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So you've proved - presumably to your own satisfaction - what, exactly? That JakeS doesn't know what he's talking about?

Quantum ontology is not the same as quantum modelling. The ultimate 'existence' of quantum phenomena is an artifact of modelling the quantum world from a classical starting point, and extending familiar concepts like waves and particles into spaces where they don't entirely fit. Not even the concept of existence applies in the same way that it does in the classical world.

So no one knows what a photon is - and it's not a useful question to ask, because no one knows what anything is. There are only functional descriptions of varying levels of consistency and accuracy. Our psychology imposes approximate but useful object relationships which turn out not to exist in reality.

But the functional descriptions still work reliably. The functional descriptions which calculate how quanta behave work well for bosons and fermions, subject to certain limits and only a little handwaving. The functional description that calculate the large scale relationships between matter and spacetime work well, subject to certain limits, and only a little handwaving.

The link between the two remains a mystery. So of course there's uncertainty about parts of the picture, because that's where the science is happening. You can say a theory is useful and understood without demanding that there's a full ontological picture to support it. As long as it gets accurate answers, and as long as it's being expanded, improved, or challenged, it doesn't need to be a final and complete map of the world.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 02:43:36 PM EST
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