Basic Understanding of the Virtual Particle
What is a "Virtual Particle"? The virtual particle is a fictitious entity, which can have any properties you want, to explain any processes you want. The virtual particle is the lazy man’s way of inserting “I don’t know how this works” into the process.
This imaginary entity in many cases shouldn’t even be called a particle, as it is really just the exchange of energies, or the interaction of the energy field strings.
Note also that the virtual particle does not represent any actual process. The virtual particle is a completely fictitious entity, based on modifications to mathematical equations.
Virtual Particle Definition: More Specific Definition
A more specific definition would be this: The virtual particle is the inserted magical object, accompanied with a convoluted physical “understanding” of a process, which has never been observed in nature. It is a fictional object which mathematicians have created to explain modifications in their equations, such as a new variable or other modifications, which they inserted to make the equation work.
The entire use of the virtual particle has no physical meaning, and is only used to support the modifications of an equation.
Virtual Particle is Based on Inserting New Variables into Equations
The basic process goes something like this. First a mathematician modifies an equation, by adding this or that. This is done ad hoc style, just to make the equation work better.
They also use approximations, simplifications, and perturbations. Using simplifications means they eliminate certain factors as not relevant (though the factor might be important later). Perturbations is essentially adding smaller solvable steps in between.
Yet how accurate are these steps? Each of these steps often use simplifications and approximations. Of course the equation may be wrong. The "perturbations" may also be wrong. But hey...let's pretend these are correct.
Virtual Particles as how Math People Understand Physics
The mathematicians also create new variables, with new mathematical operations, to make their equations come out correct. But these are just numbers, letters, and exponents. They don't know what they might mean (if anything). So they invent another "fictional particle" as a representation.
Since we don't know the physical reality behind these equation modifications, we will just call everything a "virtual particle". Even if it is not a particle but some other entity. And none of them actually exist. The virtual particle may not even be needed to explain the observation.
Limited Understanding of Physical Reality for Mathematicians
Remember that mathematicians generally have a limited understanding of physical reality. Many scientists have noted, not just myself, that these mathematicians have a difficult time actually visualizing objects.
An object such as “ball” has visual meaning to most of us, but it is not as clear to mathematicians. Therefore, words are abstract descriptions; only the list of characteristics given in the definition are important, not the physical reality. A “virtual” particle is therefore good enough for them, despite having zero physical reality.
"I have no idea how this works"
Also note that Virtual Particles are the insertion for "I have no idea how this works". Which means you can create any virtual particle, with any properties, to explain anything you want. Except nothing about it is real.
These fictional objects also do not exist even in their own world. They pop into existence and out of existence, as simple placeholders for a fictional process.
Virtual Particle Can Do Anything
Because these “particles” are just inserted as placeholders of reality, then these can be and do anything. This is why you will read of different virtual particles doing all kinds of crazy things. Each virtual particle has its own magic properties, and can do anything you need it to, often contrary to all other known laws of physics. This is because the mathematicians just inserted this magical object to make his equation work.
Virtual Particles as Energy Strings or Real Photons
Note that some of the virtual particles could be better explained as Energy Strings. There are some processes which involve virtual particles that could be close to physical reality. Yet the processes are more simply understood as energy strings, or as the emission of real particles.
If we assume that the basic event is a real physical process, though not understood, then we can find other ways to explain the process. Some of these processes can then be understood with the transfer of energy strings. These processes can also be understood with the interactions of energy fields, or the emission of real photons.
The Hawking Radiation is an example. Hawking used virtual particles, as a way of giving some physical support to his equations. (This of course means nothing in terms of reality, as discussed above). However, in this case the process has some reality. Yet there is a simpler explanation.
In reality, some light can escape the black hole. It is always a comparison of internal energy to gravitational energy. For most regions of the dark star, the gravitational energy is so great that all emitted light is quickly pulled back in. However, there are certain regions of the dark star, mostly near the north and south poles (as compared to the rotation axis), where the gravitational energy is weaker. This allows the emitted photons to actually break free from the dark star, and travel into the space beyond.
Therefore Hawking was on the right track, and it is correct that some light can leave the black hole. Yet the actual explanation is far simpler than what he proposed. There is no need for any virtual particles.
In summary: Virtual Particles are created by mathematicians who have no concept of the physical reality around them. Assuming the equation modifications are accurate (which is always debatable), we should look for a real physical cause. Or at least state clearly: “I don’t know”. It is best if we remove the virtual particles from any discussion, and search for a real physical solution instead.