Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity Need a Divorce

When it comes to the scientific understanding of the nature of reality there are two main ideas that are used to explain pretty much everything scientists know about the physical universe. These two pillars of scientific thought are quantum mechanics, which deals with subatomics, and general relativity which deals with everything else.1

Think of the magnitude of what these ideas encompass and now consider the fact that the two ideas are incompatible with one another.2 In there own realms of physics they are great, but as physicist Brian Green states together “when the equations of general relativity commingle with those of quantum mechanics… the equations completely breakdown.”2 Michio Kaku describes “the great mystery of the last five decades…has been the total incompatibility of these two theories.”

Have you noticed the problem? One of these theories which gives us an understanding of our cosmos must be wrong or even more interesting both could be wrong. Just how much do we know about the cosmos?

What is the solution? Come up with a unification theory that can revolutionize our understanding of physics. Lets look at the two most common attempts to do this. First up is Supersymmetric String Theory (SST).4 (kind of rolls off the tongue, eh?) Now get this, the theory does not blend quantum mechanics and general relativity, but completely changes our concept of the fundamentals of reality.5 In short, our friend SST theorizes that there are tiny (I’m talking billions of times smaller than we can currently see with the best microscopic tech tiny) strings of energy that create vibrations that produce the vast array of particle properties that exist within the cosmos. Now there are no ways to currently prove this and this theory has an interesting side effect of claiming that there are ten dimensions in our universe instead of the commonly held view that there are four.7

So what about the second unifying theory? It is called M-Theory. (What M stands for no one knows… seriously!)8 M-Theory is essentially a combination of five different major string theories that all try to come together, much like Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, except instead of two theories now we are trying to blend five different theories.9  M-Theory also has that funky dimensional side effect thing, but it creates 11 dimensions.10

M-Theory continues to get interesting, especially for scientists who have a beef with belief in God because they can’t empirically prove His existence, M-Theory is also unable to be proved.11 (like scientists don’t believe it will ever be able to be proved) But don’t lose heart you empirical scientist! Well, not yet at least. Within M-Theory’s five string theories are as many as 10500 smaller string theories.12 (That’s a really big number, I’m talking like unfathomably big, but go ahead start fathoming, let me know if you get there) Now here is a problem, we’ve got that large number of unprovable, and some even untestable, string theories making up M-Theory. Yet, at least we can test some string theories. However, I hate to break it to you (actually I don’t hate it) but those string theories are “known to be wrong.”13  In the end the theory is “untestable” and “not one shred of experimental evidence has been found to confirm the existence of supersymmetry, let alone superstrings.”14 Ok you can start losing heart now.

Stokes sums it up well “We have decent reasons for thinking that our two best theories – general relativity and quantum mechanics – are false in important ways and that the best candidates for a replacement theory are inchoate, untested, and maybe untestable.15 One last important point is that this is the current setting for the theories relating to the physical reality of the cosmos, what about the nonphysical reality?16 Let’s just say in the scientific community the jury is still out.

Here is an idea, let’s see what the Bible says about the sustaining power of the universe. “…His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:2-3, italics added by me) Now I ask you, which concept about reality takes more belief?

Bibliography:

  1. Mitch Stokes, How to be an Atheist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough, 2016, Ch 8: The Current Crisis, 120
  2. Ibid. 120-121; Quoted from: The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality (New York Vintage, 2004), 2nd ed., Graduate Texts in Contemporary Physics (New York: Springer, 1999) 15
  3. Ibid. 121; Quoted from: Michio Kaku, Introduction to Superstrings and M-Theory, p. 3
  4. Ibid. 122
  5. Ibid. 122
  6. Ibid. 122-123
  7. Ibid. 123; Taken from: Brian R. Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality (New York: Vintage, 2004) 18
  8. Ibid. 124
  9. Ibid. 124
  10. Ibid. 125
  11. Ibid. 125-126
  12. Ibid. 127; Taken from: Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 13
  13. Ibid. 125; Quoted from: Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, xvi
  14. Ibid. 126; Quoted from: Kaku, Introduction to Superstrings and M-Theory, 17
  15. Ibid. 128
  16. Ibid. 129

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Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

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