I'm trying to understand an argument made by Bardeen in On Naturalness in the Standard Model. The argument is about quadratic divergences in Standard Model. My notation is that the SM Higgs potential contains $\mu^2\phi^2$.

Bardeen argues that

Setting $\mu^2=0$ would increase the symmetry of the Standard Model by a conformal symmetry.

*But the things we can measure - which are basically the Green's functions - are no more symmetric with $\mu^2=0$ than with $\mu^2\neq0$! Because the symmetry is anomalously broken.*

The conformal symmetry is broken anomalously by non-zero beta-functions.

- Quadratic divergences do not contribute to the beta-functions.
*Whilst its true that they don't contribute to the running of the renormalised parameters, they contribute to the running of the bare mass.*

Quadratic divergences must therefore be a separate (explicit) source of symmetry breaking.

*Not true if you consider that quadratic divergences contribute to the running of the bare mass.*

Quadratic divergences must therefore be an non-physical artefact of our re-normalisation procedure, and we must remove them with, for example, counter-terms, and this is not a fine-tuning.

I have added my comments. My main question is,

If conformal symmetry is broken anomalously, why should our Lagrangian
respect conformal symmetry? The Green's function are not more symmetric
with $\mu^2=0$. I am interested in this for any symmetry, but especially conformal symmetry.

Also, I don't understand 3. and 4. Quadratic divergences would contribute to the running of the bare mass. Wouldn't that break conformal symmetry anomalously? or is it only the renormalised parameters that must have vanishing beta-functions? The distinction seems artificial. I can't understand why quadratic divergences are an explicit source of symmetry breaking, whereas logarithms etc are anomalous. This is key to solving the naturalness problem, and I can't follow the argument.

My feeling is that these arguments are faulty (which makes me think I must be making mistakes because Bardeen is a real expert who has surely thought a lot about it!). I'm certainly unconvinced. Have they been confirmed/refuted at length in the literature?

This post imported from StackExchange Physics at 2014-09-19 08:51 (UCT), posted by SE-user innisfree