Talk:Virtual particles

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This repeats literally a sentence from the cited source. Also, I don't see much relevance to RationalWiki's mission. No pages link to this one, so it's not background material to an existing article.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:27, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. While the topic itself is interesting, it is not notable per se, but instead just an aspect of vacuum, to where it should belong, if anywhere. Rursus dixit (yada³!) 10:18, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Some digging uncovered that virtual particles were mentioned in a contribution to First cause by the same author, but there's no link.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:24, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

So... delete? Тytalk 13:49, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Ty **IF** we can get someoen who knows how science and how to write, VP would be a huge coup for RW. When you debate the loonie bing types, they bring up 2nd law of Thermo ALL THE DAMN TIME. one of the single best "you don't know what the fuck you are talking about" replies is "virtual particles", which in effect break thermodynamcis all the time. they really are energy that seems by all understanding to be instantly created and destroyed with no trace. it's uber cool to listen to people who know what they talk of putting down fundies and their thermodynamics. the basic argument is something like this: "Thermodynamics proves that evo could not happen" No, it doesn't. "You cannot break the LAWS of thermdynamics" 1) they are not laws, they are models, 2) the models are for closed spaces, 3) they are broken all the time in particle physics, cause again, they are not laws, they are models.
That said, understanding them and explaining them to a lay audience like us is very hard. Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:03, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Alright, I'll put the missile up for now. Тytalk 14:06, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
By the way, what was up there, if that was the original, is like someone with an ax to grind on particle physics. I fixed it... to the first grade eque level of my understanding. Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:09, 1 September 2011 (UTC)


Actually, the above virtual particle paragraph is an extremely stupid argument against creationism, as stupid as creationism itself. The correct response is simply that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics because evolution is not a closed system (the reduced entropy in more complex lifeforms is insignificant compared to the increased entropy in the the nuclear fusion of the sun that is required for life, and therefore evolution, to continue). The second law states that entropy tends to increase on average, not that it must never increase (short term decreases are allowed), so virtual particles actually do not violate the law (yes, law) either. #physicsepicfail #dunningkrugereffect— Unsigned, by: ‎ / talk / contribs

Speaking of the Dunning-Kruger effect — you realize, of course, that even though we mention the creationist trope of thermodynamics, our article only actually responds to the metaphysical nihil fit ex nihiloWikipedia argument with reference to said quantum vacuum fluctuations? Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:56, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I think the unsigned anon was right. This article is more confusing than useful.
If you tried shouting "virtual particles" at a creationist, there's two possibilities.
On the unlikely chance that the fundie, or anyone else listening, actually understands physics, if all you have is this article, they'll demolish your argument and leave you looking like an atheist professor in a Chick tract. (Your point is that, under a realist interpretation of the interaction diagram ontology, something can come from nothing without violating thermodynamics as long as you pay it back within a fraction of a second? Well then, since evolution hasn't paid back what it supposedly borrowed billions of years ago, so it can't be real. Checkmate!)
Otherwise, you might as well be speaking Enochian for all the god it'll do to him, or any audience. "Random words neither you nor I understand but they sound fancy" is not even as good as a creationist argument, it's as low as Deepak Chopra.
And at very best, you'll be acting exactly like the creationist, shouting out a slogan that you don't understand just because someone told you that it'll make a point. -- (talk) 05:36, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

One Planck time?[edit]

The lede says:

Virtual particles are particles described by quantum physics that exist for an extremely limited space and time. Specifically, less than one Planck time.

Their lifespans are extremely limited, but not to one Planck time. Using the particle-driven formulation in this article, as explained in the article itself, a virtual particle is "borrowing" energy from the vacuum, meaning its lifespan is determined by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle—the lower the delta-E, the higher the delta-T. So they're only limited to one Planck time if they're carrying one Planck energy—which is a huge amount, far more than is involved in the vast majority of interactions. (We're talking on the order of billions of high-energy cosmic rays, or hundreds of cell phone batteries.) In fact, even that limit doesn't hold up under special relativity. Which should be obvious when you think about it. You know electromagnetism falls off over distance but never goes to zero. So, how do two electrons separated by light years of empty space repel each other by a tiny amount? If you're explaining things with virtual particles, they're exchanging virtual photons that last for years (from our reference frame, or either electron's; obviously not from the photons').

So, I'm going to remove the second sentence. -- (talk) 05:27, 19 February 2018 (UTC)