting of a pipe, remembering a pipe and painting a pipe are real observer events but what is seen, remembered or painted is not a pipe. Maybe the physical world should come with a label “This is not reality”.

45. Is consciousness, the feeling of “I”, a part of the brain? Is it independent of physical realm? Is it simply the experience of reality? An emergent concept or a world in itself?

Answer. If only quantum reality exists, the feeling of “I” must also come from it, so it isn’t a part of the brain or anything else physical. Our experience of reality is the quantum world interacting with itself. Consciousness as the observer can’t “emerge” from physical reality but is fundamental to its virtual existence, as in the figure here

46. What is conscious according to QR?

Answer. Everything! Life is an evolutionary continuum, so who can draw the line? Are viruses “alive” or not? In physics, even a photon “knows” when a physicist observes it go through two slits and changes its behavior accordingly

47. Are we dreaming?

Answer. Yes, but there is still a real world out there and we are not alone. Perhaps the best way to describe our reality is to say that we are a part of some sort of miracle.


Quantum Realism Glossary

These definitions are based on current physics, computer science and quantum realism (QR), where the first two are accepted but the latter is a new interpretation of quantum theory. Each term links to the chapter section that discusses it in more detail. Just click on it to go there for more details.

Anti-matter. Has the same mass as matter but opposite charge and magnetic momentum. In QR, it is the quantum processing of matter running in reverse.

Anti-time. Feynman diagrams show anti-matter entering reactions going backwards in time. In QR, anti-matter time passes “in reverse cycles because it is matter processing in reverse.

Asynchrony. When processors cycle at their own rate with no common clock. The asynchronous quantum network is somewhat synchronized by light transfer interrupts but this method is imperfect.

Bandwidth. The capacity of a transfer channel to accept information or processing. In QR, the bandwidth of one transfer channel between two nodes of the quantum network is one quantum process.

Big bang. The idea that all the matter and energy of the universe expanded from a point singularity. In QR, the universe began as a small rip.

Black hole. A region of space with gravity so strong that not even light can escape from it, produced when a large enough mass collapses under its own gravity to a point singularity of infinite density. In QR, a black hole represents the bandwidth of space and does not exist as a singularity.

Boson. An integer spin particle, like a photon, that does not collide with itself. All the virtual particles of current physics are said to be bosons. In QR, these “force particles” are unnecessary.

Breit-Wheeler process. A hypothetical process whereby photons create mass.

Cartesian space. A space that is defined based on orthogonal line dimensions, so any point in it can be represented by coordinates (x, y, z, …), that are its real number extent on each dimension.

Casimir effect. Two conducting plates placed close together in a vacuum experience a force pushing them together, illustrating that empty space is not empty.

Channel. How a network node connects to another node. In QR, it is a quantum node’s ability to accept processing vibrating at right angles to the polarization plane of an incoming photon, where each channel has a processing bandwidth of one quantum process.

Channel set. The full set of channels for any node transfer axis, that can accept a ray of light that contains photons in every possible polarization plane.

Charge. An inherent property of matter that causes electrical effects. In QR, it is the constant after a processing overload creates mass, and so is a byproduct of mass.

Client-server relation. A network relation that partitions work between a server resource and one or more clients, whether a server transferring a document to a client printer or a photon server transferring processing to quantum network node.

Complex plane. The “imaginary” complex plane into which light vibrates, according to current physics. In QR, complex numbers represent a quantum dimension that actually exists.

Consciousness. The unalloyed capacity to experience a physical observation.

Conservation of photons. That the number of active photons in the universe has been constant since inflation stopped.

Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory. Bohr’s 1920 dualism that quantum waves can exist for the purpose of physics calculations but not “reallyexist. It let quantum theory be a useful description of nothing. The QR interpretation of quantum theory is that it describes what actually generates physical events.

Cosmic background radiation. Light from the early universe that was once white hot but is now cold by the expansion of space. In QR, it is still visible all around us because space is spherical.

Cycle rate. The number of processing cycles per second, e.g. a gigahertz processor runs a billion cycles/second. The quantum network cycle rate is about ten million, trillion, trillion, trillion cycles per second.

Dark energy. An unknown negative energy that pushes the universe apart. In QR, it arises because new nodes of space receive but don’t transmit processing for their first cycle .

Dark matter. Gives galaxies more gravity than their stars and planets allow, to stop them flying apart. In QR, the black hole at the center of most galaxies traps light in a halo around it to create mass that is not visible as particles are.

Delayed choice two-slit experiment. A two-slit experiment where the measurement method decided after the light has passed through the slits determines whether it travels as a particle or a wave.

Distributed processing. A constant amount of processing that when shared runs slower not less.

Down quark. A first-generation quark with a strange rd charge. In QR, it is a head-head-tail three-way collision of extreme light that almost fills the channels of a node plane and has a negative remainder.

Dualism. The belief that two distinct and different realities co-exist, such as mind and body.

Einstein’s equation. E=mc2 states that the energy of matter is its mass times the speed of light squared. In QR, it can be derived from the definition of matter as trapped light.

Electric field. A field that surrounds a charge to attract or repel other charges. In QR, charges spread processing remainders on the quantum network that interact to bias the random movement of their matter.

Electromagnetic field. In current physics, a field with electrical and magnetic aspects that cause each other, although that is illogical. In QR, electricity and magnetism are caused by one quantum field.

Electromagnetic spectrum. All the frequencies of light as a sine wave vibrating in an imaginary dimension. In QR, it is the same quantum process distributed more or less on the surface of space.

Electron. A simple elementary matter particle with a negative charge. In QR, it is a head-head collision of extreme light that fills the channels of a node axis leaving a negative processing remainder.

Electron shell. Electrons in an atom occupy shells and sub-shells as waves not particles. In QR, they do so based on distance from the nucleus, harmonic and wave orientation.

Electron spin. In current physics, an electron is said to “half-spin”. In QR, this is because only half the photons of an electron are visible from any direction.

Empty space. Space that has nothing in it. In QR, empty space isn’t empty because null processing isn’t “nothing.

Energy. A physical system’s capacity to perform work. In QR, it is the quantum processing transfer rate at the node.

Entanglement. When entangled photons leave in opposite directions, measuring the random spin of either instantly gives the other the opposite spin no matter how far apart they are. In QR, the entangling event merges two opposite spin servers, so when a new event links one server’s spin to one photon, the opposite spin server instantly runs the other wherever it is on the screen of space.

Entropy. The amount of disorder in a closed system.

Evolution. An iterative process that lets entities survive by trial and error to pass on properties to their descendants.

Existence. Physical realism defines it as having a physical reality. Quantum realism defines it as having a quantum reality.

Extreme light. The highest frequency of light, with a wavelength of two Planck lengths.

Family generations. Electrons, neutrinos and quarks have three generations, each like the last but heavier, then no more. In QR, this is because the three dimensions of space let their photon structures repeat.

Field. A mathematical method that assigns a value to every point in space, equivalent to a new dimension.

Field theory. A theory where invisible fields spawn virtual particles to cause forces like gravity, thus avoiding action at a distance.

Fundamental particle. A particle that can’t be broken down further by particle accelerators, that is assumed to have no size or substructure. In QR, fundamental particles are neither fundamental nor particles.

Gauss’s flux law. That a flux spreading in three dimensions decreases as the inverse square of its radius.

General relativity. Einstein’s theory that the force of gravity is equivalent to the force of an acceleration.

Gluons. Virtual particles that bind quarks in the atomic nucleus. In QR, photon sharing explains this so gluons are unnecessary.

Goldilocks effect. That our universe has an unreasonable number of parameters set “just right” for life, without which we couldn’t exist. QR attributes it to life evolving as best it can, given the limits of the originating quantum reality.

Graviton. A virtual particle invented to explain gravity based on no evidence whatsoever. QR attributes gravity to the quantum field gradient around matter, so gravitons are unnecessary agents.

Gravity. The force that draws matter together at a distance. In QR, the quantum field gradient around a large mass makes other matter more likely to reboot towards it.

Grounded theory. A scientific method that iteratively acquires data then forms predictive theories. Quantum realism applies grounded theory to physics.

Just-in-time computing. The strategy of leaving processing decisions until the last possible moment. In QR, light uses this strategy to define a photons path after it arrives.

Kinetic energy. Energy associated with the movement of matter. QR attributes it to matter acquiring photons that bias its movement in a particular direction.

Hidden variables. The idea that hidden physical causes explain what quantum theory describes. In QR, the hidden variable is quantum reality.

Higgs particle. A virtual particle invoked to explain another virtual particle that explains neutron decay.

Holographic principle. That everything physically knowable about a spatial volume transmits across the surface surrounding it. It is a necessary prediction of quantum realism.

Huygens principle. That light is a wave spreading out with each point a new wave source. In QR, it describes a processing wave spreading by instantiation.

Hypersphere. A four-dimensional sphere, whose inner surface has three dimensions just like our space.

Idealism. That the physical world is merely a reflection of something else. It underlies most religions.

Inflation. The theory that immediately after the big bang an immense anti-gravity field from nowhere expanded the universe faster than light so it didn’t form a black hole. In QR, inflation was the quantum network separating into servers and the free processing that generates our physical universe.

Information. A physical state chosen from an option set defined as Log2N, with N the number of options. Information is undefined if the value of N is unknown, so a book with no reader contains no information.

Instance. A copy of a process provided by a server that runs independently. In QR, a server with one quantum process supports instances that spread as a photon quantum wave.

Instantiation. The act of providing a process to be executed independently, e.g. a screen button instantiated from a class. A server process can instantiate any number of instances to run independently.

Interference. When two or more processes try to access the same resource, so at least one must try again, thus increasing the processing needed. In QR, processing interference causes mass to increase when quantum entities combine.

It from Bit. Wheeler’s conjecture that matter comes from processing. In QR, it is true for quantum processing.

Law of all action. That whatever is physically possible actually occurs at the quantum level, so anything that can happen eventually will happen.

Law of least action. That the action necessary to cause a physical change is always the least possible.

Life. An evolved order that is self-replicating. In QR, life is the inevitable result of the universal evolution.

Light. Currently considered to be a transverse vibration of nothing into an unreal dimension. In QR, it is a circular quantum process, distributed over many nodes, spreading on the quantum network.

Local reality. A reality that is real from within but not from without, e.g. Monopoly money is unreal outside the game but in the game, it affects what you can buy. In QR, we live in a local reality called the physical world.

Magnetic field. A field that surrounds a magnet to attract or repel other magnets. In QR, magnetism spreads quantum spin on the quantum network to interact with other magnets to bias their random movement as matter.

Many-worlds theory. The theory that every quantum choice spawns a new universe. In QR, it is a fairy tale for physicists invented to explain away quantum randomness.

Mass. A property of a matter substance that resists movement and causes gravity. In QR, it is the net quantum processing that repeatedly “hangs” the quantum network each quantum cycle.

Mass problem. That the mass of a quantum combination is many times that of its constituents, e.g. a proton mass is 100 times that of three quarks. In QR, the extra mass comes from processing interference.

Materialism. The belief that physical matter is the fundamental reality. In QR, matter only exists virtually, as quantum generated events that occur when we observe quantum reality.

Matter. A physical substance that occupies a space so other matter can’t occupy it at the same time. In QR, a large mass like the earth superposes on the space around it as gravity.

Matter time. In QR, matter time passes when it completes quantum cycles in the same node, so for light that moves on every cycle, no matter time passes.

Mass problem. That the mass of a proton is a hundred times more than the quarks that compose it, which current physics attributes to massless gluons. QR attributes it to quantum processing interference.

Measurement problem. That a quantum wave can’t be observed because any attempt to do so collapses it to a point physical event. In QR, that every physical event is an observation is fundamental to our reality.

Meson. A combination particle that has zero spin and so is a boson but carries no force. In QR, it is a matter/antimatter hybrid that has no spin because its matter and antimatter spins cancel.

Monism. The belief that there is only one reality. Physical realism is a monism, as is quantum realism.

Movement. A change in spatial location. QR allows both the node-to-node transfer of light and matter teleports.

Multiverse. The theory that many parallel universes represent alternate quantum timelines. In QR, this zombie theory reincarnates the clockwork universe idea that quantum theory demolished last century.

Murphy’s law. The informal statement that if anything can go wrong it probably will.

Network. A collection of node parts that interact with each other. In a computer network, the nodes are computing devices. In QR, quantum network nodes exchange processing.

Network density. The ratio of actual connections to possible connections, so it depends on how many links a network node has to others. In QR, the quantum network density depends on the number of neighbor nodes it links to.

Neutrino. A fundamental matter particle with a tiny variable mass but a neutral charge. In QR, it is a head-tail collision of extreme light that cancels but for a slight asynchrony.

Neutrino asymmetry. Neutrinos always spin left, reflecting an underlying asymmetry in the universe. In QR, the universe is indeed “left-handed” because the first photon chose to spin left.

Neutron. The neutral result when an up quark and two down quarks combine. In QR, these quarks share photons in a triangle structure that cancels their processing remainders.

Nihilism. The belief that everything is pointless so it doesn’t matter what one does. Every generation of humanity has faced some form of nihilism, which today is expressed as cosmic nihilism.

No-cloning theorem. That one can’t copy quantum states because reading quantum data requires a physical event that destroys it. QR adds that the quantum reality that makes quantum states can easily make more.

Node. A part of a network, e.g. a person in a social network, a device in a computer network or a hyperlink in a text network. In QR, a quantum network node is a point of space that receives, transmits and executes quantum processing.

Non-physical detection. Detecting an object without physically interacting with it. Illustrates an effect that is logically impossible in a purely physical world but is possible in ours.

Nuclear fission. Breaking apart the order of atomic nuclei to release energy, as occurs in atomic bombs.

Nuclear fusion. Joining nuclei to create energy, as when Hydrogen forms Helium in stars.

Nucleosynthesis. The building up of complex matter from simple matter by stars and supernovae.

Nucleus. The center of an atom made of protons and neutrons that contain nearly all its mass. In QR, a nucleus is a single folded quark string that needs at least one neutron between two protons.

Null process. A processing activity with no net result. In QR, empty space is envisaged as null processing.

Observer. The final destination of any information received in a physical interaction. In QR, every physical event is an interaction, so the observer is just as fundamental as the observed.

Observer effect. That how one observes a quantum entity changes its physical properties. In QR, the observer effect in physics is a necessary result of the physical world being a virtual reality.

Occam’s razor. That scientific theories should not multiply causes unnecessarily, so if two theories explain the same facts, science should prefer the simpler theory. QR considers the standard model’s virtual particles to be unnecessary causes.

Order. A measure of the degrees of freedom of a physical system, where high order implies fewer internal choices.

Particle. In current physics, any energy spike in an accelerator collision, however brief, is called a particle. In QR, all the fermion “particles” of physics are actually events, even those that persist.

Particle model. An model based on particles, e.g. the standard model explains the universe using 62 fundamental particles with inherent mass. In QR, there are no particles only quantum waves that collapse when they overload the network.

Pass-it-on protocol. A network protocol where quantum nodes share processing with their neighbors then execute whatever processing they have received.

Pauli exclusion rule. The after-the-fact rule that opposite-spin electrons can occupy the same point of space. In QR, it occurs because opposite spin electrons occupy different parts of quantum space.

Periodic table. A table of matter elements arranged by number of protons and electrons that shows recurring trends in chemical properties. In QR, it represents the evolution of matter.

Photon. A polarized pulse of light at one frequency. In QR, one photon is one quantum process distributed more or less over many node points in the quantum network.

Physical event. When physical entities interact. In QR, there are no physical entities just physical events that occur when quantum entities interact on the quantum network.

Physicalism. That the physical world is real, in and of itself, and is all that exists. It is a more sophisticated version of materialism as it includes energy. In QR, the physical world is virtual and only the quantum world really exists

Physical realism. That what exists outside us is an inherently real physical world. In QR, what exists outside us is quantum.

Physical state. The result of a physical observation that is assumed to exist regardless of the observation. In QR, there are no physical states only quantum exchanges.

Physical world. The set of observable physical events. In QR, these are really quantum events.

Planar circle. The circle of neighbor connections of a quantum network node that represent the spatial directions of a plane through a point in space.

Planck’s constant. The smallest unit of energy exchange. In QR, it represents the transfer of one quantum process per quantum cycle.

Planck’s relation. That a photon’s energy is Planck’s constant times its frequency (E=h.f). It can be derived from the postulates of quantum realism.

Planck length. The smallest possible observable physical length. In QR, it is the distance between adjacent quantum nodes.

Planck time. The smallest possible observable physical time. In QR, it is the completion of one quantum cycle.

Plato’s cave. Plato’s analogy that people see reality like prisoners in a cave, who look at a wall and take their own shadows on the wall, caused by the sunlight behind them, to be real. In QR, the physical world is just a “shadow” generated by the “sunlight” of quantum reality.

Point particle. In current physics, a quark is a dimensionless point of no size. Since points of no size can’t add to occupy space like a substance can, they are said to be kept apart by virtual particles from invisible fields. In QR, a “point particle” is a quantum entity in a Planck size node of the quantum network.

Polar space. A space defined by orthogonal circular dimensions, where any point can be represented on a spherical surface by coordinates (r, θ, φ, …), with r the radius and the rest are angular directions. In QR, our space is a three-dimensional spherical surface inside quantum space.

Positivism. The nineteenth century fallacy that science must only reference what can be physically observed. According to this view, quantum theory is not science. In QR, quantum theory is science.

Potential energy. Energy that matter has by virtue of its position in a gravitational field. In QR, potential energy is gained or lost due to photon exchanges with the gravitational field.

Program. Processing stored as static information that can be read and executed. In QR, the physical world can’t be both the static program and the output of that program when executed.

Processing. The act of creating or changing information. It has no context and can’t be stored because to store it is a different act.

Proton. The positively charged result when two up and one down quark combine. In QR, these quarks share photons in a triangle structure that leaves positive processing remaining.

Ptolemy’s standard model. The medieval standard model of the universe where heavenly bodies moved around the earth in perfect circles, or circles within circles (epicycles). It wasn’t true, but it predicted the movements of stars for centuries as its followers altered the model when new stars were found.

Quantum collapse. That quantum waves restart at a point when observed. In QR, quantum waves as processing waves restart when a node overloads, which instantly discontinues support for all other instances.

Quantum directions. In QR, a direction that is outside our space. Every point of space has three quantum directions at right angles to the three orthogonal planes that cut through it, and to each other.

Quantum entanglement. Entangled quantum entities share common properties regardless of physical distance. In QR, it occurs when entities share the processing of servers that act regardless of distance.

Quantum field. Quantum processing on the quantum network. In QR, the quantum field explains electrical, magnetic and gravitational fields, and quantum processing explains the strong and weak fields.

Quantum network. The non-physical network that supports quantum processing. In QR, the quantum network underlies space and matter as a screen network underlies the images upon it.

Quantum paradox. That unreal quantum events cause real physical events. In QR, there is no paradox because a real quantum world causes the physical world to “exist” as a virtual reality.

Quantum process. In QR, the fundamental network command that sets a circle of values at right angles to the surface of our space.

Quantum processing. Quantum computers tap into quantum processing, which is described by qubits rather than bits. In QR, quantum processing runs regardless of whether we tap into it or not.

Quantum randomness. Events like radiation that aren’t predictable by any prior physical events. In QR, they arise inevitably from quantum server choices that we have no access to.

Quantum realism. The monism that what quantum theory describes is the only reality and the physical world is virtual.

Quantum space. A four-dimensional space defined by the links of the quantum network.

Quantum spin. The imaginary rotation of a quantum entity into a complex dimension outside our space. In QR, it is the real rotation of a quantum entity that extends into quantum space.

Quantum tunneling. When a quantum matter entity “tunnels” past a barrier it can’t pass through to appear outside it. In QR, quantum matter entities do this by teleportation because every cycle they restart based on their quantum field.

Quantum wave. An imaginary three-dimensional wave vibrating into an imaginary fourth dimension. In QR, quantum waves really exist and vibrate into a real fourth dimension.

Quarks. Up or down elementary particles with one-third charges that cannot exist alone. In QR, they are the phase options when 3 extreme light rays collide to almost fill the channels of a plane.

Quark strings. In QR, protons and neutrons are closed quark strings that share photons in a triangle. In an atom nucleus, their quarks recombine into a single quark string with triangular connections that closes back on itself.

Reboot. When a processor restarts its processing from scratch. In QR, every physical event is a quantum node reboot.

Realism. That there is a reality that exists apart from our observation of it. In physical realism, that reality is physical but in quantum realism, the reality is quantum.

Reality. That which exists independently of the observer to cause an observation. In QR, reality is that which exists to an observer, and this includes physical reality.

Relativity principle. That the laws of physics are the same in every reference frame. In QR and relativity theory, it applies because we observe via matter that adjusts its time and space when it moves.

Reliability. That a measurement predicted by a theory or equation is repeatable. See also this Research Roadmap page.

Renormalization. A mathematical technique that makes the infinities of field theory go away if particles interact via other particles. In QR, it is the mathematical trick that pulls physical reality from the quantum hat.

Reverse engineering. An iterative method of deducing processing by observing its output. In QR, it is the scientific method used to deduce quantum processing from physical observations.

Second law of thermodynamics. A statistical law that disorder always increases for any closed system. In QR, it derives from the quantum law of all action that also generates the evolution of order.

Server. A source of information or processing to one or more clients. In QR, the unity of a quantum wave derives from its common server.

Schrödinger’s cat. An attempt to link the “absurdity” of quantum superposition to our macro-reality. In QR, it doesn’t work because every interaction causes quantum collapse, not just those that involve our consciousness.

Science. A way to ask questions of reality, not a fixed set of ideas. QR is fully compatible with science.

Simulation hypothesis. That our physical reality is a representation so realistic that its participants are unaware that they are living in a simulation, e.g. The Matrix. In contrast, QR’s virtual reality doesn’t reflect any substantive physical reality elsewhere, so it is not a simulation hypothesis.

Singularity. The prediction that matter can exist at a point of infinite density, based on extrapolating equations beyond their known application. In QR, the bandwidth of space denies this possibility.

Small rip. The QR alternative to the “big bang”. It proposes that one node of the quantum network separated to serve one photon in one unit of space, which then booted up our universe.

Solipsism. That the physical world exists only as a dream of the mind. QR is not solipsism because it accepts that there is a real world out there, apart from the observer.

Space. The three dimensions that matter exists and moves in. In QR, space is a network surface that can transmit quantum waves.

Special relativity. Einstein’s theory that when matter moves it alters its space and time to keep the speed of light constant. In QR, this happens because matter moves by teleports that change its space and time.

Speed of light. The speed at which light moves in a vacuum. In QR, it reflects the cycle rate of the quantum network when it is not under any other load.

Standard model. A particle model where 5 invisible fields, 62 fundamental particles, 16 charges, 14 bosons and 24 data-fitted parameters explain the equations of physics. In QR, it is an after-the-fact model based on virtual particles that don’t exist.

Standing wave. When active waves continually collide to give a stationary effect. In QR, all matter arises from quantum standing waves.

String theory. That one-dimensional strings generate the equations of physics by acting in 11 dimensions. Since it allows 10500versions and doesn’t predict anything, it is a zombie theory.

Strong force. The force that holds quarks together in the nucleus. QR attributes it to quarks orientating to share photons in a closed loop.

Superposition. That a single quantum wave can simultaneously occupy incompatible physical states, e.g. a photon’s quantum wave can pass through two slits at once. In QR, it arises because quantum entities exist as quantum waves that spread to all possible destinations via the quantum network.

Teleport. When a matter quantum entity like an electron “moves” to a new location when there is no possible path for it to travel there. In QR, all matter moves by teleporting.

Time. What separates different physical events at the same point. In QR, time “passes” as quantum cycles complete, so the past no longer exists and the future is undecided.

Time travel. The conjecture that time is a dimension that one can travel back or forth along. In QR, time is not a dimension and traveling back or forth “in time” contradicts causality and choice respectively.

Transfer problem. That a transfer between nodes of a network could be lost. In QR, the quantum network avoids this by the pass-it-on protocol, that every transfer is immediately accepted as an interrupt.

Transverse circle. A circle of values transverse to the surface of space that represents the electromagnetic vibrations of a photon in a given polarization plane.

Young’s two slit experiment. That shining light through two slits gives an interference pattern on a screen. In QR, as in quantum theory, this happens because photons are quantum waves not particles.

Uncertainty principle. That one can know a quantum particle’s exact position or momentum but not both at once. In QR, it arises because a wave interaction can reveal position or wavelength but not both.

Up quark. A first-generation quark with a strange plus rds charge. In QR, it is a head-tail-tail three-way collision of extreme light that almost fills the channels of a node plane with a positive remainder.

Validity. That the constructs of a theory represent what they are supposed to. Invalid constructs often don’t predict well. In QR, virtual particles are an invalid construct. See also this Research Roadmap page.

Virtual reality hypothesis. That our physical reality is a virtual reality so realistic that its participants are unaware that they are living in a virtual reality.

Virtualism. That physical events are the processing output of some unspecified “other”, whether a great mind, another physical world’s processing, or quantum reality. In QR, the “other” is quantum reality.

Virtual particle. A particle that mediates a force at a distance that can never be verified because an invisible field creates it and it is consumed by its effect. In QR, virtual particles aren’t necessary because quantum processing can explain their effects equally well.

Wave-particle duality. The magical ability of a quantum particle to act like a wave or a particle as required, even though no physical particle can act like a wave nor can any physical wave act like a particle. In QR, this “miracle” occurs because quantum waves appear to be particles in physical events.

Weak force. The idea that virtual particles called weak bosons cause neutrons to turn into protons after about fifteen minutes in empty space. In QR, neutrinos cause this “force”.

Weak bosons. Massive virtual particles invented to explain the weak force. In QR, neutrinos cause this effect.

WIMPs. Weakly Interacting Massive Particles invented to explain dark matter based on no evidence at all. In QR, it is another failed prediction of the standard model because dark matter isn’t particle based.

Zitterbewegung. The natural “trembling” of quantum matter predicted by quantum theory. In QR, it is the basis of all matter movement.

Zombie theory. A theory that make no new predictions and can’t be falsified, like a zombie that has no progeny and cannot be killed. A scientifically dead” theory, e.g. multiverse theory.


QR5.7.3 A Virtual Evolution

It is hard to review the order that has evolved in our universe since it began, including galaxies, star systems, planetary systems, life and us, without wondering if there is a purpose? If the physical universe is a virtual reality, the ongoing quantum commitment required to support its existence supports this view. So is the physical evolution we see all around us going somewhere?

Science currently understands evolution as a means whereby biological life forms create more complex ones over time, like an algorithm that explores the space of possible design forms to discover those fit to survive. Evolutionary algorithms are programs that generate a solution set, evaluate their “fitness”, then randomly tweak the best until a solution emerges. In computing, this iterative trial-and-error method can solve multi-dimensional problems not possible by direct calculation.

The current biology view is that evolution isn’t “going anywhere”, so it has no top or bottom. Gould makes a good case that to place humanity at the pinnacle of evolution is just ego. In this view, bacteria are just as “evolved” as people, indeed more so as they have been evolving far longer than us. Gould argues that if one reversed time to replay evolution, it would produce entirely different life, as all the chance factors would make the same history unlikely to recur (Gould, 1990).

Evolutionary algorithms contradict this view, as they tend to find the same solution if the design space is limited. Morris and others argue that evolution can repeatedly find the same solutions despite random events (Morris, 2003), e.g. birds, bats and even fish evolved flight using wings despite following different paths. Studies of evolutionary potential suggest that evolution does repeat. If the physical world is an evolutionary algorithm, then if possibilities exist, re-running the program will always find them. Hence quantum realism concludes that matter had to evolve, despite being a random event.

Yet it is indeed egotistical, as Gould says, to think that a system that has run for billions of years across billions of light years is running for our sake. The physical universe isn’t just a show just for us if it was running long before we arrived and will no doubt continue long after we are gone. So was our evolution inevitable? Life involves permutations and combinations so vast that one can’t conclude that a hairless ape had to become sentient. Maybe homo-sapiens was the lucky ape that won the evolution lottery but some species had to after four billion years, because it was possible. That evolution is random doesn’t make it uncertain, as life finds a way. The corollary is that if we prove unstable, something else will evolve to take our place.

It might seem premature to suggest that physical reality has a purpose but a virtual reality needs power to run. And if the power cuts off, even for a second, the virtual reality proposed here would have to restart from scratch, so it must have run for billions of years without losing even one quantum cycle. The quantum power invested to maintain a universe the size of ours over this period is vast. According to quantum realism, the original reality not only began our universe from “nothing” but is also sustaining it at this moment. If the universe is a joke, it is an expensive one, even in quantum processing terms.

One can create a thing and walk away but a virtual reality must be sustained every cycle. It beggar’s belief that the quantum power invested to sustain a virtual reality as big as our universe for billions of years was pointless. That our universe is an evolving virtual reality suggests it is running for some reason. Nothing in current science “proves” this isn’t so, nor is it denied that humanity is an evolutionary output. Evolving virtual realities aren’t run for no reason because some power is always needed to sustain them.

Quantum realism concludes that the physical world is a virtual reality on a scale we can barely imagine, for a purpose we have almost no awareness of, any more than the billions of animals that lived and died in biological history had any idea of the evolution they were part of. If the universe is some grand experiment, what is its purpose? In particular, is the sentient consciousness that we have an accidental or intended result? To explore this further, the next chapter addresses the one thing necessary for every virtual reality an observer.


Chapter 5 References

Barcelo, C., Liberati, S., Sonego, S., & Visser, M. (2009). Black stars not holes. Scientific American, 301(4), 20–27.

Barrow, J. D. (2007). New theories of everything. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cowen, R. (2013). Universe may be curved, not flat. Nature News.

Feynman, R. P., Leighton, R. B., & Sands, M. (1977). The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Reading, Ma.: Addison-Wesley.

Galfard, C. (2016). The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond (First Edition edition). New York: Flatiron Books.

Gould, S. J. (1990). Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Greene, B. (2004). The Fabric of the Cosmos. New York: Vintage Books.

Harrison, E. R. (1986). Masks of the Universe. Cambridge University Press.

Lane, N. (2015). The Vital Question: Why is life the way it is? (Main edition). Profile Books.

Morris, S. (2003). Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Cambridge University Press.

Smolin, L. (2006). The Trouble with Physics. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Wilczek, F. (2008). The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether and the Unification of forces. New York: Basic Books.


Chapter 5 Questions

The following questions are addressed in this chapter. They are better discussed in a group to allow a variety of opinions to emerge. The relevant section link is given after each question:

1. Are quantum theory and relativity theory both correct? How is that possible? (5.1.1)

2. Why can’t quantum theory explain gravity as relativity theory does? (5.1.2)

3. If the earth is a moving platform, how fast is it carrying us? (5.2.1)

4. Explain Einstein’s statement that special relativity is why our reality isn’t weird. (5.2.2)

5. Why does causality require the speed of light to be constant? (5.2.3)

6. Could a person travel to a star that is 100 light years away and back in their lifetime? What would be the downside of doing this? (5.2.4)

7. How can the same photon pass a rocket going towards it and one going away from it at the same speed? (5.2.5)

8. What is zitterbewegung? What makes it possible? (5.3.1)

9. How can a photon move at all if time stops for it, as special relativity says? (5.3.2)

10. In what way are kinetic energy and radiant energy the same thing? (5.3.3)

11. How can earth’s gravity change the time and space of objects around it? (5.4.2)

12. How can the earth accelerate a free-falling parachutist with no observed force? (5.4.3)

13. How does gravity bend light when it has no mass? (5.4.4)

14. What changes in the quantum field cause opposite charges to attract? (5.5.2)

15. What changes in the quantum field cause opposite magnetic poles to attract? (5.5.3)

16. What three quantum field properties give gravitational, electric and magnetic fields? (5.5.4)

17. According to current physics, where is potential energy stored? (5.6.1)

18. Is any physical property universally conserved? What is universally conserved? (5.6.2)

19. How did the evolution of matter increase order? (5.6.5)

20. Does evolution as an anti-entropy law deny the second law that entropy increases? If not, what does it do? (5.6.5)

21. According to quantum realism, how will our universe end? (5.6.6)

22. In what ways is quantum realism simpler than current physics models? (5.7.1)

23. How does quantum realism differ from the simulation hypothesis? (5.7.2)

24. If evolution is random, will running it again give entirely different results? (5.7.3)

25. What is the usual purpose of evolutionary algorithms? (5.7.3)

26. If the physical world is an evolutionary virtual reality, why might it have a purpose? (5.7.3)


QR5.7.2 The Virtual Reality Hypothesis

Quantum realism hypothesizes that the physical world is a virtual reality generated by quantum reality. It differs from the commonly proposed simulation hypothesis but it has the same premise – that the physical world is not as it seems.

A simulation can be defined as a representation of something that is not actually that thing, e.g. a small-scale model of the Empire State building is a simulation of it. A physical model is static but information simulations let participants interact with dynamic virtual environments to learn skills useful elsewhere, e.g. flight simulators let pilots learn to avoid mistakes that might crash an actual plane. Simulations like SimCity let people experience the challenge of building a city and computer games offer many other simulated experiences.

The simulation hypothesis proposes that our physical reality is a representation so realistic that its participants are unaware that they are living in a simulation. The best-known example is the film The Matrix, where Morpheus says:

What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

In this film, machines in the future simulate New York in 1999 to humans in vats by feeding the appropriate electrical impulses to their brains, so one physical world is in effect simulating another. Since physical processing requires effort, the assumed prime directive is to limit the processing cost, so the simulation hypothesis implies a virtual world with a:

a. Fake history. Why bother simulating the fourteen billion years before humans arrived?

b. Fake cosmos. Why bother simulating a vast universe of space, planets and stars?

c. Fake quantum theory. Why bother simulating a quantum world beyond any physical computing?

This view implies godlike designers who “fit” the simulation to match what our brains will accept as real, much as a movie director might. Since in this view the world we see is a trick, supporters of the simulation hypothesis rest their case on finding flaws in the simulation, including what quantum theory predicts (Campbell, Owhadi, Sauvageau, & Watkinson, 2017). Unfortunately finding a “flaw” in quantum theory wouldn’t in itself prove the simulation hypothesis. It would merely require a revision of quantum theory, and given the depth of previous research, this is unlikely.

A simulation of New York represents a city that physically exists elsewhere but the virtual reality proposed by quantum realism doesn’t reflect any substantive physical reality elsewhere. It generates observer experiences based solely on its own event history. Thus quantum realism proposes a virtual reality hypothesis not a simulation hypothesis.

Quantum realism implies that the “rabbit hole” of physical reality runs far deeper than the simulation hypothesis followers suppose. It sees a quantum world generating all physical events, even those we don’t see, so this virtual reality has no “holes”. In quantum realism, every second of the past fourteen billion years happened, every far-away galaxy seen in a telescope exists, and everything quantum theory describes is literally true. All this comes from a quantum reality that quantum theory assures us is not, and can never be, physical. If the universe is real not fake, and if what quantum theory describes can’t be physically computed, it follows that we aren’t living in The Matrix so attempts to show this are doomed to fail.   

Quantum realism concludes that whatever “other” is generating physical events, it can’t be physical. Hence theories of machines, aliens, super-beings or our future-selves programming our reality from another physical world aren’t possible. Nor can that “other” be anything that derives from physical reality, including programs derived from physical hardware, information derived from such programs, or dreams that derive from a brain. So the only way to prove the physical world is virtual is the scientific method, to reverse engineer physical reality to generate a testable prediction.

Quantum realism concludes that everything we know comes from a quantum reality that is unstoppable and unavoidable. The prime directive of this virtual reality isn’t efficiency, because quantum reality always “runs” anyway, but evolution. The evidence suggests that we live in an evolving virtual reality.