QR1.6.3 A Quantum Foundation

Quantum realism doesn’t change the equations of physics that are based on evidence, it just changes their interpretation, e.g. Schrödinger’s equation is the same but now it describes what is real not fictional. What difference does a mere interpretation make? Everything, as it allows new directions. Just as knowing that the stars don’t revolve around the earth gave new directions in cosmology, knowing that the physical world is generated by quantum processing allows new directions in physics.

Kuhn called changing the foundations of a scientific theory a paradigm shift (Kuhn, 1970). He noted that just as a house is built on foundations, so a theory is built on foundational axioms. The axioms of a theory are that upon which it is built, so changing them changes what the theory can do, e.g. Euclid’s geometry included the axiom that parallel lines can’t converge but removing that allowed hyper-geometries that work on curved surfaces like the earth where parallel longitudes do converge (at the poles). Changing the axioms of geometry that dominated thought for a thousand years made Euclid’s geometry just the zero-curvature case.

Chaitin, following Gödel, argued that axioms are better if they explain more than they assume (Chaitin, 2006). In this respect, the standard model with all its “fitted” parameters is struggling. Currently, nearly everything in physics is just assumed to exist because it does, including time, space, matter, light, charge, magnetism, spin, gravity and energy. Every time a new effect is found, such as the weak force that causes radioactive decay, new parameters have to be invented to explain it. This is necessary because a theory, like a house, needs a foundation at all times, but it is not ideal.

Quantum realism offers a better foundation because it can for example derive the weak force without adding new parameters (see QR4.4.6). It does so by extending Wheeler’s “It from bit” to be “It from qubit”. Quantum realism is the disruptive innovation (Sandström, 2010) that physics needs to advance but it faces the obstacle of the hubris that physics already has all the answers.