44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book is only useful for physics historians who want to investigate controversial debates, and for the gullible conspiracy theory believers who cannot understand elementary math and physical arguments. Specifically, Eq 1.24 on page 10 of the book is false and amounts to claiming +1=-1. From this everything can be derived, including a "Disproof of Bell's Theorem". Bell's theorem demands computing correlations of actual experimental outcomes. Joy Christian does not compute correlations in this standard form and changes this into a "topologically complete" computation using fancy Clifford algebras which has nothing to do with the real thing. Worse, the computation is mathematically incorrect.
But don't take my word for it. This book was funded in part by a mini-grant by FQXi which is awarded based on a lottery system: " A Mini-Grant means that a Member submitted a small proposal appropriate to the funding program, and then basically got lucky -- Mini-Grants are chosen by a random lottery. We might in the future raise the bar on 'appropriate'; currently, however, a Mini-Grant does not mean a proposal has passed any serious peer-review process."
Also FQXi issued this public statement: "A recent situation involving intense controversy surrounding the work of FQXi Member Joy Christian brought many of these considerations to our attention (though it is far from the only case to which the considerations apply). To study this issue, we convened a special panel composed of experts exquisitely qualified to read, understand, and evaluate both Christian's work, and the way discussion of the work has played out in the public sphere. This panel provided detailed reports to FQXi, and came to three unanimous conclusions:
a) Christian's work on Bell's theorem is flawed, and they would recommend against funding any research that is part of Christian's work on Bell's inequalities.
b) The recommendation in (a) does not reflect on the quality of Christian's work on any other topic.
c) The manner of discussion of Christian's work on FQXi's forum and elsewhere has been unfortunate, with an unacceptable lack of decorum. That discussion has also at times misleadingly suggested that FQXi endorses Christian's work on Bell's inequalities, and that this work has passed peer-review by FQXi."
35 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in buying this book needs to look beyond the glowing reviews of the several fans of Dr. Christian. These are the same names that pop up on every forum discussion involving Joy Christian, and generally they are his only supporters in these forums. Anyone interested in buying this book should know that Dr. Christian *lives* in Oxford (apparently he teaches English to foreign students there) but has no official ties to Oxford University or the Perimeter Institute. Anyone interested in buying this book should know that none of Dr. Christian's many papers on his "disproof" of Bell's theorem has passed peer review or been published in print except by Dr. Christian himself. Anyone interested in buying this book should know that Dr. Christian's work in this area has been closely analyzed and found faulty by several distinguished researchers, including Scott Aaronson, Florin Moldovenu, and Richard Gill, and most recently, by an expert panel convened by the Foundational Questions Institute, of which Dr. Christian is a member. Google any of them to learn the "other side" of a controversy that Dr. Christian seems to have invented.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
To appreciate the value of this book, you have to step back and look at the state of present theoretical physics. Since the dawn of quantum mechanics, theoretical physics has lost its way. Little progress has been made for almost a century in understanding the foundations. Mysticism in the form of teleportation, non-locality and multiple universes are put forth as real features of nature. As E.T. Jaynes eloquently put it:
"... present quantum theory claims on the one hand that local microevents have no physical causes, only probability laws; but at the same time admits (from the EPR paradox) instantaneous action at a distance! Today we have in full flower the blatant, spooky contradictions that Einstein foresaw and warned us about [more than] 60 years ago, and there is no way to reason logically from them.
We see the effects of this in the fact that today, a large portion of research in theoretical physics has been reduced to wheel-spinning; random fiddling with the mathematics of the old theory, without giving a thought to its physical foundations. One would think that the folly of this might have been learned from the example of Einstein; yet his repeated warnings go unheeded even as his worst fears are realized before our eyes.
This mysticism must be replaced by a physical interpretation that restores the possibility of thinking rationally about the world. ..."
Joy Christian has done just that in this book. It is the first serious attempt to confront the unfortunate error in Bell's theorem by reproducing all the quantum correlations in a locally realistic manner without any spooky business. Exactly what Einstein would have liked. Christian finds that the correlations originate due to the geometric structure of physical space which Bell did not consider in his derivations. He uses geometric algebra which is quickly becoming the preferred mathematical language for representing and expressing physical theories. For that reason, a refresher of geometric algebra, using some of the resources freely available online, will be well worth your effort. Any serious student/researcher of theoretical physics should read this book.
As concerns the negative reviews, you only have to look at their premises to see through the motives of those who write them. Rather than pointing to any flaws they believe exist in the book, they resort to personal attacks on the author, which is an insult to the scientific process. Christian's work has rattled the cage on which they placed their bets and it shows.
5 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Joy's work is an inspiration to us all. Modern quantum mechanics has lost touch with reality leading to many worlds, observers collapsing wave functions, retro causality and a whole host of other wacky ideas. Joys work completely disproves Bells Theorem and in such restores common sense and local realism back to the world. His work is an inspiration and everyone in the world of physics should pay attention to it.
9 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Do you think that the battle--over whether "all physics is local," as Einstein insisted, or that physics begs "action at a distance" as quantum mechanics has it--was decided long ago in favor of quantum theory?
Think again.
Oxford physicist Joy Christian vindicates Einstein's view of local reality to explain what are usually thought to be irreducibly nonlocal quantum phenomena. That is, rather than arbitrarily assigning an unnatural interpretation of non-locality (or action-at-a-distance) to a set of remotely observed measurement results as Bell and his followers did, Christian uses a naturally occurring topological initial condition to construct a model of the physical reality based on continuous functions stemming from that initial condition.
The introduction of topology--the language of analysis--to a problem long considered the province of a probabilistic measurement theory, reveals a grave error of judgment in J.S. Bell's reasoning. Bell's famous mathematical inequality, with its repeated experimental violations over a half century, is usually presumed to prove that there can be no classical (i.e., continuous) explanation of the discrete quantum phenomena. This result has been widely interpreted to mean that no complete theory of nature can be both local and realistic. Does that imply, however, that there can be no classical explanation of the quantum pair correlation experiments by which Bell's inequality is usually tested? Joy Christian finds--no, it does not.
Christian's analytical framework reproduces all quantum mechanical correlations using continuous measurement functions just as is done in the classical domain. With removal of boundary between classical determinism and quantum indeterminism, he explains quantum correlations purely in terms classical randomness of a fair coin probability. In other words, within his framework there is no distinction between quantum and classical objects, and as the subtitle of his book says, quantum entanglement turns out to be a mere illusion.
A great body of literature is devoted to explaining why quantum weirdness has to be as it is, why "God plays dice." Christian shows that it is Bell's error that leaves room for a dice-playing god--by the assumption that measures are always made on the unconstrained interval {- oo, + oo}. The assumption should not have seemed unreasonable even to Einstein and his collaborators--after all, even in the continuous function classical physics of Newton and Einstein, boundary conditions have to be arbitrarily prescribed. In hindsight, however, the error is fatal to all realistic models of continuous function physics; it assumes a dice-playing god from the start.
By contrast, Christian finds that a property of space that topologists call "simply connected" disallows intrinsically probabilistic interpretation of reality. There is simply no compatibility between measurement results of real continuous functions, and those that assume an unbounded space of probabilistic events with a mysterious entanglement of wave functions.
It turns out to be a startling revelation, that what comes of a measurement stemming continuously from the initial condition embedded in an 8-dimension Euclidean space (the 7-sphere in Christian's framework) is a complete correspondence of mathematical theory to physical result in our ordinary three dimensions of space and one of time. Einstein's quest was to have just such a model of continuous functions, free of arbitrary boundary conditions. It's been a long time coming.
The college-level mathematics should not be intimidating if one keeps book and web/internet references handy. Like nearly all book length collections of scientific papers, this one also suffers from the absence of an index.
A special note to mathematicians who can't help spotting the 500-pound canary in the room: Read this book even if you are put off by the word "disproof." In physics terms, the disproof amounts to what Einstein and his collaborators always claimed: quantum theory cannot be considered a complete physical theory.
Joy Christian's research program has generated much heated controversy in academic and internet circles over the past several years. The closely reasoned and mathematically rigorous content between these covers, however, is sure to survive long after the controversy has become a distant memory.
~ Thomas H. Ray
8 of 27 people found the following review helpful
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Joy Christian has developed a new framework for quantum theory based on geometric algebra, (in which elements of the algebra have geometric interpretations, making it especially suited to physics.) The focus of Christian's work is Bell's Theorem, the 1964 analysis which claims that local realistic physics cannot reproduce the correlations of measurement results that are predicted by quantum mechanics (and found to experimentally agree with quantum mechanics.) Bell and others (CSHS, etc) derive 'inequalities' that they claim cannot be violated by local realistic theories. In Christian's framework the relevant calculations yield the desired correlation, E(a,b)=-a(dot)b.
Because of the importance of this result his work has attracted considerable attention, focused on a collection of arXiv preprints that form the basis of this book. There is opposition to his results and he addresses most of these criticisms in the book. Most of the criticisms seem to boil down to either the claim that Christian makes a mathematical mistake or the claim that his topological arguments are incorrect. These are not simple issues and Christian has both supporters and detractors, with sometimes heated exchanges between them.
In chapter 5 Christian addresses eight essential requirements that must be satisfied to successfully challenge Bell's contentions. I find this one of the most fascinating chapters in the book, and suggest that a framework that apparently meets these non-trivial conditions is a very important contribution. In fact, I believe that even if Christian has made a mistake somewhere along the way, the focus of those interested should be as much on fixing the mistake as on tearing down the framework. Two of his worst detractors seem to agree that his framework is valid, but they focus on what they perceive to be a mathematical mistake.
My perspective is that Christian has developed a very significant framework in which quantum mechanical issues relating to Bell's theorem can be formulated. I have reservations about his topological arguments but no reservations about his framework, which I consider to be a major contribution to physics.
I am indebted to Joy Christian in that, in attempting to understand his analysis I was forced to learn geometric algebra which I consider to be the most powerful mathematical tool a physicist can possess.
In summary, I believe Joy Christian's book to be very important. It is very well written. It is not simple or easy to read, but physicists who are not satisfied with the enormous implications of Bell's rather simplistic analysis should investigate Christian's approach.
Edwin Eugene Klingman
5 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
In this book, Joy Christian provides yet another reason to view QM's "spooky action at a distance" with a great deal of scepticism. While many readers (including many physicists) may not be able to follow all the Clifford Algebra segments without additional learning or a refresher, the flow of logic is accessible to readers with an interest in this topic. If the math is found to be internally consistent, then Joy Christian's conclusions are on firm ground.
It is easy to overlook what is at stake here. It is not merely a matter of preserving local reality, which one would forsake in the face of conclusive evidence to the contrary. The problem is that there is no such evidence, despite certain QM spokespersons' claims proffered over several decades. One cannot in principle prove something by experiment when the very interpretation of the result of that experiment depends on a premise (axiomatic) that has itself not been proven to be true. Without an a priori assumption that there is no objective reality, the "Bell and EPR type" experiments have no grounds for concluding that an observation at point A instantaneously triggered a state of an object at point B. It is in principle impossible to show by experiment that there is no reality independent of an observer, because each time you make an observation, you will find some state or some event, and this finding will be consistent with both an independent reality view as well as a non-reality view (where things just suddenly take form upon being observed; in any case, one ought to wonder what could be observed if the thing didn't already exist at time of observation - instead of a photon a mouse might pop into existence in its place...). No conceivable experiment can demonstrate that there is no "reality" in the conventional sense, as every observation will be "indistinguishable from realism" (unless you presuppose that there is no reality). There are a few proponents of QM who take a more "sober" view of things and admit that there is nothing explicit in QM formulas that denies reality, but rather that counterfactual "reality" is not made use of in any way by QM. One might think that these facts ought to allow the more ardent QM practitioners to merely declare that QM is silent on whether there exists an observer-independent and counterfactual "reality." Similarly, acting purely rationally (based on what is observable, and not on theory), QM proponents should simply state that there is a correlation between the readings of some state of an object at location A and a corresponding state of a related object at location B (when talking about their proverbial entanglement).
It does not help that QM enthusiasts do not put forth a mechanism for "action at a distance." Physics must always propose a principle or a mechanism underlying every assertion describing the world, otherwise it needs to stay silent on that issue, pending further research. Promoting the magic of "action at a distance" (especially when unjustified and unexplained) does damage to physics, to science, to rationality, and ultimately to humanity. Who else but scientists (and perhaps philosophers) can be looked upon as the guardians of reason by society?
As you may have surmised, this issue is rather emotionally charged, leading various commenters to resort to discussions of personalities rather than the physics involved. Joy Christian, on the other hand, remains steadfastly professional and "on message" in his flawless prose, and through his work contributes to a more rational world. I not only endorse his book, but also encourage readers to seek out comment boards and blogs where these issues are discussed from several interesting points of view. A sensible place to start would be Joy Christian's own blog, libertesphilosophica . info/blog/, where one will find additional information and links to other relevant sites.
It is my sincere hope that every reader will take the side of rationality in these matters. Have an enjoyable time reading Joy Christian's "Disproof of Bell's Theorem: Illuminating the Illusion of Entanglement."