drachefly wrote:Housellama wrote:Quantum mechanics is just booping weird. It contains contradictions

No, it doesn't. It's a consistent system. If it weren't consistent, it wouldn't even be worth considering.

Well, it depends on what you call "quantum mechanics."

You have to understand - the reason why so many physicists are actually mathematicians is because the math needed to describe physics at the scale we can reach now doesn't exist yet. So what physicists do with the math they have is say "&!@# it, I'm pretty damn sure the theory's right, so we'll just quietly ignore this problem and pretend it actually works out." Later physicists wave their hands and try to claim that what they're doing is perfectly fine. But that's post-hoc rationalization - they bull$*!+ their way through it, and they knew it. Seriously, some of the math blows up in 4 dimensions, so one of the tricks is to say "well... let's *pretend* we don't live in 4 dimensions... let's pretend we live in "4+a little" dimensions, and then we'll just take 'a little' to go to zero and pretend that's the right answer." The mathematicians around might say that's okay (it's called 'analytic continuation') but seriously, if the math doesn't work in the number of dimensions you're actually working in, it ain't all that great math.

So if you're talking about the concepts of quantum mechanics... the fact that things are quantized, the fact that certain observables are complementary, the fact that you have certain fundamental symmetries of the universe - those guys are fine. But if you're talking about the actual math - it's loaded with contradictions. Physicists just say "OK... so the answer isn't *really* infinity... so let's just replace it and pretend we never saw the infinity." Again, you might think "well, OK..." but the problem is that sometimes when you cheat and do that, you end up making your nice, elegant theory that you base all your other math on not actually work anymore. It just really depends on whether you think the math is all that important or not - and most physicists tend to side on the "if I can calculate a number and that number ends up being right, I don't care if the math sucks."

As a note, this is par for the course for physicists. Dirac needed a function that picked out a specific value when you integrated over it. So he just said "OK... there is one. Now we're gonna use it and play around with it." Mathematicians looked at it and said "WTF! How the heck does this work?" and Dirac basically responded "Who the hell knows, you go find out and I'm gonna do physics." Thirty years later they managed to actually work out a consistent description of Dirac's delta function. (Meanwhile Dirac had laid down most of the basics for the next century of physics).

Dirac's attitude was that the math that's used isn't intended to be descriptive, but just to figure out some way to calculate things. His opinion would be that describing string theory to the public is a waste of time, because it's just math, and has nothing to do with what's actually going on in the universe. Similarly he would be railing against Kaku's goofy "space pushes" description. History has proven Dirac to be right many many times - the mathematics of a theory usually long outlast its silly examples - so I tend to side with him in that. Waving your hands around and saying "look, strings!" is just not helpful to actually explain physics.

I mention this because your statement of "if it wasn't consistent, it wouldn't be worth considering" is unfortunately very naive. In fact, most modern physics theories start out life hopelessly inconsistent, but physicists, like Dirac, basically said "whatever, I can use it to calculate stuff. Good enough for me" and just hope the mathematicians figure it out eventually.