By C. Michael Forsyth
Alternative facts are just as real as actual facts, most top theoretical physicists now agree.
“So-called ‘reality’ as most laymen understand it is an antiquated early 20th century concept,” explains Dr. Heath Couldwell of the Cambridge Institute for Complexity. “According to the laws of quantum mechanics, it is entirely possible for a particle to not exist and simultaneously exist. It’s easy to fall into the trap of relying on the evidence of our own eyes, but in the modern era, we mustn’t.”
As early as the 1920s, experts first began to theorize that reality is not what it seems and that there is no such thing as a “solid” fact.
“The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, introduced by Werner Heisenberg in 1927, holds that it is impossible to determine the precise position and momentum of a subatomic particle,” Dr. Couldwell says. “In other words, there’s a fundamental ‘fuzziness’ in nature.
“Rather than conceiving of a fact as a concrete thing, it is more helpful to picture a constellation of possible facts, some of which have a greater probability than others.”
The famous Schrödinger’s Cat Experiment demonstrated that a cat might be simultaneously dead and alive. In the bizarre thought experiment devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, a cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive substance are placed in a sealed box. If a Geiger counter detects that an atom has decayed, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison and killing the cat. If not, the cat lives. Since such a random subatomic event may be occurring or not occurring and there is no way to tell, the fickle feline is, for that instant, both dead and alive.
“The fact that the cat is dead and the alternative fact that the cat is alive are equally true,” Dr. Couldwell observes. “And this principle applies to everything in the world around us.”
The notion that something can be both true and not true seems counterintuitive to most non-scientists, and even the world’s most brilliant physicists admit the paradox can make their heads spin.
“Schrödinger himself was convinced that his proof of the theory was incontrovertible, yet also believed he’d proven it to be absurd,” Dr. Couldwell notes. “One thing is crystal clear: If the fact that alternative facts are equally true as true facts is true, it follows logically that the alternative fact that alternative facts are not equally true as true facts is also true.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth