On incompatibility of general relativity and quantum mechanics
Dec 30, 2005 Dov, in biologicalEvolution forum
Occasionally I come across a statement similar to the following one in Scientific American, December 2005, Black Holes, p.49, T A Jacobson, R Parentani:
“As currently understood general relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible. Gravity, which general relativity attributes to the curvature of the spacetime continuum, stubbornly resists being incorporated into a quantum framework”.
I know very little about physics in general and next to nothing about general relativity and quantum mechanics and nil about the curvature of the spacetime continuum. But plain common sense tells me that the subject incompatibility problem may be a matter of concept and of terminology.
Re concepts, the universe is not only a spacetime continuum but also a space distance (from big-bang point) continuum and a space evolution (since singularity) continuum. Along the since-big-bang distance-time axes, the universe has been undergoing, since the big bang, material-energy evolutions and natural-laws evolutions. Let us make an analogy between life’s evolution on the tiny dust particle planet Earth ( orbiting around one of the hundreds of billions of suns in the milky-way galaxy, which is one of the billions of galaxies in the universe ) and the evolution of the cosmos:
If the Earth’s 4.6 billion years are compressed into a single year the Precambrian Era, during which first life forms evolved, would last from January 1 to mid-November, and our time, the Quaternary era would occupy only the last four hours on New Year’s Eve. Yet the present stock of Earth life comprises modifications of both the single-cell first life forms and of the most complex recent poly-cell organisms and of a wide range of their in-betweens.
Likewise in the 14 billion years old Cosmos, the present stock of material-energy forms and of their behavior-laws comprises modifications of both its early quantum mechanics forms-rules and of their most recent evolved versions of general relativity and of a wide range of their in-betweens.
And re the terminology, I suggest that the term “theory” with connotations of “laws of nature” is not always appropriate-applicable at all stretches along a very long axis of the evolution of the cosmos. Along the route, the continuum, between the early single-cells and the human primate evolved not only the life forms but also their behavior laws. Likewise in the Cosmos along the route, the continuum, between the early material forms and their present states evolved not only material forms but also their behavior laws.
Thus characterizing a continuum involves not only theories applicable-proven along some of its distinct stretches of evolution; it involves also discernment and comprehension of the evolving phases of its evolution and of their integration.
And in the case of general relativity and quantum mechanics, maybe they need to be related to each other not via a Final Theory but via Comprehension of the Cosmic Evolution.